Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: South East Texas
My filly is one of those that just do NOT do well alone. She doesn't do well with other livestock as companions either. It has to be a horse. Before she came to me she was alone for an unknown period of time, likely most of her life, and she unfortunately had to be quarantined off an on for the first half year or so of her being with me due to different things stemming from neglect and abuse (first EHV, then lice, then a very grotesque injury) and she was utterly miserable. She would stand pressed against the fence, calling to the other horses, pacing, etc., and she developed both the habits of cribbing and doing a strange thing that I call her 'carousel horse' mode. When she's alone or worried, she'll start walking in a very tight circle to soothe herself, and that's what she did the majority of the time when she was alone. She didn't gain weight quickly (extremely emanciated), constantly fretted, etc., When she did occasionally get to meet another horse, she was desperate for their company. Eventually she did get better enough for me to turn her out, and even then there were side effects of her being alone that have had to be 'ironed' out. She didn't even know how to communicate with other horses so she was often bullied and not allowed to eat.
Once I was able to slowly start introducing her to herd mates though (she currently only has one herd mate but is slowly being introduced into a group setting) she started picking up energy, stopped pacing, has MOSTLY stopped cribbing (she was a chronic cribber before), and she's gaining weight steadily. I'm amazed by the transformation.
All of that to say, I really do think it is a matter of the horse's personality. Adverse to my filly, my friend's gelding is actually very dangerous around other horses and will quite literally attempt to kill them...but he's a doll with people. So he lives alone with the exception of a large black steer as company, who can more than fend for himself when Ahab (the gelding) gets too rough. Put him in with other horses though and he goes power hungry and nutso. He's fine with them when riding though. However, he is 1 case in probably thousands, and IMO he probably wasn't socialized at all as a baby, so he is more of a defect than a norm.
Unlike everyone else though I'm going to suggest NOT getting a miniature horse as your horse's companion. They are simply too small and fragile. A medium sized pony (10-12hh) or standard donkey would be a better choice.o
Everyone in your life is meant to
be in your journey, but not all of
them are meant to stay till the end.