Keeping the solo horse happy
My horse will be on single turnout very soon. The horse he is pastured with is leaving, and as a result he will be on 24/7 single turnout. He will have a large field, plenty of grazing, but no access to other horses, even over the fence line. Only the barn owners two geldings will be on the property other than my horse.
I really love this place, the location is great and the owner is a very smart lady. But my horse becomes a bit of a basket case when he's by himself. He's a pesky, energetic, playful type that really likes to have a few other horses he cam romp around with. He's a doll who never takes a wrong step when he has a herd, but becomes an absolute jerk when he's turned out alone. Another horse person I've asked about it thinks that my horse is bored and wants to play with me due to his in-your-pocket personality, but it doesn't change the fact that he's downright rude when he has no equine buddies to blow off steam with.
He goes from a very compliant and submissive horse to a very defiant one constantly testing me and never giving it up. He does not work out of this behaviour. Last time he was in single turnout was for two months, and I worked him hard six times a week, in the exact same ways I always did when he was being sweet, and he was still moody and difficult. Since he's had the mare buddy, he's been much better, but not perfect like he was while with a large group of geldings in a different barn.
I've asked if the BO will introduce my gelding with her two and potentially have a mini herd, but she's very hesitant to because one of her geldings like to chase newcomers. I've practically begged her to at least try, but she doesn't see how different he is when he's alone versus when he's with a few friends. She's convinced it's the cold weather making him belligerent, but I don't see how that could be the case when he became so much sweeter overnight even when turned out with one ancient, play hating mare. Personality changes don't happen overnight for no reason.
I really don't want to find a new place, and I know the BO doesn't want me to leave either. She doesn't need me to contribute financially, but I do help out around her farm. Honestly I'd rather pay triple than have him turned out alone, but my board options are limited. I just can't stand my own horse when he's acting out and being so grumpy. If he acts like he did the last time he was on single turnout, I can't handle it. I honestly dread having to handle him when he's like that, knowing how angelic he can be when he's with other horses.
If there are any ways I could help alleviate his boredom and better his spirits in preparation for the solo turnout, I'd like to be prepared before the time comes, start any training regimens, buy all the required things, ect.
I cannot deal with the Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde transformation he makes on solo turnout vs being in a herd. Anything to potentially lessen that helps.