Horse behavior?

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Horse behavior?

This is a discussion on Horse behavior? within the Horse Talk forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

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        08-29-2012, 07:59 AM
    Horse behavior?

    Some of you know that we recently brought in a new horse. He is 18 and just a real sweet heart! When we got my son's horse (14 year old pinto Arabian gelding) we put him in a pasture next to our pony (20+ year old shetland/mini mare) so that they could be close, but not with each other. They fought through the fence the entire time. We finally, after 2 weeks, just put them together so that they could just fight it out. Everything was perfectly fighting or anything. They have been best friends ever sinc, although the arabian is alpha horse.

    Now, we did the same with the new horse, him on one side of the fence, the other two on the other side. There has never been any arguing or fighting, they have just been doing something strange (at least to me). They will stand there, one with his head over the fence and they will stand with their faces side by side. And, ever once in a while they will rub faces together. Then, the new horse will move to the pony and he always moves to her left side (she is blind on her right side from a birth defect). He will put his head over the fence and hold it way down so that he can do the same to the pony. And, they will stand with the sides of their faces together. They will go back and forth.

    I was just wondering if this is a form of affection or is it a sign of dominance. This new horse was low man on the totem pole at his previous owners place.
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        08-29-2012, 08:10 AM
    Wow never seen anything like that before. I'm interested in what others will have to say as well. That does seem odd.
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        08-29-2012, 08:21 AM
    Two geldings and a mare, a miniature herd. Now you get to watch the dynamics of the herd in action. The new horse may be asking for acceptance. Altho your son's gelding may be alpha he has taken on the role of stallion who remains watchful for predators. She's the boss and makes the decisions.
        08-29-2012, 08:38 AM
    I was just thinking about it...he does the same thing to my girls also. You can see in the horse picture section of him putting his head down to my daughters level and she giving him a kiss. There is no aggression at all, just a very calm, gentle behavior.

    My husband and I were debating about whether the horses were ready to be put together and decided to wait because we didn't know what this behavior was all about.

    We are taking things slowly and haven't rode the new horse, except for letting my daughter sit on him for a second while seeing if her saddle would fit him. The girls just go in with the horse and walk and talk to him. We also go on the otherside of the fence and my son spends time with his horse and the pony with all together at the fence. They all just stand there and do not show any bad behavior.

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