O’ Brother, Thou Art Hither?

Equine siblings have been known to display significant signs of familiarity when reunited. Others feel the responses are completely unpredictable. Equine interaction whether familiar or not becomes more dependent on individual personality and circumstances than on kinship. Such is the case, through observation, for Rocky Mountain Mustangs herd leader Coal and recently reunited half-brother Flint. The outcome of course revealed a remarkably unexpected surprise.

The saga begins with Flint’s June 24th arrival augmented with summer rain and hail. The behavior of the resident mustangs was quite uncanny. They whinnied with excitement and ran the fences as Flint’s trailer approached. Their behavior inferred a certain awareness that a new horse was arriving. Flint, on the other hand, found immediate comfort and was unaffected by the temporary quarantine which separated him from the herd.

Would the brother equine show recognition upon reuniting? Would they rival and spar for dominance of the herd? Would the mares choose mates splitting the herd while maintaining territorial distances? These questions seem reasonably predictable based on current Wild Horse behavioral knowledge. However, discovery has taught us to “expect the unexpected” as the outcome was completely unpredictable.

It appears both former stallions quickly found a unique arrangement for a co-leadership coalition. They did not spar for dominance, and it is uncertain whether kinship played a role as they cordially established a mutual cooperative leadership. The independent mares remained impartial towards both Coal and Flint while the submissive mares found comfort and protection with equal respect and affection. The featured image depicts exactly the described behavior as the two gallant brothers stay close to Rain (Cream Puff). “O’ Brother, Thou Art Full of Surprises.”