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Setting Hidalgo freeee...mental illness and horses.

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  • Gelding moved to new barn misbehaving

 
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    02-07-2010, 10:18 AM
  #21
Banned
Perhaps what some may fail to realize is that in a 'wild' herd situation, not all horses get along. And those individuals are essentially driven from the herd and told to go live somewhere else.

In a domesticated system, that's just not an option in a fenced area. And certainly we aren't talking about 'wild' horses, however that particular instinct still survives in the 'domesticated' horse.

Simply put, not all horses are meant to live together in one big happy herd.
     
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    02-07-2010, 10:25 AM
  #22
Showing
^^^ That brings the question, do stallions drive off young colts to start their own herd? Similar to other wild animals, like many carnivores will keep a harem of sorts with one male and a group of females. Anyone know?
     
    02-07-2010, 10:52 AM
  #23
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mercedes    
Perhaps what some may fail to realize is that in a 'wild' herd situation, not all horses get along. And those individuals are essentially driven from the herd and told to go live somewhere else.

In a domesticated system, that's just not an option in a fenced area. And certainly we aren't talking about 'wild' horses, however that particular instinct still survives in the 'domesticated' horse.

Simply put, not all horses are meant to live together in one big happy herd.
I definitely agree with this.

I just recently moved to a new, smaller barn, and Zeus went from being turned out in a bigger herd (10-15 horses), to being with just three others. He had absolutely no problems in the big herd. He adjusted quickly to the first herd, established his place as leader, and that was that. He was the calm center of the geldings, no one messed with him, and he would put misbehaving horses in place, calmly and quickly. When we moved him to the new barn he was turned out alone for the first few days, met the other three over the fence, and everything was fine. We decided to first turn him out with their older gelding, Shadow, who had previously been the head of their small herd. They seemed fine at first, checking each other out, grazed a bit. The second the Shadow pinned his ears, Zeus pinned his back and kicked. That was that. The older gelding moved away and Zeus returned to calmly grazing. The BO and I were obviously watching them and ready to separate them if needed. Zeus had never had a problem with other horses. He's not aggressive, he's not overly defensive, he just wants to do his own thing and doesn't want any unrest. That one kick was the only incident, but a few minutes later, Shadow tried to assert his dominance again, and Zeus turned and pinned his ears, threatening to bite. Shadow absolutely FREAKED out, and tried to duck under the fence into the other pasture. He crashed into the fence, and when he couldn't get out paced the gate, calling to their other two horses. We let him out, and he was fine, just scared.

We both couldn't see any reason for him to suddenly become so afraid. Zeus neither chase him, or was overly aggressive in his responses. We guessed that since Shadow had never really been challenged it really shook him realizing that he was no longer in control. Shadow and Zeus are also stalled next to one another, and still, after three months, pin their ears at each other whenever they make eye contact. The problem was sorted out, and Zeus is now turned out with their other gelding who is perfectly content to let Zeus be in charge. They graze next to one another, groom each other, and get along really well.

In short, Shadow and Zeus just clash. Shadow really is afraid of Zeus, who may be calm and only get after him when necessary, but is bigger, younger, and stronger, while Shadow is old and overly defensive. They just can't be turned out together, even in our huge pasture.

If anyone has more ideas as to why Shadow freaked, feel free to post them.
But I think it has a lot to do with the fact that Shadow is weak in his old age and knows it, and responds by being defensive.
     
    02-08-2010, 04:04 PM
  #24
Foal
AH NATURAL HORSMANSHIP!! I have the advantage to have 3 30 acre pastures so 3 herds. I also have a 10 acre pasture for the "delinquents", mostly geldings who don't know what to be.

I choose which herd to put the new one with based on what the individual needs to learn.

Then I sit back and watch NATURAL HORSMANSHIP at its finest.

The individual is ready to start their training when they have learned how to be a respectful horse.

Life is good.
     
    02-08-2010, 04:11 PM
  #25
Green Broke
Some horses do not want to be in a herd or group of horses and no matter how much the owner wants it to happen, it's just not going too. And then it becomes a matter of not really looking out for the horse, trying to force the horse to interact socially.

We have a couple of horses where I board, they do not like being with other horses. They want to be turned out by themselves and if they are not, the wreak holy hell on whoever is in the pasture with them.
     
    02-08-2010, 04:46 PM
  #26
Weanling
This is a really interesting thread. I've seen what happens with a real lead mare in the pasture. We added a younger horse to the herd and one of the gelding tried to attack. Suddenly that mare was there pushing him back. Part of being a leader is being sure that all the other horses in the herd know where they stand. For her, that meant that other horses could only be picked on to an extent. Anytime that the fighting gets a little out of hand she reins everybody in to remind them who the boss is just by a quick charge and laying back her ears. I've rarely seen her bite, and she doesn't kick often or hard.

I have seen herds that will push a new horse at a walk or trot around the pasture for a while. In those kinds of herds I try to be sure the new horse isn't overly reactive. A horse that has never been in a herd situation could panic and go into or over a fence even though no one is actually trying to hurt them.

With my orphan colt we put him with a mare that wanted to adopt him, but she also understood when he panicked and ran from her to just stop adn watch him. She watched him for a couple of months from a little ways off. He would go stand next to the stallion (his father) who was in the adjacent paddock, but at first he was terrified of interactions with the horses in his pen. After a few months he now interacts almost normally. His only abnormal behavior is that he doesn't understand playing...which is really sad for an almost yearling colt. We are continuing to keep him with other youngsters in hopes that between them and the old mare that keeps them all in line he will learn to be normal.
     
    02-08-2010, 04:51 PM
  #27
Green Broke
I remember awhile back a new mare was introduced to pasture turn out with two dominant mares. They cornered the newbie, kicking at her until they broke her back leg.

You just don't know what horses are going to do no matter how careful you try to be when introducing them.
     
    02-08-2010, 06:41 PM
  #28
Showing
Hi Solon long time no see
     
    02-08-2010, 07:31 PM
  #29
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Solon    
Some horses do not want to be in a herd or group of horses and no matter how much the owner wants it to happen, it's just not going too. And then it becomes a matter of not really looking out for the horse, trying to force the horse to interact socially.

We have a couple of horses where I board, they do not like being with other horses. They want to be turned out by themselves and if they are not, the wreak holy hell on whoever is in the pasture with them.
America is great. Why? Individual turn-out is such a standard operating procedure that whenever you move to a new place, it's not tremendously difficult to find a barn designed for horses to be in their separate wee fields. This is problematic in that it creates horses like mine, but at least barns with the facilities to manage the monsters they have created are easy enough to locate. For the seven years I owned my horse in the US her social awkwardness wasn't a huge problem. So she doesn't want to be out with others (though she kinda does until she finds herself in the same field as them... that's another level of complication). So what?

But in the UK horses are generally turned out in huge fields together and the vast majority of livery stables do not even have the facilities for individual turn-out. Every time I have had to move the horse here, it's an epic to find a new stable that can cope with her issues. I agree that no matter how much I want her develop better social skills, it's not going to happen. But I'm still going to complain about it since it's a hassle to deal with in a country where the dominant horse culture isn't constructed to deal with it.
     
    02-08-2010, 10:34 PM
  #30
Green Broke
Around here most of the barns don't have individual turn outs with stalls. Ours certainly doesn't. I don't know what it was like where you were. Our BO has her property set up to allow for horses that can't be with others and those that can.

The point is, not all horses want to be in a herd- like you see in movies.
     

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