On my Montana USA last June 2016, I was fortunate enough to be with a great private tour guide Michael Francis, whom I not only learn about photography, but also picked up a lot of things about nature and wildlife. Stories and experiences that reinforced my love and passion for horses and Horse Photography.
Just like any wildlife and landscape photographer knows, patience is important in natural photography because you are likely not in control of the scene. You have a say in where you stand and point your camera, but often the scene is unfolding at its own pace. Once we sighted and position ourselves to photograph this Wild Horse, we waited. It’s just me and Michael, my tour guide. He went to the other side, away from of me. This wild horses sighted us off at a distance as well. I slowly get him accustomed to my presence while I find myself slowly getting closer to 5 meters away. Before I knew it, as I am busy looking at my gears, this horse was so curious at me that he start to walk toward me, and before I knew it, after I took out my eyes from my camera viewfinder, he is already just an arms lenght away. I don’t know if I should back out and be afraid, but I didn’t. I got so excited with him being so close from me and he did a great pose for me. .
But do you know how to quickly tell if a wild horse is a loner or a social? That’s what Mike have asked of me. Other than no sightings of other horses in the immediate vicinity, the quick telltale is look at their coat. Being a social animals, they way to create a bond to each member of the herd is my ‘loafing’ or mutual grooming. That give them a bright and shiny coat, also a sign of a healthy horse. So the coat of a lone is the opposite.
Horses are not solitary animals and they will never choose to live individually if they have another option. Horses in a herd have additional protection and warning from predators. But unfortunately for any reason, if they became solitary, they don’t get those social benefits.
What an interesting day or trip for me. Yesterday also aswe are photoshooting Wild horse at the summit of Pryor Mountain, I got nearly trampled by stampeding horses. As we saw at the distance running Mustangs, I positioned myself too low, just nearly lying on the ground. I have nearly underestimated how very quick they run and get to you, before I knew it again, they are too very close, no chance to get up and quickly run away. The good thing is they maneuver their direction away from me. Perhaps, it’s my lucky day not being trampled by stampeding horses. What an interesting experience photographing horses.