The family, also called a harem, usually consists of one stallion (or two in case of a partnership), one to three mares, the foals born that year and young horses up to the age of two or three.
The young males join a group of celibate stallions. The young females may join them, be taken over by another stallion or remain in their original herd if their sire is not at the head of the group.
The family is a stable and multi-generational structure.
The group of celibate males
It consists of young horses that have not yet got their own group and males of all ages. Here, they learn about social codes which may be useful in their future lives: fighting, leading, playful mounting, rituals around feces, etc.
This structure is less stable than that of the family because of the regular arrivals and departures.
Texts by Déborah Bardou and Hélène Roche, ethologists – Photos Hélène Roche – Zsuzsanna Wagenhoffer