When and how best to pasture new horses together - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 10-19-2014, 09:50 PM Thread Starter
Foal
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
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When and how best to pasture new horses together

Hello all,
I am a new, and moving along quickly, horse owner.
I now have two horses as of today, and they are complete strangers.
One I got four months ago and the other yesterday.
I keep them both at a stable here in Costa Rica. Most of the horses kept there do not really get any outside time to graze, but are kept under roof and only taken out to ride.
I , on the other hand prefer to at ,the very minimum, take my horse(s) out on a lead after rinsing them down post ride, and hang out with him ( well them now) while they graze and dry off in the sun.
There is plenty of fenced space at the farm where the stable is, and I am free to use it.
I would like to have my now two horses eventually create a bond, and I am hoping to have them out in the pasture together in the future. I am also hoping that they will create some amount of bound and therefor be good as trail riding mates.
I plan to eventually offer private trail rides. We have a retreat here in the rainforest, and cater to just line couple at any time, and so I'd like to offer rides to them. As well, I'd like to have the horses feel real comfortable with each other. I have been on some trail / beach rides here where the woman had over a dozen horses and depending on which horses she selected for that days ride, some where from one "group" or another and so got along well or did not. The competition and sometime nipping was due to horse being from her different groups.
OK, so sorry for the long set up.
My question is this:
How long should I wait before doing this?
I do not feel that either of them are at all aggressive with other horses. The new one is new of course so I will need some time to be sure and believe the seller about this, but so far she is very chill.
Of course I imagine I will allow them to meet through some bars at first, and I assume that I can move them so that they have stalls next to each other, right now they do not.
Luna Sombra, my new mare is HUGE. She is 17 hands and a P.R.E.
My gelding is a little guy, a Costa Rican Crillolo and quarter horse mix and just 14.3 hands.
I know, an odd couple for trail rides, but that's a whole other story.
Thanks in advance for any help.
Mark in Costa Rica.
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PranaHorse is offline  
post #2 of 5 Old 10-19-2014, 09:52 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
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Sorry, now that I see the post, the pics are a bit confusing. The upper one is Chico when he was at pasture at another place with another horse, not Luna Sombra. The bottom photo is Luna Sombra with her former owner.

Also, All of the horses at this barn are fed grass cut from the farm's fields, so they are already acclimated to eating the grass. Luna just got here, so I imagine that I need to acclimate her to eating fresh grass before setting her free into the pastures.

Last edited by PranaHorse; 10-19-2014 at 10:02 PM.
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post #3 of 5 Old 10-21-2014, 09:10 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Connecticut
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Horses are naturally curious and very social creatures. 2 make a herd, so they will likely bond. One will be alpha, no matter what. I would start by stalling them where they can see and smell each other, perhaps through side wall bars. Then you can put them out together in an enclosed area. They will run, jump, kick and maybe even nip-but the hierarchy will be established right then and there. Once established, they should get along.
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post #4 of 5 Old 10-23-2014, 11:19 PM
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Hi & welcome Pranahorse,

Firstly, if there are no health/quarrantine type issues with the new one, if both horses have lived with other horses before and if the paddock you have is large & open enough for them to get away from eachother & not be cornered, I'd first let them into it & explore individually, so they know the lay of the land, then I'd just let them out together & keep an eye on things for the first hour. Sooner the better.

Horses are herd animals, much healthier & happier with company. They have their 'politics' and can play rough at times - it can look scary, but barring socially deprived horses who haven't learned how to behave, and the rare true 'bullies', they very rarely injure eachother, past a few scrapes & bitemarks, and if allowed to settle, they're generally pretty peaceful animals once the initial 'dominance games' are sorted.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PranaHorse View Post
I plan to eventually offer private trail rides.
Lovely! But if you're new to horses & not yet very well versed, I think that 'eventually' is a very important consideration - don't rush in. Hate to say it, but depending where you're from(I don't know about Costa Rica), liability may be an important consideration with horsey business too.

Quote:
on which horses she selected for that days ride, some where from one "group" or another and so got along well or did not. The competition and sometime nipping was due to horse being from her different groups.
This is a training problem IMO, not so much about different horses. All horses engage in 'political debates' and teeth & hooves are commonly used. They generally enjoy these 'games' & it doesn't necessarily mean they don't get along(2 young boys I had recently just hated to be separated, but loved to 'play fight'...). But to be safe for riding, especially in a group, they need to be taught that when they're on lead or ridden, they're on your 'payroll'. They're not allowed to play their horsey games then. That's for paddock time. ....And then there's the bit about the horses eternally stabled except when ridden... never get to BE horses...

Quote:
Of course I imagine I will allow them to meet through some bars at first, and I assume that I can move them so that they have stalls next to each other, right now they do not.
Yes, if there is any likelihood of either being unusually aggressive, getting to know eachother through bars/fence first is prudent, and if they're stalled now, yes, I'd keep them next to eachother until you can get them out.

Quote:
Also, All of the horses at this barn are fed grass cut from the farm's fields, so they are already acclimated to eating the grass. Luna just got here, so I imagine that I need to acclimate her to eating fresh grass before setting her free
Do they get hay as well?(Just because sounds like a lot of work, a LOT of fresh grass would be needed for a stable of 24/7 locked up horses.) While different grasses can be richer than others, whether it's fresh or dried(as hay) doesn't make a difference, except in water content, and it's generally not something that needs 'acclimatising' to anyway.

If your horse(s) have come from 'slim pickings' and aren't used to rich feed & you have 'nice' pasture, then they may need to take it slowly - let them out for a few hours a day for the first week, then increase & keep an eye on them. If they're already overweight & the pasture is rich &/or abundant, then you may have to be cautious.
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post #5 of 5 Old 10-30-2014, 10:12 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Ontario Canada
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When I got a new horse and wanted to introduce it to another horse so they could be turned out together, I would take the two horses out for a couple of rides together ( obviously you need another rider) and then after a ride put them out together and supervise. This always worked well for me and the horses became buddies while out riding and didn't react much when turned out together.
I'm guessing there will be pasture to graze for your horses but if I didn't have any pasture for them I would throw out 3 or 4 piles of hay a little distance apart from each other just to give them something to eat while getting acquainted
I wouldn't leave them out too long on pasture the first few times so they can get used to having grass gradually.
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