New Pony-Questions-Advice Appreciated
So in the next day or two, we will be bringing a pony home to join the 5 horses we already have. I have one question that has really been nagging me since we first considered buying her, and that is: will the horses become herd bound if she joins the gang?
When the pony comes home, she will join my riding horse and one other pasture mate, a herd of three. I'm not particularly concerned about the other horse, as it's not mine, but my horse and the pony are the ones I'm a little worried about.
Their history, just as a reference:
Lived with a large herd in a huge field when we bought her from the trainer, and, of course, the trainer would not have tolerated a herd bound horse. When we first brought her home, she was turned out with 4 other horses, and never showed any sign of being buddy sour. She's been pastured with just one other horse for more than 6 months now, and again, has never given me any trouble with being overly attached to another horse. She's 7 years old, and though she's calm and quiet and mellow, she's a very reactive and sensitive horse and if you let her, she can really get worked up.
I don't know a lot of her background, besides she sat in the field for the last 2 years not being rode. The woman who owns our local lesson barn bought her for her kids, but the pony turned out to be a little bit too peppy for them, so she offered her to us and bought the kids a different pony. This mare is turned out in a small paddock with three other ponies, and though one of her herd mates is always calling for her, she has never called back to them or tried with any ambition to get back to them (in my limited experience, anyways). On her second ride in about 2 years, I took her out alone on a 40 minute trail ride, and I think she whinnied once. She made it clear she would rather be at the barn, but she was never unmanageable, stupid, or dangerous and I was able to have a nice, relatively quiet trail ride. She is somewhere around 17 years old. She is a lot more "go"-ey than my mare, but she's also calm and quiet and is very intelligent.
Even though neither horse has a history of being the attaching type, I still am concerned. Is it a likelihood that this will happen, given their histories? I asked my instructor, and she really didn't give me a tangible answer, so..I'm still confused. I think chances are less likely than if we had a more herd oriented horse, but still...what do I do if this happens?
I also wanted to ask: how should we introduce the new pony? My dad's style is to throw the new horse out into the herd and let them work it out, and I have nothing against that and it's always worked fine for us, but is there a quieter way to introduce them that doesn't involve a week of the new horse staying in a round pen beside the new herd? I just don't want any of my horses to get hurt.