Our horse is a loner? - The Horse Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 Old 09-30-2010, 09:11 PM Thread Starter
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Our horse is a loner?

We've had Ginger for over a year now and it just occurred to me yesterday that our horse is a loner.

She's in an 8 acre pasture with 4 other horses (3 mares and 1 gelding) and appears to be 4th on the totem pole. It took awhile for her to be accepted in the herd at first. She always had bite marks and such in the beginning which I understand is normal, however, she usually looks good now with only the occasional little mark here and there...nothing to speak of.

She appeared to be herd sour this spring when one of the mares was sent off for training yet adapted well when she was sent away for 3 weeks WITH my daughter for training.

It's recently occurred to me that whenever we go over to feed and water she's always so far away from the other 4 horses ...all alone.

Yesterday when I went over with my daughter, I couldn't see Ginger anywhere. The other horses started coming in when they saw us, but no Ginger. Both Meg and I started to get really concerned (I had that really sick feeling in my stomach) and started walking out in the pasture to check things out and then up popped Ginger. Once she saw us she started running in :) It was at this moment that I thought that Ginger could be a loner...finally dawning on me that this hasn't been the first time it's happened. She was MIA again tonight but suddenly appeared from a far corner away from the others. Strange...

So curious about this behavior. Is it normal?
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post #2 of 7 Old 10-01-2010, 11:09 AM
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We had a pony that would do the same thing. Everyone else would be up by the barn and she'd be way back in another field enjoying her peace and quiet. I wouldn't worry about her and actually ours was nice taking out alone because she didn't care about the rest of the herd
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post #3 of 7 Old 10-01-2010, 11:26 AM
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She's not a loner, she's the omega of your little herd.

Is she grey?
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post #4 of 7 Old 10-01-2010, 12:26 PM
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I love loner horses. Old Buddy was like that. Best horse we've ever had.
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post #5 of 7 Old 10-01-2010, 01:08 PM
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My friend has a horse like that. He liked to stand with his head in the trees and away from everybody else lol. We always called him the strange one, but yes he was at the bottom because everyone bullied him. I think he just would of rather been alone and happy then always being picked on. oh and when everyone came in for treats and line up at the fence he'd even stand a little ways back and not even bother.

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post #6 of 7 Old 10-01-2010, 02:32 PM
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There's quite a bit of difference between a horse who chooses to be alone, and one who has been designated as the omega.

If the animal is being ostracized they're alone because they've been run off, not because they've chosen to stay by themselves.

I had a true loner. He was also an alpha. He barely tolerated other horses, and could only go out with a select few his entire life. He was king of my little herd, and made sure he had the choicest hay, grass, and was the first to eat.

He always came in first, and at the head of the herd. Any horse that is holding back and only comes in after the others, is not a loner. They're an omega.
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post #7 of 7 Old 10-02-2010, 11:36 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies everyone!

I don't completely understand the herd dynamics here and thought that Ginger was 4th out of the 5 horses because she appears to be dominant over a little arab/paint pony that has been retired. Arab/paint (smallest and oldest pony) was also the first horse to live in this pasture which I assume would put her in an established "place" in the herd even tho Ginger bosses her about. Our Ginger was the last to join the herd.

So now I'm thinking Ginger IS the omega rather than a loner. She certainly was in the beginning. Also, after doing a little reading, I learned that the role of omega is generally to be the "whipping post" for the herd to get all those pent up frustrations out.

Ginger's favorite horse buddy will be leaving in the next couple of months so it will be interesting to see how the herd dynamics change once again.

I'm still a little confused because Ginger is the first one in when food is concerned. I hope my jumbled thoughts make some sense.

Last edited by colds; 10-02-2010 at 11:39 AM.
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