Originally Posted by Palomine
If you can't tell which one is the leader? Than you don't know much about horses is all I can say.
While they may share and play there is one leader.
You just don't know what to look for.
As for establishing that relationship? Please. It doesn't work that way. You are not a horse and they are not a human.
It is not always easy to say which is leader.
I had a herd of five mares with foals at foot. Prior to weaning I would add the previous years yearlings and my little mare to the herd. It would take less than a day for the foals to be alongside my mare, using their mothers for mobile milk bars. Come feed time my mare would always be last to get a feed bowl. She would have at least two or three foals with her.
Anyone observing would say she was last in pecking order but, when others finished feeding they would push lower horses away from their feed but if they went near her. The look she gave them was enough to make them change direction.
Some years after we cut back on breeding, I was feeding the horses. As usual. The bossy mare was first to the feed. My old mare instead of just wandering to a feed, kept chasing the boss mare around and around. No kicking or biting, she just followed her from one bowl to another, ears back and drove the bossy mare away.
You could stand for a long time observing that herd and never guess who the real leader was.