Herd Behavior

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Herd Behavior

This is a discussion on Herd Behavior within the New to Horses forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
  • Equine Herd Behavior
  • Horse herd behavior

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  • 1 Post By SweetTyree

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    10-08-2013, 02:47 PM
Herd Behavior

Everywhere my horse has went she's always at the bottom of the pecking order... mostly at home. The other horse there with her at the moment is a gelding. Every once and awhile she has bite and kick marks that's normal herd behavior right? Before we had him we had a mini , even the mini would pick on my horse ... So is my horse always going to be at the bottom? Will she ever be able to teach a foal anything if she can't stick up for herself?
When I bought her they told me she was in the middle of the pecking order ... apparently not.
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    10-08-2013, 03:01 PM
She may just be a submissive animal. A few bite marks when the pecking order is being established is normal, but if your horse is being beat up then she needs to be put in a separate pasture for her own safety.
    10-08-2013, 03:09 PM
Green Broke
Some horses never end up anywhere but the bottom of the herd.

If it is too bad then you need to keep her out of situations where she could get hurt, I.e. Too small a pasture for her to keep clear of others, or where she could get hemmed in.

As for foaling and her? She might turn into witch on wheels too. But if you do try for foal she really needs her own paddock.

I've also seen horses that are both fairly low on totem pole, buddy up and move up to 2 or 3 in the herd.

Two that did this, were an 18.2 TB mare, older, and our HQ mare, who was maybe 15 hands, but who was a kicking heifer. She always ended up low with the TB mares, because they called her on her bluff and she lost, much taller than she was.

Legacy, QH and Upturning, TB...got buddied up and what TB could not do because she was too old to battle, QH got settled. Ate out of same bucket, just dumped both feeds in it...and they pretty much did what they wanted too.

Interesting to watch them.
    10-08-2013, 03:10 PM
Even submissive mares discipline their foals and at a very young age (< 3 months) they are pretty much on their own to learn "their place" from the rest of the herd.
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    10-08-2013, 06:30 PM
My horse is the same way. Even the barn cat trumps him. He is just submissive. And yes, the bite/kick marks are perfectly normal for horses in a group. I wouldn't worry about it unless they became infected or your horse appeared to be in extensive pain.
    10-08-2013, 06:42 PM
Okay thanks , they've been together since the summer... but yeah before that I've been having ongoing problems finding a horse she can get along with a few bite marks in total for the whole time he's been here... isn't so bad I guess. Thanks for the advice/opinions! :)
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    10-10-2013, 02:44 AM
My boy is always at the bottom too. He's average height and weight. Still a bit young but if I were you I would let him be. The pecking order has to be routinely established and the only way to keep horses in check and to let them know who is herd boss, the higher horses must nip, kick and chase and sometimes even separate the weaker from the herd. It is a bit cruel, but unless your gelding is being constantly tormented to the point he becomes depressed or seriously injured. I'd let them go about their business before removing your horse from the situation.

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