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My horse is being picked on..... is this really normal behaviour?

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        04-02-2013, 05:57 PM
      #11
    Green Broke
    This is what Kola's leg looks like now.
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        04-02-2013, 05:58 PM
      #12
    Trained
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Palomine    
    This is what Kola's leg looks like now.
    Poor baby!
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        04-02-2013, 05:59 PM
      #13
    Green Broke
    This is what his leg looked like day of attack, June 2012.

    You can see how much it has moved at the knee on near side.

    Hole vet is cleaned, was as big around as thumb and 2/3 inches deep where he had ran bolt into shoulder crashing through the cattle chute.
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        04-02-2013, 06:14 PM
      #14
    Yearling
    The pecking order is normal... But Out and out agression towards or by any particular horse is a problem.

    In a balanced herd, even the bosses don't act aggressively - they will certainly assert themselves, but they rarely bully to the extent being described.

    I would find another place to board if the barn owner can't do more than add another feeder to fix this situation. Having bloody bite marks all over him, and likely bruising to go with it just isn't fair to him... Or you, it will eventually cause problems for you be it that you can't ride due to a badly placed bruise or worse, because your horse actually ends up with a serious injury.

    Generally heirarchy is decided pretty quick among horses... A week or so, at most is all most herds need to settle down. It will shift day to day a bit, but any actual confrontations should be really minimal... Not a full on attack resulting in open wounds.

    I have had the occasional colt get a good beat down... Colts can be pushy and rude forcing more mature horses to teach them their place in life, but you would be able to note this sort of behavior by observing... In such cases it's usually pretty easy to see where the colt went wrong in his approach to an older or higher ranked horse. (For colts who are very annoying, I tend to pull them away from the herd for a few hours every day to give everyone a break, or find them a suitable playmate who will happily play and rough house)

    I have had the odd stallion get a bit carried away in rough play and need a reminder of when it's quitting time - but I am going to assume your barn owner doesn't run a stallion with horses she boards for other people. Besides that, the solution here is the obvious... Separate the horses which can't get along. It does happen, sometimes you have a horse which just seems to be "unlikeable" according to other horses - horse politics are usually only really understood by horses, we can guess and make observations, but we aren't horses.

    I have had a few really haggy mares who just couldn't seem to lay off the bottom horses - they were helped by a strong, balanced herd which was able to teach them that such behavior was unacceptable. Even now they tend to be a little quicker to snap or kick than most horses, but no longer the full on rage attacks they were known for.

    So yeah, if it were my horse, I'd be finding him a new place to board.
         
        04-02-2013, 08:19 PM
      #15
    Green Broke
    Horses do get a bit injured every now and then in herds, but if it's all the time and serious injury that is a concern.

    I think generally most horses can sort it out if they are in a large paddock and not too big a herd - but problems can arise when they congregate in a small area, which has happened. When there is one feed and a handful of horses they are of course going to get injured.

    I only keep my horse places where feeding in paddocks is not allowed. And if they must be given hay its spread out with more piles than there are horses. I've kept her places where people fed in paddocks before and it was a nightmare.

    I would move him. But if he's such a passive horse make sure you evaluate the new place to make sure it won't happen again.
         
        04-02-2013, 08:50 PM
      #16
    Weanling
    I would say move him. He seems like the "bottom" guy, and intertwined is one that has taken over that doesn't know how to quit. My friend was (old neighbor) was training a horse that was very dominate/aggressive toward other horses (leaving marks like this). With my permission, she pastured him in with my mare and a large, older gelding (he was a stud for awhile). The two of mine were very dominate, but not aggressive (they would only go so far as to make their point, then quit).

    First thing, the big 16+ h gelding I had put 2 back hooves straight to the head when the trainee charged/challenged him and wouldn't let up. After a month, she put him back in with the other horses she had, and didn't have near as many problems. (It was actually very fascinating to watch the difference it made in his total attitude)

    Sounds like yours is unfortunately paired with one of those. If that horse doesn't "know when to quit" and the owner/BO is not willing to do anything about it, you need to get yours gone. Those bites are beyond what's really normal. My horses get bites on them every so often, but nothing near that bad. I would be EXTREMELY concerned if that were to happen, let alone on a regular basis.

    My horses all share the same hay ring and pasture (Course there are only 3, I plan on boarding up to 2 additional for extra money, but in that case I would get an additional hay ring, and I have to get things set up here). Only 1 is technically mine, actually. They pick on each other, kick, bite, run, play, etc. I fine the stray hoof or teeth marks that break skin but not regularly and not bad.

    I'd move him out, take the hit, and then see if there's anywhere closer in the long term. I'd move him sooner than later, tho.
         
        04-02-2013, 09:47 PM
      #17
    Trained
    If they are fighting that much, there is probably not enough hay being fed to keep them content.
         
        04-04-2013, 09:46 PM
      #18
    Weanling
    If possible, I agree with the others who suggest moving him. I got my boy as a rescue- nearly starved, kept from the hay by 2 geldings and covered with nips. He is totally a bottom of the pecking order guy, and just gave up. I brought him to a friends, and we fattened him up- put him in a pasture with 3 others and had to end up separating him again when one of her geldings ran him from the water, kicked and bit him... finally my boy would just stand in the corner of the pasture and not come out. SOme horses are just bullies!
    Most 'normal' pecking order squabbles consist of some nips and ear pinning, but once the order is established, unless someone tries to move up in it, things move pretty smoothly. BUT... if there is not enough food, even the best of buddies can end up squabbling! Your BO should try putting multiple hay feeders out, so no one is kept from the hay. Yes, try a blanket on him as well. But unless she is willing to separate them, I would consider moving- if things are not smoothed out between the horses by now, I don't think things are going to change... ( and I know it breaks your heart in the meantime..)
    deserthorsewoman likes this.
         
        04-04-2013, 10:20 PM
      #19
    Foal
    Thank you to everyone for your replies!! I'm glad to know I am not overreacting. I have spoken to the BO again and there was talk of splitting the herd. There has also been two more horses added. I have also contacted other barns and ready to move after this weekend if things don't improve!!! Thanks guys!!!
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