I was starting to feed last night and one of the horses rolled. He got up and walked away. Interestingly one of the mustangs came over and rolled in the same exact spot. Why did he do this? I'm not 100% sure. Maybe it was just a really good rolling spot. Maybe he wanted to get the smell of the horse on him. Maybe he was just copying the first horse. Although I can't answer the why, it got me thinking about how much I truly don't know about horses.
The same mustang gets down on the ground and rubs his belly on the ground to itch it. I've noticed since he started doing this a few other horses have caught on and have begun to do the same thing. Interesting!
Tonight it rained and all the geldings lined up nose to tail. These are just a few examples of patterns that I noticed recently. Where do we belong in this herd? We often enter the herd to grab our horse and go do something with him. How often have you taken your horse out and another horse stands at the gate waiting for him to return?
I often notice herd dynamics when I am feeding grain. One horse always eats first. Another horse tries to push certain horses down the line. Certain horses eat out of the same hay pile together. One horse holds up a leg when they eat. Remember that in the wild, herds don't have feeding time. They forage and rest throughout the day. Does domestication change horses natural behavior patterns? I believe it does.
I'm not giving any advice with this post, but merely stating that observing can teach us so much about the horses we love. When i observed the rolling pattern, my first thought was "What does it mean?" I don't need to know what it means. It was just an interesting observation. Next time you are out by your horses herd, sit and observe for a bit. Just take it in without too much concern about what it means.