In the wild, horses naturally live in organized social groups called “bands.” Family bands include a dominant stallion, his mares, juveniles who have not yet left their families, and foals.
Wild mares are extremely protective of their foals, maintaining close contact – within 6 feet of their foal to guard against danger.
Stallions stand guard over the herd, fighting off predators and other males. When the herd travels, the stallion generally hangs at the rear to drive straggling herd members forward, keeping the herd together.
While wild horses don’t typically hang out in water much less submerge their heads beneath the surface, the Salt River wild horses of Arizona actually snorkel for eel grass a nutritious food source. And, since it is essential to be comfortable around the river, babies learn within a week of life how to swim and “snorkel”.
Even though wild horses occupy just a small fraction (12 percent) of public land available forlivestock grazing, ranchers who influence BLM policy view wild horses as competition forcheap, taxpayer-subsidized livestock grazing on public lands. They want them gone, and the BLM has been only too happy to comply. Using low-flying helicopters to stampede and round up wild horses, the federal government removes them by the thousands from public lands in the West each year.