What do horses like? Horses like food and being with other horses. Stallions are no exception – in the wild they are intensely social, but due to their high value and the way we keep our breeding stock, they are often kept in isolation, which works about as well for horses as solitary confinement does for people.
A few years ago the Swiss National Stud experimented by turning their stallions out together in the non-breeding season. This video shows what happened. Horse fights are generally of the “all mouth and no trouser” variety (featuring a side of “someone hold me back, Barry, or I’ll have him”), and these studs are no exception, but they soon settle down to synchrony, and harmonious grazing. Nobody got harmed, although one pair still seem unable to “leave it out, Barry” at the end of the film. But we all know people like that, don’t we?
PS. The sychronised prancing reminds me of the illustration in the banner of this blog. I’ve seen seventeenth and eighteenth century images of haute école horses performing all sorts of moves together at liberty in their fields – perhaps these illustrations weren’t so fanciful after all. Maybe the Duke of Newcastle et al just turned ’em all out together.