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EQUINEWS #1 Wild horses and their social organization

Welcome to our blog EQUINEWS dedicated to horses and equine science! Are you passionate about horses and eager to discover the latest information from scientific studies? This is the perfect place for you. We are here to provide you with an informative and engaging platform, where we will share research and discoveries ranging from horse behavior to nutrition, from health to training. We will explore the scientific aspects that underpin the relationship between humans and these magnificent animals. Our goal is to offer accurate and accessible content for horse owners, enthusiasts, and professionals to deepen their understanding of horses and improve their well-being. Embark on a journey through equine science and be captivated by these incredible and marvelous animals!


In their natural state, the social structure of a herd is that of an harem. The stallion bonds with several mares (usually 2 to 4) accompanied by their foals, which typically remain in the herd until they reach 2 or 3 years of age. This stable structure relies on a delicate balance of forces. The stallion's role is to conquer the mares and watch over them to keep them with him.

When a filly separates from the herd, she bonds with a stallion who may already have his own harem. The colt, on the other hand, joins a group of bachelor males (typically 6 or 7 individuals) and will only leave them for a female.

Horses are not territorial in the sense of preventing other horses from entering, but they have a "vital territory" where they carry out their daily activities. The "vital territories" of different harems can overlap, for example, to share a water source.

Encounters between different harems can trigger reactions among the stallions, leading to testing and eventually escalating into actual physical combat which may cause serious injuries.

A mare may also decide to leave the harem to join another stallion. In this case, the stallion will try to retrieve her by following her with his head down and ears back. If the stallion that caused the mare to flee remains unsatisfied, a fight between the stallions will ensue, and the mare will settle with the victorious stallion.

Stallions, due to old age and/or illness, may find themselves outside the harem in solitude.

It is important to dispel the image of a large herd with a single dominant stallion. In reality, it is a collection of independent harems or a herd formed by humans.

In nature, a smaller herd is easier to manage, and conflicts are therefore reduced. Additionally, the stallion must have sufficient energy to dedicate to his mares.


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