How to tell if a horse is "lonely"... - Page 3 - The Horse Forum

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post #21 of 32 Old 08-29-2013, 12:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VickiRose View Post
Our pony is quite happy with her herd mates, two sheep! And she's not even top of the pecking order LOL!
Same here! My girl lives with a pair of goats and she's solidly in the middle of the hierarchy. It's hilarious!
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Fabio - 13 year old Arab/QH gelding
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Atticus - 4 year old LaMancha/Alpine cross goat

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post #22 of 32 Old 08-29-2013, 05:43 AM
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Yep Wallaby, cracks me up when mine gets pushed away from her feed by a 2 yr old merino! I mean, she's 5 times the size! And sheep lay down a lot, so she tends to lay down way more than a normal horse would, cause that's what the boss does, so that's what Rose does too.
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post #23 of 32 Old 08-29-2013, 09:15 AM
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Hi there! Please take note, it is very sad to see horses by themselves. They are not meant to be by themselves. After all, they are a herd animal. I would get a pasture mate for him, including a mule, donkey and goat. Something to keep them company. It is bad enough that we keep horses in small pastures when they are meant to travel distances every day whether it be 2 km or 25 km. Please consider getting him a pasture mate, you will have a much happier horse!
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post #24 of 32 Old 08-29-2013, 09:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonny01 View Post
Our new horse, Sonny, is in a 2 acre pasture by himself. It's in our backyard so he sees a lot of us, but not constantly. There are two horses in a large pasture across the street (about 50' away) and they spend some time at the fence "talking" to Sonny occasionally. My question: are these horses sufficient company for Sonny? What are symptoms of a lonely horse? Sonny seems perfectly fine now, but we've only had him a couple of weeks. He's a 7 yr old gaited saddle horse with a calm demeanor.

FWIW, Sonny was not the dominant horse in his previous herd.
Please consider getting him a pasture mate. Horses are not meant to be by themselves, they are meant to be in a herd. At least get him a donkey, mule or a goat, something to keep him company. It is very heartbreaking to see a horse all by itself in a pasture. It is bad enough that we keep them in small pastures when they are meant to be in very large spaces in order to roam 2 to 25 km a day.
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post #25 of 32 Old 08-29-2013, 09:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonny01 View Post
Our new horse, Sonny, is in a 2 acre pasture by himself. It's in our backyard so he sees a lot of us, but not constantly. There are two horses in a large pasture across the street (about 50' away) and they spend some time at the fence "talking" to Sonny occasionally. My question: are these horses sufficient company for Sonny? What are symptoms of a lonely horse? Sonny seems perfectly fine now, but we've only had him a couple of weeks. He's a 7 yr old gaited saddle horse with a calm demeanor.

FWIW, Sonny was not the dominant horse in his previous herd.
Please consider getting him a pasture mate. Horses are not meant to be by themselves, they are meant to be in a herd. At least get him a donkey, mule or a goat, something to keep him company. It is very heartbreaking to see a horse all by itself in a pasture. It is bad enough that we keep them in small pastures when they are meant to be in very large spaces in order to roam 2 to 25 km a day.
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post #26 of 32 Old 08-30-2013, 03:28 PM
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Some horses are happier without other horses, and would actually prefer a different kind of species with them. Some horses would prefer to be with sheep, or cows ect. Than other horses. It just depends on the horse. In most cases, they like to be with other horses, as they are herd animals, but not all cases. I would get him a pasture mate, but if you don't have loads of money, get a inexpensive one. Like goats. If you do have the money and time, I would get another horse or a mini or a donkey.
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post #27 of 32 Old 08-30-2013, 03:44 PM
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My filly is one of those that just do NOT do well alone. She doesn't do well with other livestock as companions either. It has to be a horse. Before she came to me she was alone for an unknown period of time, likely most of her life, and she unfortunately had to be quarantined off an on for the first half year or so of her being with me due to different things stemming from neglect and abuse (first EHV, then lice, then a very grotesque injury) and she was utterly miserable. She would stand pressed against the fence, calling to the other horses, pacing, etc., and she developed both the habits of cribbing and doing a strange thing that I call her 'carousel horse' mode. When she's alone or worried, she'll start walking in a very tight circle to soothe herself, and that's what she did the majority of the time when she was alone. She didn't gain weight quickly (extremely emanciated), constantly fretted, etc., When she did occasionally get to meet another horse, she was desperate for their company. Eventually she did get better enough for me to turn her out, and even then there were side effects of her being alone that have had to be 'ironed' out. She didn't even know how to communicate with other horses so she was often bullied and not allowed to eat.

Once I was able to slowly start introducing her to herd mates though (she currently only has one herd mate but is slowly being introduced into a group setting) she started picking up energy, stopped pacing, has MOSTLY stopped cribbing (she was a chronic cribber before), and she's gaining weight steadily. I'm amazed by the transformation.

All of that to say, I really do think it is a matter of the horse's personality. Adverse to my filly, my friend's gelding is actually very dangerous around other horses and will quite literally attempt to kill them...but he's a doll with people. So he lives alone with the exception of a large black steer as company, who can more than fend for himself when Ahab (the gelding) gets too rough. Put him in with other horses though and he goes power hungry and nutso. He's fine with them when riding though. However, he is 1 case in probably thousands, and IMO he probably wasn't socialized at all as a baby, so he is more of a defect than a norm.

Unlike everyone else though I'm going to suggest NOT getting a miniature horse as your horse's companion. They are simply too small and fragile. A medium sized pony (10-12hh) or standard donkey would be a better choice.o

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post #28 of 32 Old 08-30-2013, 06:10 PM
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What do you all think about horses in individual turnouts but surrounded by others? My horse is boarded at a stable with about 20 others, and during the day he's in his own paddock (about 1/4 acre) but there are horses in turnouts all around him. Do you think this is significantly different than if they were in the same?
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post #29 of 32 Old 08-30-2013, 07:09 PM
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My horse is kept alone most of the time. Sometimes he'll go out in the pasture with our heifers and his stall is in the calf barn but other than that he's a loner. He doesn't seem to mind at all. He is very social and loves to cuddle with people. I'm a dairy farmer so I'm at the farm all the time and he gets TONS of attention throughout the day. He's good with other horses. Likes them but doesn't go crazy when they leave him. I really don't think that he's lonely. I make sure that he has plenty to keep him occupied so that he doesn't get bored and decide to pick up some bad habits (weaving, cribbing ect.) Sometimes I wish he would act lonely so that I'd have a legitimate excuse to get another horse
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post #30 of 32 Old 08-30-2013, 07:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ponyhorse1516 View Post
I know a "Loner horse" myself, actually. When the others are away playing, this grey connemara is a few metres away grazing by himself taking no notice. Some horses just prefer their own company, but if you want to see something really funny, put him in a small arena with a mirror!xD

Oooh goodness.... Bad idea - but I want to try this so bad!! It would be very interesting I think!

Man...very good idea!

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