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Thread: Broodmares and the 'mothering instinct'?

  1. #1

    Default Broodmares and the 'mothering instinct'?

    Zara's an ex-broodmare and since moving to her new yard, she's latched herself on to the youngest of the herd (a 4yo) and appears to be 'mothering' her, as opposed to just being friends with her

    Now I could be totally wrong and applying human emotion to horses etc., but do you think it's because she's an ex-broodmare and she's got that 'mothering instinct'? None of the other horses are like that with each other

    this was them the other day:

  2. #2
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    Well - don't forget that the true boss of wild herds is nearly always a mare. Most mixed herds will have a matriarch (lead female) and I think it's in their nature to take care of the horses in their herd, and young ones in particular. I'm no expert on animal psychology at all but I do believe that "mothering instinct" is inherent in all females of all species - maybe because looking after one's young is about survival, and survival is every animal's prime concern. I think we often forget that our own horses, although kept as pets, are still incredibly in tune with their natural instincts... I don't think it's necessarily being an ex-broodmare, or even havng had a foal at all, that would make a mare "mother" youngsters in this way, but having been a mother before probably means that Zara is more consumed by this instinct than a mare who has never foaled.

    I am now waiting for someone with more knowledge to tell me that this is all complete tosh but this is my theory

    ETA - my boy Mouse (18 months) was adopted in similar fashion by Unity, the head of his little herd, within days of joining them. My boss's mum has owned Unity for 20 years, so she has had a lot of different horses coming and going in her field, and even though she has only had 1 foal (the lovely Mr Jam!) she has always been highly concerned with looking after the others in her herd. Unity definitely took on the role of Mouse's surrogate mum.... although she did then come into season and tried her utmost best to seduce her new "son"... dirty old tart
    Last edited by joosie; 30-07-2011 at 21:40.

  3. #3

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    The whole herd is female (we don't do mixed herds) and Zara is no way near the head mare, (I think Cleo is) If anything, Zara is rather low down in the rankings (or she was, not sure what the deal is these days ) She seems more accepted since taking Berry on

  4. #4

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    In the wild, every foal is replaced by another so there is always a new baby to love. In our world, baby is taken away at six months and that's it. Lucy obviously had Fiora, and she's latched onto Lilly (same colour, immature, spooky, needs an older mare for reassurance) and seriously mothers her. It's done Lilly the world of good to have that steady presence in her life, but we did have some attachment issues with Lucy panicking Lilly wouldn't come back/would be taken away. And Lucy's at the very bottom of our pecking order!

  5. #5

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    my mare rebel likes to mother everything apart from her own daughter lol berri looks after her, when the new ponies came she took to them straight away

    there was another horsie at the own yard that used to mother shannon to the point of annoyence

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