How can I get my mare to be okay in a pasture alone?
 
 

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How can I get my mare to be okay in a pasture alone?

This is a discussion on How can I get my mare to be okay in a pasture alone? within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category
  • Horses being moved to a pasture alone after being in a herd
  • My horse gets herd bound but paces all night without a friend

 
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    04-11-2011, 12:27 AM
  #1
Foal
How can I get my mare to be okay in a pasture alone?

The stable I am keeping my mare at has two paddocks. The one in the front, which to my understanding was the one I was leasing and one in the back.The one in the back is very small and what little grass is in it isn't long enough for a horse to eat.
When I first brought my mare out there she had the whole front paddock to herself. She ran the fence line for a short while but she could easily reach her head over the fence to smell the horses in the adjacent feild (owned by the people who lived next door) The next day we introduced my mare to another mare and they shared the front pasture. After about a week of having them in the front the woman who owns the paddocks wanted to move her other four horses into the front so they could graze some. This did not work out well. Two of her horses were very nasty to my mare so I chose to move her and Gypsy (the mare she was originally with) to the back. The problem with that is it is very small and there is nothing for them to graze on.
I had noticed everyday on my way out there about four houses down the road there was a house with a large unoccupied pasture in the back. So today I stopped by and asked them if they would mind me bringing my horse down every other couple of days. Thankfully they were very generous and were more than happy to welcome my horse.
My dilema:
Pep (My mare) freaks. She walked just fine down the road only stopping once to look back, but when I got to the pasture and let her go she ran frantically. Whinnying and running up and down the fence line. I feel horrible but I left her out there. I don't know how to brake her of this bad habbit where she thinks she has to be with other horses at all times. I've even road her a few times where she has tried to turn around and get back to the other horses. When she was in the paddock with gypsy I had to start locking her in her stall at feeding time because Pep is not a Alpha and Gypsy would push her out of her stall and eat all her hay and feed. Pep is an OTTB so she is a little under weight. I am paying top dollar for quality feed and suppliments and can't afford to have this eaten by another horse at every feeding. But my problem with locking her in her stall even when she can see the other mare she paces frantically back and forth. She has scratches on her face from the trailer ride when I picked her up (yes she trailers horribly too, I think because she is alone) but now has twice as many from rubbing her head in her stall. It's like lose lose for me. If I don't lock her up she doesnt get to eat her feed, if I lock her in her stall she paces works up a sweat and bangs up her face more, and now that I walked her down the road so she can graze, she just works herself into a dripping sweat. Please help me! Should I leave her in this pasture alone until she just gets over it? Keep her in the stall for feedings where she bangs her face up more? I can't hand feed her to keep her lose with Gypsy just to make sure she gets her feed but she desperatly needs to put on a few more pounds. Any advice I would so greatly appreciate!
Also, because of all of this I have been considering moving her to another stable where she has her own small paddock with a stall in it but it has horses all around her so she isn't alone. I just want to be able to trailer her with out her banging up her face, keep her in a stall without her wanting to be out with the other horses, and have her be able to eat her feed that I work very hard so I am able to buy for her
     
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    04-11-2011, 01:13 AM
  #2
Foal
If it were mine and I had the capability to move her I would. Totally. Someplace she has her own paddock to eat but still has the other horses around. Sometimes a horse just needs to get over their "herd bound" attitude, but sounds to me like she is majorly herd bound and is putting herself in harms way due to it. For her safety and your pocket book, I'd move her to a place where she has her own paddock yet still has other horses around to comfort her. :)
     
    04-11-2011, 01:29 AM
  #3
Foal
I'm pretty sure that's what I'm going to do at the begining of next month. I already payed for this month and don't have money like that to throw around. So do you think it is okay I have her staying the night right now in a pasture alone? I went out there and checked on her and she was finally calmed down and eating the grass but it might start all over again in the morning. I was only going to leave her out for the night, but am considering leaving her out there tomorrow as well because her behavior is just unacceptable. There is no where in this feild she can really hurt herself unless she hurts a leg from running.
     
    04-11-2011, 01:51 AM
  #4
Started
Why not ask the nice folks with the pasture if you can put the other horse that your horse gets along with in there, too? Seems like the other horse'd benefit from extra grass, & your horse'd have her for companionship.

If you can't do that for some reason, I'd really look for a Shetland pony or something to keep her company. Some horses manage to get over their upset over being alone, but remember, they're hard-wired as herd animals, & do SO much better when with at least one other horse.

When you become the leader/wise caretaker of your horse, you are the alpha in your "herd of two". That's how your horse sees it, & so leaves other horses without a fuss when she trusts you as leader.
     
    04-11-2011, 01:57 AM
  #5
Foal
Thats just it, she doesnt really get along with the other mare. She just does better with her than any of the others. That mare pins her ears back and I assume has bit or kicked my horse before becaue when she comes around me and my horse my horse has actually jumped to get out of her way.
     
    04-11-2011, 02:11 AM
  #6
Trained
My mare did the same thing over the past couple of weeks. She was with 2 other outside horses and within a week, one changed barns and one was sold. The inside, stalled horses would come out for the day, then go back in. You would have thought the sky was falling the way she ran the fence line and yelled for them.

She would calm down and eat her hay after a while and I thought it was getting better, but I was wrong. For the time being, make sure she CANNOT get out of her paddock. That the fences are too high for her to easily jump out and that they're enough to keep a horse from pushing through it. Part of Abby's paddock was kind of a cattle fence and was fine for the past few months she's been there and every other horse, but she would pace it and eventually last week or so, she decided she wanted out. I am pretty sure she didn't jump because she can't jump very well and the fence was all bent down with her chest all skinned (very slight injuries. They're all healed now, just large hairless patches). I'm pretty sure she just climbed out over that fence from the marks on her chest and legs.

Luckily! She didn't get severely hurt or run off. I found her next to the bales of hay just eating some breakfast the next morning. AND my BO bought his own barn instead leasing the first one (where the paddock she broke out was). She has her own stall now since there really isn't outside boarding at the new place. She is stalled next to her friends and is SOO much calmer. My BO was completely impressed with her change.
     
    04-11-2011, 02:23 AM
  #7
Foal
Thats in a way dissapointing to hear because I'd really like to get her over this fear. Not that I ever plan on keeping her alone for any length in time, but want her to be able to graze and put on weight which she is obviously not able to do with the other horse. What about when I ride her, she isn't bad I think because she trusts me and we have a close connection. I spend alot of time with her. But it is obvious she is still nervous when I ride her away from the barn. She is not a struggle to keep going but I would like her to learn to relax.
     
    04-11-2011, 02:41 AM
  #8
Trained
Sorry to be a downer! I didn't mean to sound so depressing.

Mine's the same way. She'll calm right down if I go stand with her and just pat her down or if we go for a walk. It was just when they left. Eventually she'd calm down because I'd come in the mornings to do barn chores on the weekends and she'd be perfectly calm, greeting me with a nicker like usual.

But Abby had a horrible winter (I bought her and moved her from her home of 4 years ((she's 7)), she became very herdbound at the first barn and was just stressed out, developed ulcers so she was moved to the second barn, and then her friends disappeared). She's on SmartCalm and she was acting like this through that.

Is she grazing on grass or does she have hay also? The only thing I can think of is asking the other lady with the four horses if she could put one of hers that your horse gets along with in for the time being. I should think she might be a bit understanding because nobody wants their horse stressed out like that and risking self-injury. I certainly hope your horse doesn't hurt herself.
     
    04-11-2011, 01:00 PM
  #9
Started
Please don't be disappointed that horses are herd creatures; that's how they come to follow your lead, remember.

I'd put the mare that she gets along with best into neighbor's pasture & see how they do together, because, usually, when there are only two horses, they'll buddy up in no time.

IF not, please let go of your attempt to "get the leopard to change its spots", & get a rescue horse/pony, some companion. You don't want this horse to be LONELY all of the hours you're not there in a day! Since horses ARE herd animals, it's actually cruel to keep one all alone.
     

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