Wild Horse Herd Dynamics: Lieutenant Stallions.

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Wild Horse Herd Dynamics: Lieutenant Stallions.

Wild Horse Herd Dynamics: Lieutenant Stallions.

April 16th

Not all wild stallions have lead stallion mentality. Meet Garret, lieutenant to Iroquois’ band. Garret is very popular with our local photographers, because he can frequently be seen battling other stallions. If you have pictures of Garret battling, please post them in the comments!

Garret is not doing all that battling to become a lead stallion, he is doing it purely to defend his band and to help the lead stallion. You will rarely see the lead stallion battling, because it is his job to stay close within the band to lead. It may even be hard to notice the lead stallion because he is the one just grazing between his mares.

Garret on the other hand stays on the outskirts of the band patrolling for any challengers and/or suiters who are even thinking about stealing any mares, especially Moonshadow. (She is coming of emancipation age, but Garret is not going to let her go without a fight)
Not every band in the wild has a lieutenant stallion, but the ones that do, are usually more successful. Some bands even have more than one lieutenant.

Lieutenant stallions work very hard and rarely get a moment’s rest. They do not get a lot of reward for it either as the lead stallion does not let him breed his mares, and often chases the lieutenant if he comes too close. In the hierarchy, lieutenant stallions are definitely number 2, but they never seem to mind this and can stay lieutenant faithfully for many years, without ever trying to steal the band from the lead stallion.

If there is ever a real threat or scare, the lead and lieutenant stallions work together in a clever strategy. The lead stallion will gather the band and run off with them, while the lieutenant stays behind to face the danger. In Helicopter roundups we’ve seen lieutenant stallions bravely (but futilely) turn around and face the helicopter while the lead stallion makes a break for it with the band.

But there are no helicopters chasing horses here, so when the perceived danger is over, the lieutenant catches back up with them. If you’ve ever seen a wild horse screaming loudly while running around frantically, it could be a lieutenant who’s trying to find his band back.

Garret was born in 2012 out of Sapphire and Diego. He gets his beautiful dark bay color from his mother. In Garret’s injury history we noted he had a serious hind leg injury in 2017. It was severely swollen and he could not put any weight on it for several months. It was likely a fracture, but wild horses are amazing at healing, and today there is no way you can tell he was ever that injured. What you can tell is that Garret lost the tip of his ear, this happened during a battle in 2020. Garret has been with Iroquois’ band since 2017.

We hope you enjoyed these little tidbits out of the days of their lives, or “As the river flows”. All information we share comes from our own observations and documentation in the field. When replicating, please mention your source. Sincerely, SRWHMG.