Spin off of this thread: Influencing the herd order
Soda is very aggressive in the pasture. NEVER towards people and not really towards dogs/cats/etc either.
Before I moved him home approx 1.5 yrs ago he was pastured with 4 geldings in about a 7-10 acre wooded pasture. He bit the crap out of the other horses. They regularly had holes all over their bodies, anywhere from an 1" in diameter to the big bites where you could see the teeth marks. Generally he ripped the hair off, but occaisionally would break the skin too. Plenty of food in the pasture, but there was some herd dynamic changes going on. A younger gelding was moving up the totem pole from bottom and ended up right below Soda.
Turn out was 24/7 and was regularly ridden, 4-7 days a week 15mins to 5 hours. Average probably 5 days a week for about an hour.
Fast forward to now.
Pastured with a 30 yr old mare (Flame) on about 1.5 acre sacrafice paddock (winter and drought quarters) and a 2.5 acre pasture. Plenty of grass in the pasture and about 50 pounds of hay per day (more or slightly less pending weather and weight). Turned out 24/7.
Exercise: Almost non-existent in the winter (same as before). Rest of the year I am trying for an average of 4-5 days per week anywhere from 30 mins light training to 4-5 hrs trail rides. I say attempting because this is my first year not in school or not dealing with a long term injury on his part.
Attitude: When he first moved home showed the same aggression towards Flame as the geldings. Very aggressively moved her away from food or just around the pasture. Now he moves her away from food but w/ a gentle pinning of ears and I am starting to see some sharing of hay piles. Still keeps her out of the barn if he's there first. I've seen him bite at her still, but seems to be moderating them as I don't see as many marks. In the last 6 mnths has left nasty marks 2x and that was just in the last month. Both on her butt, one on top and the other on the backside of the upper part of the back leg.
Flame is 30 yrs old, very submissive and arthritic. Can't really "play" or move much faster than a slow and creaky walk. Occaisionally I've seen her approach him pinning her ears, squealing and shaking her head, but he just ignores her.
It is very likely Flame is going to have to be PTS this fall due to our winters and her arthritis. Should I get keep Soda alone and see how he does? Or should I find another horse to keep with him? If I do get another horse what personality traits would you look for in hopes of minimizing the damage to the other horse?
Thanks for reading my book!