I am a little nervous about introducing my guy to the other horses. He seems to get along with horse but his previous owner told me he has always been in a stall with a turnout (similar to the situation he is in now) so I don't know how he is going to react. I guess we have to take it one step at a time. I'm glad it worked out for your gelding!
Well give him a chance :) You can always move him out of there if he's not doing so hot. Horses constantly change and reassess heard leaders and whatnot. Once they figure out who's bottom and who's top, they're fine. Sometimes they try and change their title and there's a few bites or nicks but nothing terrible.
My horse has been on both top and bottom and he's never had worse than a few bite marks.
I disagree. Here's my example. Suppose you have a horse towards the bottom of the herd order; and he's turned out in a large herd, and when ever you go out to catch him, a dominant horse chases him away from you? You can catch the more dominant horse first, then your own, but it's time consuming and a pain. I don't see how that scenario, very common in herds, can be ascribed to bad handling.
I do agree with your point, but from experience.. so long as the horses in the herd know you to be higher up than they are, then you can easily grab your horse (even if he's squirrely or spirited) and ward off unwelcome horses. At least I can.. and if I can, then everyone should be able to!
However some horses have no respect at all for anyone and can be intimidating.. but I've managed so far :p
I went and talked to the owner of the place a couple days ago and they have a few different herds. One heard is for more easy going horses, and another is for more spirited horses. I think they have a few other groups of horses that they group together based on personality. They study your horse for a few days and decide which group he would fit best in.
That's kind of cool.. but I wouldn't want all the crazies in one pen. The quieter ones would be nice cooped together but I don't have a problem with mixing temperaments so long as they all know where to draw the line. If they start testing good fencing or whatnot then I'd think about regrouping.
All in all it's a good theory, this "natural boarding" it's exactly what my horse has been doing since I've known him and he looooooves it. So I can't complain :)