GETTING IN TOUCH WITH NATURE: Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves
of strength that will endure as long as life lasts." ~ Rachel Carson
"Horses are social herd animals that follow a leader and conform to a dominance hierarchy. Every herd has leaders, followers, and a well defined pecking order known as a dominance hierarchy.
The Alpha Horse is the dominant leader in a herd. Horses instinctively seek leadership. The Alpha Horse provides leadership and security in a herd. It is quite common for the Alpha Horse to be an old mare." [source]
Yesterday, the leader in a herd of three horses, an older mare, was taken by her owner to be trained and later sold. The two horses left behind were very distressed to see their friend leave. They whinnied off and on all day and often ran wildly through the pasture.
"Horses are able to form companionship attachments not only to their own species, but with other animals, including humans. In fact, many domesticated horses will become anxious, flighty and hard to manage if they are isolated. Horses kept in near-complete isolation, particularly in a closed stable where they cannot see other animals may require a stable companion such as a cat, goat or even a small pony or donkey to provide company and reduce stress.
When anxiety over separation occurs while a horse is being handled by a human, the horse is described as "herd-bound". However, through proper training, horses learn to be comfortable away from other horses, often because they learn to trust a human handler, essentially ranking humans as a dominant member of a herd." [source]