When to separate horses - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 07-24-2017, 05:04 PM Thread Starter
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When to separate horses

So my two horses live together right now. They live in a dry lot so I feed hay year. My mare is older and eats slower and she never fights back when my bigger gelding pushes her out of the way. I've tried putting out more piles but my gelding will waste over and play in whatever he doesn't eat in one sitting (which usually is her meal) I've also tried separating them just for feeding but she eats so slow and I don't always have the time to wait until they both are done eating. They always bicker but nothing bad. However, she's always coming up with some new knick or scratch. I'm thinking of just dividing the pasture in 2 and just letting them share the fence line. That way they can interact and be friends but the mare can eat in peace.
And I'm sure there will be times when I let them in together but for the most part they will be separate.
I just feel bad for her because she can't always run fast enough to get away from him and he can be a bit of a bully.
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post #2 of 4 Old 07-24-2017, 05:10 PM
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If it were me, I would separate the pasture in half as you suggested and open it when they are not eating together. That way you don't feel the need to wait for your mare to finish, but they still have plenty of opportunity to be together.
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post #3 of 4 Old 07-24-2017, 05:41 PM
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I have the exact same thing with 2 of my horses.
One horse gobbles his hay down then when the choicest is gone he then goes and takes my other horses hay away leaving him the leftovers...
When I finally had enough of my horse not allowed to eat in peace, I started to now lock one up.
I rotate which horse it is that gets locked in their stall till the other is done.
Interesting is that now that my slow-eater can eat in peace, he does eat and not walk away from his rations like he use to do and now that he eats his ration he has gained back some of his weight he lost..
My horses are fed the same amount of hay. The one horse is done in 1/3 to 1/2 the time it takes my other one to eat.
So if I feed hay at 6:00PM, one horse is completely done by 7:30 my other is nearly done at 9:00 - 9:30 for example..
That is quite a difference in quantity stuffed in the gut in a small amount of time.

Absolutely separate that field so your mare can eat in peace...
She will thrive and be so much happier not being chased all the time..
Once your other horse wastes his hay and can't get to hers he will amazingly start to be cleaner eating, not walking in or soiling it as he gets no more...and you need to live to that.
No extra thrown!

You will probably always need to separate the dominant and underling at feeding time or watch the pushiness, aggressive nature come back.

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post #4 of 4 Old 07-24-2017, 05:43 PM
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Separate them and don't have a moments regret --- it is for the betterment of the mare and, as you say, they have the fence to communicate over.

When I laid my two elders to rest, who were horses #1 & #2, that left the bully horse #3 and my insulin resistant/foundered horse #4 who absolutely refuses to fight back.

My main pasture is ~19 acres yet the bully horse has run the IR horse into a corner and held him there enough times that I finally gave the IR horse the yard and one side pasture for about 4 acres. That was nearly three years ago and I'm sorry to say it's going to be that way until their end times because I can't trust the bully horse to leave the IR horse alone.

Both horses have their own entrance into the barn and their own barrel fans that I have set on heavy duty outdoor timers. I just got back from running an errand and a quick check found the bully horse grazing in his front pasture and my IR horse standing in front of his fan in the barn. He would be out in the blistering sun, if he were in with the other horse.

I wish they could be together and my IR horse would love to cohabitate but the other horse just doesn't know how to be friends. I watched the IR horse try to initiate mutual grooming over the fence and the bully horse pinned his ears and snaked his head over the fence, in a clear gesture that he wasn't interested.

Your mare will be better off. Keeping them separate by a fence is much more mentally healthy for your mare which, in turn, lessens the stress on her digestive system (think possible ulcers).

A Good Horseman Doesn't Have To Tell Anyone; The Horse Already Knows.

I CAN'T ride 'em n slide 'em. I HAVE to lead 'em n feed 'em Thnx cowchick77.

Last edited by walkinthewalk; 07-24-2017 at 05:48 PM.
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