How to be an Integral Part of your Horse’s Herd


I love to watch my herd of horses and see how they relate to each other and watch the herd dynamics and behaviors. Some things I’ve noticed seem similar to the human world; like using an organized method of who does what and their placement in the business, or the herd. Then some things seem different; like how horses see their world because of their natural instincts as prey animals as opposed to humans who are, primarily, considered predators in the animal world.

According to my research, horses do not have one particular leader of the herd as as some of the dominance theories suggest.  In the scientific studies of wild horse herd, they have found that horses have a group of horses that they follow that act as a collective leadership group.  I’ll delve more into that specifically in another blog, but now knowing this, I look at my domestic herd in a different light.

Jazz and ApolloWatching my herd I’ve noticed that there are certain traits that seem to be present in the collective leadership group of horses in the herd that I’ve also noticed are present in good managers in the human business world.  I think if we can look at the horse’s world through our horse’s eyes, that we can be a better herd member to our horses.

Here is what I’ve seen in my herd of horses that I feel also rings true when I look at my past managers that I would consider 5 major traits of a good herd member. I’ll just explain the traits in a general sense and share what I’ve seen with my horses and what I try to be when I’m with my horses. See if it rings true for you as well, either in your herd of horses or with managers that you’ve worked with in the past that you feel were exceptional.
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5 Traits of a Good Manager that also makes a Good Herd Member:

  • Intention
    Be Positive! Always go in with positive intentions. Be relaxed, happy, and positive about whatever you are going to do today, no matter how it turns out. If you start your day with positive intentions, with your horse, then when something doesn’t go quite right, it won’t affect you as negatively. Plus you will be able to get over it quicker if you started your day with positive intentions. When you are positive, it makes it harder to let negative thoughts and feelings seep into your day.  I very rarely see my horses in a bad mood or upset with each other.  They are primarily all very happy most of the time.
  • Attention
    Be Attentive! A good manager is hardworking and attentive. I’ve seen my horses act this way in the herd too. They are attentive to each other’s needs. There is no time to be lazy, by paying attention to what’s in your head. A good manager pays attention and focuses on what’s going on around him, looking at the big picture as well as what’s happening with each employee. I’ve seen this in my herd as well. One looks up and they all take notice.
  • Protection
    Be Protective! A good manager is focused and devoted his employees. As a good member of the herd you need to protect each individual horse in the herd and the herd as a whole. Horses watch out for predators, know where to find clean water and nutritious food, and where to go for protection when the weather gets bad. A good manager protects his employees from being bullied by other employees as well.  I’ve seen this in my horse herd too. There is usually at least one negotiator or peace keeper in the herd, besides me, that protects the horses against bullying from other horses. Protection isn’t always against outside forces; it can also be against issues within the herd that cause issues.
  • Cooperation
    Be a team player! Ask for what you would like and cooperate together as a team. Good communication is a key factor. A good manager is reliable, respectful and patient. This not only helps the team work together cohesively, but it also helps them feel appreciated as a part of the team.  I’ve seen horses do this in a herd as well where one horse will cooperate with other herd members in order to provide harmony and cooperation within the herd. Cooperation is attained by being respectful, trustworthy, and caring to each member of the herd.  A good manager is patient with their team and works with each member to bring out their own unique qualities that helps the team work like clockwork.
  • Connection
    Be a good partner! A good manager is not only positive, but is also kind and loyal. A good manager is only as good as his team. So, a good herd member is also loyal to his herd and kind and thoughtful about the herd’s needs and emotions. A good manager is not afraid to do what is right and in the best interest of the team and a good herd member does the same. Each horse in the herd works together to support one another and be strong as a whole.

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Here is a short video that shows these traits of a good herd member that I try to be for my horses so they accept me and see me as an integral member of the herd. I always try to see the world through the eyes of my horses and from their perspective in order to help me connect, communicate, and be a good companion for my horses. They are my love and my life and I want to make their lives more fulfilling and happy!

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