When two alphas meet...the blood will fly. - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 56 Old 11-01-2010, 11:46 PM Thread Starter
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When two alphas meet...the blood will fly.

God it was ugly - anybody know any better ways of doing this? Long story short, Justus (the palomino pony) is going on stall board for winter and so has to go into the indoor boarder pen. Jessie (the chestnut QH) is head honcho, and aggressively dominant - she will chase even when another horse runs. Justus is also dominant but much more quietly - she never chases, and will simply follow and quietly turn and back up and if the other horse doesn't get the hint, she'll proceed to kick like a demon.

This is only the first minute - this went on for TWENTY minutes. They went at it at LEAST 6-7 times, and we kept breaking it up out of terror someone was going to end up with a broken hock. Justus FINALLY relented, and started trotting away when Jessie backed up to her and Jessie was beat up enough she was happy with that. Thankfully no real injuries, just a lot of bloody scraps and hoof prints. We did this strictly because we KNEW this was going to happen and wanted it done in a controlled atmosphere (hence the leg protection and LOTS of people on hand).

I HATE having to deal with this - anyone else have any tips on dealing with dominant introductions? As a note, they ARE penned beside each other and have been ridden together - they're NOT strangers.


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post #2 of 56 Old 11-02-2010, 08:00 AM
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Yup! Our arab mare is queen and when we aquired two more horses QHs World War III started! We also thought that one of um or both would be severely hurt! This went on for days. Even when things settled (queen won) there were still moments of challenge. But eventually we sold the trouble maker and all is well. We never encountered anything like that either. Was quite scarry!
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post #3 of 56 Old 11-02-2010, 08:38 AM
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Wow- that looks awful! I don't know how to figure this out but I am sure someone on here will know what to do :)

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post #4 of 56 Old 11-02-2010, 08:43 AM
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You just need to let them deal with it. Looks just like what happened with us. Just have some vet wrap and meds on hand. They will do this until they reach an agreement. Its horrible but the only other alternative is to keep them seperated.
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post #5 of 56 Old 11-02-2010, 10:12 AM
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Well, sometimes it is better to have less human involvement than you think. See how when you first let them go the chestnut stared down the pally and the pally walked past, backed his ears but continued on following you out? Both horses were 100% aware of the other but neither had really made the first move of introductions.

By leading the pally back to the chestnut and to get them to introduce that way, it is a human centric way of thinking - 'if we get the introduction out of the way then the worst is over' when in reality horses have much more subtle language than this, especially with two dominant horses. It may well have taken the two of them 20 mins or longer to actually get to the stage where they sniff and squeal at each other, but this is by no means 'time wasted'. This allows them some time and space to judge a little for themselves the best approach to the situation. By forcing them to have a direct introduction when you led the pally straight back to the chestnut, they really had no time to suss out each other before deciding on their own how to go about introductions. The reaction you had was quite extreme and I hope that both horses are OK.

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post #6 of 56 Old 11-02-2010, 10:35 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by sarahver View Post
Well, sometimes it is better to have less human involvement than you think. See how when you first let them go the chestnut stared down the pally and the pally walked past, backed his ears but continued on following you out? Both horses were 100% aware of the other but neither had really made the first move of introductions.

By leading the pally back to the chestnut and to get them to introduce that way, it is a human centric way of thinking - 'if we get the introduction out of the way then the worst is over' when in reality horses have much more subtle language than this, especially with two dominant horses. It may well have taken the two of them 20 mins or longer to actually get to the stage where they sniff and squeal at each other, but this is by no means 'time wasted'. This allows them some time and space to judge a little for themselves the best approach to the situation. By forcing them to have a direct introduction when you led the pally straight back to the chestnut, they really had no time to suss out each other before deciding on their own how to go about introductions. The reaction you had was quite extreme and I hope that both horses are OK.
I understand where you're coming from but I really doubt it would have helped. We were trying to keep them away from the rail so nobody was cornered and trying to jump it. I don't think the outcome would have been any different without our interference as I've seen how the chestnut mare behaves towards newcomers - she almost put my Paint filly through the fence from her relentless charging. Normally we do just leave them to their own devices, we were just concerned about a fight starting at the rail where Justus walked over to. We'll try to stay out of it more next time.
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post #7 of 56 Old 11-03-2010, 09:05 AM
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MM, with all respect I don't think it's a good idea to board them together as well as introducing to each other like that (even with bunch of people around and leg protection). What if they'll start doing it in field, slip on ice/mud, fall and break the leg? There is a good possibility for that. But it's just IMHO.
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post #8 of 56 Old 11-03-2010, 11:19 AM
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Good luck MM. I have a friend whose "boss mare" is so much so that she actually cornered one of the other mares and never stopped kicking. The mare that was attacked died from internal injuries. And that was between a dominant and non-dominant horse.

Wish I had some info to give you on how to get them to accept each other without all the violence, but I don't.

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post #9 of 56 Old 11-03-2010, 12:02 PM
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The only advice I have is to not put these two in together. I would never ever in a million years put Soda in with another dominant aggressive horse. More than likely one of them would end up dead. I think your intentions are good, but you are asking for some very serious injuries. Some horses cannot be kept together and that's all there is to it.

The one time he was in a paddock with that type of horse he was being led through and they both reared up and went at each other like studs. I managed to break it up (yes I am an idiot, but it was just one of those reaction things) before they got really into it, but I will never put him in that situation again.
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post #10 of 56 Old 11-03-2010, 12:10 PM
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I hate to say this, but that video reminded me of a pitbull fight. The palomino tried to walk away and was subsequently led back and forced to confront the other. Then they went at it and you broke them up for it. If I was one of those horses, I would have been VERY confused. First you force the confrontation and then you break it up. IMO, this was a bad way to go about things. I agree with the person who said less human interaction.

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