celerony-img3.jpg  Horse celerony-img3.jpg

Social organization of the horse

Family

The family, also called harem, is generally composed of a stallion, sometimes two in case of alliance, from one to three mares, foals of the year and young until the age of 2 or 3 years .

Young males join a group of single stallions. Young females can join them, be recovered by another stallion or remain in their original group if their father is no longer in charge.

The family is a stable and multi-age structure.

The group
single bucks

It is made up of young people who do not yet have their own group and males of all ages. They learn there the social codes useful for their future life: fights, conduct, game play, rituals around dung, etc.

This structure is less stable than the family due to regular departures and arrivals.

Life alone

Young males leave the group of singles around the age of 5. They can then live alone for a while before constituting or recovering their harem. The old male thus dismissed may therefore in turn be led to live alone for a moment.

Texts by Déborah Bardou and Hélène Roche, ethologists - Photos Hélène Roche