Herd Psychology


Herd psychology is knowing what works in a herd or group of horses.

Herd psychology is knowing what works in a herd or group of horses.

Herd Psychology is the understanding of how a horse herd works so we can care for our horse’s emotional health better.
If our horse is mentally and emotionally healthy, then this makes our interactions so much more pleasant for both us and our equine.

Did you know a herd is actually all the groups of horses you have on a property? A band or harem refers to the smaller group of horses that live together. A band can be a group of geldings, mares, or stallions, or a mixture of both. All male bands are referred to as ‘Batchelors’ and a harem is usually made up of a male, and several females.

Even though a herd may have several groups that live in separate areas, they will still interact even if it is only by sight and sound. This is why it’s important to consider what is happening (or may happen) when you re-arrange a band/harem, or remove a member for riding etc.

When a horse is mentally and emotionally attached to a herd, it does make it harder to remove them without fuss. However with gradual, careful and positive training you can have your horse enjoy outings and interactions with others. The following articles will help with some ideas and solutions to problems commonly encountered.

Herd Psychology Articles

How to help your herd bound horse - by Cynthia Cooper Often referred to as being ‘barn sour’ or rushing home, the herd bound horse just wants to stay near the barn or get home and back to their mates as fast as possible. It can turn in to a frustrating if not dangerous situation, especially if you’re out on the trail and […]
Separation Anxiety - I have a problem that I would like your advice on – you may remember that I talked to you a couple of months ago about the two horses that I have and them not wanting to be separated? Well this situation has become much worse since I haven’t been able to work with them […]
Refusing To Go Forwards - Liz asked: Why is my horse refusing to go forwards when she gets tired of being out on a trail ride on her own? She even starts backing up which can be quite dangerous and she normally doesn’t do this. What can I do to stop her doing this? Firstly, if we look at this […]
Herd Interaction – It’s Vital for your horse’s mental health - by Cynthia Cooper Have you ever seen a horse flatten its ears at the approach of other horses, constantly threatening to kick or acting scared when it gets close to another horse? Often people think the horse is being aggressive and anti-social, which it is, but that’s not always because it’s a dominant horse. Many […]