This is a poorly drawn, not to scale, representation of my barn/pasture.
The barn is set up with four stalls on either side of the isle, and a large back stall. The back stall opens on three sides out to the pasture. These openings have gates that can be shut. Each stall, including the back one, has an automatic watering system and a trough to put hay/grain.
The pasture, as you can see, is decently sized. It's big enough for eight horses, technically. However, it's all one big open space.
Therein lies the problem. We recently took in a rescue horse, Tyce. He is rather severely underweight and has a bad case of thrush, along with some minor health issues that are fully treatable and not at all contagious for the other horses.
He is currently being kept in a stall away from the other two horses. Because of his condition, we felt it best to let him settle into his stall by himself for a bit (he arrived 9/26 at 11 AM) so we've just set him up in a stall with food and water. We have him on a feeding and medicine schedule so he's not gorging himself and is going to put weight on at a normal pace, no worries.
Eventually we have to introduce him to the mini herd though. We have two other horses, a gelding named Sonny, and a mare named ZsaZsa.
How do you suggest we do this without having separate pastures for them? Would it be a good idea to put Tyce in the back stall, lock the other two out (we have water troughs in the pasture as well) and just let them get to know each other through the gates?
We're not worried about how Tyce will react to Sonny. Sonny is very friendly and gets along with just about everyone. And from what we've heard, Tyce is (was) a very mellow horse with a similar disposition to Sonny.
Zsa Zsa on the other hand is very assertive. She's the boss. She likes to hog food and just is very aggressive when first introduced to other horses. And people, for that matter. She belongs to a girl down the street and to be honest, she's not a very nice horse at all.
With Tyce being underweight, having him chased away from his food is not something we're gunning for.
So. Do you think it would work to put Tyce in the back stall for a while, then just put him and Sonny in the pasture and have Zsa Zsa in the back stall? And then introduce the three of them together?
How would you do it? How long would each phase of the introduction last if you did it?
If need be, we can always tie off part of the pasture to separate them, but it'd be easier if we didn't have to. We haven't introduced horses - especially not rescued ones - in a very long time. And back then we had the pasture set up as three pastures.
What are your thoughts?
Oh, if you got through this and actually answered it, you're awesome!