When you see a group of horses, the instinct might be to shout out “a group of horses!”. But did you know that there is an official term to refer to a group of multiple horses?
In fact, there are several different terms you can use when talking about a group of horses, depending on the type of group of horses, and the context!
Just like how a group of crows is a murder, and a group of sheep is a flock, a group of horses is most often referred to as a herd, or a team (depending on the context and situation). But as we have said, there are several different terms!
If you’re interested in talking about groups of horses, and you want to sound like you know what you’re talking about, stick around.
We will give you a list of all the main different terms used to refer to a group of horses, and we’ll also talk a bit about dynamics within a group of horses and how all that works.
Does that sound good? Then let’s get right into it!
Terms For Referring To A Group Of Horses
As we have already mentioned, there are several different terms that you can use in order to refer to a group of horses, some of which are more commonly used than others.
We’ll just cut straight to the chase and provide you with a list, and their specifics:
A Herd Of Horses
A herd of horses is the most common term used to describe a group of horses located outdoors, interacting with one another. It is also the term used to describe a group of wild horses.
A Team Of Horses
A team of horses is the term used to describe a group of horses that are working together in the same activity or job. For example, a group of horses pulling a carriage together would be a team, and the same would go for a group of horses competing as a whole within an official event.
A Rag Of Horses
A rag of horses is the term used to describe a group of colts, specifically.
A Stud Of Horses
A stud of horses is the term used to describe a group of horses that are placed together for the purpose of breeding. So it’s a group of horses separated specifically for breeding.
A String Of Horses
A string of horses is the term used to describe a group of horses that all belong to the same person, or that are used specifically by one single person. However, it is also sometimes used to describe a group of ponies!
A Harras Of Horses
A harras of horses is quite an outdated term that isn’t really used much nowadays. However, it can be used to describe a group of horses, and is especially suited to a ranch-setting in English-speaking countries.
A Stable Of Horses
A stable of horses is a term used to describe a group of domesticated horses that live within a stable or barn environment. It quite literally means a stable full of horses!
A Troop Of Horses
A troop of horses is a term used to describe a group of horses within the army. So for example, a group of horse guards would be referred to as a troop of horses, and the same goes for any horse that is ridden by a soldier or officer. Sometimes it also applies to horses used by the police forces!
The Social Structure Of A Herd Of Horses
A herd is the most common term for describing a group of horses. It is essentially a group of wild horses, outdoors, that have formed a group dynamic in which they essentially “live with one another”, moving from one place to another out in the wild, as a whole.
This happens quite naturally, because horses are social animals. They do not like being alone, and always form groups, some of which can become quite large in number!
And within these groups, which are called herds (we might as well use the right term since that’s what the article is about!), specific dynamics are formed.
Within a herd, some horses are more in charge than others, kind of like in human society. And horses also interact with one another, forming relationships and bonds!
As a general rule, a herd of wild horses will feature one or two stallions, some mares, and any foals that are born.
The stallion, or one of the stallions if there is more than one, will be the one that “owns” the herd, so to speak, and is the one that establishes dominance and drives away any other horses that aren’t part of the herd. But curiously, the stallion isn’t actually the leader.
The leader of the herd will usually be the oldest mare, and we will call her the alpha mare. She will usually be weaker than the others, due to age,
but she has survived longer than any others, and that experience is what earns her the respect of the herd. Wherever the alpha mare decides to go, the herd follows. She sets the pace, and the direction.
The stallion, meanwhile, will guard and protect the herd. And of course, he will get with all the mares when they are in heat, to keep producing foals, so that the hoard keeps growing and stays alive.
Once the foals grow up, the colts will be on their way, and they will often form their own herd of bachelors, until they find their own mares with which to found a proper herd. (Quite often, they will replace a stallion from a herd, when the stallion becomes too old.)
So essentially, there are herds, and the herds have a stallion, mares, and foals. The alpha mare is in charge, and the stallion protects and procreates.
When the colts grow old, they leave and form their own bachelor herd. Then, when they find a herd in which the stallion is too old, one of the bachelor colts will replace that stallion, and take charge of that herd. And so on!
It’s quite fascinating, really! Oh, and don’t think that special dynamics and behaviors are unique to herds. All types of groups of horses end up forming a dynamic, with some horses establishing dominance, and some becoming submissive.
It is why in teams or troops of horses it is very important to implement the right kind of training, to ensure that the horses work well together and get along!
So…what is a group of horses called? Well, as we have established, there are several different terms that can be used.
The most common are a herd (for a group of wild horses), a team (for a group of horses working together), and a stable (for a group of domesticated horses living together). But there are more, so do go back and check our list!
And remember, within any group of horses, a dynamic will arise in which some horses are in charge, and some submit.
If you are putting together a group of horses, it is important that you monitor their behavior to ensure they work well together, and no conflict arises!