Setting Hidalgo freeee...mental illness and horses. - Page 4 - The Horse Forum
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post #31 of 34 Old 02-09-2010, 04:32 PM
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I imagine you agree, though, that this is a man-made problem, something that usually occurs as a result of raising horses in environments where they cannot acquire adequate social skills as youngsters. Successful horses in the wild develop social skills and *want* to be in herd; those who can't get on in a herd probably don't last long enough to pass along their genes.
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post #32 of 34 Old 02-09-2010, 04:36 PM
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Definitely man-made, but I don't think it's a fault of horse owners. A lot of owners only have one horse and when they move into boarding situations there can be problems.
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post #33 of 34 Old 02-09-2010, 06:12 PM
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There's a mare at my barn that for most of her life lived alone. Now she lives with 9 other horses, and is pastured with 4 other mares. She has sort of an unhealthy obsession with my mare. They're stalled next to each other, and if Athena moves around too much or if I take her out and put her on the cross-ties. The mare starts to get upset, paces her stall and neighs until she's back. I can't take Athena on a trail ride w/o her getting upset. Even if I walk her along the outside of the fence. The mare will run back and fourth, and neigh her head off. When they're out in the pasture the mare follows Athena around like a lost puppy. Athena often gets frustrated and will try to bite at her, but it never really works.
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post #34 of 34 Old 02-09-2010, 10:39 PM
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I think this is one of the only instances where horses really are a lot like people. Some horses truly can't stand other horses. Some horses are bossy, some horses like to be left alone, some want to cause mischief, some want to play. Have you ever seen a horse "fake" spook to get the others riled?
I have a gelding who since his hooves hit the earth has been in charge. He will herd the other horses into a safe corner while he investigates the strange plastic bag that has blown into the pasture and has stuck itself on a twig.
I have had a breeding stallion so sweet and calm that he was the best choice as the companion for my sick -300 pound rescue gelding. He would even eat from the same pile of hay as the gelding. The stallion had a very normal existence. He was always kept with geldings and mares his whole life even when he was being bred. He is naturally very passive, and is now a very well adjusted riding gelding.
I am now down to a herd of three. I can't help but watch them interact out the back window. The boss of the herd teaches the two year old, as my now healthy rescue gelding looks on only sometimes jumping into the wrestling matches. They are constantly communicating and have become very much like a family.
Anyone who works a day job can see that human herds are not that different. There are those that we make fun of, popular ones we all like, there are those we look to for advice, and those we avoid as much as possible. Some never fit into the human herd either.
Only children can be a little neurotic too.
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