mare's the boss? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 07-28-2012, 01:53 PM Thread Starter
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mare's the boss?

Since I was little a lot of people said that the mares are the boss. (in a herd)
But I rarely see it. Of friends, family or just random peoples houses I've been to, the stud or (a) gelding is the 'boss' of the herd. Even my own. The girls are always the bottom of the pecking order.

either the horses around here are weird.. Or that's not true. Kinda wondering where it came from, too.
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post #2 of 16 Old 07-28-2012, 02:01 PM
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I've got a mare & two geldings. The gelding know without any doubt that the mare is the boss.

"Make the right thing easy and the wrong thing...well, ignore it mostly."
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post #3 of 16 Old 07-28-2012, 02:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janna View Post
Since I was little a lot of people said that the mares are the boss. (in a herd)
But I rarely see it. Of friends, family or just random peoples houses I've been to, the stud or (a) gelding is the 'boss' of the herd. Even my own. The girls are always the bottom of the pecking order.

either the horses around here are weird.. Or that's not true. Kinda wondering where it came from, too.
It comes from the fact that in a wild herd, the stallion protects, but there is always a lead mare who manages the actual herd dynamics.
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Last edited by FaydesMom; 07-28-2012 at 02:09 PM. Reason: took out an unneeded word :-)
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post #4 of 16 Old 07-28-2012, 02:10 PM
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On our farm we have 3 geldings and 3 mares. By all appearances you would think that our eldest gelding is the herd leader, and he is allowed to be UNTIL the lead mare decides otherwise. The only time you actually get to see that this mare is in control of the herd is at feeding time. The pecking order is very subtle... but the in our herd, the mare rules... she's just not overt about it until there is a good reason.... food.
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post #5 of 16 Old 07-28-2012, 04:50 PM
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For awhile now we have only had a mare (Dora) and a gelding (Kid). You would think that the Kid was the boss...he always comes in the gate first, drinks water first, eats first, etc. I've come to realize it's only because Dora allows it, not because he's over her. We recently got another gelding and the fact that she was boss really came out when introducing him to "the herd". Kid sort of hung back and let her handle business and he only put in his two cents if the opportunity arose. The three of them still haven't come together into a friendly relationship yet, but you can definitely see that the mare calls the shots. I love watching. If the two decide to go to another area in the pasture and the newbie doesn't come, Dora nickers to him. If he still won't come she makes him. Kid does nothing at all, practically ignores him really.
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post #6 of 16 Old 07-28-2012, 04:54 PM Thread Starter
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Lol my mares stay the heck out of the way. the boys rule around here.
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post #7 of 16 Old 07-28-2012, 05:13 PM
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It can be either. It isn't the biggest or oldest all the time either. Before we got Chloe, my wife's gelding, Copper, was lead horse. He was in the middle in size and age, but he had the attitude of lead horse. Introducing Chloe changed that. She is the oldest and biggest.

Usually in mixed herds, there is a lead gelding and a lead mare. One ends up more lead horse than the other.
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post #8 of 16 Old 07-28-2012, 06:06 PM
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Don't mistake 2 or 5 or 6 horses for a "herd". Herd dynamics are skewed by horses being kept in small groups in captivity, so they don't necessarily subscribe to their natural dynamics. While a mare is usually "boss", and almost always is in large herds, it is not unusual to see a stallion or gelding assume that role in a herd too small for normal relationships. In my group, which is 5 horses, my former herd stallion, now a gelding, stepped into the boss role when I sold my broodmares - one of which was the boss mare. You might say he changed jobs when he lost his 'nads...
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post #9 of 16 Old 07-28-2012, 06:33 PM
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My stallion Bullet leads our 9 horse herd. The mares are lower on the pecking order.
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post #10 of 16 Old 07-29-2012, 12:10 AM
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I agree w/ Faceman, we've had a herd up to 15 and the leader was always a mare! But in smaller groups that's not always the case.
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