There was a recent study done on behavior of young horses in herds of different levels of maturity. Results showed that in a herd that is predominately horses under the age of 4, then there is more aggressive behavior and the young horses hangout with other young horses most of the time. If the herd is predominantly over 4 years old, the young horses had better behavior and didn't spend as much time with there peers. To test this, the scientists spend hours watching each situation and recorded how often the youngters bit, kicks, or rough-housed other horses. When there were more adult horses, the younger ones behaved better because the adults set an example. They were being taught a more proper way of social order in a herd.
At home, I have a herd of horses and i agree with this study's findings. When we add a new horse to the herd, it is taught how to act by the other horses. Either the newby makes a buddy that shows him the ropes, or he is bullied by the herd until he does what is expected of the adult leaders.
We can see this pattern in human groups as well. In a group of people that is mostly adults, the children are better behaved. In a group that children out number adults, it will most likely be a little more chaotic. For example, in a daycare setting, you can probably observe that it is quite hectic compared to one babysitter watching one or two kids. With a smaller ratio, the youngsters get more individual attention, and in turn behave better.
Posted by Jen Silva(3)