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Why "Human-Herds"?

When we talk about horses and their behaviors, we like to point out how different they are from us. Humans are predators; horses are prey, therefore we are not the same.

The truth is, our social structures are very much the same …or at least they should be


Social Groups


Horses are natural experts at building balanced social groups. Socializing is key to their safety, which is most important for their survival. No matter how domesticated they are, all horses or ponies are constantly seeking connection. They will always try to find comfort in belonging together. Herds can change, the environment can change, stress levels will go up and down, and a herd will always find a way to rebalance. It is in their nature to find comfort within the unit. They need those bonds to feel safe. 


We are similar in our home life. We build families, sometimes through genetics and sometimes through relationships. We develop networks of people who we connect with when our stress levels go up or down. The modern world even allows us to connect at a distance - we can still reach family and friends remotely and stay in touch. Our social networks are much more extensive and complex than horses’ are. 


Unfortunately, the complexities and volume of relationships we manage have made us much more disconnected than nature intended. We don’t always need the people directly around us. I can text my friend hundreds of miles away about how my coworker just said the most ridiculous thing, and find validation there. 


This extensive web of interconnectivity has left us more disconnected from the people right in front of us


Connection


You don’t necessarily see your coworkers as survival buddies, like horses would. You don’t cling to a new person you met in passing, wanting to establish a relationship with them. We don’t see each other as necessary for survival, so there’s no need to get to know someone that well. Sure, you try to remember peoples' names and you engage in some entertaining conversation. You might even become friends, but how well are you in tune with all the people around you?

Do you know what might aggravate them?

Do you understand why they react a certain way?

Could you guess what they are feeling?

Horses notice that and more. We haven’t even begun to understand their full ability to communicate with each other. A herd of horses is so in tune that it only takes a split second for the entire group to be on alert and act as one. Some human groups are inherently connected, but it's rare to be that prepared. Most groups are only fine until stress levels go up and suddenly it’s clear there is no trust among them.


You might be involved in both types of groups in different areas of your life. Most of us have a family “herd”, a work “herd”, and other social “herds” that we are in. If you decide that one of those herds is important then you won’t see the need to connect with others on the same level. 


Ultimately, by not living in the present with the people around us, we are missing out!


We can learn a lot from horses, especially when it comes to relationships. Horses have a unique way of living and relating to one another that can teach us how to build strong connections with each other. By understanding the behavior and body language of horses, we can apply these lessons to our own lives and create better human-herds.


You should aim to foster healthier relationships within your human-herds. From establishing boundaries and respecting individual talents to purposeful communication, there are plenty of tips for creating stronger connections between ourselves and those around us.

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