Altruism in horses – Shetland pony defends little foal against stallion

Altruism in horses – Shetland pony defends little foal against stallion


Altruism it’s a term that’s used when somebody does something for somebody else without getting his own benefit So that’s called altruism. Here we see little Tibor and Pirata I decided to call him Pirata , who was a very famous bullfighters horse. The small guy, nevermind Here we see them running and it’s A few minutes before I let them in. I shut the bridge so they cannot get through. These guys are friends When the little guy came, was introduced to our place He was an intruder and Tibor didn’t really like him but now they they sure like each other. Tibor is little bit disappointed about the fence So they’re waiting and the little guy is one year old and Tibor now must be six years old I think but I have to check his papers for that. Anyway what I wanted to show you is altruism. Here the fence is stopping Tibor Because it closed that fence but the little guy is running under every fence. And sometimes I have very nasty names on that LOL On the other side you see Rociero Who is a stallion and he’s five years of age. And Rociero has some tendency to get sexual interested in the foal. Don’t ask me why I’m not going to answer that. But what I noticed many times is how little Tibor defends this little guy O, a fence The bridge is closed so he also notices the bridge is closed. So Rociero goes back in the field and Tibor is grazing there And then little guy comes back and look What happens when he came back. Then they have a chat. At the left, you don’t see him now is the little fellow, and this is a chat I have to say I have to laugh little bit because Tibor is so small, he can’t reach The big stallion. Um the little guy is at the left, and what I found so remarkable is how Tibor stands up for this little guy. And later on this movie will see it again He stands up and he is not family related. They only know each other and now comes the little guy. They only know each other for some time now I think January so it must be almost six months already time flies. And I noticed that little Tibor always steps in between. Like with the neighbor horses he starts to to Guide the little guy somewhere else O and and this is their intelligence they know when the fence is open and little guy doesn’t understand it yet but Tibor definitely knows it well. They are fast aren’t they, if you take the time takes about 3 seconds or something to be there. And it’s quite a walk, sixty meters or so anyway here they play and it looks a little bit rough and of course the little baby horse, ah there is Rociero Tibor says to Rociero “You back off” “Go away, don’t do this to my friend” etc. So they come in from a long day of grazing. We don’t serve water in the field So they have to drink here. No reason why not just because it’s inconvenient and when it’s very hot I let them come inside, anyway, more often Here another time little foal is drinking and look at Tibor. He is watching He is looking if it’s alright, I call this altruism because Tibor has no reason at all To defend this little guy against Rociero who’s also more or less friended with with Tibor. Altruism is a term that’s most used by scientists As you know I’m not a scientist, I am a researcher I’m a bachelor but never mind that. It’s not about me it’s about the horses Altruism is a term that’s been used many times and well it is very close to Anthropomorphism which is a thing that in science, and me too, we don’t like I mean they are horses they behave like Horses, they think like horses, they act like horses they’re not dressed up humans or whatever. I think thats very important to realize. So they have an evolutionary foundation. They have reasons for their social behavior Anyway so I thought at this moment okay it stopped I’m going to stop filming and then I come back and open the fences. …… and of course what happens look close. He jumps in between makes sure that Rociero takes distance and here I am coming and I think this is I think it’s pretty remarkable behavior That a horse is so caring for somebody who’s not, he’s not related with. Anyway just a movie I wanted to share with you. Have a nice day He is great …

100 thoughts on “Altruism in horses – Shetland pony defends little foal against stallion

  • Altruism is very difficult to prove as there are often many angles that one could think of that might benefit the one who is giving the 'altruistic' behaviour. This behaviour seen in these horses can be easily interpreted as possessiveness of the younger one by the older mini and moving the stallion off, as to not allow access. Sorry – I know you say you are right, but in animal behaviour, altruism is one of the most difficult to prove (as warm and fuzzy as it makes us humans feel).

  • I'm new to your channel and I just love the insight your observation and research provides. I'm learning so much! Thank you!

  • Altruism is kindness towards strangers and or without benefit to the individual who offers the act of kindness, support or help. If they are part or within the same group or herd. Then it is not altruism.
    If one horse where to save another species or a complete stranger-horse from a cougar or predator, without any bond or link with the other or having met them. Then that would be an act of altruism.
    Humans, will save small birds from cats, for no purpose – that is Altruism.
    Wild dolphins will save humans from Sharks without being taught to do so- that is Altruism.

    A horse excercising the natural peking order of their equine instincts. Is not altruism.

  • I knew there was gonna be a comment like this: "I thought it said autism in horses."

    I'm a genius.

    Or maybe I just see too much autism online floating about on the interwebs.

  • why not let him had other friends in the same size as he ? .Its not good fore the big horse too play whit the small ones. Thats why the small ones act that way frome not beeing hurt .

  • I don't know how much this lady really knows about horses/ponies but having grown up on a horse farm with horses and Shetland ponies, I wouldn't contribute the shetland's actions to altruism at all, rather it's been my experience male Shetlands are known for being fearless and rather cocky little equines…to see one act aggressively towards a stallion is par for the course in what you get with male shetlands…that's who they are.

  • That is one stunning stallion, and the name is gorgeous too. Gotta love little shetlands, they're very fiesty little guys.

  • We all need protective friends like Tiber is to the little one. I gathered the stallion wanted sex.

  • You stated the stallion wanted sex, but you didn't clue me in on the signs that told you that. I found the videos you have done, touching on horses and sex fascinating, and much appreciated, as this education is lacking. I am interested in the body language.

    I now know not to vigorously rub on a horses chest. I cannot recall doing so, but more by luck than knowledge. Wish you would elaborate in case I am also stupidly blind in other areas.

  • I'd see this more as possessiveness.  Have seen that with my horses.  "MY FRIEND".

    Geez that bay mini is hugely fat and I'd worry about him foundering.

  • why don't you separate the large stallion from the little ones? it sounds like it could possibly become a dangerous situation for the little one.

  • Miss Nicole, my name is Susan and while watching this video you speak of evolutionary behaviors. I wanted to ask of you to read a book called Destin to Reign by Joseph Prince. I don't know what your background may be but this book at the very least will help you to understand the word "grace." The older pony is showing grace to the younger. I hope you will take the time to read this book. I hope it will bring you grace as well.

  • Again, enjoy your educational videos. Not sure how to spell"Tebor", but anyway, I very much enjoy his "tough"personality. Great little horse!! He is brave and true to his friends.

  • Though it would be lovely to think this was altruism, I don't believe that this is what is happening here.

  • I think rather than altruism it is best explained by the herd mechanism. Little Tibor is acting like the leader of the herd (which is usually the wisest / oldest mare). So he has taken on the job of making sure everyone in the herd is acting correctly & to discipline or correct herd members when they are not. Most people think the stallion is the leader of the herd but it's actually the most knowledgeable mare (at least in the wild) who is the leader while the stallion has the job of protecting the herd from danger. Just read Monty Roberts books; he turned the equestrian world upside down with his methods after observing wild Mustangs & figuring out their herd mechanisms. In captivity, we also see geldings who take on the role of stallions to protect the herd (when I had just bought my gelded Belgian Warmblood he was a nightmare to handle because of this). Also in the wild Roberts observed that leadership roles can change depending on circumstances, so if the stallion is far away from danger a closer horse will alert the group and try to move the herd to safety. I don't think it is unreasonable that in captivityTibor is simply taking on the duties that the lead mare would have when making sure that there is harmony and good behaviour within the group. I bet if all these horses were just free in the wild we might witness a different dynamic.

  • Generally altruism is a described human (some few, not all) trait, but in this case I feel that you are correct in
    ascribing it to the pony friend. Thanks for the video.

  • It's natural herd behavior. That little guy has dominance on the baby is going to protect it from other horses as it would in the wild. Also, what is that, rope fencing? That is scary. It's loose ropes all around, right at leg level. I'd be scared my horse would get his foot hooked in it. Also, I would not keep a stallion horse with little ponies or miniatures. The kick from the stallion that would not hurt a regular horse too much could do a lot of damage to the tummy of a little horse. If people say, well foals are kept with stallions, I say, only if it's the sire. I've seen videos of stallions killing foals that are not their babies. In fact, your stallion might be after that foal for the reason that it's NOT his baby. The foals keep their mares from going into heat, and they'll kill the foal so the mare will go into heat. I'm not sure what is going on with Stallion in this instance since the momma of the foal isn't there, but it could still be instinct to go after it since it's not HIS.

  • Great video and I adore your stallion! Can I ask what colour is that please? It's my dream to own a luso x andalusian as I'd love a chocolate palomino. Yours took my breath away. Stunning (and your little ones are so adorable!)

  • Gosh, your narration is annoying! T is a video, you must tell stories within certain levels of tone. Not up, then down. Story plot is great, but your narrating must be improved. Please.

  • What a great video:)) thank you for sharing your beautiful horses with us !!:) And don't mind the rude comments about your English ! I understood every word and appreciated your commentary because I am not knowledgeable on horse behavior. I WISH I could speak 2 languages. Keep up the great work !!:)

  • Lol, little guys stick together.

    Probably the bug guy was just picking on the shorty like a bully and the other shorty was like " got a problem with short horses" xD

    I keep thinking the stud is like a jock
    And the black shorty is like the nervous shy person who gets picked on a lot.

    And the brown shorty is the type to bow up to bigger guys mostly hat being bullied about their hight xD
    But that's just me thinking that lol. It's cute and wonderful to watch horses.

  • I SO love your videos and tutorials and often watch them more than once. Your voice is very pleasant and calm which relaxes me. Please don't stop doing what you're doing so well x

  • Not to hate but why would u have a stallion with little shettys when he can be overly dominant, after all he is a stallion?

  • It's a lovely video, and I enjoyed your interpretation, but to me it looks more like the Shetland is saying…"He's mine, back off stallion."  Possessiveness is what I see here.  Thank you for the video.

  • Saw your video of your pony being butchered. I've raised horses and been around farm animals all my life. You should be banned from owning any animals.

  • oh dear god, some people come up with some weird ruddy ideas !! those two are playing !! have you never turned your horses out and watched them run round the field for a few minutes ?? that stallion isnt remotely interested in what they are doing do get a grip !!!!!!!

  • Horses are truly amazing. I clearly see altruistic behaviour, no doubt. I used to regularly visit my uncles far a few years back, and I could see this behaviour in some of the horses. I would also see the same behaviour with my nephew (9) and his horse. He would go inside the gates and all horses would come to greet, but his horse would push the others away. As my nephew grew he would allow the other horses to come closer. This horse has been known to do the same with small dogs and children.

    Loved the video que loved the narrative. Keep the videos coming 😊.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • What on earth are you doing keeping horses in such CRAPPY fences. Dangerous. Unprofessional. This is not animal caring AT ALL. Get a proper horse hard…you have a STALLION in those rotten fences? BAD ROLE MODELS. Glad I don't have your vet bills with horses wrecking themselves. LEARN ABOUT ANIMAL CARE before you co off posing about Altruisim….how about you get some altruism yourself…and CARE FOR YOUR HORSES in a better way. PS Why are your shetlands MORBIDLY obese/subclinical laminitic. GO GET ALTRUISM YOURSELF!

  • Its like a son to him or a friend. In a herd stallion defends all even yearlings against rivals whether related or not. Its an instinct not altruism. If there were mares in the herd, by the time the young males reach sexual maturity which is around 2 years old the stallion will kick em out to prevent in breeding and just out of domanince. In this case however they are like a small bachelor herd so theres just domanince play going on.

  • The foundation of the horse as with all animals is Adoni our Heavenly Father. God created horses and put man in charge of the. Thank you Nicole for sharing your videos!

  • How about plain old alpha. The 4 year old control's the group. He has a higher rank thus the stallion can be moved by this stout little guy. The 1 year old is his buddy. Size does not matter. Human thinking as to who is better doesn't matter. He is the boss.

  • Very interesting about the 3 horses. But why is the white horse on the left in a pen by itself & not running around like the other 3 in a paddock?

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