Selling a buddy-bonded horse.
With little space in the barn, my mom and I would really like to sell Lulu, our miniature mare, and we've been getting a lot of calls on her....but we're hesitant, for the fact that she means the world to my gelding Arthur.
He didn't give a darn about her when it was just the two of them, but as soon as we introduced more horses a few years ago, he has been COMPLETELY overprotective. I have never seen anything like it. Our stalls are free-access, and he keeps her corralled in one stall, not letting her out, just to keep her in one place away from the other horses. He's kicked and broken 3 water buckets in the last year; whenever another horse even passes the back of the stall he kicks out and doesn't care what's in his way. He never spends time outside anymore, unless it's standing right next to her and showing teeth to any horse who comes close to her. If I take her for a walk, he will run the fenceline for hours, until we get back, just whinnying pathetically. He can't think when he's away from her. Same thing when I take him on trail alone....he will whinny pitifully the ENTIRE ride. When I let him out the dutch door to go out for the day (in which case he runs right around to the back of the barn and herds Lulu back in a stall for the day) he practically runs me over to get away from any horses near the door. It's absolutely ridiculous. He treats Lulu's foal like gold.
It seems like cruelty to take her away from him, but I've always gone by the theory that horses do not love, just form bonds of convenience, so I'm hoping that maybe he only acts like this to keep his role as dominant horse in the barn. But he's going on 24 this year, and I really don't want to do anything to upset him. If we sold Lulu, would he bond to another horse? I think he would bond to her foal, Frappe, or Lenox, my mom's Perch. Before Lulu he bonded to other horses, but never with this obsessiveness.
What do you guys think? We're really having a hard time with this because we have interested buyers out the get-go, but if it upsets Arthur, it's not worth selling Lulu. Any experiences with this type of thing?