Wild horses roam together in family groups called bands (the word herd is sometimes used, but is incorrect)
There is always at least one lead stallion and one lead mare to form a band, but there is no exact formula. Much like human families, we find that there is not one family exactly the same as another. This is what keeps herd dynamics so interesting.
This beautiful young family band is a great example.
On the Salt River it is not uncommon for bands to have more than one stallion, sometimes even three or four stallions, but there is always one stallion clearly the lead, and the others are called lieutenant stallions and second lieutenant stallions etc. Their roles are worked out over time through battling, and their hierarchy is eventually determined by age, strength and intelligence.
This band seems a bit of an exception and it is sometimes hard to tell who is the real lead. If you look closely at this picture, you will notice two bay stallions who look almost identical and act almost identical as well. 🐴🐴You can see each one pushing their mares together in the same direction, as if they had previously discussed their plans. (They are doing this, not to be mean, but to keep them safe from other stallions). How are they so effortlessly and harmoniously working together?
These two stallions, Stewart and Nirvana, are brothers, who since the day they were born, have never been seperated from eachother. They were born just one month apart in 2016, each out of a different mare, but in the same band with the same sire, Prince Ike. Under his watchful eye the brothers played together, learned together and grew up together.
They eventually left their band together as well (emancipated) to later form one of their own.
They have four mares and make a band of 6. At 5 years old they are quite young to have that kindof success.
Just another band of horses you could say, but when you deepen your understanding of herd dynamics, you can see how extraordinary each family is. There is so much more than meets the eye. It seems that these strong bonds formed by loving intelligent animals, should never be broken by men.
May they run together forever.
The Salt River Wild Horse Management Group (SRWHMG) is an accredited non profit organization dedicated to the protection and humane management of the Salt River wild horses. We document and record every birth death and detail of every Salt River wild horse. All information we share is the result of years of hard work by many volunteers and is proprietary information. So please share our posts and the information and names it contains, but please, give SRWHMG credit for it.
P.S.: Stewart and Nirvana also have an older brother Jagger, who is also a succesful young lead stallion with a large band of his own.
Prince Ike has contributed strong DNA to the Salt River herd and in spite of his age and now half blindness, he is still with his same loving mare of 15 years, Tina. She is both Jagger and Stewart’s mother.