As you all know, we have three Mustangs - wild horses - feral horses - normal by all accounts, yet somehow different. I have spent a good deal of time just watching all the horses around us: about 40 across the road at the livery, and friend's horses. I have started picking up on subtle differences between our wild guys and the "domestics", as I call them. There are a few at the livery that are crosses, like my two, and one BLM Mustang that they use. The differences I have noticed apply to those also - they fit into the "wild" side.
We have our daughter's horse up here with us, a domestic, albeit a ranch raised, unspoiled, very smart mare. She has been losing a lot of weight lately; so much so that I was getting quite worried. The "wild ones" don't particularly like her eating with them because she tends to be a slob, as do most domestics. That's one of the most prominent differences. Wild horses don't waste food; they don't throw it around; they don't tromp on it; they definitely don't POOP on it! It might be all you get. So, whenever the domestic starts messing with her food, they chase her out of the feeder. I would feed her in a seperate feeder to save her stress, thinking that was why she was losing weight. Didn't work. Two days ago, I started actually seperating her to a special pen to eat so the others couldn't crowd her and she could eat all day if she wanted. That same day I talked to a horse info person in town who suggested maybe the whole problem was that she just ate slower than the others. I bought some probios anyway, just to help put the weight back on before winter.
Well, the other pen is working like a charm, but is also emphasizing the differences again. Now that Estes has enough food, she has regained energy and is giving the wild ones something to think about. It's fun having the old girl back to herself. As for the differences: when food is withheld from the wild ones, they GET all energetic and rowdy, as if to say,"Just let me out of this pen. I'll get my own food!" When food is withheld from domestics, they get lethargic, as if conserving energy until the human appears with food. I had noticed this before when I would cut my mare's rations if she was putting on weight. She would get very rowdy. Now, just the opposite is so apparent with Estes; within 24 hours of being allowed to eat her full rations, she has become rowdy.
Just one more of the many nuances of the animal world.