Help w/ putting 2 horses together
Hello all who have read this thread, and thank you in advance if you have any advice! And thank you for making it to the end, I tried to cover any possible questions!
Okay, so as the thread implies, we are looking for a bit of info regarding a previously had horse and mixing in the new one.
We currently have them with a heavy wooden paddock fencing between them, along with barbed wire pasture outside of that.
They can obviously sniff and such over and through the fencing, and only seem to do so at the wooden fence.
The new horse has a rather severe rope burn on her back right pastern (under care, no worries there), and there is still some mild swelling, which is improving. My dilemma is that they have started to get snippy and kick at each other at the paddock fence. Its the worry of injury to either horse, esp. worsening the injury to the newby.
We have noticed it worsened when we gave hay, so we are going to start giving the hay very far apart (not even in sightline) and away from any fencing. I am hoping that might fix it some.
It is not a constant thing, maybe 5-10 times out of the day we hear them snort, squeal, and see mild kicking, but it has seemed to get a bit stronger, hence my questioning how to remedy it.
The question I have is that even though newby has a bit of swelling and we are trying to limit her movements, is it safer to go ahead and put them into the biggest pasture together? Would the occasional tension over the fence be alleviated by this? I would just toss them together with supervision in the pasture, but its the foot injured newby I am worried about. We also worry that they will get a board knocked loose when we aren't home, thereby having a nail embedded board at their reach.
For any possible things I missed: newby walks with no issues, and doesn't limp heavily, even after she makes contact with the fence. We assume newby will become lead mare, as she is older, but the younger horse seems to be the one instigating the fence feed behavior.
Thank you for making it to the end and for any help you have!
I also have video of it, if anyone is interested.
Since your fencing is wire and not visible to a horse (he learns where it is and creates a map in his head) I suggest you tie bright orange survey ribbon every few posts, mid way along the wire and walk her around it first. Then if you're like me you go hide in a corner, ply your ears and hum loudly for about 5 minutes. Usually by then the cost is clear. If you put hay in the pasture always put out more piles than horses spaced well apart. Initially I had to put out 5 piles when I introduced a new horse with one other. By the fourth pile the long time resident have given up on chasing the newbie off a pile. It was too much work.
They'll have to work it out themselves. There is always kicking and biting amongst horses, you cannot get around it that is just how they assert their dominance and keep everyone in line.
Give them plenty of space and plenty of hay piles and they should do fine.
If you are trying to limit her movement, keep them apart until that is passed. When you do put them together, watch them for 30 minutes are so. There will be kicking and screaming...expect some scrapes, etc. Separate them at night. Repeat the next day. It usually takes 3-5 days for things to settle down.
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I've had the best success WORKING and trailering horses that are new to each other for several months before I turn them out together. You just don't know how tough your newer horse is. I've even had a 14'hh mare who cow-kicked my lead gelding so hard when I first turned her out with him, that I thought she had broken his leg, bc he cantered off on 3 legs, holding the back left up as he ran. I've also had some Vet bills from turning them out too soon. Give them time.
Thanks for the replies.
I honestly am not sure we should let newby out with Sonata yet, with her pastern injury, as I am sure there will be lots of running and kicking, which I assume will only further her healing time, correct?
We also can't ride them together yet, as newby needs to go off to refresher training. Are there any good ground things you can think that might help that? Or does that not quite work the same?
We definitely had all those ideas about when it is time to introduce, so that is good.
Odd thought- is it possible that us being here makes the fence fighting worse? Some sort of food/attention tension mentality they have?
We had been gone for a few hours, out to get stuff to fix the fence, get home, and nothing broken, and literally within 10 minutes they have kicked down 4 boards and thrown a few fits.
I do hope this improves when they get put together, I swear- one minute they are side by side on the fence or rails and look like they love each other, then one must whisper something mean, and off they go! lol
It will improve. I've only seen one case in many, many years that involved 2 alpha horses, neither of which would back down from the other, that could not be kept together.
Thanks for the encouragement! ;)
I agree that they shouldn't be put together yet, but man I am counting it down at this point, lol.
The first horse is a 3.5 yr old who was previously board pastured with various horses and was always bottom girl. The nice sweet one, lol. Now she lives on our 5.5 acres at our house.
Now we have gotten the 2nd horse (7 yr old mare), and I wonder if Sonata hasn't decided that she was here first and doesn't want to be low man?
She appears to be the one instigating it at this point.
Newby for most of her life was with 2+ other mares and I watched them interact, and she seemed like a nice level headed girl.
Guess its just a wait and see until newby's leg injury heals.
So my husband decided to go ahead and try them together, as newby isn't limping at all.
The picture is the result.
Does this mean, knock on wood, all that posturing on the fence is mostly done, not counting feeding issues in future, etc? I expect feeding time to be an issue and won't be doing that together any time soon.
They have been together for 30+ minutes with not a snort or squeal or kick.
---KNOCK ON WOOD---- lol
My 3.5 yr old def. defers to anything 7 yr old newby wants. Its okay with me! :)
Actually, it is actually easier with low totem pole horses. The horses don't see them as a threat and usually don't mess with them much, i.e. basically ignore any posturing they make.
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