Introducing a new pony - advice please! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 11-23-2014, 02:10 PM Thread Starter
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Introducing a new pony - advice please!

Hi Guys

As some of you know, a few months ago we got our first pony. He is a lovely little boy, but I have felt that he has needed a play friend. I know that horses need to be kept in herds and ideally not on their own, so we have gone ahead and loaned another little pony to keep him company, and to give my son something to work with.
I know that my boy is a dominant pony, by the fact he does try it on with me sometimes (not that he gets very far!) and also talking to his original owners. The mare we have coming currently lives with 2 geldings a foal, and a stallion, so she is used to the boys, and she is not the dominant one in the herd. She is very laid back and placid.
She is coming on Tuesday, yay!, but I am worried about introducing them. Unfortunately I dont have the option of seperating the field. I know my boy is not nasty, he lived with a mixed herd before, so I really do thing they will be fine.
I am just wondering which way will be the best way to introduce them? and what are the key signs that its not playing or sorting out ranking, and they really may do damage? Any advice you have would be greatfully received.

I do have the option of putting them in fields next to each other, but the hedges are high, so they would not be able to see each other.
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post #2 of 19 Old 11-23-2014, 06:35 PM
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I'd find some way of separating them for a few days at least. Run a strand of electric?

I hope the mare's not pregnant..
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post #3 of 19 Old 11-23-2014, 07:06 PM
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I'd rather put a mare in with a gelding than another gelding. She'll squeal and paw a bit, when first introduced, telling him to keep his distance. But it will settle down quickly. Two geldings often have quite a set to. Once she settles in she'll take over as boss hoss. My 44" Shetland told my 16.1hh, 1300 lb gelding and the arab where to go and when and how fast. They obeyed without question.

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post #4 of 19 Old 11-23-2014, 07:41 PM
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I agree with Yogiwick that they should be separated at first, allowing them to see/sniff each other without being able to do any harm. Sectioning off a small area with electric tape shouldn't be too difficult, or even if you have stalls that you could put them next to each other in.

As Saddlebag said, squealing and striking out with their hooves are very common introduction reactions, they may also nip and kick at one another (the dominant horse will likely chase the other off before this initial tissy settles down). As for deciphering whether or not they are getting too aggressive, it is a rather fine line. You really have no way of stopping whatever breaks out between two horses however, and this is why it is important to allow them to get to know each other from opposite sides of a fence. If they are introduced carefully, you should have no reason for concern- tussles between horses rarely result in significant injury.

Best of luck to you
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post #5 of 19 Old 11-23-2014, 08:52 PM
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I reckon if you could separate them for the first few days would be good. When my sisters OTTB arrived we put him in with our other horses, which was a mixture of mares and geldings, when we went out the next morning he was all beaten up. (Nothing serious, just a few cuts and bruises) So he was shifted into the calf paddock and got to know them over the fence.
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post #6 of 19 Old 11-26-2014, 03:40 AM
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OP has said there's no way of separating them guys, unless in adjacent fields out of site. I would consider introducing them on lead first in that case, or over a fence if it's safe to do so(you don't want them pawing or kicking & getting their feet hung up in wire). But if the field is big & open enough for them to get away from eachother & not get trapped, I'd first take the mare out & let the gelding explore the pasture, then just put 'em in together & keep an eye on proceedings for the first hour.
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post #7 of 19 Old 11-26-2014, 05:19 AM
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At the place where I have my horse, the new horse is just put in the paddock with the other horse(s) and we watch to see what happens. If it looks like there will be problems (geldings acting stallioney, too much kicking even after a while) we separate them and try another paddock. The paddocks are all big enough that a horse can run away and not hit any electricity.
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post #8 of 19 Old 11-26-2014, 05:47 AM
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Having introduced my ponies to several different other horses/ponies, there's only been one case where it didnt go well and the established pony just ran the new one down continually trying to kick her. We managed to herd the new girl thru a gate to put them adjacent, and after a while introduced them again and it was fine.

All other times we've just put the new one straight into the paddock (always in a large enough space they can run away if needed) and there's been no issue.

You'll know if they need to be separated. It's quite clear what is just a 'show' of dominance etc and what is more serious and wont just settle down.
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post #9 of 19 Old 11-26-2014, 01:29 PM Thread Starter
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Hi guys
Thanks for all of your responses and advice, so for taking so long in getting back to you all.
Well I headed your advice, and even suffering with bronchitis, we managed to block off the second section of field with gates. Believe me, it was some huge job, but I believe sooo worth it.
Our new little mare, Saffy, arrived safe and calm, and we gave her time to explore both fields as eventually they will be one big field. We then gave her the second half, and brought my gelding down.
He was very excited as he has been on his own for a few months, I know dont hate me, but we had no choice but to have him on his own.
Initially there was a lot of whinning going on, and both chasing each other up the line of the fence, but settled down very quickly. No hoof strikes through the fencing, a small amount of nipping, but all well on the first day.
Today I have been over several times, and I may be reading this wrong, but they seem to not want to leave each other. There is no whinning, they are rubbing heads through the fence and grazing either side within 10ft. If one moves off the other follows. There is no nastiness about either of them towards each other, well one bite from the mare, and the gelding backed off.
Its been suggested that I leave them like this for 2 wks?
Either they are dying to kill each other, so wont move off, or they really do want to be together. I am actually confused, as its the first time I have had to introduce horses. What do I need to look for?
I have pictures of them together if it helps. Thanks you x
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post #10 of 19 Old 11-26-2014, 01:36 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Yogiwick View Post
I'd find some way of separating them for a few days at least. Run a strand of electric?

I hope the mare's not pregnant..
Thanks Yogiwick for your response. I did question the owners about the potential of her being in foal, she had recently had one that has just been weaned. Both her and the foal have been in adjacent paddocks to the stallion seperated by electric fence.
Whilst yes, there maybe a slim chance, and we realise this, the stallion would have to have got across the fence and back again in the cover of darkness lol. I will be getting the vet out to double check. If she is, we will have to cross that bridge when it comes to it. But I love my ponies, so will ensure if she is in foal, she will get the best treatment.
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