I agree with You in many things but not at everything
That's interesting, because when I watch our herd on the open pasture, I see the exact opposite happening
. While of course there are rules and hierarchy among the horses, I very rarely see that horses use those things in a situation like that. While grazing, it's very rare for a horse to chase another from their spot, for example.
I was working at the stable, there were 12 horses and 1 pony. A pony was always chased, 2 dominant horses chased him and bit, he had no chance, the only hope for him was to keep away from those horses. and why those horse do this? Only for fun- those horses doesn't affraid of this pony, this pony is unable to eat all grass. For those horses run and chase these pony was only greate fun, this was a play, a dominance game.
I have to admit that I actually do see a herd of horses rather on the anarchy side than as a controlled group under the guard of a lead horse. I tend to see them more as a bunch of self-organising individuals - actually not so much different than a band of humans if you look closely at the group dynamics. There will be dominant behaviour, even individuals who try to control others to some degree, but that's not the constituent factor that makes a group work. It's rather co-operation.
Please look at the mustangs. There many movies about mustangs, sometimes on TV. There you will see that in the herd are rules that must be followed and not followed the rules going to expulsion from the herd. Another rule is depature adult foals from herd. Another rule is that only the healthiest and most powerful stallion fertylizes mares.
Diffrent dominance games in herds- horses plays all the time, very offen for fun, only for fun, but we should remember, that these palys uses for some purposes also, horses were created in that's way, and for me all forms of rebellion are always a sing of dominance.
Well first of all, I'd like to explain what I understand as "dominance". That would be "exerting control over a resource", like food, mating partners and so forth. I don't see horses using dominance towards humans. There's a simple test: release the horse and see what he does. Is he chasing you, driving you from one spot to another? Then he is dominant. I never encountered that...
True, there are horses which attack humans, but that is usually self defence and it doesn't happen in a liberty situation.
For me "domination" in contacts human- horse is when horse doesn't respect a man (a man asks horse to step back and horse climbing or pushing) or man doesn't respect a horse ( man forcing horses to do unpleasant things for horse).
So in my point of view what is often regarding as dominance is simply the fact that a horse doesn't comply with the human's suggestions. Which is a completely different thing.
For me this is dominance too. Because at these moment horse takes command over You (like Pagoda over me), at these moments horse tels You: "I have You in my nose, I will not listen to You". This is rebellion. Of course I agree that violence is not the right thing. That's why I am here, to learn what to do in thats sytuations, how to keep my horses with me without violence.
They would of course stick together, because that increases their chance of survival.
One time my horses destroyed the fence and run by few miles. when I found them, I taken halter and put it on Princess head, and Princess go with me to home, Pagoda stayed there alone and she will not come, after longs hours I had faund her in difrent place, sweaty and scared, very very scared, do You think that she wants to go with me? No! She was in such shock that she didn't think, but used instinct only. I tried to do 7 games (by Parelli) in open area, and after some time she calmed down and she was so tired that she didn't protest to go for home. And nobody tells me, that expressing own opinion by the horse, premit him to take responsibility for his life in every case is ok, I don't thing so that Pagoda was happy when she run around the foret, alone, scared and tired.
I am sure that in many cases, when the horse begins to exhibit dominance, instincts are stronger rather than learned behaviors and horse stops thinking. So I think that dominance game, like chase the tiger should do only people which know what they do and which are able to stop this play in every case. But before this happens first principles and rules, fair to the horse and man.
I share your concern about staying in control in a potentially dangerous situation (like traffic for example), if that is what you meant. But staying in control is not necessarily achieved by limiting the horses' options, but by contrarily giving him new ones to act upon...
Could You explain what means "giving him new ones to act upon"