Q:Would you, given large enough paddocks with safe fencing, run a group of eight horses as a single herd, or split into two or three (or more) smaller groups? If you split them, would you split by age/gender or have a mixture?
From your question, I can tell you want the best for your horses. You must care for them every day and try to see every situation from their point of view.
My answer is yes – so long as your paddock is large enough and has safe fencing, it’s fine to run all your horses together.It’s far better to have horses running together than having them in different paddocks, where they can fight or play over the fence and be injured.
Horses have been running together in mobs of various shapes and sizes for thousands of years. And I’m sure they’ll survive quite happily in groups, large and small, for many years to come.
Safe facilities, good fences and daily supervision are important responsibilities for every horse owner, whether you have one horse or ten.
Let your horses be horses. Let them run in the paddock together. At first they may run and kick and squeal, but they’ll soon settle down and sort themselves out.
I’d like to make a general comment here:
These days, there’s so much incorrect information about so-called “horse herds” and people being members of the “herd”,and “their place” or “their horse’s place” in the herd etc etc. This misinformation is nonsense, it gives many people the wrong idea, and, it has absolutely nothing to do with caring for or training any horse.
I know it’s only two little words, but “horse herd” is bandied around so much these days, and often used as an excuse for using punishment and pressure when things go wrong. The less you think about horse herds, the better off you and your horses will be.
The idea that you can become part of the horse herd or be the leader of the herd is nonsense. And the idea that a horse’s place in the herd will affect how he behaves when you ride him or handle him is also nonsense.
Please remember, horse herds have absolutely nothing to do with training and riding horses.