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Meet and Greet gone wrong

This is a discussion on Meet and Greet gone wrong within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

     
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        12-06-2009, 12:07 PM
      #11
    Green Broke
    Hmmm, this is a tough one. Major kudos to you for taking these guys on, and not just giving up on Christopher and handing him back.

    This might be a place where a little conditioning might help, if you have the time and patience for it. Since you have already separated them in two separate pastures, you are in a position where this might work.

    Take baby steps, to start with. Take Christopher on lead into Honey's pasture. Start out keeping him on lead, just let him graze or have a carrot in Honey's pasture, just like 10 minutes at a time. Reprimand any bad behavior sharply and put him back in his field, but make going into Honey's field a good association. Praise or treat him as long as he acts calm, grazing and not acting mean towards Honey. The minute those ears go back at her, snap that lead up and take him back to his pasture, don't fuss over him in his own pasture, make sure the daily 'good things' he gets are always associated with being around Honey. Work your way up to taking the lead line off and letting him graze or whatever for 10 minutes, always supervised, and always quick to end the activity at the first sign of churlishness he exhibits towards your mare. Don't walk away or leave them together unsupervised for some time - not until you are sure you can trust him. Each time he is showing signs of success, reward him and then up the ante - give him and Honey treats side by side, pet them together, etc. Horses are creatures of association, it might be a bit of a long process doing it this way, but it should work. He will likely always lord over her a bit, horses will always need to sort a pecking order out amongst themselves we can't really control very much - some horses are simply more dominant natured than others. I think the idea of putting a bell on him is brilliant - she can defend herself a bit better when she knows he is coming.
         
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        12-06-2009, 04:51 PM
      #12
    Green Broke
    I agree with Vida, didn't even think of that one...
         
        12-06-2009, 09:46 PM
      #13
    Yearling
    I also like the idea of the bell. It sounds like she wants to be around another horse, and it makes sense for her to be submissive to whomever you bring in, but the usual "let them sort it out" is hard since she could really hurt herself running around. I think the bell is a great idea, it will allow them time to figure it out without him startling her. My gelding and his pasturemate took a couple of months to sort out their dynamic but they are absolutely inseparable now. There were a lot of nips, kicks, and bites but eventually it was fine and no serious injuries.
         
        12-07-2009, 02:50 PM
      #14
    Trained
    At 39 I am not sure I would have even brought in another horse; if she'd been fine previously, why mess with her state of mind? That she's blind, as you've found out, further complicates things, and so further upsets her!

    You could have tried a goat, sheep, or even a llama; these would have made perfectly acceptable buddies as well, and they wouldn't have tried to dominate her, and thus she wouldn't have been so 'turned upside down' by the process.

    Of course, now, you've got another horse, who knows how to pick on her, and make life miserable for her. What fun is it for either horse to live a solitary life, when you got the other one for companionship for the other? It's up to you, but I would return him, or find a good home for him yourself, and look for a different sort of companion.
         
        12-07-2009, 03:36 PM
      #15
    Weanling
    I like the bell idea. He is being a naughty little brat, but if you give him a bell it could help. I would even think you could probably braid small bells into his mane and tail...lol. He might look funny, but it could help out.
         

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