Horse Size Difference (SAFETY PROBLEM) - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 07-24-2017, 02:15 PM Thread Starter
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Horse Size Difference (SAFETY PROBLEM)

I didn't know where to post this, so sorry if this is the wrong spot. Due to pasture problems and replanting, I need to keep both of my horses together. One is a full size mare and the other is a mini gelding. They have been separated because of their size difference. I'm a little scared for them to be together because both are really playful and I'm afraid the mini could get accidentally kicked in the head during play. What is your opinion? Should I put them together?
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post #2 of 10 Old 07-24-2017, 02:37 PM
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I've seen where people put up a rail just tall enough for the mini to get under. They have a safe place to get away if they want.
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post #3 of 10 Old 07-24-2017, 02:44 PM
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I would try to find another solution but other people have kept minis in with a full sized horse and not had a problem. I guess it depends on what chances you are willing to take.
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post #4 of 10 Old 07-24-2017, 06:13 PM
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I’ve seen Shetlands share fields with all sizes. In my last place one shared a field with Clydesdales and they were absolutely terrified of the Shetland and avoided him at all costs. I think it’s about attitude and their relationship rather than the size; you’ll be able to judge whether or not there’s a chance of either horse getting injured.
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post #5 of 10 Old 07-24-2017, 10:45 PM
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My appaloosa gelding plays with out mini HARD. Like rearing, biting, kneeing and laying on eachother. If Trouble gets too rough the pony puts him in his place or leaves.
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post #6 of 10 Old 07-24-2017, 11:07 PM
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True story, happened just today: I was taking a TB stallion out to his pasture for turn-out. He's usually by himself, so he doesn't get to socialize a lot other than over the fence. While I was taking his halter off, a mini snug onto his pasture through the open gate. (They were over-the-fence acquaintances.) I was a bit concerned, but the barn owner told me to let the mini's buddy (also a mini) in as well.

I have never seen so much joy in that stallion about having someone to hang out with. He was prancing around them, jumping in the air, kicking - but never ever got even close to those two minis. He was herding them around for about 10 minutes, occasionally running over to the gate to me, then back to them. Then everything settled and communal grazing commenced. I gave them three flakes of hay (one for each) and again, no dispute.

Now this is an exceptionally kind stallion as far as stallions are concerned, but even with the size difference and with a lot of running and playing and horsing around, there was never a "Oh, that was close!" moment. I guess whether your guys are safe will depend very much on the individuals in question, but there isn't any reason to assume a priori that this is a dangerous situation.
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post #7 of 10 Old 07-24-2017, 11:18 PM
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Yes, serious injuries COULD happen. Regardless of size. & IME of agisting at many places that had ponies/minis running with the big guys - & of clients who can't afford 2 big horses, so keep a mini for company for their horse - I can't recall one instance where a little tacker was injured. Where I used to agist, they introduced a young OTTB(bit of a dill) to the herd & next day he had a DENT in his forehead - he'd obviously got too close, had his head down low & copped a pretty strong kick. They opted to take him to the vet hospital, to monitor him for a week, in case of hemorrhaging & brain injury, but he was fine. Came back & lived for many years with same horses(still there) without further injury, albeit the dent in his noggin is permanent. One of my horses got kicked in the face when young, in the herd he'd grown up with, and it cut the skin & left a flap, which has given him a permanent scar between his eyes.

You hear of odd injuries between horses occasionally, but generally, they're sociable animals that just get on. If your horse was a 'bully' rather than just playful, that could be an issue though. In the vast majority of instances that horses injure eachother - or just seriously hassle eachother - in bullying, it is due to lack of social skills - the horse has not been allowed to live & learn from other horses. If your horse is sociable, I wouldn't worry personally. Or if you decide it's too much risk, then I'd be getting another big horse & mini, to allow your guys to have live-in company. That is so important for their wellbeing, and I'd much rather risk the rare injury than leave my horses alone & depressed/stressed, like so many I see when working at 'equestrian establishments' who live in isolation, only able to see other horses over the fence.
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post #8 of 10 Old 07-25-2017, 01:05 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the replies. I plan to put them together tomorrow!
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post #9 of 10 Old 07-27-2017, 10:40 PM Thread Starter
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Just a little update: I put them together and they did great! They really don't have a lot of interest in each other.
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post #10 of 10 Old 07-28-2017, 08:53 AM
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Too late now, but glad it worked out well! In my experience of having a smaller horse (14.2 Arab) with a much larger horse (Percheron who is a big bully), it was fine as long as they had lots of room so the smaller horse could get away. There was often some posturing, and a lot of running around with pinned ears, but since the Arab was far more agile and thought it was a fun game of keep-away, nothing bad ever came of it.

In general, I think that if there is enough room (at LEAST 1 acre per horse, preferably more), horses will co-exist unless one is unusually aggressive. So glad your two are ok with each other! Funny how quickly they just go back to grazing and ignoring each other. I think that when they're doing that, they're still observing each other and sizing each other up out of the corner of their eyes. But as long as it's peaceful, everyone is happy, especially the owner!
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