Sunday, January 6, 2013

Beautiful Gentle Giants - Belgian Draft Horses

There is no doubt that Southern Oregon is horse country. And prior to living here the largest horses I'd come across were Clydesdales and Draft horses. I knew both of these to be equines of gentle disposition, but this was virtually blown out the water when I came across the gorgeous Belgians!

I first saw them in contest at the Jackson County Fairgrounds at the fair in September 2008. The photos I took were on a borrowed camera and didn't turn out well. But I took many photos as I was amazed at their 'jerk and pull' ability and watched them go through their tasks. I knew they were large horses, but unaware of this breed, still. Looking back at the photos I took I can clearly see that very few men would ever be able to see over the shoulders of these mighty steed.

It was a year or two later I stopped to take some photos of some horses and a covered wagon. Once out my car I was overwhelmed at the size of these beasts. The owner quickly assured me that they were very gentle, and that is exactly how I found them as I set about finding out about them, making friends with them, and taking some photos. There is no way I could see over them, and regret that I didn't take photos next to something to show their immense size. I know they range 17 hands and over, some as much as 19 hands.
I found out they were Belgian horses. This team would pull covered wagon rides in the area. I wrote down their names, but can't find that paper right now. But want to show how awesome they are. I love that I got Mt. McLoughlin (another giant) in the background of the one with the red wagon.
Be sure to click on the images for a larger view.

I also have some photos of Belgians on the historic Hanley Farm, but can't find them right now. Enjoy! Hope you get to meet some of these wonderful equines some day, too.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Frosty weather brings in the elk ...

Yesterday it was so frosty - below freezing, even at noon. On a hunch, I suspected that the cold weather would bring the elk herds down low.

Yes, I found a smaller herd - about 60 or so. They stay away from the road and my camera doesn't zoom well, but loved catching them in their frosty environment, enjoying green feed.

Such magnificent animals.

The magnificent Mt. McLoughlin

I love this mountain (when we can see it). It has so many 'moods'. Some just absolutely take your breath away. Fresh snow, over a beautiful Rogue Valley.

A dusting of snow, and a speck of sunshine.

Well, it's that time of the year. We have had some snow in the valley, but none of it lasting much more than a few hours or so. There was a beautiful dusting of snow on the surrounding mountains yesterday, the last day of the year. And I love the crisp conditions I managed to capture in this photo, along with a sliver of sunshine peeking through the clouds, and a bird atop one of the tallest branches.

The beautiful Rogue Valley.