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5kiddos 01-28-2013 05:08 PM

Pasture Board or Outdoor Individual Run?
I had always figured when I got a horse I would board in the pasture. The current owner of the horse I am hoping to purchase mentioned that he has only been with 1 or 2 other horses and is definitely submissive to the others. She mentioned that in a herd he "may not eat" as he will just walk away and avoid any confrontation, etc. Would I be better off starting him out in an individual, outdoor run with shelter or just put him out with the large herd and see what happens?

hemms 01-28-2013 08:15 PM

Usually when you have a large herd, they settle out into groups. It's best to find a barn that offers enough feeding venues for all the different levels of heirarchy, plus a couple more. Undoubtably, your horse will benefit from friendships, as well as the environment enrichment pasture provides. As long as it's properly managed, the size of the herd shouldn't matter. Also good to be sure the pasture is large enough to accommodate all that shuffling without anyone getting hurt or caught up. Just my experiences.
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wild_spot 01-28-2013 08:26 PM

Feeding should be managed so that everybody gets their share. I have a gelding who is a real 'loner' and very submissive, and a mare who is really submissive, but when we feed we either split them up, or make sure the dominant horses have a little more feed so the others have time to finish theirs before the dominants come and try to steal feed. They are so much happier out with the others. Just make sure there is enough space that they can get away from the dominant horses - I find most issues with horses being picked on are when there isn't enough room.

trailwalker 01-28-2013 08:34 PM

I totally agree with the above. Adequate pasture board with other horses in a herd setting is the best option for a healthy happy horse. Jmo there will be incidence periodically but should be minimal given there is enough room for all.
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