Horses form strong pair bonds and this is one of the domestication sugars that allows humans to bond with horses. Zebras are not this way, nor are Przwalskis, and therefor, despite repeated attempts, neither species fit the domestication construct of merging their social structures with humans to be trainable and confineable.
To train your horse, pair bond with her, as that is her nature. Pair bonding requires time and establishment of familiarity. To establish familiarity, spend time with your horse. If you spend all day for days on end with your horse, you will get to know one another deeply, and a true unity can develop. Time is required for pair bonding, time and brushing and rubbing and riding. Time caring. Show your horse you care for her, and she is likely to readily pair bond.
For a horse to pair bond with a human, she must first learn to pair bond with her mother, so that is why we support the development of the mare-foal pair bonding in the critical development phase after birth. After pair bonding with the mother, the foal learns to pair bond with cohorts. Horses that are taught to pair bond by the herd are the horses who subsequently readily pair bond with their human partners and guardians.
Dr Voith mentioned that because of the strong pair bonds that horses develop and prefer, that sometimes even a pastured horse with a herd can be socially deprived if not paired with a suitable partner in the grooup. As well, horses will bond with humans, and thus we have domestication, a shared sociality.
Depending on the bonding issue, she sometimes suggests adding a compatible horse, or adding a suitable mare in the herd to resolve the social pasture issues, which can include stereotypies, narcolepsy, unthriftiness, untrainability, and other issues.
Just because we believe we have adequately socially enriched our herd does not necessarily mean we have succeeded, at times, it seems, the good doctor points out.
There was talk that horses are a matriarchal society, and that mares are important and necessary to facilitate normal expressions of social behaviour.
From the behaviourist's perpsective, a herd of geldings is somewhat socially deprived, especially if it is an odd-numbered herd.
A mare stabilizes the herd.
This goes back to precociousness.
It is the mare that teaches most all foals to be horses, and most of the teaching takes place in the first month. Most all horses seek the guidance of mares through life, it seems, imprinted to mares as most all horses and mules are.
A mule is like a horse, only more so, thanks to the teachings of the mare. What is that creature called who is sired by a horse and raised by a donkey and why are they not so popular?
When not pair bonded with your horse you may get bucked off. Rather than buck, Zebras get people off their back by running and rolling, and that was not the domestication sugar African humans were looking for.
Cats may have become domestic in Africa, but most domestication mergers occured in Asia.
Why weren't any wild animals, save the kitty cat, successfully domesticated in southern Africa where man and zebra and canids galore co-existed for millions and millions of years?
What was it about Asia that facilitated domestication of the wolf and tarpan, the merging of dog and horse and man?
When did the stirrup emerge?
The metal bit?
How did domestic dogs help facilitate the merging of horses and humans, please, anyone?
Dr Gustafson is a practicing veterinarian, equine behavior educator, and novelist. The application of behavior science enhances optimum health, performance, soundness, contentment, and longevity in animal athletes. Behavioral and nutritional strategies enrich the lives of stabled horses. Training and husbandry from the horse's perspective result in content, cooperative horses who are willing to learn and perform.