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Discussion Starter #1
The barn I board at is a dude ranch with 24/7 outdoor board, and all the fields except for the dude string are in same sex herds. Are there reasons behind the seperation? There are 21 duders all together, 11 of them are mares and i have never seen any sort of problem.
 

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I think in many cases it means less conflict between geldings when a mare is in season, and less likelyhood a gelding will get his face kicked if he goes sniffing after a mare. They may not have their goods anymore, but they often still have interest.
 

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^ This.

Many times geldings and mares will get too attached to each other and become herd bound when separated for work. Also, geldings may fight with each other over who gets to "claim" mares.
 

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Pretty much what the other posters said.
I prefer to keep my mare away from geldings as much as possible because she is a little hussy and gets ridiculously hard to mange around males because, you know, they're so attractive (even when they're 37....hahaha). They might not be attached to her at all but she's attached to them! For instance, one time I caught her with her favorite gelding cornered, licking his shoulder tenderly. The poor guy just sat there with a "help me?" look on his face. It was downright pathetic.
So, for the sanity of all geldings involved, they stay separate. haha
 

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Be thankful that you board in a place where the operators understand herd dynamics and have your horse's best interest at heart by keeping segregated herds. I have segregated pastures and won't ever go back to a mixed one. I never have bite and kick marks on anyone (other than boys playing). I no longer have the problem of being threatened or attacked by a gelding when I take "his" mare out. Meal time is more peaceful. Mixed herds invite alot of bs on the part of the dominant mares and geldings.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I see what you guys are saying, it just that I know A LOT of people with mixed herds and not once has there been a problem.
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I've seen it both ways. When they are kept separate, I think they are looking out for the horses best interests for reasons previously mentioned. However, there was an aggressive gelding that did get deities into the mares pasture. By switching him, he was kept at the bottom of the totem pole and subdued his aggressiveness. Personally, we keep our 3 geldings and 3 mares together. We don't have any problem taking one or the other away from the herd.

I think it would be easier with having the sexes segregated. If you're looking for a mare, you'd go to the mare pasture and a gelding in the gelding pasture
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The first barn I went to where the genders were separated there were two dominant mares who got into serious kicking battles at least once a month. The BO refused to separate them because "they're mares." But in the wild a group of all-males is natural; a group of all-females is not.
 

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Our barn keeps all of our school horses in one pasture, then the rest of the mares and gelding are seperated by gender. It's very obviouse which pastures get along the best. The geldings all get along almost perfectly, the mares generally are well behaved- although every now and then we'll find a nip or so on one of the lower ranked mares (it's going to happen no matter what) and the lesson horses...they're just terrible. Not only because of the constant biting, shoving, and kicking- but because our two geldings are attached at the hips to our mares. They're extremely buddy sour and will call to their mares when doing lessons if we dont use the mares, or will refuse to listen to their riders and stay right by their mare's sides when everyone is being used.

If at all possible, I firmly believe that seperating the genders is the best way to go. Even if there is only a piece of fence seperating them.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
The situation at my barn is that the mares are nuts, the geldings act like perfect gentlemen (unless someone gets out of line) and the dude horses have the same dynamic as the geldings... I just want to know peoples opinion on this as the mare do not get access to grass because of the lack of fields and the large number of geldings.
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We have both. The pasture horses are mixed. The barn horses are turned out by gender. Both situations work just fine.
A couple anecdotal observations, which could be completely coincidental (having nothing to do with where they're turned out, but rather just the personalities of the horses who happen to be there):
The horses in the mare-only field are a lot more "marish" than the mares in the mixed herd field.
The geldings in the gelding-only field play more than the geldings in the mixed herd field.
 

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Getting herd-bound is totally not limited to mare/gelding bonds. Before I sold my gelding him and another gelding we have would spend all day at shows whinnying to each other.

We have two gelding two mares - they get along fine, haven't noticed any difference from when it was three gelding, or one gelding two mares, or two mares one gelding.
 

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The situation at my barn is that the mares are nuts, the geldings act like perfect gentlemen (unless someone gets out of line) and the dude horses have the same dynamic as the geldings... I just want to know peoples opinion on this as the mare do not get access to grass because of the lack of fields and the large number of geldings.
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I have a pet theory that conflict in a domestic herd has more to do with arguments over resources than gender. I used to keep my horse at a barn where all the horses lived on dry-lots. They were fed plenty of hay, which was spread across the paddocks in as many piles as the staff could manage, but the nature of the dry-lot is that the hay will still be in discrete piles. The horses used to get in all kinds of scuffles, claiming piles of hay, chasing others away, quite aggressively sometimes. At one point, they tried round bales as they seemed more economically efficient for the barn and had less hay wastage, but that was worse, as several dominant herd members would become Lords of the Round Bale and drive everything else away.

In herds that are kept on pasture, where forage is not such an obviously finite resource, there seem to be less arguments, regardless of the gender of the horses.
 

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I have 2 large pastures (approx 25+ acres each) that have 10 horses in each. They are mixed herds and I do this because I would have a harder time finding boarders. If I have 2 mares spots open but have 2 geldings wanting in.. it's silly to turn them away.. not only do you lose money that way but pasture management becomes harder.

I also have mares that can't be together.. same with geldings. I try to separate by personalities. Right now I have older horses in 1 pasture with a dominant younger one (or two) and then the younger horses in the other. Generally they separate themselves into smaller herds of 2 or 3 and I just try to keep them together. In the 2 years I've had those pastures open I've only had 2 horses with injuries requiring stitches and they weren't that bad.

I just tell my new pasture boarders to expect scuff marks the first month. I also don't allow back shoes in pasture boarding.
 

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I haven’t had problems with my mixed pastures much, my uncle has a bunch of herd-bound geldings in a gelding only pasture. The only issues I have had where one gelding who decided no other horse in the trails was allowed around his mares or his geldings. One of the mares was the type of horse to be alone but grew close to that one horse, but she still pushed him or any horse though the fence, but when alone she was a doll. Now, right now I have 2 mares and 3 geldings. They do group of, my mustang mare and a mustang mixed gelding are best buds. My mare knows when outside of the pasture her mind is to focus on me only. The gelding on the other hand isn’t worked with enough to have this mind set, but could easily be taught it. Now, my Dad’s walker gelding and my paint mare, are also best buddies but again I don’t let them get herd bound. I have saw more issues with a gelding getting herd-bound to another gelding then an gelding and mare. Also my horses don’t really fight other than two of the geldings fight over food, and the one mare will push my other mare away, every once in awhile my Mustang mare will pick a fight with the geldings. I’m sure keeping mare and geldings in different pastures works for some people, but it’s not something I’m looking forward to, a boarding places having where my walker gelding and Paint mare will go, as they are buddies and are supposed to be able to get along tied to an high-line over night or in the trailer or in the trails.
 

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I can't keep Soda in with all geldings. He is extremely aggressive with them and while he is still aggressive with mares it isn't nearly as bad. Of course, he gets overly attached, but I'd rather deal with that than major injuries/wounds.
 

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I won't reiterate what others have said.

Personally, my mare just doesn't like geldings. She isn't aggressive towards them, but she won't have anything to do with them and won't tolerate them in her space. We have been at 3 barns in less than a year - long story. We were at one barn that separated. That's when I realized she got along with mares fine, but not geldings. Now she is turned out in a HUGE pasture, with mostly mares and I think 1-2 geldings. One gelding believes she is "his" mare, despite her refusal to associate with him, but he didn't give me much problem after he learned that I am the alpha over everyone in that pasture - and I will take "his" mare if I wish.

Thankfully, Amber learned a long time ago that I can be much scarier than any of the pasture bullies she deals with, so horses being foolish around us doesn't bother her, and she trusts me to handle any horses threatening us. So a possessive gelding we can make quick work of.

She is much happier in her 24/7 turnout though, even with mixed genders, than at the same-gender turnout barn that only turned her out for 3 hours (against my instruction)! The pasture is big enough that she doesn't have to feel cramped with the geldings.

Obviously not every gelding-hating mare is as tolerant as mine..."don't bother me, I won't bother you" is her role in the pasture. She likes being with her herd, but she doesn't really get involved in the herd's social 'world'. Kind of complicated, really. She's definitely the dominant mare out there, but she could care less what everyone else is doing, so long as it isn't affecting her.

Case of this - and another point on mare/gelding separation - a new horse, a 4 y/o TB filly, got turned out with their herd. The gelding who is SO possessive over mares was really giving her a hard time trying to dominate her. She ended up going through a fence. She got banged up, but the vet has said she will recover fully. All the horses got involved, except Amber. I was told that she was standing several yards away, standing still, just watching everything. She doesn't make a point to assert herself over a new horse, and really shows no interest in new horses, unless they get in her way...
 

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I don't get it, either. Every barn I've ever ridden at has turned their lesson horses out all together, but often separate the boarder's horses. I never saw any real reason to separate them - the mares and geldings always got along fine. Horses would come in with kick or bite marks from both the mixed fields and the single-gender fields, so who cares!

At my university, my coach for the first 3 years turned out genders together - divided into the bossy field, the average field, and the wussy field. It worked great. Then along came a new coach, and she immediately separated everybody, much to the dismay of those horses with a best friend of the opposite gender. And then since there only shook out to be one mare field, you had real mean mares in with the old wussy mares, which was worse to me. And one of my favorite old school horses, who only had one friend in the whole world (a mare) was a friendless reject in his gelding field and was always chased off the hay. So, it really irked me.

I guess that turned into a rant! I have no issue with mare-gelding turnout ;)
 

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My gelding is in a mixed group up to 12 horses.
They have a huge pasture and there aren't any problems.
It's also a mixed lesson horse / boardhorse group.
 

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We do daily turnout, we have the mares and geldings seperated. At first we had both mares and geldings in the same pasture but we decided to seperate them because it was becoming difficult to bring them in at night. They all would herd at the gate ready to be led in. So now we have the big pasture split, and we have geldings on one side and mares on the other. It works very well! For the most part we had no troubles when we had both the mares and geldings out together. Sometimes we would get a gelding who was a bit proud cut so he wouldnt be able to go out but instead he would be put in his own turnout pin for the day.
 
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