Does a horse need a companion?
I was wondering, because when i become 15, in 2 years, i might be getting my first horse! but im not really sure if they NEED a companion, like a little shetland for company, can anyone help?
Horses certainly prefer having a companion, but most can do alone if need be, especially if you can spend a lot of time with them. Our first mare was by herself for 6 months before we bought our second and she was fine. If you want to add an inexpensive companion, many people will add a goat.
Well my horse Domino is alone..But its really sad! When we go to gymkhanas he gets so excited from the other horses that he gets diarrhea. (ick) and when we drive up with the horse trailer he winnies and winnies, then we open it and theres no horse you can just see the look of diapointment on his face. Makes me wanna cry :(
Horses CAN be alone but its better if there not. If i could i would get another horse I would...
Its sort of a double edged sword. A horse alone gets lonely and does do better with a companion. On the other side, horses in a herd get what is called herd bound or buddy sour. They don't want to go off by themselves and will fight to go back to their friends. If you are primarily going to be riding alone, your better off keeping only one horse and you become its herd mate :D
I don't like keeping horses alone. A few will do OK but most do not. The horse is a social, herd animal and when we deny him a friend it is not doing him justice.
IMO a person can not spend the time necessary to be his companion. A herd bound horse can just as easily be a barn sour horse - with or without a companion - which is his reluctance to leave his stall or pasture when you try to ride him away from it or how he picks up his pace when on the way home - some become a downright handful. That is a matter of training.
Ideally a horse will have a companion but has no trouble riding away and not prancing on the way back. When riding with a group and you want to go right while the rest go left, he doesn't fight you. That is a well disciplined horse who knows his job and is a joy to ride.
So, to sum it up, I would say "yes" he needs a companion - but even a goat works, it doesn't have to be another horse.
Honestly as said above, horses are herd animals, and would be happiest with a companion, but you also have to find the right companion if you get one. I thought that my then 2 year old would need a companion when I brought him home as he had always been around other horses, so I got him a goat, which down the road he seriously did not like in the least. He was soo much happier when I finally got rid of the goat. But I was also home a good chunk of the time so I could spend a lot of time with him, and we were really bonded. If a neighbor or friend has a goat, or a pig, or something, I'd see if you can just do a trial, to see how your horse gets along with the animal, to see if you should spend the money to get one yourself.
Need? No they don't need one. But they do prefer to have one. It helps a spunky horse have someone to help him get rid of extra energy and a flighty horse some confidence and it relieves boredom. It doesn't need to be another horse though. We had a gelding that we kept with a goat weather (aka goat gelding). They were such good friends. It was funny because the goat got scared and would run and hide under the gelding.... :lol:
They do need one, companionship is vitally important for a horses mental wellbeing. They are incredibly social and complex and will become depressed or lonely and sad without another animal of any kind. Its just part of their make up. Of course they will not die, but a horse needs a herd of some kind for it to be able to express its natural social behaviours.
No animal can be 100% happy without the freedom to express natural behaviour. It doesn't matter if we know the horse wont get eaten, or the fox wont steal the chickens eggs, or anything like that. A chicken will only be happy if she can silently go away into a enclosed space to lay her eggs, it doesn't matter to her if the massive barn she lives in is enclosed and fox proof. And so a horse can only be 100% happy when he is able to socialise, interact, groom, be warned and warn others of apparent danger... all these things a horse desires to do. All these little things make a horse who he is.. a horse.
So yes a horse does need to have companionship just as much if not more than we do. Its part of who they are.
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