Are you talking about people thinking they can do the whole Black Stallion thing and friend/love a horse into doing what the human wants?
Or wanting to understand herd dynamics?
Or the incidents of people getting horses and spoiling them by letting horse get upper hand?
I interpretted the OP's thoughts more along the lines of understanding herd dynamics
and wanting to expand on the thought for those who don't have a clear vision (or any vision for that matter) of what it is.
Thus the reason I responded like I did
Rookie, I need to re-read what you wrote but I think I get the gist of it. It sounds as if you have an alpha horse (the 15 yr old) that really didn't ask for the position but has it anyway
With my four, there is no question who is Alpha dominant. The second-in-command horse is actually what Mark Rashid refers to as a Passive Leader; something I never knew about until I read his books.
My Passive Leader has no desire to take charge of the herd; he is the horse that numbers three and four go to when the strong alpha dominant gets in a snit and starts running everyone willy-nilly.
Now that the alpha dominant is 25, that only happens if a thunderstorm is rolling in at dusk and I know I had better get everyone in the barn before he drives them all crazy
He is a genious at herding the other three to safety in daytime storms but, if it's getting dark, he panics and that is something that has come as he's gotten older.
That all being said, my alpha horse is grooming #3 for the lead position. Even my vet picked up on that as he watched them in far pasture, one day.
And, oddly enough, I have been watching the Passive Leader (my Arab, who will be 27 in April) working with #4 horse, who is so passive he lets the #3 horse run him into the fence. #2 has been teaching #4 to stick up for himself a lot more, these days. #4 has been here 6+ years so I don't know why this all took so long -------------unless my precious Arab knows something about his health that I don't