Is it ok to seperate two horses for months at a time? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 04-17-2012, 10:44 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Minnesota
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Question Is it ok to seperate two horses for months at a time?

Hello everyone! I would like to say thanks in advance for any comments to this thread. :)

I have a 14-year old Arabian/American Saddlebred mare. I have had her for 3 years now, and she is a wonderful horse. However, she is agressive like you wouldn't believe in the pasture. I only have one other horse- a Quarter Horse gelding, who has always been very laid back. My mare beats the heck out of my gelding. Poor guy- he always has bite marks on him. She is respectful of people, but she has never been an over affectionate horse.

I noticed that my mare is agressive toward all horses. This has never been a problem for me over the past years, as I am the only one who rides in my family, and I usually take each horse for a ride separately. (There are riding trails within close distance of my farm.) On the seldom days I do ride her with other horses, her ears pin back, and she tries to kick/turn her butt toward the other horses. I have tried keeping her busy, but she is still VERY distracted through the whole ride. I try my hardest to stay calm and focus on her. And then when I ride off seperately from the group of horses, she whinnies like crazy! I am confused! It is almost like she has a love/hate relationship with other horses. I was wondering what would be the best way to work with her on riding calmly with other horses.

Another concern I have is that I have noticed that she is less "moody" when I pasture her by herself. So for the past 3 years I have kept my mare and gelding together in the fall through spring months. Then I separate them during the summer months. They can still see each other while separated, but they are too far away to make contact. (About 30 feet away.) For the most part, both horses seem ok. I always try to spend as much time bonding with each horse as I can when they are separated, and I usually ride everyday. I discussed this with a fellow horse owner, and she thinks that horses should be together all the time. I understand they are herd animals, but I worry about my gelding sometimes. He is more jumpy when he is with the mare- almost like he needs to watch out for himself. I also find that it helps tremendously with the barn sour issue. Is it ok to separate horses for 4 months at a time?

For more details- ask away! (:
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post #2 of 9 Old 04-17-2012, 10:58 PM
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My .02 worth: Usually horses should be together. There is an exception to every rule. She sounds like a bully. She is fine being able to see your gelding and not pound on him...and he is probably thankful for that. Bullies come in all shapes and sized and until they meet their match, they will not relent. It sounds like your gelding is not "her match". Sometimes a "match" isn't a bully, its a savvy horse w confidence that doesn't cotton to being bullied.
Just b/c she is a bully doesn't mean she doesn't like being w the "gang" on a ride. The two are not related. If it were me...little missy could stay "separated" but in sight of the gelding.

There is just as much horse sense as ever, but the horses have most of it.
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post #3 of 9 Old 04-17-2012, 11:04 PM
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The only reason we put horses in together is if one is so nervous by him/herself that he/she paces the weight off when alone or if I have a pasture that needs to be eaten down quickly so I can put an easy keeper on it. In the case of the nervous horse, I put a less dominant horse in with the nervous one so the nervous one is the one getting more food (weight issues). Generally I just have the more nervous (herd bound) horses share a fence line with another horse. I don't see any reason that you can't keep them separate for as long as necessary as long as both horses are maintaining weight.
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post #4 of 9 Old 04-17-2012, 11:14 PM
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Separate them, the gelding will thank you for it.

**Donning flame suite** For the trail rides, the minute she pins her hears or tries to turn her butt or kick another horse, I would be spanking her hard with a crop, the romel reins, and I'd be spurring her forward HARD, EVERY time. She'd figure it out in about 2 rides I bet.

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post #5 of 9 Old 04-18-2012, 12:09 AM
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Keep them separated -- all year. She is eating at your expense and your pleasure. You owe her no apologies and YOU are her herd, now. Horses function well in a herd when they NEED a herd -- like when they have no people caring for them. They are Domesticated animals. That means that if they are living in YOUR yard and not surviving on the desert in a herd. You are the only herd she needs.

As for her ear pinning and bad trail manners -- You are going to get the worst behavior that you accept. You are accepting it without punishing her or doing anything to change it. Spank her butt until her ears come up.

If she were mine (or brought to me when I trained for the public), I would pony horses off of her until she liked it. I would punish her until she liked to have any horse right behind her butt that I wanted there. I have had mean mares and geldings that were like her or worse (ran backwards squealing and kicking) and I could pony off of any of them in a short time. The length of time it would take depended completely on how 'broke' they were when the schooling started. They have to be pretty broke and have a pretty good handle on them first.
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post #6 of 9 Old 04-18-2012, 12:34 AM
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You do need to discipline the mare for the kicking, if she pins her ears , give her a whack. Spanking her until her ears come up, well, you could be spankin for a long time.. Try putting her Behind all the horses. Ride at the back. If she jigs then tip her nose out or in, bend her around , collect and release, and reward by the release when she responds correct.
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post #7 of 9 Old 04-18-2012, 08:09 PM
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i think that yes it is okay to seperate horses for months at a time.
Where i own jumper horses, i dont want to get to attached to another becaseit mkes it harder for one horse to leave to a show if they are to attached.
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post #8 of 9 Old 04-19-2012, 11:00 AM
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I have a difficult mare.....who is a bit of a bully........she was put out with my other two horses one being an older alfalfa mare and gelding the same age as her......she tried to bully her way up to the mare only once and she would take a run at the gelding......he would just lift his head from the grass....look at her and put his head down and start eating......she would just run right by him......never challenged him......he would just ignore her and pretend she didn't exist......they became great grooming buddies.

I can't put this mare with my other horses as she will just bully them and chase them.

Super Nova
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post #9 of 9 Old 04-19-2012, 11:13 AM
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I think it's just fine. In fact, I'm trying to figure out how to separate my two morons right now to help with the herd boundness I deal with regularly. My gelding is a PITA to ride by himself and my mare is a PITA to ride with the gelding because she "must" be next to him. At least the mare figures it out quickly after a quick reminder that she goes where I put her. The gelding isn't so smart.
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