Equitopia Center: BY JUSTINE HARRISON
Some trainers base their methods on the idea that every horse needs a ‘leader’, as they believe horses would have an ‘alpha’ or a ‘leader’ naturally within the herd.
For many years, the scientists (ethologists) studying horse behaviour have known that equine societies are extremely complex and the idea of there being a single leader within the herd is far too simplistic and incorrect. Sadly however, the idea has stuck and as a result many horses have been bullied and forced to follow or ‘respect’ their human leader.
The horse is a social animal that naturally lives amicably within a herd, showing little aggression. In his natural environment with plenty of food, shelter, space and water the horse has no need to compete with other herd members over these resources in order to survive. In fact, horses usually go out of their way to avoid confrontation.