WHY HORSES LIVE IN GROUPS (ADVANTAGES TO LIVING IN A HERD (Reproduction -…
WHY HORSES LIVE IN GROUPS
Horses are prey animals with few anti-predator defences
- but cannot see where to aim
- but due to being a herbivore cannot tear through a predators skin
Best defence is to escape
- but this requires the horse to be alert
a day eating; so cannot always be alert
ADVANTAGES TO LIVING IN A HERD
- If the group includes a stallion, mares do not need to travel in search of one.
- Opportunity to form a strong friendship that will last a lifetime. Free ranging horses may mutually select a partner who typically is similar in age, sex and size and remain friends for life. Primarily for
- Being in a herd allows social play, especially between foals born into the herd.
- Social activity that both maintains coat condition and helps bonding with other horses.
Mutual Insect Control
- Horses stand closely head-to-tail while swishing to remove insects from the other.
WHO IS IN THE GROUP
No "typical" herd
- No fixed rules on how groups are arrange; vary in size, composition and behaviours.
Common group composition includes...
Possibly an Additional Stallion (mating less than dominant stallion)
4 - 5 Mares
Young colts driven out by stallion
Older stallions who have lost to stronger/younger studs
Some old stallions will wander alone as find it difficult to tolerate other males
Behaviour dependent on habitat
Marshy areas; horses will temporarily merge into larger groups when loafing for additional fly protection