I moved to a new barn a week ago with my mare. I wanted her to be kept out with the herd because she has lived in a herd from the day she was born (not the same one mind, as she was moved when she was purchased, but always a herd.) She is not dominant, but she's also not the lowest in the pecking order. She's 15.
When I moved I really stressed to the manager-even wrote it in my boarding contract- that it was important she was out all day with the herd, not in a private paddock. The thing with their private paddocks is the horses are only out half the day, then rotated and in the stall half the day. My mare lived outside almost 24/7 (if weather permitted) before I moved, and she'd go crazy if kept in a stall on a regular basis longer than overnight.
Today I went out to the barn to find that she was not with the herd, but had to search her out in a private paddock. Was she lame? Was she sick? I had no idea. I spent an hour trying to track down someone who could help me figure it out. This made me kind of angry, because if there was an issue the manager should have notified me even if he was going to carry through regardless. We spend a lot of money for boarding as well, and I think owners have a right to be told these things and NOT have to panic because they don't know what happened to their horse.
Finally he calls me back and explains how the past few days some mares have been coming in with scratches and ripped blankets, and that the obvious reason was my horse-although they never monitored them or actually witnessed anything.
I do not believe she marched into the herd, and began attacking. I suspect that the other mares picked on her as she was new, and she's just not the type of horse to back down-if that makes sense. I know her history, and a friend who used to be at the same barn who knew her didn't think she would be aggressive either.
I don't want to sound like I am in denial because there's obviously the possibility that she caused problems, but I am confused as to why she would have flared up like this, when she'd been moved from herd to herd before and never had a problem.
A detail-a horse that used to board at our old barn moved in a week before us. She'd lived with my mare and her herd for awhile, and then had to be kept separate. She was crazy. She would shred blankets, bang up the other mares, and just never 'settled.'
I don't want to endanger other horses, I don't want to move barns, but I don't want my horse to have to be isolated after she's lived her whole life outside with a herd and space to roam.