The Sorraia stallion, Altamiro, showing his highly collected canter amidst a profusion of Ox-Eye Daisies
Yesterday morning found the pups and me hiking out to the northwest sector of the property to connect with the primitive herd. After a string of days that were cool and rainy, the already surrealistic explosion of Clovers and Ox-Eye Daisies expressed even greater profusion of fragrant flowerings. I cannot resist, therefore, including more photos documenting this audacious demonstration of Nature's extravagance.
Altamiro and his family were situated in the Scanty Field (or the "Field of Plenty as we call it this year). Some members were grazing the finer grasses that grow among the Ox-Eye Daisies, while the rest of the primitives were in the shade of the Cedar trees dozing or rubbing on tree trunks to itch away the irritation from the mosquito bites they received shortly after dawn, (one of the peak feeding times for the female mosquito).
Dee, Doll and Jerry (the "floater" draft mules) were grazing in the general vicinity, and Jerry decided that he would come over to where I was grooming and itching Ciente. Animado, assisted by his father, Altamiro emerged from the shade to engage Jerry in a bit of rough and tumble boy games.
After about eight minutes of these boy games, Altamiro and Animado went into the Cedar trees to take a break, Jerry went back grazing and I was free to do a bit more grooming on some of the other grullas. While I was working on Interessado, Fada and Encantara came out of the woods and engaged in a bit of mutual grooming themselves.
I have mentioned before what a high degree of self-assurance Encantara has among her other family members and her environment. This confidence has not yet carried over to us humans. During the first weeks of her life outside Belina's womb, Encantara only once ventured to touch me and she recoiled herself away from as soon as her muzzle touched the folds of my skirt. If I should even look at her with the thought of walking toward her in hopes of making a connection, this sensitive filly deftly winds her way through the other horses obscuring herself from my view. If I have no mental intentions of hoping to reach out and touch her, she will let me observe her without issue--but just the thought of wanting to touch her sends her away!
One time, I thought I had made a definite breakthrough because while I was grooming her mother, Encantara came over to us and her mother began grooming her rump and I was able to keep one hand brushing Belina and use my other hand to scratch the middle of Encantara's back. Her body responded to my hand with the same feeling of pleasure as that of her mother's nibbling teeth. Eventually, Encantara lowered her head and began to nurse, and I was able to position myself a little closer to her and itch her withers and shoulders--but when she pulled her head up from nursing and saw that it was a human who was itching her and not her mother, she immediately dashed off!
Yesterday, Fada came over for some itches after awhile and Encantara came with her and almost reached up to touch me. I decided to take a different course of action this time, and rather than be still, hoping she actually would touch me again, or rather than extend my hand out for her to sniff, I backed away and left her. What a puzzled look she had then, and I noticed that while I was working my way over to groom Zorita, Encantara kept her gaze fixed on me, deep in thought. I'm guessing the next time I'm around, she's likely to walk right up and touch me and maybe not recoil when she does. I certainly will not corner her and coerce her into accepting my touch! She has noted how everyone else seeks out a connection with me...I'm hopeful she will one day too.
Just as I was receiving the sensation from the patiently waiting troupe of dogs that they would like to continue our hike, Jerry came back over and restarted the boy games with Animado.
After this last "attack" by Jerry, Animado called it quits and left the playground to return to the shady grove of Cedars and Jerry walked back to where Dee and Doll were grazing. The pups and I resumed our walk, and the last photo I took on this particular hike was of a section of old cut Cedar tree that the woodpeckers had turned into a garish grin. I always refer to this tree as the "Ghost Tree". The moonlight has been spectacular the past two evenings...I'll bet this tree looks especially frightful in the moonlight!