Ok -- this might be totally out of whack, but the question at the end of the story is, should I risk another horse or not?
Horse #1 in the tale -- 9 yr old OTSTd Gelding. Pulled due to minor COPD, retired for 2 years when I got him and was feeling great. He was lonely, so I got an 8 yr old OTStd mare (#2) that was starved and lame. Didn't expect much from her, just companion for #1. Time went by... #2 was feeling better and it looked like she would make it. More time and they were playing together in the field and #2 is actually the boss. Yipee! But, #2 is more and more the boss all the time. One morning I went out to the barn and found #1 has suffered a puncture wound to his belly -- small but severe and intestinal damage -- no hope. He was put down. We determined that he fell against a 1/2" bolt that projected at most 3/4" out of a door that would move when pushed. So, he must have fallen HARD to get that puncture wound. Now #2, companion mare, was alone and so would run to the neighbour's for company. That was not good, so along comes OTSTD #3 -- a 10 yr old gelding 2 weeks off the track. #3 And #2 got along great. #2 is definitely the boss and dictates when #3 shall eat, but they played together and they would each fuss when the other was out. One day I went out to the barn and found #3 in severe shock and I can't see why, other than something happened in the barn as there is some damage to the stall. I found #2's hair on the damaged area, no sign of #3's hair anywhere, but he is the one upset. #2 didn't have a scratch. #3 had minor scratches on him, but he was definitely in trouble. Called the vet and the verdict was: his spleen had MOVED! And was now ENLARGED so his blood couldn't circulate, hence the shock. Again, no hope -- he was put down.
So, now I have Mare #2, whose nickname without a smile has become "Killer". The question is, "Is she?" Since she has recovered she has always most definitely been the boss. She says which hay pile she gets and when. She says when it's time to be somewhere in the paddock. But she was never aggressive; didn't kick, bite or chase the other horses. Just the standard head throw, or ears back, or butt turn around. I never, ever saw her actually hurt or really threaten to hurt the other horses. She is a great horse around people too. The only thing I ever noticed was that when on a ride with other horses, she would kick if another horse or dog got too close. But she didn't go out of her way to get them. Just "stay out of my space." Red Ribbon horse.
Now she's alone. I wanted to get a donkey to keep her company because I'm scared she's too bossy and has, in this bossy-ness, managed to kill two geldings. Is this possible? Or have we just suffered incredible bad luck and coincidence? BTW, this barn and paddock are as safe as any other. Before we bought this farm, there were horses here for years without a problem. Where I lived before with horses, there were all kinds of objects that now I look at as dangerous, but we had probably 10 horses there and never a serious injury. What in the world is going on here?
The rest of my family wants another horse. I'm scared to get another one. I figure a donkey will look after itself and be a companion, but the family has nixed the donkey idea. If I don't get another horse, any other suggestions for a companion? No ponies, please.