Today my horse killed another horse - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 147 Old 03-03-2012, 05:05 AM
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Dequine - indeed a sad story. There could be a number of causes but to find out why is perhaps a job for a horse psychologist and maybe a vet. A pair of horses -a mare and a gelding will come to dominance even in a small herd but usually issues are settled with a bite or two and perhaps a kick. Nevertheless a horse can kill inadvertently with the power and weight of its feet or the power of its jaw. An issue might be whether the horse intended to kill or was it an inadvertent outcome.

I'd suspect the horse being a rig (incomplete castration), hormones, fresh spring grass, pain from some cause perhaps ulcers, and then there is temperament - a sump for anti social behaviour.

In the UK, if the mare were owned by a third party, you be sued for the value of the mare. But how you compensated that owner for the loss of their mare is a very problematic issue. Most owners would seek euthanasia of any aggressive horse for a variety of reasons but particularly on safety grounds.

It is rarely a good idea in a domesticated horse environment to mix geldings and mares - especially in the early spring, when hormones take over. It is good practice to divide up your fields with electric tape. But even another gelding would be at risk if you put the aggressive horse in the paddock with it.

It has been suggested you put the animal down and in an inexperienced environment where the humans may not have 24/7 surveillance of what is going on , then this is often the safe policy - ie eliminate the risk. A horse which
fights could well be a danger to humans and other domestic animals ie dogs.

As for your riding a schizophrenic horse out in society in company with other horse and rider couples - well that's not a good idea.

The fundamental problem you face is that you can never be sure you have eliminated the risk of the horse freaking out. You might find one cause and leave another lying dormant. As a human handler you would always have to be on your guard and never turn your back on the animal. Sooner or later it will get you.

If I were in your shoes, then I would probably put the animal down - unless I could find a very good reason for keeping it alive but separated from the other horses. However to keep a horse permanently alone is in itself a form of cruelty to the horse.

From the facts you have related to us, euthanasia is the obvious decision to make - for your own and third parties's safety.

If your relative want an animal to eat the grass, then buy some sheep or goats (if you can tolerate the noise).
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post #12 of 147 Old 03-03-2012, 05:21 AM
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i would have dealt with this problem while the arrangements for the mare were still on sight.
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post #13 of 147 Old 03-03-2012, 05:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Arielle View Post
That sounds awful! I would say start bringing him near other, more superior horse and have him get used to not being on the top of the bunch and maybe his attitude will change. I would also maybe after a while of being around more horses have him on a long lead around another horse in a large area and watch his reaction. Try to correct him when he is being mean and aggresive to other horses. Be sure you are with other people if anything goes wrong.
Sorry to call you out but I completely disagree with your post. That could just drive the horses anger more when your not around depending on the horse. I've seen horses just go out and try to attack other horses whether or not people are around. And i almost got my back kicked almost at my spine. Ontop of having being trampled if i hadnt jumped over the door after i got cornered from a horse that was trying to attack the one that i was leading. That could potentially be very dangerous. There was a wanna be alpha mare once that just came out if no where and savagely beat up my horse and before mine she had done the same to one of my friends mares. My horses backside and other spots on his body were all purple from the blucoat.

I guess it all depends on the horse. The only way we kept the wanna be alpha mare was to stick her in a pasture with an 8 foot fence.

I hope you can work something out. I'm so sorry about your brothers mare. Just try not to make any rational decisions that you might regret later. Maybe something as a quietex type supplement just to help even him out like an antidepressant would do for a person. I would consult with your vet to figure out the steps to help your horse but for now I would separate him from the herd.
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post #14 of 147 Old 03-03-2012, 06:46 AM
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I agree with your brother. I hate to say that but I feel like the horse has teetered over into the point of no return. I am sorry to say that and it may offend you, but that is what I personally would do.
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post #15 of 147 Old 03-03-2012, 07:23 AM
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Agree with the others about putting the horse down. It REALLY is quite a sad and unfortunate situation, but some horses are just not right in the mind. This horse is dangerous and volatile; he's already killed a horse...what's next?
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post #16 of 147 Old 03-03-2012, 07:38 AM
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I am so sorry. I know this is a difficult situation at best. My (old, retired arthritic at this point) gelding actually attacked a mare about 15 yrs ago. I was not home, but a friend(the owner of the mare) actually intervened with the tractor, and separated the animals. I was in a state of shock, and felt horrible! My guy, who is a draft cross, that is always a barn favorite for his kind eye, gentle could this have happened? The mare was a very dominant mare, for sure, but still. Anyway, at that point a casual conversation I had with his previous owner came to mind......that my guys mother had been killed a couple of years prior, and they never really knew what happened. Just found beaten up in the run in. At that point my guy would have been about 2. Certainly old enough to do that. I have always wondered if he was the one who killed her.
It has now been yrs since this happened. He is again in a mixed herd, and there has not been another issue or even a hint of one, ever. He has never ever been dominant toward any person and only pins his ears when food is involved and another horse comes near. If you speak harshly, he backs off. Hard to say what snaps in their mind or if it will ever happen again. You may have trouble finding places to keep him for sure, and the decision whether to put him down has to be yours.

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post #17 of 147 Old 03-03-2012, 07:40 AM
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I have had several horses over the years that were that mean to other horses. I've had two killed. One had been kicked above her hock and her leg was badly broken. The other was run into a corner, was put through/over a fence and impaled on a steel post.

Some of these mean horses were very good horses under saddle and showed no aggression to other horses when ridden. I guess they were that well trained. Not one of them was aggressive toward people -- on the ground or mounted or anywhere. I have always sold them with a warning that they could not be pastured with other horses. Their new owners got along with them very well.

Horses that are aggressive turned out in a group are NOT predatory. They are not hunting. They are just that possessive of their territory or are protective of one of the other horses they are with.

You are NOT going to find another horse to manner him. He will just hurt that horse, too.

Since this is a gelding and he was aggressive toward a mare, I would guess she was the previous 'lead mare' and she was probably 'guarding' another mare in the herd. She probably did not 'back off' from this gelding quickly enough and he took to her. That's how my incidents have been.

Oddly enough, all of the geldings I have had that were that mean did not not have high testosterone levels. I had two of them checked. One acted very staggy around mares but had a perfectly low/normal hormone level. I was sure he must have had a retained testicle -- but he didn't. That was about 40 years ago and was when I started keeping mares and geldings separate almost all of the time.

So, I would not kill this horse if he rides good enough for you to like him and if he is not aggressive toward other horses when under saddle. If he is not that well mannered and trained or is irrational under saddle, kill him before he does more harm. If he is aggressive toward people on the ground, kill him.
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post #18 of 147 Old 03-03-2012, 07:55 AM
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I have had a similar but different issue last spring. I had purchased a pinto gelding that was listed for sale as a good solid beginners riding horse. They were anxious to sell and by the time I responded to the ad, they had planned on taking him to the auction. They lived about 2 hours from me and there was no way to get to him before their scheduled trip to the sale.... However, the auction is located about 45 minutes from me and I decided to just have them drop him on the way (I'm in between)

Big quiet gelding unloaded and I was pleased with my purchase. Let him settle a day or two and then rode him...nothing eventful just your basic get on and go. Basic training nothing spectacular but I knew I could brush that up.

I bring all the horses in at night for feeding and one night after I'd had him about 10 days or so, I reached to put his grain in his stall and he went beserk. Lunged across the stall, bit my hand and slammed into the wall, pinning my hand between his teeth and the wall. I left the adjacent stall (the one I'd reached over to his feeder, and when he saw me through the bars at the front of his stall started slamming himself at the wall trying to get at me. I got out of the line of vision grabbed my phone and called someone to come take me to the hospital. Luckily the hand is very collapsible and no bones were broken...but it was purple and swelled several times it's normal size.

I, like most horse people, tried to figure out what I had done wrong...did I startle him when he saw my hand? Did he feel his space invaded? But that would only account for the original bite...not the slamming against the wall trying to tear it down do get me. I am very thankful I did just reach over the stall, if he had done it while I walked in, he probably would have killed or maimed me.

I watched him carefully the next few days.. I kept him turned out alone and made sure his food was there and I didn't bring it to him. In this time he'd go from 90 percent of the time like a perfect boy, to watching him run to the hay pile to stomp and tear at it like a crazed thing.

I live alone on my farm and if something happens to me, my critters are sunk. I contacted the original owners and they got very defensive and said, well if we'd had problems we'd have just taken him to the auction...ummmmm, you did. I couldn't place him with anyone one else for fear he would be resold as "normal" and injure or kill someone, a guy I know offered to buy him to take directly to processing, but I couldn't put the horse through that either. After much soul searching I felt the best option for myself and the horse was to euthanize him. I had to explain the whole situation to my vet and she agreed while it seemed radical, it was the best option to protect people and ultimately the horse.

Sorry for the novel, but I think you should probably do the same. Even if you place him with someone with full disclosure, there are no promises the next person will be so truthful and that the horse won't end up killing again.

You are in my thoughts. It's not an easy decision.

Last edited by Big Black Crow; 03-03-2012 at 07:59 AM.
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post #19 of 147 Old 03-03-2012, 08:26 AM
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Crow, that's a terrifying story. I can't imagine what it's like dealing with a violent horse at feeding time, I've thankfully never dealt with a horse like that. You did the right thing.

OP (and Crow), I'm so sorry you have to deal with an issue like this. As Cherie said, if he's only aggressive out in the pasture - keep him separated. If he is violent various times and towards people, euthanasia really is the right choice. It is not worth your safety or the safety of other animals to keep a violent horse around. To attempt to train them out of it is a waste of time and endangers yourself and others. I hope the best for you.
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post #20 of 147 Old 03-03-2012, 09:06 AM
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Sometimes when you rescue a horse, whatever "bad" they experienced in their lifetime just can not be washed away and sometimes you never figure out what triggers a reaction. I am very sad to say that I think you may be right, from a human and animal perspective, it may be time to let him go.

That does not mean that you gave up on him. It just means that you ended whatever inner torments he may be suffering from.

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Go to work, do your best, don't outsmart your common sense
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