General Question

elbanditoroso's avatar

Why do horses stand together?

Asked by elbanditoroso (30570points) May 7th, 2018

I drove by two different stables / horse farms over the weekend. At each place, most of the horses were congregated into groups of three or four. Nowhere near the hay, either.

Maybe one horse was standing 50–60 feet away on its own.

Why do they get together in groups? How do they communicate?

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21 Answers

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johnpowell's avatar

I doubt it is actually possible to know.

But safety in numbers is a pretty common thread with all creatures.

And it probably isn’t in the flighty and win sense. More of a be faster than your friend when chased by a bear thing.

Dutchess_III's avatar

They are herd animals. Cattle do the same things.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

They swish their tails to keep flies off the other horse. Nose to tail.

Zaku's avatar

They like company. Many animals are similar. Many birds, my cats, many humans… Animals use various ways to communicate, some of which we know about, and others we have evidence that they do, but don’t know how exactly.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Same reason humans gather into groups. They’re social animals.

kritiper's avatar

For safety. One horse looks one way, the other horse looks the other.

LadyMarissa's avatar

I grew up on a farm & I’ve always assumed is a self preservation maneuver. Cows do the same thing & so do chickens. When the wolf comes out of the trees, they will all scatter & only the weakest of the group is taken down. With horses, they are known to protect themselves by kicking with their hind legs. Five horses in a circle can take down most predators real quick

flutherother's avatar

Although horses can’t speak they are sociable creatures and I suspect they gather together for much the same reasons humans do.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

Horses aren’t loners; they’re herd/pack animals that need friendship and support.

If you’ve ever seen the beginning of a Triple Crown race, you’ve watched each race horse be led to the gate by his/her “companion pony” – a horse who trains and lives with the race horse, and a friend who’s trusted and serves as a calming force during agitating times. Horses also form close relationships with dogs, goats, sheep, chickens…all sorts of animals who are nearby and are familiar.

rockfan's avatar

The same reason why millions of people eat at restaraunts together

Patty_Melt's avatar

It is a list of reasons, pretty much covered above.
I just saw a show the other day with a crew rescuing a horse. It was tail down in a crevice type hole.
It was injured, and had been there quite a while. They dragged her out, coaxed her to her feet, and as soon as she realized she could walk, she took off in a hurry to the fence where her buddies were gathered to watch.
The emotional need is as strong as the need for safety.

JLeslie's avatar

If it’s cold out horses and cows and other mammals group together to stay warm. The horses on the outer edge are colder than those in the center benefitting from body heat around them. They change places to help each other.

In the summer they help each other swat away flies.

They are social animals as mentioned above.

There is more protection in a group if an animal comes to attack

Patty_Melt's avatar

Why do horses stand together? Because they have no political parties to divide them.

MrGrimm888's avatar


Seriously though, Dutch nailed it. They’re herd animals.

LostInParadise's avatar

Someone I knew who owned a stable said that not only are the horses sociable, but they are cliquish. They won’t hang out with just anyone.

kritiper's avatar

If a person has only one horse, (they should have at least two) it’s good to have a goat or sheep to keep it company otherwise the horse won’t be happy.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Remember that expression that someone “got your goat?”

Horses would have goats, as friends. People would steal the goat, causing the horse to underperform. It was tactical.

They are known to form friendships with animals in their proximity.

kritiper's avatar

”...In saddle bands, like you’ll see on roundups, hosses will stay in groups from two to four or five.
Some hosses will stay friends for years; others, like men, are changeable. ...”
-from Trails Plowed Under, by Charles M. Russell, copyright 1927, by Doubleday, Page & company, Country Life Press, Garden City, N. Y. page 104, chapter “Range Horses”

Yellowdog's avatar

Horses DO talk, and have an intricate language. But we cannot understand it.

“I am going over there because the hay tastes better than what we had this morning” is, ‘Eeya (or Aeya among Appaloosas) Mehe ubra se Chola Men Farlie Ben Jubles”

Of course, they never speak when humans are around. No one knows why because they won’t answer if we are around.

LadyMarissa's avatar

They know we’ll screw it up some how!!!

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