In this article, we draw upon ethnographic fieldwork conducted in Mongolia and China to develop understandings of herd–herder (mal–malchin) relations further. We focus primarily on horse-herding practices and related divisions of labour, and the three concepts of herd intuition (zön), serenity (taa) and fortune (buyan, khishig, zaya), to present additional interpretations of human–animal relations in Mongolia. Through this exploration, we develop the concept of herd agency and examine how it relates to specific horse-herding knowledge and techniques, as well as the cosmological significance of human–animal relations. All three concepts reveal the importance of cosmological agents with herd–herder relations. We conclude by emphasising the changing nature and politics of human–animal relations in these regions.