One of the front paddocks is being occupied by cows, the other one we’ve rested for quite a few months so the grass could regenerate. But since it’s a group grazing paddock, we decided to run the horses as a herd (except for Karma, Danny and Muff).

It’s amazing to see what happens when five horses are let loose in a large paddock full of high grass. Firstly, you have to play Spot the Horse as it seems to disappear amongst the tall grass. And secondly, when all five are the same dark colour, you have to play How do I Spot the Horse?

We let Larry and another gelding run riot with the mares Rosie and other horses. For the first ten minutes or so, there was frantic running around and biting of necks.

It soon became apparent that Larry and the other gelding were attempting to split the mares and form their own herd. Larry ended up with Rosie and another mare, whilst the gelding scored a black mare. And it was hilarious to see Larry the next day attempt to steal the mares from the other gelding. Larry boldly met the gelding’s advances and then herded his mares with a couple of bites, or attempted bites, to the neck.

All of this is natural herd behaviour, startling as it may look. Larry now has his harem and the other gelding has one too, albeit with only one mare. I’d say that Rosie is boss mare over the other mare in Larry’s harem. Normally, there’s a herd stallion who brings up the rear, guards the herd and watches for predators. But not much call for this in Oxford when you have five fairly pampered horses running around in one large paddock with gentle cows as the most likely “predator”.

I couldn't get any good shots. The sky was rumbling and threatening and Zeph was pulling on his leash. So sorry for the crap iPhone shots. Click on the photos to see them better.

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