||Abstract Herds of ungulates, flocks of birds, swarms of insects and schools of fish move in coordinated groups. Computer models show that only one or very few animals are needed to initiate and direct movement. To investigate initiation mechanisms further, we studied two ways in which movement can be initiated in feral horses: herding, and departure from the group. We examined traits affecting the likelihood of a horse initiating movement i.e. social rank, affiliative relationships, spatial position, and social network. We also investigated whether group members join a movement in dominance rank order. Our results show that whereas herding is exclusive to alpha males, any group member may initiate movement by departure. Social bonds, the number of animals interacted with, and the spatial position were not significantly associated with movement initiation. We did not find movement initiation by departure to be exclusive to any type of individual. Instead we find evidence for a limited form of distributed leadership, with higher ranking animals being followed more often.