Multi-gender herds - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 24 Old 03-13-2014, 07:56 PM Thread Starter
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Multi-gender herds

I'm curious to hear your thoughts on them.

Primarily I'm referring to keeping geldings and mares together.

I'm going to be honest, up until I found this forum the thought of keeping mares and geldings separate never occurred to me.

My mom ran a barn for the better part of 15 years with a herd of five geldings and three mares and she put them all out together all the time and we never had any issues. One of the mares was a Shetland and one was a filly. That filly, aside from her first week of life, ran with Momma and all the others for her entire time on our property.

For the past two years we had a gelding and mare out together, again, no problems, and the last six months we had one mare out with two geldings, no problems.

I understand separating horses on a horse by horse basis - i.e. temperament, illness, one being excessively aggressive, etc., but I never thought to separate them purely on the basis of gender alone.

I'm curious to hear the reasoning that those who do separate on the basis of gender have for doing so.

I'm not saying one method is better than the other - merely that I, having had no problems with them being together, don't understand why one would choose to separate them.

Hopefully this can spark a [pleasant] dialog between the two methods of herding (inter-gender/by gender). What benefits does having all mares and all geldings have that having them grouped together would otherwise not?

Or is it simply personal preference?
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post #2 of 24 Old 03-13-2014, 08:00 PM
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I like them all together. But in large agistment herds they seem to do well apart.

I don't know how to describe the benefits, but my previous gelding was less aggressive and possessive when kept only with geldings. He wasn't bad but it was a noticeable difference. The mares seemed a little better in season I guess, but again, the mare I had then when they were split wasn't bad.
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post #3 of 24 Old 03-13-2014, 08:30 PM
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I have always kept them all together. When Dani was at the trainer's, mares and geldings were separated. That makes perfect sense because there were always horses coming and going and it caused less fuss among the horses. I've noticed that geldings rarely react to the addition of a new gelding but a new mare stirs things up. Mares react to any addition to the herd. I used to have a friend who ran a riding stable and would use only geldings.
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post #4 of 24 Old 03-13-2014, 08:33 PM
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I own a gelding and my lease horse is a mare. They're on 24/7 pasture, and turn out well together. The gelding does much better when kept with mares, when he's kept with other geldings he's more agressive and dominant. I guess with all things horse related, it depends on the individual horses in the situation.
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post #5 of 24 Old 03-13-2014, 11:19 PM
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I normally keep the sexes separated unless an individual horse needs a mixed herd. In the wild boys run with boys an it's girls and a dominant stallion, so it is actually more natural keeping the sexes separated.

Now with that being said, my OTSTB hates male horses an barely tolerates females so he is best by himself with others in view but not fighting close.
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post #6 of 24 Old 03-14-2014, 02:22 AM
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I have mixed herds. The mini's are a herd of 2 mares, 1 gelding. Another herd is 2 mares, 1 gelding because he used to be my breeding stallion and doesn't get on well with the other geldings. The other herd is 5 geldings, 1 mare. She's with the geldings because those are the horses she's been with since she was weaned and since we kept 2 foals out of that years crop of babies she's been with one of those geldings since birth. I've had no problems with them being in mixed herds.
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post #7 of 24 Old 03-14-2014, 08:05 AM
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I prefer to keep everyone together but some horses just do better without one gender. My mom's gelding is an example of this. If he has a mare in the field (only a horse, he doesn't care about our mare ponies) then he is a complete jerk. He is naturally dominant but having that mare around makes him 10 times worse. It isn't just a certain horse but any mare you put in with him.

My gelding, who is very submissive and just moved up in the pecking order over the 9hh pony, takes the brunt of his aggression if there is a mare but without a mare they are buddies. Without a large mare(horse, not pony) our herd is soo much more peaceful and easier to keep together.
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post #8 of 24 Old 03-14-2014, 08:43 AM
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The barn I was at in highschool kept them seperated but barn Im at now does not. We have one heard with 3 mares and 3 geldings. The geldings hang back and mares are the bosses but are easy to handle for separating to eat.
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post #9 of 24 Old 03-14-2014, 09:48 AM
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I have 1 gelding who was intact until he was 7 y.o. and he runs the mare band. He's out with 6 mares and is still very much the male in charge. I have another gelding who runs with my stallion. They've been together since Bo was weaned, so they get along great. Once I have a pregnant mare, I add her to their paddock if she likes running with them. Boo loves being with Skippy & Bo and prefers to be there rather than with the other mares & Cloney. Skippy is SO good natured that he's my weanling babysitter when I pull a colt off his dam. I geld early, as early as I can, so a colt is usually gelded before he's weaned. Everything seems to run very smoothly that way.

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post #10 of 24 Old 03-14-2014, 10:37 AM
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Ana is in a mixed herd and she's doing fine. The herd even includes a donkey. I did notice though that within the big herd little micro herds exist. So Ana always hangs out with a TB mare and her TB gelding friend. The poor donkey gets picked on a lot by the more dominant horses.
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