Aggressive horses? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 49 Old 08-15-2011, 03:26 PM Thread Starter
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Aggressive horses?

I have 2 horse and a POA. The 2 horses have been pastured by themselves for the last couple years and the POA came from a similar situation, with different horses. When I was messing with them yesterday, one of the horses chased the POA off. I hadn't seen this before. They have been pastured together for almost 3 weeks. The question is this. Will they learn to get along after they've been together longer? Is this a correctable action? if so, how? Will I likely have problems with other horses? The horse that did the running off is the most trained but if she only gets along with one horse and it's not fixable, she'll have to go down the road. I am new to horses so any help would be appreciated. I am not feable however. I just want to approach the situation the right way. Seperating them indefinately isn't an option.

This, too, shall pass........
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post #2 of 49 Old 08-15-2011, 03:34 PM
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Horses have to determine their social hierarchy and this usually involves some arguing/fighting. They may end up being best friends. The main thing that I would watch is to make sure that the pony cannot be trapped in a tight spot so that he can’t get away. If you feed them together, they may fight. This is something that they have to work out for themselves. Occasionally, one of the horses may get hurt, but they usually learn to get along.

I have one really old pony that I have to keep separated because the others will not let him eat. He is around 30 years old. He can go out in the pasture with the others, but feeding together is out. Anybody want a pony?

Carpe Diem!
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post #3 of 49 Old 08-15-2011, 03:45 PM Thread Starter
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Eating isn't an issue. 3 horses in 12 acres of 2' high grass/alfalfa. The people I got her from said she wouldn't gain any weight but she is already looking pudgy. I didn't call her a pony because she's barely smaller than the horse that chased her. My thought is that they shouldn't be on the trail together until they get it figured out then. Do we all agree? Or would they be better in an area that's not their home turf? I am approaching this as a dog guy. So I am learning. With dogs it would have to be corrected.

This, too, shall pass........
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post #4 of 49 Old 08-15-2011, 05:51 PM
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Where I come from getting along in the pasture(their turf) and behaving under saddle are different things. Sure it helps if they are friends but it's not a factor in if or when I take them together. Just means you make sure they can't pick at each other, etc and if they do you correct immediately. I also do not allow any bossybutties when I'm in the middle of it, ie pasture. Everybody gets in trouble then. When riding watch for signs of bad attitudes. wringing tails, laid back ears, threats toward another horse.. Immediately correct when you see this..
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post #5 of 49 Old 08-15-2011, 06:43 PM
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One of our "herds" is pretty much the exact same as this- two horses, pastured together for about a year, then a pony added a few months ago. From my own experience, and from what I was told even before I brought the pony home, no, it's not likely they will ever be best buds.

For the first while, the "middle mare" would attack the pony whenever it got within 40 feet of her, and after she ended up hurting herself while trying to hurt the pony, I put a stop to it. After I punished her for going at the pony, all the severe aggression has cleared up.

By now the formerly aggressive mare and the pony will eat at the same round bale and graze together etc, but it's still fairly obvious that the two horses have a little friendship together and they tend to "exclude" the pony-like a bunch of little girls on the playground

Basically, long story short, horses will be horses in the pasture. I personally don't want mine pinning ears at each other or fooling around when I'm within 20 or 30 feet, but some people do. If the horse doing the chasing is well trained, I wouldn't worry too much about it-she may not display any aggression when she's on a halter/lead or saddled. If she does start being aggressive when you have her out of the paddock, be sure to punish her.
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post #6 of 49 Old 08-15-2011, 08:40 PM
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I agree. I don't think riding on a trail will be an issue just so the riders control their horses. I did have one mare that thought it was great sport to bite the horse in front of her on the backside. I had to keep a watch to not let her get too close.

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post #7 of 49 Old 08-15-2011, 08:59 PM
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quote:" she "

You defined your problem. Not likely she will ever be kind to the other horses.

That's exactly why we have geldings. Got tired of the mare-ish syndrome of dominance. Now that is not to say some geldings are not just as bad, but not usually.
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post #8 of 49 Old 08-15-2011, 10:21 PM
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^^ :roll:

Yeah, sweeping generalizations are great. My only problem horse is one of my geldings, and he only aggresses against other geldings. And I have 4 mares.

To the OP, the horse in my avi is a dominant gelding that likes to have a go at any new male horse I bring on the property. One of the best things I have found for this behavior is TO take the two out together. Trailering together tends to be a bonding experience for horses. Taking my bully and the horse he is being aggressive towards off property, and trail riding the two together off property, seems to go a ways in easing dominance issues at home. Not resolving them completely - nothing but time will do that - but it does seem to speed the settling down process.

Everything else, I handle the same way AppyT suggests. I let them pretty much hammer it out amongst themselves (providing it doesn't get too nasty out there of course) and only get involved if they act nasty when I am present out there among them, or if they are working.

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post #9 of 49 Old 08-16-2011, 02:03 AM
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We dealt with this at the Girls Scout horse camp I worked at last fall. The mares we were using were kept together in two of the arenas when they weren't working (no individual stalls, just turned out in the arenas). When we were giving lessons in the arenas, there were certain horses we absolutely could not have near each other because of the social hierarchy they had developed in the arena. However, once out on the trail, you could put two mares who absolutely LOATHED each other in the arena right on each others' tails and never have a problem.

As a couple people have said: behavior in the turnout/pasture and behavior under saddle are two completely different things and most well-trained horses recognize this.
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post #10 of 49 Old 08-16-2011, 03:00 AM
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I kind of perked up my ears when I read that you have the horses on 12 acres of deep alfalfa grass. I think that you might have some problems with the pony, or even the horses, if they have come from an environment where they are not getting so much grass on a regular basis, and if the pony is looking puffy, more the worry.

Horses that go from a diet that isn't rich, especially without access to fresh grass, and then are suddenly put out to graze on deep, high sugare content grass cand develop a serious illness called "laminitus" It is very serious and can lead to permanent lameness and even to the point of needing to put down the animal.

Since you are so new to horses, I would really recommend that you enlist the help of someon who really knows horses to help you with some of this. Horses can be like aliens to humans who have no experience with them. They are very different from any cat or dog, and of course, can be dangerous if not understood correctly.

Your other post about the horse in your face indicates that you might be viewing them a bit too much like a big, snuggly dog or cat. Not that at all!

And with regard to the mare chasing the other away, this is totally horse behavior. It only lasts for a sec and they will work out their relationship and live more peacefully than two humans might ever be able to do.
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