Why Don't Barns Have Mixed Gender Herds?? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 23 Old 09-10-2011, 10:46 PM
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We have both. The pasture horses are mixed. The barn horses are turned out by gender. Both situations work just fine.
A couple anecdotal observations, which could be completely coincidental (having nothing to do with where they're turned out, but rather just the personalities of the horses who happen to be there):
The horses in the mare-only field are a lot more "marish" than the mares in the mixed herd field.
The geldings in the gelding-only field play more than the geldings in the mixed herd field.
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post #12 of 23 Old 09-11-2011, 01:33 AM
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Getting herd-bound is totally not limited to mare/gelding bonds. Before I sold my gelding him and another gelding we have would spend all day at shows whinnying to each other.

We have two gelding two mares - they get along fine, haven't noticed any difference from when it was three gelding, or one gelding two mares, or two mares one gelding.
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post #13 of 23 Old 09-11-2011, 06:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Monty77 View Post
The situation at my barn is that the mares are nuts, the geldings act like perfect gentlemen (unless someone gets out of line) and the dude horses have the same dynamic as the geldings... I just want to know peoples opinion on this as the mare do not get access to grass because of the lack of fields and the large number of geldings.
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I have a pet theory that conflict in a domestic herd has more to do with arguments over resources than gender. I used to keep my horse at a barn where all the horses lived on dry-lots. They were fed plenty of hay, which was spread across the paddocks in as many piles as the staff could manage, but the nature of the dry-lot is that the hay will still be in discrete piles. The horses used to get in all kinds of scuffles, claiming piles of hay, chasing others away, quite aggressively sometimes. At one point, they tried round bales as they seemed more economically efficient for the barn and had less hay wastage, but that was worse, as several dominant herd members would become Lords of the Round Bale and drive everything else away.

In herds that are kept on pasture, where forage is not such an obviously finite resource, there seem to be less arguments, regardless of the gender of the horses.
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post #14 of 23 Old 09-16-2011, 12:38 AM
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I have 2 large pastures (approx 25+ acres each) that have 10 horses in each. They are mixed herds and I do this because I would have a harder time finding boarders. If I have 2 mares spots open but have 2 geldings wanting in.. it's silly to turn them away.. not only do you lose money that way but pasture management becomes harder.

I also have mares that can't be together.. same with geldings. I try to separate by personalities. Right now I have older horses in 1 pasture with a dominant younger one (or two) and then the younger horses in the other. Generally they separate themselves into smaller herds of 2 or 3 and I just try to keep them together. In the 2 years I've had those pastures open I've only had 2 horses with injuries requiring stitches and they weren't that bad.

I just tell my new pasture boarders to expect scuff marks the first month. I also don't allow back shoes in pasture boarding.
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post #15 of 23 Old 09-16-2011, 01:17 PM
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I haven’t had problems with my mixed pastures much, my uncle has a bunch of herd-bound geldings in a gelding only pasture. The only issues I have had where one gelding who decided no other horse in the trails was allowed around his mares or his geldings. One of the mares was the type of horse to be alone but grew close to that one horse, but she still pushed him or any horse though the fence, but when alone she was a doll. Now, right now I have 2 mares and 3 geldings. They do group of, my mustang mare and a mustang mixed gelding are best buds. My mare knows when outside of the pasture her mind is to focus on me only. The gelding on the other hand isn’t worked with enough to have this mind set, but could easily be taught it. Now, my Dad’s walker gelding and my paint mare, are also best buddies but again I don’t let them get herd bound. I have saw more issues with a gelding getting herd-bound to another gelding then an gelding and mare. Also my horses don’t really fight other than two of the geldings fight over food, and the one mare will push my other mare away, every once in awhile my Mustang mare will pick a fight with the geldings. I’m sure keeping mare and geldings in different pastures works for some people, but it’s not something I’m looking forward to, a boarding places having where my walker gelding and Paint mare will go, as they are buddies and are supposed to be able to get along tied to an high-line over night or in the trailer or in the trails.

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post #16 of 23 Old 09-16-2011, 01:32 PM
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I can't keep Soda in with all geldings. He is extremely aggressive with them and while he is still aggressive with mares it isn't nearly as bad. Of course, he gets overly attached, but I'd rather deal with that than major injuries/wounds.
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post #17 of 23 Old 09-22-2011, 05:11 AM
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I won't reiterate what others have said.

Personally, my mare just doesn't like geldings. She isn't aggressive towards them, but she won't have anything to do with them and won't tolerate them in her space. We have been at 3 barns in less than a year - long story. We were at one barn that separated. That's when I realized she got along with mares fine, but not geldings. Now she is turned out in a HUGE pasture, with mostly mares and I think 1-2 geldings. One gelding believes she is "his" mare, despite her refusal to associate with him, but he didn't give me much problem after he learned that I am the alpha over everyone in that pasture - and I will take "his" mare if I wish.

Thankfully, Amber learned a long time ago that I can be much scarier than any of the pasture bullies she deals with, so horses being foolish around us doesn't bother her, and she trusts me to handle any horses threatening us. So a possessive gelding we can make quick work of.

She is much happier in her 24/7 turnout though, even with mixed genders, than at the same-gender turnout barn that only turned her out for 3 hours (against my instruction)! The pasture is big enough that she doesn't have to feel cramped with the geldings.

Obviously not every gelding-hating mare is as tolerant as mine..."don't bother me, I won't bother you" is her role in the pasture. She likes being with her herd, but she doesn't really get involved in the herd's social 'world'. Kind of complicated, really. She's definitely the dominant mare out there, but she could care less what everyone else is doing, so long as it isn't affecting her.

Case of this - and another point on mare/gelding separation - a new horse, a 4 y/o TB filly, got turned out with their herd. The gelding who is SO possessive over mares was really giving her a hard time trying to dominate her. She ended up going through a fence. She got banged up, but the vet has said she will recover fully. All the horses got involved, except Amber. I was told that she was standing several yards away, standing still, just watching everything. She doesn't make a point to assert herself over a new horse, and really shows no interest in new horses, unless they get in her way...

Cinnamon Whiskey 11 y/o 15hh Chestnut AQHA mare, 2'6 Jumpers
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post #18 of 23 Old 10-04-2011, 08:42 PM
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I don't get it, either. Every barn I've ever ridden at has turned their lesson horses out all together, but often separate the boarder's horses. I never saw any real reason to separate them - the mares and geldings always got along fine. Horses would come in with kick or bite marks from both the mixed fields and the single-gender fields, so who cares!

At my university, my coach for the first 3 years turned out genders together - divided into the bossy field, the average field, and the wussy field. It worked great. Then along came a new coach, and she immediately separated everybody, much to the dismay of those horses with a best friend of the opposite gender. And then since there only shook out to be one mare field, you had real mean mares in with the old wussy mares, which was worse to me. And one of my favorite old school horses, who only had one friend in the whole world (a mare) was a friendless reject in his gelding field and was always chased off the hay. So, it really irked me.

I guess that turned into a rant! I have no issue with mare-gelding turnout ;)
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post #19 of 23 Old 10-14-2011, 01:14 PM
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My gelding is in a mixed group up to 12 horses.
They have a huge pasture and there aren't any problems.
It's also a mixed lesson horse / boardhorse group.
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post #20 of 23 Old 10-14-2011, 07:19 PM
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We do daily turnout, we have the mares and geldings seperated. At first we had both mares and geldings in the same pasture but we decided to seperate them because it was becoming difficult to bring them in at night. They all would herd at the gate ready to be led in. So now we have the big pasture split, and we have geldings on one side and mares on the other. It works very well! For the most part we had no troubles when we had both the mares and geldings out together. Sometimes we would get a gelding who was a bit proud cut so he wouldnt be able to go out but instead he would be put in his own turnout pin for the day.
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conflict , gender , herd

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