mare's the boss? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 16 Old 07-28-2012, 11:38 PM
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In our herd of 4, the smallest and oldest and first mare is boss. No one has challenged her, and there is never much of a fuss between her and the "lessers", usually only squabbles between the underlings. The lead mare never charges or screams, its very simple the way she leads. She walks to the trough with purpose, the others leave. She calmly back up towards them, they scatter.

We did have an incident when a new lease horse was added to the herd years ago. He had a studly attitude and the two mares and one gelding chased him and cornered him, then the two geldings had an all out stallion fight. Boss mare gets others to do her dirty work.

She did get mad one day when everyone was let out of the stalls to go through the dry paddock and out to graze. The others went out first and left her in the stall. She tore out, rounded them up and ran them back to the paddock. She then calmly walked out to graze and it was some minutes before the others made a move to go out.
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post #12 of 16 Old 07-29-2012, 12:09 AM
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Of my 3. (2 mares, 1 gelding), you'd think the gelding is the boss. But he's not, the older larger mare is. The only time he's successful on chasing her away is when it comes to hay. And then she always comes back and stands up for herself.
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post #13 of 16 Old 07-29-2012, 12:46 AM
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I had two mares and a gelding together it was very interesting because when I bought my horse the older mare and the gelding were together but then we added Lady and they all stayed in the same corral, it seemed to work best that way for them. The mares never really messed with the gelding but the older mare was the one in charge.. like someone else said, you would notice it when the food was around. Then one day we noticed that the dynamics changed and Lady was boss.. still not sure what happened there but it is interesting how that works out.

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post #14 of 16 Old 07-29-2012, 06:58 AM
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It all depends on what you call 'the boss'

I had a mare that was the sweetest natured horse ever. She adopted foals as if they were her own and all the youngsters gravitated towards her.

I had five brood mares with foals at foot. Come near weaning time I would move the yearlings and this mare in with the mars and foals. Within a day the foals would all be following 'Nanny' mare. come feed time some foals would share with their dams but mostly they would stand with Nanny, they were always the last to go the a feeder. The mare would stand and allow the youngsters to eat and if any of the other mares came near she would just give 'that' look and they would back away.

She was always last to drink or feed, but, if there was any upset she would be the one that would settle it just by walking towards the culprit and staring at them. I never ever saw anything challenge her in any way.

See her at feed time and you would say she was omega but watch her for a period of time and you would see she was in fact a passive alpha leader.

How I miss that mare! Weaning was easy with her as the foals loved her more than their dames. (I swear she told them wonderful stories) She could settle anything down.
Once when she was away at stud we put her in with a group of trouble makers - mares that were fighting their way to leadership. It was an experiment on my behalf. She went into the field and all the others came charging in a challenging way to her. She totally ignored them. Refused to sniff and squeal, just walked out to the middle of the field and ate.
The other mares were perplexed. They couldn't work out this lack of attitude to strange horses. An hour later they were all following her around and nothing was kicking out fighting for being high in the pecking order.

She also adopted three orphan foals, she couldn't feed them as she never had a foal at foot, but she mothered them as she did her own. These were three of the best adjusted bottle fed youngsters ever thanks to her.
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post #15 of 16 Old 07-29-2012, 05:12 PM
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Foxhunter what happened to that mare?
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post #16 of 16 Old 07-29-2012, 05:17 PM
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My qh has been a lead mare in every herd she's been to (which was rather funny to watch). I think it depends a lot on personality too: some mares are very submissive, and if you have a bossy gelding it may become a leader.

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass: it's about learning to dance in the rain..."

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