working around 2 horses - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 12-21-2012, 08:47 PM Thread Starter
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working around 2 horses

I'm wondering how most of you with more than one horse deal with getting one of the horses out of the pen or area they are kept in together to work with just one of them.

I've tried working with one horse and just letting the other one be in the same area, but the other horse not being worked with will run next to me and cause trouble, so I need to just work with them one at a time.

I have to halter them both and tie the horse not being worked or ridden currently so I can get out of the gate and pen and then have to tie the horse being worked to the outside of the fence while I go back and untie the other horse. Ugg. Is that just pretty typical?

I'm finding it really difficult, when I had just one horse of course it was easy as pie to just work with the one, I never realized how tough it would be working around 2 horses.
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post #2 of 11 Old 12-21-2012, 08:52 PM
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I generally only open the gate enough so that one horse can fit through with ease. My horses also know they will get in trouble if they try to push through the open gate unvited as well. Perhaps you could take a whip with you and use it to keep the unwanted horse back while you lead the other.
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post #3 of 11 Old 12-21-2012, 08:52 PM
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You need to work on teaching them respect individually. Once they respect you, they will pay attention to what you are doing whether it's with them or not. By your body language, you will say volumes to them, once they understand and accept you as their leader. There are tons of threads in here on how to get a horse's respect.
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post #4 of 11 Old 12-21-2012, 08:54 PM
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I board my horse and she is always in with 2 other horses, one of them always tries to get out when I take my horse out, so I just make him go away and quickly bring my horse out and in before he gets back.
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post #5 of 11 Old 12-21-2012, 08:56 PM
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If you are leading one out of a gate or something like that....and the other is crowding you, make the one that is crowding you move away. Like I said, once you have respect, you will be able to do this with your body language...I push the air in front of my horses and they usually turn and walk away....if they are still a little too close, I swing the leadrope from the one I have caught and she will move away. The one that is caught realizes what I am doing and just stands there. The horses will learn your body language and cues once you become their herd leader.
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post #6 of 11 Old 12-21-2012, 09:01 PM
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Yes need to teach respect. The gate area can be a dangerous place when taking horses out and leaving others in. I was once taking mine out when I turned and saw another horse running at the gate, it ran right through the gate, gate landed on top of me and horse was on top of me as well. His feet were tangled in the wire that was on the gate and his hoof just missed my head. He got himself out and I rolled out from under the gate. After this incident the said horse was no longer anywhere near other horses where people had to take horses in and out. It was very scarey, and I'm always now leary of the gate. I will take a lounge whip and make sure they back up and listen.
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post #7 of 11 Old 12-21-2012, 09:23 PM
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One thing, how big is your gate. We have a 16 or 18 footer on one pasture, and that's def not convenient. Also We teach them to stay square with our shoulders, so as we turn to face the gate they do to and back up as we close it. Which can be a long back when the wind grabs the big gate and opens it wide. We catch ours for every feeding, I think they know not to come out unhaltered. When we get new ones, usually a hand gesture and "skit" is enough. And they learn fast.
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post #8 of 11 Old 12-21-2012, 09:25 PM
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I go and fetch my horse from a field with 9 other horses daily. My guy is low on the totem pole, so if other horses crowd me or the gate, he wants to back up and get out of the area (yield to the pushier horses). Working around multiple horses can be dangerous, and if you feel unsafe doing it, you probably are and should get help. For me, there are two parts to getting my horse.

1. Convince all the other horses that I want nothing to do with them and they are to leave me alone and give me a wide berth. I had to take a whip with me and use it to get a couple of the pushier horses to back off the gate and away from me at first, but now they all know that I am a big mean mare who they don't want to get anywhere near because the gate belongs to ME and I will eat them if they irritate me (though they still love scratches and such from me if I want to go up to them... they're just not allowed to come up to me).

2. Teach my horse to come when called/stand quietly and let himself be caught. I give him one cookie when he gets/lets me get close enough to feed/touch, and a second when I finish putting a halter on or a rope over his neck.

Step 2 is step 2 because originally all the other horses wanted my attention and cookies and my horse would move away as they approached me. Or the other horses would try to get close and squeeze/rush through the gate when I was letting my guy in. Now that all the other horses know that they don't want to come near me uninvited, open gate or no, and that my cookies are never for them, my guy is happy to walk up (invited) or stand to be caught or let in.
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Last edited by Sharpie; 12-21-2012 at 09:28 PM.
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post #9 of 11 Old 12-21-2012, 09:27 PM
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I agree with the others that respect by the others is key. I have one horse in a group of six and one horse in a group of 3. What I do is use body language to indicate that I am top mare. I "pin my ears" at a trouble maker when leading horses, by which I stick my entire head forward and sort of hunch down in a charge position. I will then escalate to yelling (sometimes swearing) in a really mean voice and then I will back it up with a swat from the lead rope or a riding crop.

For what its worth, I also think its really good to know your horses social pattern and structure. I know who the lead horse is in each pasture and the rank they all occupy. I know who has alliance with whom and who merely tolerates the others. Which means that when I am leading a low rank horse through the area of the pasture that is occupied by the lead horse I am double aware. It also can help explain why that lower ranked horse may be unwilling to go through one area or another. You have the battle of convincing the other horses that you are in charge while also convincing that lower ranked horse that it is okay because you are near it.

It can be a dangerous situation so be watching and be careful.
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post #10 of 11 Old 12-21-2012, 10:04 PM
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I agree with everyone about you have to get the horses (both) to respect you. I have 4 of my own horses and 1 boarded, at one time there were 3 boarded here also but I never had a problem taking one horse out. I don't think it has anything to do with they can not come out the gate with the halter on either, I let the horses out in the yard spring/summer and fall with no halters (our property is fenced off and I tie a rope across the driveway). You shouldn't have to go through the hassel of tying one up to bring one out. Even now when I go out to feed our's at supper time they know not to come out the gate into the corral unless I tell them to. My young one is going to be 4 and he will stand at the entrance of the gate and not come in unless I ask him to.
Do you have an round pen or somewhere you can do ground work with each of them? I would do alot of ground work with them getting them to respect you.
BTW welcome to Horse Forum!
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