Is there a boss hoss? Social organisation in horses explored

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Is your horse the leader of the pack or at the bottom of the heap? The latter might not be a bad thing, explains the team from Equine Science Talk International in their latest discussion on horse behaviour.

Although the idea that there is one “lead mare” in a group of horses was debunked by scientific evidence several years ago, the idea that there is one “boss” horse who leads under all circumstances persists among many horse owners and trainers.

In their latest video, the Equine Science Talk International team unpacks what is known about equine social organisation, and discusses the roles and relationships observed both in wild living horses and in our domestic companions. They also look at the link between rank and responsibility, and explain why being at the bottom of the hierarchy is not necessarily a bad place to be, as well as why horse friendships, once formed, often last a lifetime.

The video channel Equine Science Talk International has been created by three German equine scientists who debunk horse behaviour myths and answer some of the most common questions asked by horse owners.

The team includes Germany’s first professor of equine science and specialist in horse behaviour and cognition, Konstanze Krüger, and two of her former PhD students, horse trainer and instructor Isabell Marr, and veterinarian and equine dentist Laureen Esch. Their combined expertise gives unique insights into equine science and its practical application.

The videos have been translated from the original German by Austrian-based journalist Kate Farmer, a horse trainer and independent equine behaviour researcher.

» Previous videos in the series can be viewed here.

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