hello! I have an appaloosa who is 15.2hh and at the moment he is living by himself, I would love to give him a buddy but I don't want a mini pony. Are alpacas good horse companions? And do you need to rug them in the rain, cold etc?
There's a farm a about a 1/4 mile down the road from us that has alpacas and horses housed together. They get along just fine. Just be careful that your horse is not aggressive towards smaller animals before leaving them together unattended. Also be aware that alpacas have different care requirements than horses. You may want to volunteer at an alpaca farm and get to know the species and all about their daily care and common health concerns before buying alpacas of your own.
I'm no expert on alpacas, but I have never seen a rug on an alpaca. The local farms that have them just have shelter available to them so they can get out of the weather if they want to.
Alpacas are small animals that cannot protect themselves from a horse.. They can't kick hard, they can't bite and they can't outrun a horse. I have seen far too many alpacas be seriously hurt from a horse (broken leg from kicks, broken necks from panicking trying to get away from being chase and large bites), in fact I have buried 6, and rehabbed 5 of them. Unless you have a very quiet, gentle horse, I find most horses will bully a llama or alpaca and I will not sell either to be a companion. I wean my mare way back when with alpacas, and she did well because she was very submissive. But I never had a foal or horse since then that was willing to give them the respect that they deserved.