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Discussion Starter #1
Moving my 13 yr old gelding to a new boarding place. I've always had the experience of a fence between him and his eventual herd for the first few days. At this place, it sounds like I'd be putting him in with the new herd right away, there are only 4 or 5 horses in his designated pasture.

I feel like keeping a fence between him and the new herd only prolongs the inevitable: figuring out the herd dynamic. I welcome opinions on how to introduce a horse to his new home.

He is a seasoned trail horse, used to camping weekends all summer, not usually impressed with other horses, and is low on the pecking order.
 

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I feel like keeping a fence between him and the new herd only prolongs the inevitable: figuring out the herd dynamic.
Disagree completely. Provided that they can communicate over the fence then they sort that out on their own. Will there still be squabbles? Sure. Have you every SEEN a horse just turned out with a strange herd? NOT PRETTY!! The fence give them a safe(r) way to figure out the dymanics. They CAN and DO figure them out over the fence. The longer they are like that the less reduced the squabbles are. It's not safe otherwise and in most situations I would say flat out dangerous and a bad idea.

That said in a small herd of friendly laid back horses introducing a friendly laid back horse that is very submissive should be relatively uneventful.

I would still suggest separating at first but if that's not an option it may work out OK.

Suggestions on introduction-
separate and introduce him to the herd! lol
Sounds like he is pretty chill. I wouldn't stress too much. I would suggest lots of handwalking and just letting him take a look around. Let him settle in before you do anything stressful, just (pretty much) leave him alone for a bit. Handwalking, grooming, etc is good. Work up to your usual. That said, it sounds like he's used to moving so it probably wouldn't be a big deal to just fall into your normal routine.
 

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FWIW, not that it matters in this situation..

The first day I usually stick the horse in a stall. We have a barn, paddock, pastures adjacent to the paddock and close to the barn. "Old" horses will be in the pasture. They can look smell but can't touch. Depending on the time (late in the day don't bother) and the horse I will walk them around the perimeter of the paddock and maybe let them out in the paddock. They can meet over the fence. I will not leave them alone like that until I'm sure they're ok (no one's going to spaz and go through the fence or hurt themselves) work your way up. When I am comfortable like that, usually a day or two I will put a wimpy horse out with them. I may keep them separate for a bit (more of a not bother and leave them alone and have that be my new turnout arrangement) or depending on the horse, I may rotate buddies, add buddies, or just stick them out with the others.

After one or two days when they are comfortable I don't care so much, they'll be fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I planned on hand walking and letting him look, maybe tying him to the trailer and grooming him.
All the horses will be checking him out from their pastures. Would you suggest I let them sniff across the gate before bringing him in?
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I'm not too stressed. It's not an ideal intro but he's pretty tolerant of horses smelling him or being up his butt. I figured I'd lead him in after things settle down and get the halter off and get out of the way and watch them....think it's 4 mares.
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That would be good :) I definitely recommend that. Personally I wouldn't tie to the trailer, but sounds like that's what he/you are used to so go for it.

I am sure... it's a little hard to picture but based off your description there are several pastures with small groups in them? That are adjacent?

That's a tricky question.. first of all it could be dangerous if one/both of them get worked up and you are standing nearby, second, they very well could get worked up and it'll be "worse" when he goes in/harder to get him in. However, I do think it would be a good thing to do. If your horse is submissive and laid back and they are friendly then it will probably be uneventful and will make the actual meeting less eventful.

I would suggest leaving well fitted halter(s) on (at least your horse) having leads handy and wait outside with a lunge whip, or several lunge whips and preferably another person (the BO/M?)

Again, with the situation describes it very well could be uneventful, but I have seen huge knockout dragdown fights (as in real fights) break out in this situation. Better safe than sorry and I tend to end up wanting them even in a "normal" meeting (aka they aren't trying to kill each other) for whatever reason, it just makes it easier.
 

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Interesting, 4 mares 1 gelding lol.

I would be VERY careful leading him in. If they are quiet and far away fine. If there's a mob in front of the gate do NOT go in. Push the gate open, squeeze your horse through (again I'd leave halter on, provided it fits well, in case you need to grab him) shut the gate and back away and watch. Do NOT go in unless you feel you have to and carry the lunge whip with you if you do.

It all depends how things are in the moment, just play it by ear. I am paranoid but am sure they'll be fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
He has been with just mares for the past 3 years oddly enough. There are 3 pastures, his is not sharing a fence line tho. I'll handwalk him by his new pasture. See how things go. BO will be there. I'll squeeze him into the gate. Will keep a lunge whip handy and keep his halter on for awhile. Thanks for your suggestions.
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I have always just turned my guy out with a new herd right away, but he is pretty mellow.
I knew someone who would turn out a new horse with the herd leader alone first, so the leader didn't feel she had to protect or prove ownership of the rest of the horses right off.
I don't know if that way is any more or less successful than others, just a thought. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I didn't give the herd a chance to crowd the gate, they were busy with their hay, we went thru the gate, I unclipped his lead and I got out of there really quickly even though it took a minute for them to notice the newbie lol. A few of them chased him around, did some sniffing or some excited head tossing. He's now currently grazing. Yay
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Lol sounds about like what I expected. Glad it was uneventful :)

Hopefully my tips will come in helpful in the future. Definitely better safe than sorry in that situation!

Congrats on your new place :)
 
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