In the winter, we move the horses up to smaller areas closer to the barn. This winter, I have one group of horses still in the back summer pastures. Beyond their summer pastures is woods.
My son had two friends over and they went out exploring in the woods. I was in the pasture with one of the mare groups. You could hear the boys in the woods before you could see them. All the horses lifted their heads to see what danger was coming out of the woods. I simply stood in the pasture and observed.
One horse in the back would trot the fence line and trumpet to warn the others. Two of the mares stood next to each other. One had her foot cocked, but it wasn't because she was relaxed. It was because she was preparing for flight. At one point, the other mare made a tight circle around her friend and then went back into position next to her side. They would check in with me from time to time by looking in my direction. All the mares had one back leg forward.
The boys came out of the woods and walked through the property towards the house. As they did this Jo got very lifted in her chest and shifted her weight back. The others watched still preparing.
After the boys went into the house, it took a minute for the horses to settle. They each took a turn dropping their heads and licking and chewing. One went over and smelled some poop.
It was interesting to see how long it took for the herd to settle back into relaxed manner after the "threat" was gone. It was also interesting to watch how they communicated it to each other. The more dominant mare lick and chewed first before the others did,
Spend some time watching your horse in the pasture with their friends. How do they communicate to each other? What is their role in the herd? The more we can understand our horse, the stronger our relationship will be.