Category Archives: Horses at Liberty

Dawn at Long Branch

I got up early this morning to be out at Historic Long Branch by 6am. It was dark for most of the drive but I was expecting a sunrise similar to the lovely one I watched yesterday from my window at work. To my chagrin it was very foggy in Millwood and as time passed I worried that the sunrise was going to be completely overcast.


It stayed misty but fortunately cleared enough for the sun to break through.


Long Branch is an historic mansion built in 1805 and some eighty horses live on the grounds in a beautiful environment.


This morning, the horses were very stirred up and curious about activity in the neighborhood. The very fat bay on the left is mine.


It turned out that today was the first day of cubbing for Blue Ridge Hunt and they were hunting all around Long Branch.


The hounds picked up scent and I think they may have put a fox to ground. I left my car in the middle of the road to grab some shots as the hounds ran by.


The weather service is predicting temperatures in the 90s next week but if foxhunting has begun, I guess it’s officially autumn!

Also posted in Foxhunting

Wild Horses of Corolla

I traveled to Corolla, North Carolina to see the wild horses that live on the Outer Banks. The Banker Horses arrived on board Spanish ships during the 1500’s and the relative isolation of the region has kept the Spanish Barb/Arabian bloodlines pure. Greeting cards and fine art prints of these magnificent horses will be available on Susan M. Carter Photography.

The Spanish Mustang Registry is satisfied that the Banker Horses, in particular the Corolla strain, are as lineally pure to the 16th century Spanish importations as can be found in North America today.

An alert herd stallion.

The interior sections of the island have richer grasses than I expected. Here an adolescent colt naps in the sunshine. He was already being pushed to the edge of his small band and will probably be forced out of the herd by the end of the year.


There is plenty of fresh water available just on the other side of the beach dunes.

The horses come down the beach to escape the flies during the hot times of day. The foal peeking around its dam is about one week old.

Sadly, development is destroying the natural habitat of these horses and they are not protected by federal law. Inevitably septic tank run off, chemicals from building supplies and plain old trash is poisoning the environment.


To my great astonishment, vehicles are allowed to drive all over the beaches and in fact houses are built where the only access is across the sand dunes. Dune erosion is a problem all along the east coast and I can only imagine the damage caused by driving on the dunes.


This setting and these animals are too magnificent to lose to greed and ignorance. The Corolla Wild Horse Fund was founded to raise awareness about this piece of American history. A bill has been introduced into Congress to protect the horses and you can help by writing to your Representative.


Also posted in Fine Art, Wild Horses

A Few More in the Snow

We had a record setting snowstorm here in Virginia last weekend. This time getting out to shoot while it was snowing was not possible so these were taken a few days later. Horses in snow in Virginia’s Piedmont.



A last beam of sunlight before darkness fell.


Also posted in Fine Art

Photo Challenge

The Equine Photographer’s Network conducted a photo-a-day challenge for its members in November. Each day participants had to take an equine related photograph to match that day’s theme and post it within 24 hours. It was incredibly difficult, not only to think of a subject for each theme but to also deal with weather, short deadlines and early nightfall at this time of year. There were a number of cold, dark evenings after coming home from work that I nearly threw in the towel. But I did make it to the end and I’ve created a slide show with all of my photos. It may take a while to download, so please be patient.

Fine art equine images, horse photograph

For fine art photography please visit the Fine Art gallery at Susan M. Carter Photography.

Also posted in Fine Art

Snowy Day

We haven’t had a lot of snow for the past few years so when we do get some, I rush out to take photos. We got approximately five inches on Saturday but it is nearly all melted already.

My friend’s horses enjoyed the snow.

As did her Collie puppy

And my own dogs too


Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation

I spent an early morning with the ex-race horses at the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation’s Montpelier facility. It was a beautiful, misty morning.

Life is good at the retirement center.

There are lots of lovely horses for adoption.

There is a training track at Montpelier where current race horses train. This one was finished for the day and headed back to his barn.


Also posted in Fine Art

Another Morning at Long Branch

I spent another sunrise at Historic Long Branch with the retirees.







Also posted in Fine Art

Retirees at Historic Long Branch

Since the early 18th century, the rolling hills of the Long Branch estate have been owned by a series of famous men: Lord Culpeper, Lord Fairfax, and Robert “King” Carter. A young George Washington helped to survey the property. The mansion and grounds are now open to the public and the 400 acre farm is home to approximately 85 horses. Here are some of the residents on a misty morning at sunrise.








Also posted in Fine Art