Have you ever wondered what is a group of horses called?
Well, there are many names used to refer to a group of horses depending on the animal’s age, gender, and activities they’re involved in.
Not to worry if you’re confused, I’ve put together a list of some of the names used and the context they’re used in.
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What is a Group of Horse Called?
The term you will be most familiar with for a group of horses is herd.
A herd is a group of horses or other animals they live and travel together, both for protection and socialization.
8 Collective Nouns That Can Be Used for a Group of Horses
Below are more names used for a group of horses.
A group of domestic horses reared for breeding. They are also known as stud farms and are essential in preserving a breed, including developing a studbook (a breed registry of horses of a particular type).
This is another name that can be used for a stud farm. You will often see studs located in French-speaking countries use this.
I know this one will seem a little strange at first as this word often refers to the structure in which the horses are housed. But it can also refer to a group of horses regardless of the type of housing the owner has them in.
- Rag/Bachelor Herd
Used for a group of colts (uncastrated male horses that are four years old or younger).
This is something you will see amongst wild horses. This is something you will see amongst wild horses and not the domesticated horse, as we do not keep in this environment
If you own some horses or use some horses for sports or any other activity often, you would call that group a string of horses. For example, a polo player will have a string of polo ponies.
Used to refer to a group of modern horses that participate together in a sport. For instance, team-penning involves a team of at least three horses and three riders. Another example is the horses used to pull a carriage.
A group of horses used for military purposes.
This is often a smaller section of a herd.
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Horse Herd Ranks and Dynamics
I hope that clears things up for you if there was any previous confusion. Now that we know some of the names used for groups of horses let’s briefly discuss how these horses’ herds are organized.
Various researchers have studied horse groups, mainly wild or feral horses, and concluded that a horse herd has a hierarchy.
There’s the lead stallion who leads the horse group from the front.
The lead stallion is responsible for keeping the pack intact, directing them to food and water, and solving any disputes.
From behind, one or two boss mares (also known as lead mares) help the lead stallion in leadership.
These are the most dominant horses in the herd.
All the other horses also adhere to hierarchy, from the highest-ranking horse to the lowest ranking horse. This behavior is what keeps order and protection in place within a herd of horses. Also, as prey animals, this order helps keep the group safe.
Often, a new horse gets the lowest rank, and they move up by challenging other horses or replacing horses that have left the herd.
For instance, when colts get to a certain age, the lead stallion drives them away from the herd to form a rag (mentioned earlier).
Another horse takes the position the colt leaves. Female horses usually remain in the herd.
How Horses Co-Exist
You may not realize it at first, but horses are very social with each other. They communicate through body language. A mare can use bites, even certain looks to instill discipline in a foal.
All horses will learn to use bites and kicks to defend themselves from another aggressive horse or even from a predator.
This behavior is common among all horses, cold bloods, hot bloods, pony breeds, different types of Arabian horses, and draft animals, you name it. If it is a horse, it will have this instinctive behavior.
The lead stallion will also use body language to break off a fight, which is often flattened ears, a lowered neck, biting, or even kicking, Naomi Sharpe notes.
Besides a hierarchy, horses also have buddies, or best friends, with whom they groom and spend most of the time.
A horse herd’s day is highly routined, from feeding, grooming, resting, drinking water, and any other activities that the group may be involved in.
According to Naomi, it’s the ability to understand body language and follow a routine that makes horses easy to train. It also helps horse owners discern what the horses want or how it feels.
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What is a group of wild horses called?
“Herd” is the most commonly used name for a group of wild horses. Other collective nouns for specific horse groups include rag/bachelor herd (colts), troop (military horses), stud (breeding horses), and a string (horses that belong to one person).
What is a group of unicorns called?
Unicorns are mythical horses that are symbols of good luck. Therefore, the collective noun of unicorns is a blessing.
Can horses live alone?
Horses prefer to live in a herd since they can keep each other company, groom each other, protect each other. But if you have to keep them alone for whatever reason, make sure you spend time with them and groom them regularly. Also, ensure they have enough toys to play with. A companion pet such as a dog or cat can also help prevent feelings of loneliness.
And that wraps up our guide on collective nouns for horse groups. Some of them, such as rags may not be in use anymore, but it doesn’t hurt to know they exist.
We’ve also covered some horse heard dynamics, hierarchy, and how they survive in the wild. Have you come across any other names for a group of horses that we haven’t covered? Please share them in the comments section.
- “Definition of COLT.” Www.merriam-Webster.com, www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/colt. Accessed 8 Aug. 2021.
- “Definition of HARRAS.” Www.merriam-Webster.com, www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/harras. Accessed 8 Aug. 2021.
- “Stud | Origin and Meaning of Stud by Online Etymology Dictionary.” Www.etymonline.com, www.etymonline.com/word/stud. Accessed 8 Aug. 2021.
- “Understanding Horse Herd Dynamics.” Happy Horse Training, www.happy-horse-training.com/herd-dynamics.html. Accessed 8 Aug. 2021.
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Peter was always been fascinated by horses. He got his first horse, a Morgan Horse, when he was 13 and he has been learning about them since then. He loves contributing on this blog to share what he learned so far. Find him on: FACEBOOK