Introducing horses

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Introducing horses

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

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    08-03-2008, 08:16 AM
Introducing horses

What is the best and safest way to introduce horses to each other? We have a mare and a gelding and we are soon getting two new geldings. All four horses will live together for at least part of the time.

Should we just put them all into a paddock together and see what happens? Lol I think not!

I dunno... what should I do that's safe for handlers and horses alike?
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    08-03-2008, 08:31 AM
Is there somewhere you can keep them where they can see each other but not get to each other? Or even if they can sniff each other over a fence or something?

When we introduced a gelding to the mix of a gelding and a mare we had not much choice about it and they met straight away pretty much. If you have a large enough paddock you may be able to put them straight in with each other. Its not the best situation but its safest for you to let them sort it out themselves. Theyre going to anyway :) that's just the way they are they main thing I would be concerned about is lack of space for the new ones to get away and them being constantly harassed. Horses usually figure out their pecking order pretty quickly ;)
    08-03-2008, 08:36 AM
Weanling to a large group is easy (won't give details here), but adding a pair to a pair? What about putting one new and one old together to meet up? So two pairs of new partners for a day or two. Then put the four together.
    08-03-2008, 04:47 PM
Putting them in a paddock side by side to let them sniff each other. I would add one horse at a time to the herd. Let them settle down and change around the picking order without killing each other.
    08-03-2008, 08:44 PM
Thanks guys for the suggestions - I especially like Arrow's suggestion. We don't have to introduce them until two weeks time but I'll be thinking of the best place/time/way to do it so any more suggestions would be great :-D

Btw, to horses often badly hurt each other in these introductions? I get rather freaked out because of all the squeling and striking and chasing but no horse seems to get hurt more than a few scrapes. Is this fairly typical?
    08-03-2008, 09:27 PM
Its rare that anyone gets seriously hurt. Its only if some silly gelding decides to challenge the position of the alpha male :) even when we introduced my old standy in to the mix with the ever dominant jarred no one was hurt at all. There was just a lot of running around and kicking going on but none of the kicks connected. It took them a while to get to that point where they can be really close to each other without problems but once they had their little bit of carry on they went to their own seperate places and chilled out. As long as they stay a certain distance away most alphas wont go out of their way to hunt down the newbies. Having said that though a particularly dominant, aggressive male might do so.
    08-03-2008, 09:37 PM
I'd be more worried if it was 3 mares and a gelding, rather than 3 geldings and a mare--I think they'll be o.k. Can't wait to hear how it goes!
    08-03-2008, 11:14 PM
That's good to know.

I'm not worried about introducing the 15h gelding to my mare and gelding because he's really submissive and he'll just go with the flow and be willing to be bottom of the pecking order.

Its the 11 hand gelding and my original 11.2 gelding because both are very dominant and being similar sizes I suspect a fight may break out :-/

Ah well, guess I'll just have to wait and see!

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