Friday, December 23, 2011

Suki in the Meadow

I just love this photo of Suki and my friend Kendra.  It was a difficult light to shoot in as the fog was coming in and it was late afternoon, almost dusk.
We have two horses that are halter broke, Sweetie and Suki.  Almost every Tuesday,  Kendra and I work with them in the corral. This week we decided it would be a good idea to take them out into their area of freedom, 70 acres of meadow, and walk them around with the halter on.  I realized that we need to get them use to us being with them in the wild area.  In the future we plan to practice going up to them when they are not in the corral and try to halter them.  This is in case one of them needed help while out in the meadow we would be able to  halter them and take care of them there.  Of course it works better if there is only one horse free and so we will start with the other horses in the corral.

Sweetie is a dear horse and very co-operative and this is the first time he has had something on his back this heavy - the garland.  He wasn't too sure about it but he did let me take some pictures.

Happy Holidays to everyone and a wondrous New Year!

The Point Arena Pintos Book!!!

The pintos are very happy that I have published a book about them that consists of seventy four pages of  photographs of them in their natural environment.

They are very excited and would like you to take a look at their new book which you can see and purchase at

Sunday, November 20, 2011

2012 Calendar is here!

I am happy to announce the new 2012 Point Arena Pinto calendar is now available for sale.
The calendar went to press before the new filly, Chia, was born, so she is not in it.

These calendars make a great Christmas gift for people who love horses!

All profits from the sale of these calendars goes towards the care of the pintos.

If you live on the Mendonoma Coast, you can purchase the calendar for $17.95 at the Four Eyed Frog books in Gualala, Ca.
Otherwise you can order it from me by emailing me at
The cost including shipping and handling is $21.50.

A filly is born November 9th!

For many months we wondered whether or not Polka Dot was pregnant.  We had expected a birth around July  and since so many months went by we figured there would be no new foal as it is unusual for a horse to give birth so late in the season.  November 8th while feeding the herd I noticed that Polka Dot's udder was full of milk.  The next day a new filly arrived. We are so happy you are finally here! 

Her name is Chie (pronounced Chiyay) which means wisdom in Japanese.
She is about three days old in these photos. 

She looks so small here.
In the photos below she is five days old.

Chie  peeks behind her mother as the herd eats their grain.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Pintos in the Media

The Pintos are receiving more exposure these days.
Rebecca O'Neil did a drawing of them for the cover of our local phone book:

Poet Lindy Hough ( pronounced Huff) wrote a poem about the pintos last year when she came to visit us. She published it in her book, Wild Horses, Wild Dreams: New and Selected Poems 1971-2010.

She gave a reading earlier in the month put on by our local bookstore, Four Eyed Frog Books.  If you would like to read the pinto poem and her other poems, you can order the book from them by calling 707-884-1333 or visiting their website

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Poetry Reading and 2012 Point Arena Pintos Calendar

I am happy to announce the following event which includes a reading about the pintos written by Lindy Hough:

Photographic Art introduces the

2012 Point Arena Pintos Calendar

Meet poet Lindy Hough reading

Wild Horses, Wild Dreams: New and Selected Poems 1971-2010!

4pm Saturday, 11/5/11 Four Eyed Books, Gualala, Ca

Lindy Hough is the author of five books of poetry and non-fiction, including Nuclear Strategy and The Code of the Warrior: Faces of Mars and Shiva in the Crisis of Human Survival, a collection of anti-nuclear pieces. She cofounded North Atlantic Books in the early seventies, and was Publisher and Editorial Director for many years. She lives in Berkeley, California. For more on Lindy Hough, including a schedule of upcoming events, visit her web site at

The 2012 calendar will also be for sale starting on Saturday at theFour Eyed Books, Gualala, Ca (707) 884-1333 or by emailing me at

Thursday, August 4, 2011


        Suki, Little One, Moonbeam (Missy) back end of our neighbors property the morning of the move

My intention when I adopted the herd was just to leave them be, free on their own and just feed them.  But reality and herd dynamics set in. I learned it is common for  the lead stallion to kick out the young stallions from the herd at a certain point.  Thunder sent Little One and Suki out at different times, and they found a safe haven in the back end of our neighbors property where they lived for over a year. Then after the old mare died her son, Sweetie was kicked out and ended up at our place all alone but safe.  Soon after Moonbeam (Missy) was also kicked out and got hurt in the process as she went through a barb wire fence and ended up at some kind neighbors who kept her safe until we could get her back inside the fence.  She then joined Little One and Suki.  (It is not common for a stallion to kick out a yearling mare but it is not unusual). Naturally Little One and Suki started fighting over Moonbeam ( who by the way can hold her own with the guys) so Little One ended up with marks on his body.
Enough!! We just want all these horses to get along!!  So after much soul searching it seemed, that the wisest thing to do was to bring the 3  pintos home from next door where they could join Sweetie and they would also get more daily attention from me and my friends.  We also made the hardest decision which was to geld the 3 stallions so they would get along better and so we would not end up with too many more foals as much as we love them.
The rest of the herd is still living next door on the ocean side.  The herd there consists of Thunder the lead stallion, 2 mares one of whom is about ready to give birth any day and a filly, Little Lady, born last May ( scroll down to see recent pictures of her).  All is calm over there now and Thunder will still keep making babies as we cannot fix him as he is too old.
So how do you get 3 wild horses into a trailer so they can be moved??? And in order for the vet to geld them they needed to be halter trained and who is going to do that in the kindest way???   

                                                    KATHE SMOTHERS

I met Kathe last year and  I knew she has had experience with wild horses as she has adopted and trained 8 mustangs.  She is an incredible horse trainer who studied with  Buck Brannaman the original horse whisper. You can visit his website to learn more about him and get the link to the new documentary"Buck" at
Watching Kathe work with the pintos was one of the most profound, inspiring and awesome weeks of my life.  Her easy deep communications with horses, respect, love, kindness and gentleness towards them was very apparent.  I am delighted she is part of the Point Arena Pinto family! 
Kathe brought her own geldings to help with the pintos.  Apache was very helpful during training in the round pen as you will sewe in the photos below and Moonbeam enjoyed flirting with Blue!

                                                      THE MOVE

With Kathe's expertise and help from some friends we got the 3 pintos into the trailer in less than an hour!  It was a  very moving (no pun intended) to watch these graceful animals enter the trailer without fear and in a calm manner due to Kathe's gentle approach and  technique.
The more challenging part turned out to be getting her truck and trailer up my steep hilly dirt road!  Since her truck is not 4 wheel drive, we found a friend who had the right kind of truck and he thought the right kind of hitch.  The hitch was not a match for the trailer but he was brave enough to put a chain on his truck and pull Kathe's truck and trailer up the difficult hills.  Amazing day!!!

I am so happy these beautiful horses are finally home.  They are a little stunned to finally be back at the old homestead!


Needless to say Sweetie was ecstatic to finally have his friends home especially the mare Moonbeam!  Here he is frolicking with her.


The final outcome for these 4 horses is that they will be running free again in the meadows on our property but we will be able to walk up to them and put a halter on them in case they need to see the vet or if they break through the fence and we need to catch them easily. An additional plus is that we can touch them and give them lots of love!!  As mentioned earlier the other task is to get the stallions gelded.

In order for all of this to happen Kathe needed to work with them in the round pen.  I love the photos below, she has the 3 stallions going around the pen in sync and her only tools are a rope and a flag.  The goal this day was to be able to touch Little One, so he has the rope on his neck.                                                   

SUCCESS !  Little One experiences positive touch for the first time in his life!!

A few days later Little One and Suki were successfully gelded and are recuperating nicely with lots of love and food.  However, poor Sweetie will need to go to a vet hospital as he will require surgery since he has an undescended testicle.  We hope to schedule this for September when Kathe will come back and transport him.  At that time she will continue the training for haltering and leading all four horses.
I am deeply indebted to Kathe for all her help, expertise, and  big heart; and also for teaching the horses, me  and my friends her gentle technique so the pintos will remain happy horses!

My Favorite Photo of the Year

This is my favorite photograph I have taken of the pintos this year so far.  This shot of Moonbeam was taken very earl in the morning at the back end of our neighbors property about  6 weeks ago.

The Herd

I took these photos of Little Lady last week.  I had not seen her for a few weeks since I was busy with
the pintos at my place.  She has grown a lot, she has very long legs so we suspect she is going to be a big horse.  I love watching her run.
The herd next door running when they see us bringing them food.  Mama must have been lagging behind as she is not in this shot.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Spunky Little Lady

I am having so much fun photographing Little Lady.  She is very sweet and each time I go to see her she looks bigger. I took this picture today and it is the first time I have seen her use the salt lick. She can eat the grass fine because it is tall but when I put the feed down on the ground she can't quite reach it. I tried feeding her from my hand but she is still a little shy, although I have been able to touch her very quickly.  If you click on the image will get a larger version and you can see her tongue.
The photos below were taken on June 13th and on the 8th.

Graceful Thunder

I love watching Thunder run, he is so majestic and such a free spirit when he is running.
Here he is running up the hill today after I called out his name.  He came when he saw us bringing food for the herd.  Even though he looks very small here, you can get a sense of the beautiful place he gets to live in.  It was a glorious day today and all the herd was very happy not to have too much wind and no rain. (We had rain and fog the past two days.)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

May Brings A New Filly!

On approximately May 24th Mama gave birth to a sweet little filly. We named her "Little Lady" after Lady the old mare who died last March.
She is just a few days old in these photos.
While I was photographing her and her mother, Miss Moonbeam (Missy) and  Thunder decided to get into the act!
Poor Sweetie had to watch all the action from the other side of the fence

Today I started thinking about the other foals that have been born since we met the herd.  Here are images of the earlier babies.
Suki, a colt, born July 28th, 2009.

 Miss Moonbeam born May 6, 2010.
Splash a filly, born July 5th, 2010

Sweetie's Trials and Tibulations

Here is a photo of Sweetie and Lady during happier times.  After Lady died, Sweetie was kicked out of the herd by Thunder.  Lady always protected Sweetie from Thunder.  She would literally stand between the two of them. So we brought the herd over here and closed the gate between our place and our neighbors (where the herd has lived most of its life).  We hoped that Sweetie would find his way to the back end of the property where the other two stallions, Little One and Suki live. They had also been sent packing by Thunder but found a safe haven.
Our neighbor even tried to lure him with carrots back to the other stallions but Sweetie after making it half way turned around and went back up to the front ocean side of the property.  A few days later he kicked the fence down between the two properties so he could rejoin the herd over here.  However Thunder would have none of that and banished him down by the ocean on this property.  So we sent the herd next door and closed the gate so now Sweetie is over here all by himself.  It took him a few weeks and much coaxing to convince him he was safe here and did not need to stay down solely at the ocean end.  He now comes twice a day to the corral for food.
He had some sores from Thunder but they are all almost healed now. He is calm once again but lonely and misses the herd. He can see them on the other side of the fence and sometimes I can see the herd visiting him at the fence line. He and Thunder eye each other across the fence and Thunder tried to kick the fence down to get at him again so we had to run a hot wire.
These are wild horses and have not had a halter on them.  So getting Sweetie to his new home with Little One and Suki is not an easy task. We have plans to transport Sweetie with a lovely trainer  but the date has not been set yet.

In Memorium

I am sad to report that the old mare Lady died last March.  She was over 30 and some people think she may have been over 40 years old! She spent her whole life here on the coast and died on the land she lived her whole life on.  She had been slowing down the last year and the last few months before she died she wasn't interested in carrots anymore but did enjoy the feed we give the herd.
On the whole she was a very sweet natured horse and you can see she had a sweet face. She was the only horse in the present herd that had ever been ridden.
We had a very rainy winter, especially in March and the herd was staying over next door where they have more trees to protect them from the rain. I saw Sweetie, Lady's son on the hill by himself for several days which was very unusual so I suspected that Lady was gone.  Due to many very rainy days it took awhile before anyone could go over and find her. She is sorely missed.