I have 6 or 7 groups of 6 or7 -- one has 10 geldings. I AM THE UNDISPUTED BOSS. I do not carry a whip -- don't even know where one is right now. When I enter their presence, they all come, but they stop about 6 feet away. They are NEVER allowed to show dominance toward each other in my presence. I AM THE LEADER.
If one lays an ear back at another one, I say "Ah!" and the ears come up and the horse backs up a step or two.
It is just how we live happily at my house. I am 65 and can barely get around some days. A kick would probably end my ability to work around them at all. I cannot even remember when I was last kicked -- it has to be 20 or more years ago.
One of the things that always amazes me -- still: The longer I have been around horses (it is all I have ever done), the more strict I have become with them, the better they like me. I progressively have accepted less foolishness and 'horse-play' and have gotten much less tolerant. The strange thing is that throughout this progression (which has taken 50 years), they have gotten more and more affectionate and have come to worship me like some kind of a horse god. They follow me around, want to be caught, want me to interact with them, listen to me and respond better than they ever have. As I have gotten less mobile and less able to do things, I thought I would have more problems with horses respecting me and they would take advantage of me. It just has not happened.
Since I cannot get around very well, I thought they would become more difficult for me to handle and instead, they have gotten easier. I definitely correct them much more quickly and insist on absolute respect. The little things turn into BIG things if yo do not take care of them when you should.