Herd dynamics are a lot like team dynamics. They are constantly shifting and changing, and unexpected things can happen when the leader leaves the team, and someone new emerges.
For the first two weeks that our herd was together, we had Dani’s sister’s horse with them as well. Mocha was definitely the herd boss. She bossed everyone around, and kept Sorrey, the other mare, away from Duke, who Mocha viewed as her own property.
When our certification program was postponed, we decided it was time to take Mocha home and give our herd a chance to really gel together. The remaining players are Duke, the big palomino gelding; Sorrey, the paint mare; George, the Appaloosa pony; and Lily, the mini mule. We were absolutely sure either Duke or Sorrey would emerge as the new leader.
Boy, were we wrong.
When we came back to see them the following day, it was Lily who came running over to us first. And everyone else followed her.
It was Lily who flattened her ears at anyone who came too close to her, a sure sign of warning, and then kicked at the offender with her little legs if the warning wasn’t heeded.
It was Lily who Sorrey sticks to like glue, relying on her to keep her safe from Duke, of whom Sorrey appears to be terribly afraid, or terribly attracted. We aren’t quite sure yet.
It was Lily who walked right under Duke’s big chest, rolled on the ground in the middle of all of them without fear or being nipped, and who prances around like queen of the roost.
Lily. The mini mule.
Never underestimate anyone. Size has nothing to do with leadership ability. You go, Lily.