I meet people who label a behavior of a horse as dominant but find that it is often a lack of manners. Many people do not know how to teach their horses and children to be polite, willing, respectful and have good focus and work ethics.
Dominance is not a personality trait – it is a relationship state between two animals to decide who is going to control resources like food, water and mates.
Horses cannot dominate people, they learn what works and what does not work in their efforts to get what they need or want.
Aggression and dominance is not the same.
Horses can be aggressive in certain situations and it can be many reasons for that. It can be complex but aggression towards humans and dominance towards humans are different.
If a horse is aggressive towards you, dealing with it by being aggressive back may stop the behavior or it may not.
Aggressive behavior can be suppressed – that means it does not appear anymore. You will have suppressed the behavior. But suppressed behavior does not mean changed behavior. The aggressive behavior is still in there. Depending on what caused the aggression, and given the right conditions, it may even come back.
I think it is important to take the time and learn complexities of horses social life, life in the horse herd and how roles change in the herd. We need to keep in mind that the behavior in a wild herd with a lot of space to roam vs domesticated horses with limited spaces is very different.
Here are some videos that I have taken of different behavior I have observed in my herd;
Video 1 – My lead mare Darling schooling new ones
Video 2 – Introducing a new herd member (in a small space)
Video 3 – Gaia likes Jack …..
What do you see?
Let me know in the comment field and let’s talk about herd behavior.
Kind regards Stina and Jonna
Yurumein, St. Vincent, West Indies