Introducing Mare to New Herd? Help or Advise PLEASE!!

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Introducing Mare to New Herd? Help or Advise PLEASE!!

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  • How can i introduce my new mare to my mare and gelding
  • Introducing a new mare to a old herd?

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    11-07-2012, 06:30 PM
Introducing Mare to New Herd? Help or Advise PLEASE!!

I just bought a 3 year old QH paint mare in October and I am currently boarding her at a friend's farm. My friend has a barn and two pastures (winter and summer). For the past couple weeks my mare has been alone in the winter pasture and occasionally in her stall in the barn. My friend's horses have been in the summer pasture. (The two pastures are separated and the horses have only seen and smelled each other from a distance) Yesterday I had to stall my horse and help move the other horses from the summer pasture down the the winter pasture for the season. After the move my friend suggested turning my mare out to see how the others would take to her. It was terrifying to say the least. My mare is super friendly and submissive to upon being turned out she slowly sauntered over to the herd to socialize and was immediately chased/kicked/and bit at. She tried fleeing as she is not a fighter but she was brutally pursued and cornered several times. I intervened after she was cornered and stalled her. We decided to try again today.. She was chased and driven off and on. The existing herd let her graze by herself for a while than they would get after her. (The existing herd consists of 4 mares and a gelding.. they are all standardbred x ponies and are smaller than my girl) The male seems to be the most aggressive when he persues her he doesn't let up when she tries to flee. The other mares will chase her a bit but let off when she runs away. I know it is normal for new horses to be chased off and for some fighting to happen in order for the new "pecking order" to be established. I'm just wondering how long will this last? Is it normal for a gelding in a herd of mares to be this aggressive with a new mare? My mare was previously kept at a farm where she was born and raised with her mother and younger brother so she is used to being with other horses. I am keeping her stalled and letting her out a couple hours a day and trying to supervise the interaction with the other horses (without interfering as much as possible). How long do you give it before you decide that two or more horses will just not get along? Any advice would help so much! Thanks!
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    11-07-2012, 06:41 PM
When I introduced my standy mare to the herd for the first time it basically went like this, and continued on like that for a few weeks. They're all just establishing order, and they want her to know she's at the bottom because she's so submissive. It could go on for a little while. My mare still pushes my mums horse around and we bought her back in February.
    11-07-2012, 08:15 PM
Sounds pretty normal to me. I just bought a 3yo mare and put her into my herd of 3 geldings/1 mare. She is the largest of my herd and seems to be a middle of the herd horse. The fireworks went as expected, and my new mare unfortunately caught my senior alpha arab in the leg when standing butt to butt firing off at each other on the 2nd day, causing him minor injury. My friendliest gelding and mare buddied up with her really quick and now, 2.5 weeks later and many pieces of missing hair around the mare's butt/back legs, she is well accepted by all, although my arab is not fond of her.

FYI, as hard as it is to watch, I allow the herd to do what they need to and only remove a horse if injured. It will settle significantly after a few days uninterrupted time together. Just make sure there is enough space in paddock/pasture for the new horse to escape getting cornered.
    11-07-2012, 09:06 PM
The only thing that really worries me is that the back of the barn opens into the pasture and she tries to linger around the back of the barn (I think she feels safe there because it is close to her stall). The other horses chase and corner her under the lean to / over hang behind the barn and its kinda close quarters. Especially with the old seeder that's sitting behind the overhang / lean to. She was being chased and tried to jump it once *shudders* They have so much open pasture to run in but they keep having all these blow outs right by the back of the barn (the least safe place to be). And I mean it when I say this gelding is NASTY! He was still pretty mean today but yesterday.. I thought he was trying to kill her. She is by far the youngest.. I think the youngest in the existing herd is like 8-10 years old. Could it also be an age diffece thing?
    11-30-2012, 11:33 PM
I am totally not well versed in this but will share my experience for what its worth.
I had a really dominant mare who had finally became over attached to my second mare. When it was time to introduce my 3rd mare to the herd, I removed the dominate mare (put her next to them in stalls but did not turn her out with those two) and let the the other two buddy up and work out their pecking order before introducing my dominate mare.
Maybe you guys could keep the gelding separate for a bit?
    12-01-2012, 12:00 AM
I think along the lines of "justicehorse". They'll figure it out all on their own. Hopefully. Some just never do. My wife, giving amazing woman, sold her beloved paint for this reason. Some stalled horses never learn heard dynamic and that just makes it a worse situation. What can you do? Ride them together, catch and feed together, and cross your fingers. I always say theyre 1000lbs 2yr olds. If they can cause a ruckus or hurt themselves they will.
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    12-01-2012, 12:15 AM
My parents have a ranch, and we basically have two herds of horses that are usually kept separate - three young ones and three older ones. In the older herd, I have a 16 yr old gelding who is the boss, and very dominant.

Last summer the two herds ended up in the same pasture somehow (I think some gates were opened by tricky horses - can't remember the details). My old gelding ran my 2-year-old gelding relentlessly around the pasture, and nearly put him through the fence. Fortunately, my dad realized what had happened, and got everything sorted out. This was in a 40 acre + pasture.

I don't want to make you paranoid, but **** can happen. Keep an eye on them. Remove anything they can hurt themselves on, if you can. Maybe try removing the dominant horse until the others establish their pecking order.

And let me know how that goes, because at some point I'm going to have to integrate our herds (sort of hoping that once my colt is a bit older, he'll be able to stand up to the old tyrant a little better.)

Good luck!
    12-01-2012, 12:32 AM
From my best knowledge, dominate mare= herd leader. Top gelding or stud=does as she wishes including running other horses off. Other mares? You may ask= muscle to make up for a poor job done by said stud or gelding. Mares will kill a stud given the right set instances.
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    12-01-2012, 01:11 AM
In wild horse herds (or presumably broodmare bands), the dominant mare is the boss, rather than the stallion. But I don't think it necessarily works that way in domestic herds with a bunch of geldings. Often its an older horse that has been there for a long time. Basically, the horse that makes the other horses move out of its way is the top horse, I think.

In the winter, we move the mare from the "old horse" herd into the "young horse" herd. She's number 2 in the old herd. She becomes the boss of the young horses, but she isn't overly aggressive.

I sometimes think the old guy has some extra testerone floating around though, so maybe that's a factor (he behaves around humans, but seems a little too interested in in-heat mares in the pasture).
    12-02-2012, 03:48 PM
Take the gelding out for a while and make it to where she's with the mares and they can talk to the gelding over a fence.

Or just let them work it out.

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