Watching the herd.

Posted on October 13, 2013 at 3:05 PM

Although I have been around horses all my life, I never had a chance to watch herd behavior, until in the last 3 years. We have been able to show kids as well as parents how the herd reacts when we introduce a new horse. There is :

 The Messenger : this horse is sent to see how assertive the newcomer is.   The rest of the herd stays

                             close together watching.

The Enforcer    :   If the new horse is submissive, the enforcer is sent to start chasing the new one.

                             The game is on. Between the enforcer and the messenger, it is a tag team effort to

                             show the new horse that it shall stay away from the herd. ( for now )

                              The enforcer will keep on chasing until the rest of the herd walks off to graze.

                              Not to be fooled, The enforcer is keeping a constant eye on the newcomer .

                              The new horse wants to follow the her but ea time it comes to close, the enforcer

                             will chase it off again and again.

The Herd   :          Watches and once the order is established, they walk off not giving the newbie

                              the cold shoulder.

It doesn't always work that way. For example , as I was watching habiba  ( our little Egyptian Arabian )

The day I turned her out in pasture, she displayed right away a leader attitude. Tail flagged, prancing and warning with loud snorting over and over.

The herd was clumped together watching with big eyes and one could see how a couple of horses tried to nudge the messenger to go and do its job. Funny but true, the messenger flat out refused as if saying : " Are you nuts, I'm not going close to this one ." Habiba was trotting, prancing and snorting along the fence line. she made sure to be seen and heard by the herd.

Even the enforcer took 2 steps back and didn't attempt to start a chase. It took for Habiba to disappear over the hill in order for the herd to star moving but with caution.


It is truly fascinating to watch. Kids same as parents learn how to read horses body language which comes in handy at lessons.

I can truly say that I am blessed to be able to live in harmony with such wonderful creatures and I hope that our efforts are not wasted and that we make and keep on making a difference in horses and children's life's

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