THE HERD STUDY

CAUSE A CHANGE OF BEHAVIOR. Territories and Leadership.

 

I made this video originally because I noticed how far Kit was from her dam Kat. I’ve been noticing that recently, both of the foals are starting to get some independence. It is a natural weaning process. Kids do it too, some sooner than later. The attention from the dam is exchanged by attention from other members of the herd. So if a foal grows up without one, that is hard to establish. It is important for their social learning.

 

As I was video taping, first Asics caused Kit to swiftly move off, just by walking up closer with intention and she went to find comfort and security with her mamma Kat. 

This action of Asics’ caused him to be in Magie’s personal space, so she protected her son Ringo. Then as Kat was making a straight line for a patch of grass she wanted, as a dominant mare, she did not go around Rio, she caused him to get out of the way by taking over the territory where he was standing.
 
A lot can be learned here and observing a herd of horses is one of the best ways to learn about them. Understanding how the herd functions so it can be as safe and as peaceful as possible. Horses learn to protect each other’s space so that when their safety is at stake, when a predator attacks, they get away and they don’t run each other over. Horses synchronize as much as possible just like a school of fish. It’s a lot more economical. It saves precious time and energy. They also apply only as much pressure as needed to cause a change of behavior. They take the pressure off once that has happened and go on with their business. They don’t dwell on what just happened. They are fair in their actions, usually. I’ve only seen domesticated horses not be fair, if they didn't have a chance to learn good social behavior in their past, perhaps they were left a stud - and/or alone for very long or lived mostly in isolation and once gelded thrown into new social situations.
Wrap up:
1. Horses protect their own personal space unless they invite another horse in/give permission by intention and body language.
2. Horses understand Territories, Share Territories and Take over Territories by nature.
3. Horse are as firm as necessary but as gentle as possible, they take pressure off instantly after they cause a change of behavior. - They are Fair. I’ve seen a change of look in a new training horse’s face over and over and over as at first they were untrusting but within sometimes just couple minutes of communicating with them they realize I am different from what they have experienced in the past. I am fair. In that moment the horse relaxes and commits to me. Their expression is a face at peace instead of a worried one. They know that I know. They know that I understand them. Become the leader that understands how horses operate, what causes them act the way they do - they have a reason, how they think and then learn how to cause a change of behavior, new behavior that works better in the human environment for ours and their own safety and enjoyment, peace.

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