introducing horses to other animals - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 04-06-2019, 12:57 PM Thread Starter
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introducing horses to other animals

I'm total noob to desensitising (I have the LEAST bothered mare, she's basically a mule...)

so how would you introduce a horse to animals such as dogs and cats- how would you introduce a horse to goats or sheep- especially if sharing a pasture...
is it more easy to introduce a younger horse than, say, a 12-15 year old horse....

(need extra help on CATS- mine r idiots and I don't want them getting kicked)

- all advice is super useful- I'm stumped and can't find much online...

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post #2 of 13 Old 04-06-2019, 04:06 PM
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It sounds like it more a case of introducing the others to the horse.
I would keep a fence between the other livestock and the horse for a while.
Keep the dog(s) on a lease until you are sure the dogs won't chase the horse and the horse doesn't hate dogs.
I would be surprised if the cats didn't steer clear on their own.
You don't want things to get too exciting so if you have doubts about something, my practice is DON'T.
Good luck! Post pictures! : )
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post #3 of 13 Old 04-06-2019, 04:29 PM
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Curiosity of what is new will tell you much.
Familiarity often breeds acceptance.
A fence between them is a great suggestion as they get accustomed to each other...
When we first introduced my dogs to the horses...dogs barked, jumped and growled...
Horses spun and kicked then ran having dogs be excited with motion and the chase was on...
Very glad I had sturdy fence between them all...
Today, dogs can come into the barn area with me and know darn well to stay a distance from my one horse...he will chase him because he was chased in a filed and bit by a dog similar in color and build as mine..he never forgot that.
As long as my dogs are "quieter" and respectful, a quit from me if they get to close separates the carnage from occurring.
I NEVER though will allow my animals to be together without dedicated eyes watching...it takes only a split second for terrible injuries to happen....
I don't have cats, my neighbor does and the cats wander where they will and get out of the way fast enough.
Other animals, you refer to sheep and goats...you just have to watch the horse{s} and animal interaction...
To me, when ho-hum emerges you can carefully introduce.
If the goats have horns...then I would not ever do that fence removal...horns can do deadly damage to many areas of the horse.
I don't often see horses and horned cattle sharing a pasture here either...hornless cattle and horses, yes.


If this is indeed a "mule or donk"...
Knowing they say they have natural predator control instincts I would not remove that fence and try to put dogs, cat or other animals together with the mule/donk...
My riding instructor has a mini donk known to kill goats, big Boar goats he has killed as well as dogs {coyote}...he has taken on snakes and a alligator they saw too..alligator "0" donk "1".

....
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post #4 of 13 Old 04-06-2019, 05:41 PM Thread Starter
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oh sorry, to be clear, the donk is just a very grumpy mare and she's a loan, I would have a different horse in this scenario...

Im planning on keeping horses on my familys property ( if enough room and good pasture ), so I'm not too sure about what kind of fencing we would be able to get permission/money to put up... the dogs small so he would get in- but he absolutely loves my loan horse (has been known to pee in excitement when he sees her XD) , I'm hoping he would be the same to any future horse I get, which would DEFINITLY be one used to dogs (though as you say, I would still make a careful introduction)...

if cats stay clear normally thats good- though I still worry about my odd boys, ive seen them do some really dumb stuff before and jumpin onto a horses back wouldn't be the weirdest...

and the reason I was asking about sheep and goats - my familys planning on getting some and I hear they make decent pasture mates, any that we bought would be a polled breed, and their are some breeders in the area that actually breed sheep specifically as companions...
my hope would be to possibly have a horse that does well souly with them- though I'm doubtful that would happen, so I'm looking into getting a full loan as a mate or possibly a shetland that I could learn to drive as their are quite a few clubs for that in the area (though don't know too much about how to restrict grazing)


I would likely only be able to afford 2 horses, I don't want money to support it from my family, even though their fine with me keeping the horses on their property (not gonna move out for at least a few years, and then not far from the area), but even if I had 2 I wouldn't want to leave the shettie/loan totally alone when riding, I like good hour+ hacks, so would still need a pasture pet anyway.

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post #5 of 13 Old 04-06-2019, 05:47 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by horselovinguy View Post
Curiosity of what is new will tell you much.
Familiarity often breeds acceptance.
A fence between them is a great suggestion as they get accustomed to each other...
When we first introduced my dogs to the horses...dogs barked, jumped and growled...
Horses spun and kicked then ran having dogs be excited with motion and the chase was on...
Very glad I had sturdy fence between them all...
Today, dogs can come into the barn area with me and know darn well to stay a distance from my one horse...he will chase him because he was chased in a filed and bit by a dog similar in color and build as mine..he never forgot that.
As long as my dogs are "quieter" and respectful, a quit from me if they get to close separates the carnage from occurring.
I NEVER though will allow my animals to be together without dedicated eyes watching...it takes only a split second for terrible injuries to happen....
I don't have cats, my neighbor does and the cats wander where they will and get out of the way fast enough.
Other animals, you refer to sheep and goats...you just have to watch the horse{s} and animal interaction...
To me, when ho-hum emerges you can carefully introduce.
If the goats have horns...then I would not ever do that fence removal...horns can do deadly damage to many areas of the horse.
I don't often see horses and horned cattle sharing a pasture here either...hornless cattle and horses, yes.


If this is indeed a "mule or donk"...
Knowing they say they have natural predator control instincts I would not remove that fence and try to put dogs, cat or other animals together with the mule/donk...
My riding instructor has a mini donk known to kill goats, big Boar goats he has killed as well as dogs {coyote}...he has taken on snakes and a alligator they saw too..alligator "0" donk "1".

....

fence is a good idea, though wouldnt the horse get worried being on its own? even if just for a period of them getting used to each other
and how long would you put the fence there for?

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post #6 of 13 Old 04-06-2019, 06:03 PM
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Why should the animal worry about a fence?
I'm not sure I understand...

My horses live within a fenced area everyday...never thought about it.
My fence keeps my horses where they belong and my dogs where they belong unless I open gates and they can mingle.
Same with my neighbors horses, dogs and cats...we all have fences/gates we open or close to separate or make a larger happy herd.

The fence would exist forever if me...with the ability to open or close it so you can afford safety to each species of animal along with control over who is where, how many are here or there...
Is your horse fretting now I guess being by himself?
I would rather familiarity be well in place and that the animals pretty much ignore each others existence first than placing them together to soon and exploration occur that is more to be a injury making venture.
Depending upon the animals it could be days to several weeks if ever they go together...
I don't jeopardize my animals well-being...
I err on the side of caution and safety for all my loved animal in my care.
...

The worst day is instantly better when shared with my horse.....
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post #7 of 13 Old 04-06-2019, 06:28 PM Thread Starter
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I mean, if there is a fence around the horse, and within that fenced area he is totally alone, would he worry being on his own
even if there were horses or goats or what ever on the other side of said fence.
sorry if I'm asking stupid questions, just want to get as much info as possible :)

id probably get a chunky cob or something of that type, they tend to be fairly unphased by things compared to other breeds in general...

but as you say I would still be cautious introducing them, I'm just unsure of keeping them fenced off with no other animals with them for company... I might be overthinking- like I said I've never introduced any animals to each other that weren't already used to them...
maybe I'm humanising them too much thinking they would need a friend that close- but then they are herd animals so I'm unsure.

- thank you so much for your responses, again, sorry if I'm asking dumb questions

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post #8 of 13 Old 04-06-2019, 07:00 PM
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This is a huge area of debate of can a horse live alone or not...
Should a horse live alone....

I know it is dependent upon the horse...period.
I have owned horses where they were solitary and they thrived, had no adverse health effects nor did they "worry" that I could detect.
I have also owned horses that needed a companion...they were not secure in their own being to be able to cope with solitary...
There is no right or wrong answer in my opinion...the answer is dependent upon the animals needs.
Today horses no longer must fend for their food.
We, humans provide it along with shelter, vet, farrier, blankets and everything else the horse might need to thrive...
So the true reasoning of a "herd" for protection is mostly gone today when we domesticated and then stepped in to take over the responsibility of all things horse.

So, a horse having a common fence-line with say a neighbors horse you will see some companionship exist at the fence-line...
But you also will see each animal do its own thing independently...
They rely on them and are pretty strong in their presence and I've found when a kid with 1 horse that my horse was no spooky, need a buddy ever when we rode unknown areas...
He knew his job, was brain intelligent and a thinker...not a reactor.
I see it with my neighbors horses too....one is the leader and the other the follower.
You can ride off on the leader but the follower is unsure of his "presence" and a wreck if he is made to lead on a trail...he reacts he don't think first {he can be a challenge to ride at times!}
So...that answer is totally dependent upon the personality traits of the horse you own and what makes that horse happy, secure and thrive in his environment in my opinion.
And a bigger part of that is can you afford to keep, feed and shelter a second animal properly or animals if you refer to herds/groups of other animals like sheep/goats cause I don't know if they thrive solitary with just a horse for a companion.


Hey!! No question is ever dumb.
The "dumb" question is the one unasked...
We learn by asking and experiencing and no one opinion is wrong either...you take what fits your circumstance and makes sense to you and go with it..


...

The worst day is instantly better when shared with my horse.....
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post #9 of 13 Old 04-06-2019, 07:28 PM Thread Starter
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thank you so much!
any horse I get will have to be able to hack alone, as a priority.
so if I think about it your right, my loan atm is fine hacking on her own, she's also a loner in the field as she stays away from the others... even so I wouldn't want her on her own. but as you say if the horse does well its no worries- I. actually didn't know they could be kept alone- the only time I've seen that is when thier on stall rest, and then even constantly calling out...
when I'm a bit closer to having this all sorted I will update :)

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post #10 of 13 Old 04-07-2019, 02:32 AM
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If you have a small dog I would train to stay out of the pasture period. Accidents happen and a small dog can dart right under the horse and get stepped on without the horse meaning to step on it.

I have barn cats and they intermingle with the horses just fine. I did have one cat that liked to ride until she jumped on a foals back one day (he wasn't used to her antics yet) and he bucked her off. After that the cat decided to stick to 4-wheeler rides. Seriously, had to take her everyday or she'd plant herself on it and claw the heck out of you if you tried to make her get down.

When kittens they will swing in the horse's tail, hide behind flakes of hay and jump straight up when the horse walks up to it (I'm almost positive they're saying "BOO!" when they do that LOL) and all the other things playful kittens do. None of it seems to bother the herd but I bet they are glad when the kittens grow up.

A fence between your horse and sheep/goats at least until they are used to each other sounds like a good plan to me. I always do that when bringing a new horse into the mix. They are fine with a shared fence line and no animal in with them. I've seen plenty of places set up where each individual horse had it's own run and shelter and they've always looked pretty content living like that.

I cannot say whether or not a horse would be content with a sheep or goat as a pasture buddy because I've never tried it. A place down the road has a horse and a llama out together and they seem to be friends. I have kept lone horses before and they were fine.

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