Horse Behavior, Second EditionGeorge Waringon Amazon
The book is basically an overview of scientific research regarding horse behaviour. Ranging from locomotion, to reproduction, to social behaviour, perception, learning... you name it.
I wanted a scientific approach when I bought it, so I didnÂ´t get disappointed in that regard. The language is very dry and scientifc, which is OK for me, but doesnÂ´t makes it the most pleasant reading experience.
Content-wise, I have to admit, I was expecting a bit more interesting facts, more eye-openers, so to speak. I thought that scientific research would hold more secrets for me, than my layman observations of our herd brought so far. Most of the studies mentioned are of feral horses, which makes it interesting of course, but in my opinion not always comparable to situations in the common pasture, with no stallions or harem groups around.
Nevertheless itÂ´s a comprehensive book, covering all aspects of horse behaviour in a non-biased way, leaving all the interpretation of the facts to the reader.
The part of this book that got me thinking the most, was the one about social organisation. First that the term "herd" is not what I thought it is - strictly speaking: "Discrete social groups are called bands. A herd is a localized population consisting normally of one or more bands as well as solitary individuals."
Now that maybe just a matter of definition, but what got me thinking is that horses are not always organised the way that I imagined, with alpha stallion and lead mare and so on. But that there are lots of different forms of social bands. Harem groups, bachelor groups, solitary horses, mixed peer groups, even mare only groups. And often the are just two or three horses together.
Furthermore, it seemed to me that any display of dominance, which is something where people readily refer to feral horses, is predominantly used to establish a reproductive monopoly in a harem group, or to keep the band clearly separated from other bands with overlapping territory. Both things that will never be any issue in training situations. All other interactions are more characterised by non-confrontational to very social behaviour, where the vast majority of the so called "aggressive" acts are mere threats like laying back the ears.