Hi all! New here...only posted once, but thought I would tell my recent story.
In my first post I said I was back into horses after many years. An old friend had a horse for me, their barn was full, so took her, she's 8. I didn't want her to alone so I found a nice quiet 24 yo to buy.
At first things seemed to work, but as the months since Christmas passed, my younger one started to become really aggressive to the older mare. She goes after her with bared teeth, spins around and kicks at her. The older one is constantly jumping out of the way. Which makes me feel bad because she has bad legs....that is why I took her, to give her a retirement home.
Well I have been trying to do ground work with the younger one, but now she is starting to rear, and spin around.....I have a bad back and leg from an accident, so I have now lost confidence and am frightened for my physical well being....I can't afford to hurt myself....too many surgeries already.
Long story short, it was always the understanding that if things didn't work out with the young one, I could give the young one back.......so I just made the call to tell my friend it's not working, and she needs to go.....she understands.
That was such a hard call on so many levels, but I know deep in my heart that I need to protect myself physically, and this horse is just too young, spirited, and barn sour for me at this point in my life....and for my old girl.
Now, for the question....do I look for another as a companion horse for my 24 yo? I know they are herd animals, so I think I should. I also know there are hierarchies with horses, so am looking for another OLD safe horse....thinking the age difference could be part of the issue? I know there are deeper issues withis young horse that I am not getting into here....
I am just Leary of buying another and them not getting along. Although, I've never in all my years met a horse so aggressive as this one.......like I said, I understand the hierarchy, but this just isn't working! The old horse is easy going and passive....such a pleasure to be around....
What do I do, look for another, or stick to one old one?
Welcome! Good for you for realizing when enough is enough. It sounds like the young horse wasn't a good fit at all. If you are looking for a horse you can ride and enjoy that is also a good companion for your old mare, I'd look for an older semi-retired schoolmaster or been there done that trail horse. There is no guarantee the horses won't fight for a time until the pecking order is established, but different horses may be more compatible.
It sounds like the younger horse lacked manners and had dominance issues overall, but age could also have been a bit of an issue too. Horses lash out to assert their position of dominance, but usually once it is determined, they quit.
My two geldings used to fight quite a lot, but the older was always dominant even though the younger was the instigator. Recently, my old guy (22) injured his eye and gave up his dominant position. I think for a while, he just didn't feel good enough to fight for it. Even now the the eye has healed, he is still submissive to the other, but the younger horse doesn't go at him anymore either. It's like they have reached an understanding and now live happily with it.
I think this is common when an older and younger horse are involved, as the wiser and more experienced older horse would be the leader. When they get to a point that aging starts to erode their strength and stamina, a younger horse will challenge them for leadership. This is my theory anyways, for what it's worth.
I wish you the best in finding another horse that will be a good companion for your old mare.