The horse, in its natural habitat, needs no humans. Not for food or protection. During millions of years, the horses developed to be perfectly well adapted to live and survive in the wild.
Horses use a very clear way of communicating with each other. If one observes a horse-herd, one will discover that they are always communicating. The complete range from Cheerful to deadly serious.
By using this way of communicating they were able to survive millions of years. We must acknowledge that this way of communication is very effective. Partially taught from mare to foal, and some of the responses are dictated by the instinct or experience.
Horses follow a certain hierarchy within the herd or band, which is necessary for the survival of the entire herd. By the rank order, it is possible to ensure the survival of the herd.
The Mare, highest in rank, of course, has her privileges, and she will receive the necessary respect of the herd members. But in case of need, she will also be the one to lead the flight of the entire herd.
She is the one that decides where to go, where to graze and when. In the wild, the lead Mare is not always the strongest, but very often the most experienced Mare.
Because of her position, the lead Mare receives respect but is also responsible for the safety of the herd. Her position is not fixed. By the time she becomes ill or less fit through old age, another herd member will try to take over her position. And this
"take-over" does not always happen very gently. In herds, where the living conditions are determined by the human, it is often the most aggressive Mare who claims the desired privileges.
The lead Stallion has a less nice position within the herd. His job is to keep other stallions away from his mares. The Stallion is always confronted with fights with other Stallions that want to kidnap his mares. Stallion fights are by no means gentle and can often cause serious injuries. If at any time during such a fight a Stallion gets crippled, he probably cannot flee fast enough if a predator is in sight. In case of danger for the herd, the Stallion will charge if necessary to protect the herd.
Another task of the Stallion is to keep the herd together during the travel. The only reward for all this effort and risk is that he has the chance to pass on his genes to the next generation.
One of the strongest points of the horse is its intelligence. The horse is depending on the speed it can assess a situation.
In the wild, the Horse doesn’t have hours of time to think about if an up sneaking Predator is dangerous or not...
One might understand that the intelligence of a horse should never be underestimated!