You’ve heard horses labeled herd bound, gate sour, herd sour or barn sour. These terms sound like afflictions. But when we see these behaviors, it is simply because horses are drawn to others. Horses seek out other horses because of their gregarious nature. They want to be together and to be part of a herd. All horses are herd bound. It may be inconvenient to us as riders, but being drawn to the herd is a natural equine behavior.
Why the Herd?
Horses rely on the herd for safety. A horse can rely on others to keep watch so he
can rest; they take turns resting and watching.
Deal with the horse’s
instinctive desire to
be close to the herd.
BY JULIE GOODNIGHT WITH
HEIDI NYLAND MELOCCO
PHOTOS BY HEIDI
Horses also get comfort from the
herd. Horses want to lie down in the
sun with others and be taken care
of and groomed. They want a strong
leader. All of this comfort comes from
being part of a larger group.
Horses believe that their own survival depends on being accepted into a
herd. When you introduce a new horse
into the herd, they will first send him
away and be mean. The new horse will
keep coming back because he feels as if
he will die if he’s not part of the herd.