|The Herd Instinct|
| Horses are extremely sociable animals. They live and communicate in groups. In the wild, communication is what keeps the herd together. Horses form friendships and rankings to members of their herd through instinct.
In a herd, horses use a chain of commands to lower the amount of fights over food, water, and other horses. Communicating with signs such as pinned-back ears and bared teeth quickly determine lower-ranking horses from the higher-ranking. Inferior horses usually give way to superior horses without a fight. Horses also communicate with sounds. However, their vocalizations are more limited than other animals.
Stallions and mares make up a wild herd. The stallion has the greatest authority. His role is to choose where to go, locate water, and find grazing locations. The lead mare keeps the herd under control. She may take the leadership of the herd if the stallion goes off by himself. Other herd members respect the lead mare for her intelligence.
The lead mare keeps members of the herd from fighting. If members of the herd get into a fight, she will break it up. The mare may even drive a member of the herd away, a harsh punishment. A horse away from the herd is more vulnerable to predators.
In order to understand horses, we have to understand herd communication. Members of the herd all work together to stay safe and healthy. Herd members are ranked, and contol is determined from these rankings. Herd communication is not only important to horses but, also valuable to the human understanding of horse communication.