Horse is Highly Aggressive to other Horses - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 01-21-2016, 10:00 PM Thread Starter
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Horse is Highly Aggressive to other Horses

Hello! So I started leasing my mare almost 4 months ago. I recently asked her owner why my mare is kept alone when her owner also owns another horse (Hollywood). She says that my mare (Pretty Girl) used to be kept with Hollywood and that Pretty Girl would beat Hollywood up. He would constantly be covered in bite and kick marks. Worse than that, she never let him drink water; she'd always chase him away from the buckets when he went to drink. I know that horses can show dominance in ways like this but I really don't like Pretty Girl having to be alone all the time. I know she's not my horse and it's not my decision to make, but is there any way I can get Pretty Girl to be less aggressive so I can try to convince her owner to let them be kept together?
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post #2 of 13 Old 01-21-2016, 10:11 PM
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Originally Posted by JMMEquestrian View Post
Hello! So I started leasing my mare almost 4 months ago. I recently asked her owner why my mare is kept alone when her owner also owns another horse (Hollywood). She says that my mare (Pretty Girl) used to be kept with Hollywood and that Pretty Girl would beat Hollywood up. He would constantly be covered in bite and kick marks. Worse than that, she never let him drink water; she'd always chase him away from the buckets when he went to drink. I know that horses can show dominance in ways like this but I really don't like Pretty Girl having to be alone all the time. I know she's not my horse and it's not my decision to make, but is there any way I can get Pretty Girl to be less aggressive so I can try to convince her owner to let them be kept together?
It sounds like this is not your call to be honest. But the first thing I wondered when I read it is how big an area are the horses being kept in? Is it possible to provide two water buckets? My horse gets picked on no matter who he is in with. At one barn, he was in with a gelding who had a reputation for being aggressive. Sure enough, he would get bitten every day until I took him out of there. The problem was that the paddock was so small, they couldn't get away from each other. Now, he's in with three other horses. They also went after him initially, but they're in such a large area that he can just run away. He's the most agile and fit horse in there so in no time, the others would get tired and give up chasing him. They learned to co-exist and even though he is often on his own, they're in the same area and it's not a problem. There are always more hay piles than there are horses, so they don't fight over one. So space is a big issue. Think about it: if you're stuck in a tiny room with someone you don't really like, you'll be much more likely to fight than if you're in a huge house with many rooms.
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post #3 of 13 Old 01-22-2016, 09:09 PM
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No. there is no way to get one horse to be less aggressive to another. And since they aren't your horses, you should not be meddling in this at all. Else you may find the lesser horse run through a fence, blinded or having to be PTS due to injuries past being fixed.

Not all horses want friends, not all horses can be with other horses. Leave this alone.

Horses make me a better person.
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post #4 of 13 Old 01-22-2016, 09:39 PM
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I'm not reading "highly aggressive to other horses" here honestly.

BUT I can see why the owner would not want those two horses in together.

Agree, there's nothing you can do and it's not your problem anyways. As long as she's not isolated she will be fine, sounds like they are used to it anyways.
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post #5 of 13 Old 01-22-2016, 10:47 PM
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I would agree with the other posters who say this isn't your call to make regarding the horses being kept separately. While I think most of us would agree that in an IDEAL world all horses would have at least one buddy to freely interact with there are all sorts of good, practical reasons that may mean this is not possible in individual situations. If the horses can see each other and perhaps visit over the fence a bit, they are still able to engage socially so are not in total isolation.

In my experience too in a large area with enough resources (food/water) spread out, horses will generally work it out. The current "herd" where I keep my horses consists of 1 QH gelding, 1 QH mare, 1 large pony gelding, and 2 medium ponies (1 mare, 1 gelding). They all get along very well in their ~15 acre pasture with either ample grass or more piles of hay than horses. However, if due to freezing rain or icy weather/footing we need to confine them in the paddock attached to pasture for their safety we end up putting the QHs in stalls in the barn. While everyone gets along very peacefully in the big area, once they are confined in a small area for a day or so the QHs get very pushy towards the ponies and will chase them out of the run-in shed, chase them away from the water trough, etc. - behaviors that we simply don't see when they all have much more space.
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post #6 of 13 Old 01-22-2016, 10:56 PM
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^Also herd dynamics work much better in a "herd" (4+ ime) and with just the two it is very easy for one to be bullied.
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post #7 of 13 Old 01-22-2016, 11:02 PM
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That is definitely true - I had the most difficulty keeping one of the above mentioned pony geldings with just one TB gelding for a friend in the same pasture. This particular pony plays hard and wants to play all the time. The TB gelding did NOT always want to do this and could get a bit rough on the pony after being repeatedly pestered.

Now that the playful pony has more friends to pester, it seems to prevent any one particular horse from getting quite as fed up with his antics!
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post #8 of 13 Old 01-23-2016, 01:13 AM
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I agree, not your call.
Having said that, Horse work things out, and I have never separated horses because of dominant behavior.
Is water only provided at certain times?. Horses often become food aggressive (could apply to water also), if they have limited assess, and then think if they don;t
control that food,or water or eat or drink it 'right now', it will be gone.
If there is enough water, so it is always there, enough room for the subordinate horse to get out of the way, safe fencing, horses do work it out
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post #9 of 13 Old 01-23-2016, 01:50 AM
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We have an aggressive draft cross who can't be with of be horses. She is perfectly content to boarder an electrified fence line with them though.

One day they decided to trial her with two other geldings because people "felt bad for her". Everything with swimmingly for several days... Until she started to show her true colors!! She was really a flat out bully to the other two. At her size (easily 1,400) she could do some serious damage! She promptly went back to her own paddock, sharing her fence line with the horses she "liked".

If I were you I wouldn't worry about it, not your horse not your problem. Plus, either way, there isn't much you can do about herd dynamics.
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post #10 of 13 Old 01-23-2016, 02:12 AM
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On a good note they won't be buddy sour.
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