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Wild Horse Photos: The Foals Are Here

female wild horse his a baby wild horse

Each year I spend countless hours tracking and observing wild mustangs in the rugged landscapes of the Western states. And every Spring I have the privilege of witnessing the magic of new life when new foals arrive. The gestation period for mares is 11 months and Spring is a time like no other with mares giving birth and in heat shortly after.

The Arrival of New Life

wild horse colt

If you’re able to take a closer look, it’s evident which mares are with foal as winter is finishing. As the winter snows become less frequent and the usually sparse range is covered in a green carpet of new growth, the mustang mares, their bellies round with life, become the central focus of attention for the next few months. The rocky outcroppings and gnarled juniper trees, become the stage for one of nature’s most captivating dramas - foals being born, mares being bred, stallions fighting for breeding rights.

This time of the year, the air is still crisp as we arrive at the range very early in the morning to catch the rising of the sun. Hiking through the pre-dawn darkness, we can smell the scents of sagebrush and pine heightened. If I’m lucky enough, I may witness the first hours of a new life emerging from its mother, taking its first breaths, wet and wobbly with long legs struggling to support weight.

Family Bonds

As I wait for hours after the birth event, watching in the peaceful silence of the wild, the herd dynamics start to play out. The mare, exhausted from giving birth, counts on the help from the other band mares. These mares, some experienced mothers themselves, keep watch and surround the new foal as it lays on the ground, hidden among the sagebrush and desert grasses. This allows the new mother to get some much needed rest and food and offer another layer of protection for the young one.

a female wild horse with her baby

The band stallion, battle-scarred and wise, stands guard on the perimeter of the group, ensuring the safety of his family. The heightened sensitivity and wariness of potential danger is remarkable when a new foal is born. Bands that previously would have seen a human as a mere curiosity now view any approach as a serious threat and are quick to relocate. Even on the move, the new foal is almost always sheltered, hidden, surrounded.

After a few days, the foals become bundles of curiosity, exploring everything - their tiny hooves sinking into the soft earth, their noses investigating every blade of grass. They mimic their mothers, practicing whinnies and tail flicks. And, in frequent fits of the pure joy of life, will launch themselves repeatedly into the air, running recklessly about the herd in fits and starts, unaware that life is anything but a single moment to be enjoyed.

Creating Wild Horse Photos

Spring is a season of renewal, a celebration of the beauty of new life. And the wild mustangs embody this cycle more than anything I have ever seen. As Spring progresses, more foals arrive, each bringing a sense of regeneration and a new dynamic to the herd. As they grow strong on their mother’s milk, they join the herd in the endless quest for survival.

Freezing these unique moments in time with my camera is a privilege - the tender nuzzles, the playful leaps, the quiet exchanges between foal and mare. In the wild horses, I see not only the magic of nature but also the reflection of what we aspire to as humans in our relationships. Within the desert peaceful silence watch carefully, and you can see the affection of parents for their offspring, the protective instincts of the family, and the sheer joy of living - reminders worth documenting and, most importantly, preserving.

Archival Quality

All images are printed in-house on 100% plant based museum quality paper carefully selected by Maria to enhance the tonality of her images. Each limited edition print is cautiously inspected, hand signed and numbered before shipment.

About The Artist

wild horse photographer maria marriott

Maria's work has been recognized for its emotional impact and intimate portrayal of wild horses. She works closely with several non-profit organizations focused on the benefits of equine therapy and preservation of the mustangs on our Western lands.


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