The Horse Forum banner
1 - 4 of 4 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
790 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all! Been a hot minute since I've posted here at all, but I'm back, having an issue with herd dynamics. (I hope this is the right forum?)

I have a small herd of five -- three geldings and two mares. They've all been together for.... about 15 years now. Bandit and Dante, geldings, 15 & 14 years, are full brothers out of Ruby, one of the mares, and were both born and raised here.

Dante cut his leg open and had stitches in it, so he's been kept in the barn for nearly a month now. The other horses don't have direct access to the barn, but it's directly across the road from where they are fed, so they could still see/hear eachother.

Today I felt he had healed enough he could go out with the other horses for a bit, and I planned to take him back to the barn at night. He met and greeted them all at the fence with not much fanfare.

Normally, Dante and Bandit are very submissive to all the other horses, with the two mares kind of swapping out for top spot and the third gelding somewhere in the middle. Bandit and Dante will play fight but I've never seen them actually fight eachother.

Near as soon as I walked Dante in the gate, Bandit bit him -- I wasn't watching close and assumed it was him bring rowdy at first. And then Ruby came to sniff over Dante and Bandit shoved in between and bit at Dante again, ears pinned, full aggressive mode, and Dante broke away from me in a bolt. Bandit chased him down and about ran him through a fence before I caught up, and now Dante flinches at any of the horses making a sudden move.

I took Dante away to a different part of the pasture and let him in a corral, and Bandit left us alone. Until the rest of the horses showed up, and anytime Ruby came near the corral,, Bandit was there to kick at Dante through the fence and herd her away. I can only describe it as if he was being studish over a mare in heat or something, though I've never known him to act studdish at all.

Dante is going back in the barn for now. Does anyone have any ideas for what might be causing Bandit to act like this? Do I need to reintroduce Dante as if he were a totally new horse? I've never seen this kind of backlash, even when we were briefly boarding a friend's gelding in the field.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,742 Posts
If Bandit was the only one causing problems pull him out for a day or 2 or 3, whatever it takes, while Dante and the rest of the herd settle back into a normal routine. Then put Bandit back out. It always worked with my problem gelding that thought he had to protect everyone including me any time his little world was upset. He was also usually at the bottom of the totem pole so I guess him seeing that the rest of the herd was ok with the newbie (not necessarily a new horse but any horse that had been out of the herd dynamic for a while) made him feel more secure about it.
 

·
Registered
Retired breeder
Joined
·
792 Posts
Even tho he knows the other horses, and they know him, there's been a disruption in the herd order. He will go out, re establish his place, and life will be normal again. There's going to be some squealing, maybe a kick or two, and things will settle down.
If it was me, not saying this is for you just what I would do, I would turn him out and walk away. In 10 minutes, probably less, it will be all over, and things back to normal.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
790 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Even tho he knows the other horses, and they know him, there's been a disruption in the herd order. He will go out, re establish his place, and life will be normal again. There's going to be some squealing, maybe a kick or two, and things will settle down.
If it was me, not saying this is for you just what I would do, I would turn him out and walk away. In 10 minutes, probably less, it will be all over, and things back to normal.
And normally that is exactly what I would do. I suppose with his recent injury I'm just being overprotective. I'll probably wait until he heals up more before releasing him to the herd, but keep taking him around for "supervised visits" through the corral panels.
 
1 - 4 of 4 Posts
Top