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There are moments in life, that are so powerful yet fleeting, that we find ourselves questioning whether or not it really happened. This photograph, this moment, was like that. I had been following a band of wild horses through a dense stand of cedars. The light was filtering in from behind the band, as we picked our way through the high dunes of the island. Suddenly, another stallion, who before this moment had gone unseen in the forest, rushed out of the trees and towards a mare. I had been paralleling the lead stallion of the band, and when this happened, and his mare let out a scream at the onrushing challenger, this band stallion spun his head back, staring down the intruder.
I can only imagine the message that was conveyed with that look. This alpha male only looked back. He did not charge the new comer who threatened his family. He simply stared. And with that look, the other stallion came to a sudden and dramatic halt, hooves dug in, sand billowing into the air around him. In that moment, that mere look, everything changed. The challenging stallion turned and, with haste, trotted back into the forest from which he had come. The band stallion did not need to respond with bravado. He was so secure in his dominance across this herd that a mere look was all it took to defeat this challenge.