Advise for buying a second horse - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 03-02-2015, 03:54 PM Thread Starter
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Advise for buying a second horse

Okay, I'm looking for a little advice.
My first horse, Pistol, is a great horse, even if he is spooky, bullheaded, and not that well trained. He lives in a 5-10 acre pasture, all to himself. The only animals that he really has to socialize with are the dogs, which he aren't fond of.
That's why we want to get another horse so he will have a buddy.
Our pasture isn't goat-proof, so that's out of the picture. Besides, a calm horse would be great to have for my inexperienced friend to ride, and for my little cousins, many of whom seem interested in horses... I can think of two or three, anyway. LOL. Anyway, the pasture mate is going to be a horse.
That stated, my horse tends to be low in the pecking order, or so he was when he was in his previous home. When we got him, he had several bite marks from his fellows.
He is probably so low in the pecking order because he is short, at 14.2 hands high. That is where our problem is.
I want the next horse to be tall, because my pawpaw wants one he can ride (he bought Pistol for me, and built the barn and fence). However, I don't want the new horse to pick on Pistol (or, for that matter, the other way around).
But here's what I was thinking. We have a large pasture, and if they had a disagreement, there would be plenty of room for them to separate and cool off at one another.
If that's true, we should be okay if we get a horse who turns out to be bossy around other horses, right? Surely he wouldn't just stand there like an idiot being bitten.
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post #2 of 15 Old 03-02-2015, 04:03 PM
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Height doesn't have a direct correlation with pecking order. One anecdote, where I board, a little 14 hand pony tortured and harassed a 16ish hand Quarter Horse so insistently the two had to be separated so the QH could eat in peace without being constantly run off food. My 14.2 mare is #2 in her herd of mares, some bigger than her.

Personality is important, so if your guy tends to be low man, I think you do need to be careful with the horse you chose. I agree you have an advantage because you have a pretty large space for two horses, with plenty of room to get away if needed. But, if you need a larger horse to meet you riding needs, that doesn't mean you can't have that.
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post #3 of 15 Old 03-02-2015, 04:11 PM Thread Starter
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That's good to hear. I'll try and make sure I don't get one that is too mean.
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post #4 of 15 Old 03-02-2015, 04:51 PM
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Erogan is right- size doesn't really matter when it comes to the pecking order. With 2+ horses, there will be a boss and there will be one that hangs out at the bottom.

I have a 27 year old mare who spent 18 years as the only animal on the property. She didn't know what a herd was until I brought her home. She is definitely the low man on the totem pole. Right now she is turned out with my other horse. My other one isn't "mean" but she is the boss, and she will throw out a kick and bite every now and then. No matter what you get- if it's a horse you WILL see bite marks or missing hair from a kick every now and then. It's all part of herd dynamics.

In my opinion, horses should be with another herd animal. Whether that be another horse, donkey, goat...whatever. Is your papaw a big guy? Does he have to have a really tall horse? I ask because a draft pony could be a good option. They are really versatile in what type of riders to take and most of the ones I have met are pretty mellow.

Whatever you decide, I would suggest taking it home for a "trial" period. Some sellers won't allow this, but if you can find one that does it's a great option to see how the new horse will fit in with you and your current horse.
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post #5 of 15 Old 03-02-2015, 04:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LilyandPistol View Post
Okay, I'm looking for a little advice.
My first horse, Pistol, is a great horse, even if he is spooky, bullheaded, and not that well trained. He lives in a 5-10 acre pasture, all to himself. The only animals that he really has to socialize with are the dogs, which he aren't fond of.
That's why we want to get another horse so he will have a buddy.
Our pasture isn't goat-proof, so that's out of the picture. Besides, a calm horse would be great to have for my inexperienced friend to ride, and for my little cousins, many of whom seem interested in horses... I can think of two or three, anyway. LOL. Anyway, the pasture mate is going to be a horse.
That stated, my horse tends to be low in the pecking order, or so he was when he was in his previous home. When we got him, he had several bite marks from his fellows.
He is probably so low in the pecking order because he is short, at 14.2 hands high. That is where our problem is.
I want the next horse to be tall, because my pawpaw wants one he can ride (he bought Pistol for me, and built the barn and fence). However, I don't want the new horse to pick on Pistol (or, for that matter, the other way around).
But here's what I was thinking. We have a large pasture, and if they had a disagreement, there would be plenty of room for them to separate and cool off at one another.
If that's true, we should be okay if we get a horse who turns out to be bossy around other horses, right? Surely he wouldn't just stand there like an idiot being bitten.
I would not hesitate to consider a much larger horse if you feel that would be more practical. When two horses are together one is more or less the leader and the other more or less the follower and size doesn't matter.
It would be good if you can have them separated for a few days before turning out together and perhaps let the new horse out in the pasture alone a few times so he can explore the boundaries on his own. Other precautions you can take is to look for any places that one could corner the other and correct them, and putting hay out in several piles instead of two and spacing them apart.
I don't think you will have any problems. it is much easier to bring in a new horse when you have one than if you already have an established group.
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post #6 of 15 Old 03-02-2015, 07:11 PM
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My horse is 1 1/2 times the size of the ponies in her paddock and she's low horse on the totem pole by far. Size doesn't matter. You need to watch the horse you're thinking of buying with other horses to see how they act, and then that's no guarantee they'll act the same with a new horse.

“When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes. ” ~ William Shakespeare
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post #7 of 15 Old 03-02-2015, 07:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Textan49 View Post
It is much easier to bring in a new horse when you have one than if you already have an established group.
^^ That.
Height has nothing to do with it really. At one place I boarded, a little Shetland x Welsh pony ruled the herd of geldings (all taller).
I am not sure if it was coincidence, but whenever my guy came in as the new horse - no matter if there was one other horse or a herd - he started lowest on the pecking order and stayed there. When he's the one who was there first and has other horse(s) put in with him, he starts and stays the boss.

I wouldn't be too worried, usually they figure it out just fine.
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post #8 of 15 Old 03-04-2015, 09:29 PM
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Height has nothing to do with it. I have two mares, one 13.2h and one 17.3h. The 13.2h was boss mare for many years in a large herd setting - now she's turned out with 1-2 other broodmares and they're all fairly equal.

My 17.3h moose is bottom of the pecking order no matter who she's with.

You cannot guarantee horses will get along before you make the purchase. Introduce slowly and they'll generally figure it out just fine. I'd have an extra paddock or field for the two though, just in case.
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post #9 of 15 Old 03-04-2015, 11:28 PM
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To be honest I wouldn't be too worried.

Even if you do get a horse that is more dominant after the initial settling period it shouldn't cause any trouble. Trouble usually occurs when change happens in the herd structure, such as a new horse being introduced or even a young horse growing up. Disagreements can also occur from too many horses being kept in a small area, and feeding in paddocks without adequate piles/quantities.

Get a horse that is right for you, and they should sort it out. It's natural to have a dominant and submissive horse.
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post #10 of 15 Old 03-06-2015, 09:35 PM Thread Starter
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Okay, thanks, everyone. :) Oh, and to whoever asked- yes, my pawpaw needs a taller horse. Not huge by any means but at least, I'd say, 15hh (he wouldn't do anything but light riding anyway). I would consider a draft mix. As a matter of fact, I learned to ride on a Percheron X Moussuri Fox Trotter (she's 15.3 hh). She is so calm and has the smoothest trot. If only there was one just like her... But alas, she is one of a kind.
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