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Horse people, I have a question for you...

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Robin'sBrood, Dec 18, 2010.

  1. Robin'sBrood

    Robin'sBrood Flock Mistress

    May 8, 2008
    North Carolina
    Can a horse be depressed, or lonely and sad? We have some neighbors that recently got a single horse. After a week or two of having her the newness must have worn off and I never see anyone giving her any attention... not brushing her, not visiting her, not feeding her, nothing. [​IMG] Now she just stands around and looks sad. Whenever someone comes outside at their house she stands by the gate looking their way. It breaks my heart and I want to ask the neighbors... who are relatively new and and I have only spoken to a couple of times... if I can visit her and take her apple treats once in a while. Should I?

    Here she (at least I think it's a she) is not long after they got her...
    [​IMG]

    And this was her today...
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2010
  2. chikky

    chikky Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Glenmont, Ohio
    I think they do get lonely and depressed. Horses are herd animals and need interaction. It certainly wouldn't hurt to visit with apples or carrots if the owners agree.
     
  3. ~*Sweet Cheeks*~

    ~*Sweet Cheeks*~ Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 12, 2009
    Olympia Washington
    I think horses need pasture mates.

    In the first pick, the horse had grass to eat and may have been more active for that reason as well.

    In the second pick, the horse looks to be sleeping near the shelter for warmth and you'll notice there isn't much left of the grass.

    I would go see if you can spend time visiting the horse.
     
  4. welsummerchicks

    welsummerchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2010
    Well, on the off chance that they are getting another horse, and just haven't gotten it yet, hopefully the horse won't be alone for much longer. I see no hay being provided, but perhaps it's fed somewhere else out of the pictures. The horse still is quite over-weight, so hopefully it can go on its own reserves for a while, and some feed will be provided. Otherwise, in a few months you may be calling Animal Control about a starving horse.

    How I feel about it: I don't feel time with humans is any substitute for a horse being with other horses. I feel it's more anthropomorphosizing (assuming an animal thinks and acts in the same ways, and for the same reasons a human does). It may make you feel better or distract the horse for a moment to visit the horse, but the basic problem remains.

    And usually....with rare exceptions, usually horse owners highly resent having anyone 'come over and visit the horse'. First of all, it's kind of an implicit criticism of how they're doing things, that a neighbor 'needs to come over and help'. Too, they may disagree with you on how you handle the horse, what you feed it. It doesn't usually take much to start some friction.

    Or very rightly so, they may be very afraid what would happen to them legally, if you were hurt on their property. It does no good to 'promise you won't sue' as if you get hurt, your Health Insurance company will likely sue the property owner without even letting you know. The days of 'I promise I won't sue' are pretty much gone. Property owners face huge liabilities when they let others come on their land to 'visit' their horses.

    For me, the bottom line is a horse needs to be with other horses. That is how horses are made. They are herd animals. They are not like humans, where being around animals is 'fun'. They need their herd. That is just how God made them, there is no getting around that. Chickens, humans, sheep, are no substitute. Sure, horses like their humans, but there just is no comparison.

    Your neighbor may have chosen to have a horse by itself. It's unnatural and most horses would be very unhappy in that situation. But there isn't anything you can do about it. It's their horse, and their choice. I don't feel there's any argument that makes it ok or good for horses to be alone. But the fact is, there really isn't anything you can do.

    Usually people do it because they 'can only afford one', and they justify themselves very defensively. Horses can indeed be gotten very cheaply or for free these days, but it's the additional hay, vet and farrier bills that are unavoidable.

    Most likely, offering to 'keep the horse company' or trying to convince or guilt the neighbor into the idea that they need to spend more time with it or should get another horse, will just cause friction between you and the neighbor and do nothing else. One thing I've learned in many decades around horse people - they do things their way, and that's how they like it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2010
  5. michickenwrangler

    michickenwrangler To Finish Is To Win

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    Jun 8, 2008
    NE Michigan
    Robin'sBrood :

    Can a horse be depressed, or lonely and sad? We have some neighbors that recently got a single horse. After a week or two of having her the newness must have worn off and I never see anyone giving her any attention... not brushing her, not visiting her, not feeding her, nothing. [​IMG] Now she just stands around and looks sad. Whenever someone comes outside at their house she stands by the gate looking their way. It breaks my heart and I want to ask the neighbors... who are relatively new and and I have only spoken to a couple of times... if I can visit her and take her apple treats once in a while. Should I?

    Here she (at least I think it's a she) is not long after they got her...
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/uploads/10133_img_1275.jpg

    And this was her today...
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/uploads/10133_img_1571.jpg

    x2

    As to WC said, horses don't experience humans emotion. The horse is probably lonely and bored. And in the second pic, just lounging. My horse does it and she's in a pasture with 4 other horses and a mini-donkey now.

    If you see the owners, suggest they get another horse ... or see if you can get a horse to board there to keep it company! [​IMG]
     
  6. muddyhorse

    muddyhorse Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 11, 2009
    Bloomsdale, MO
    I see a horse in a field with adequate shelter and very nice fencing. the horse is a little over weight. Right now with the holidays and It being 10 degrees I'm not brushing my horses every day either. Please don't feed the horse with out permission. they can get colic very easily. One of our neighbors gave a bunch of peaches to my horses this summer. I had three colic. luckily it was gas colic and not a blockage from the peach pits which I kept finding in their poo. their excuse was that the horses "looked like they wanted them" of couse they did they are horses. they are like three year old people If you give a kid a bag of sugar they will eat it.
     
  7. geebs

    geebs Lovin' the Lowriders!

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    Sep 28, 2008
    Yes..... I had one suffering this week so I went and brought home another suffering buddy.... I had a herd with 8 horses.... 2 belonged to my daughter so she took them when she moved out last April... The herd was well bonded...(YEARS) and then her and I lost a horse 48 hours apart.... I lost a 31 year old matriarc and she lost her 22 year old schoolmaster... her gelding was super depressed as was a 12 year old mare of mine that grew up from babyhood with the 31 year old mare...(she thought of her as MOM)...both horses in different locations stood off in the distance and just stared...refusing food or activities with any others....(there were other horses in both locations) but the loss for these two horses because of the longtime friendship was marked. We moved the two together and it was wonderful... They yelled and jumped up and down happy to see an old friend...I was very fortunate to have that option....Good luck and keep us posted.. So sorry to hear about the trouble... [​IMG] Maybe they can get a goat or something...Most ppl once they get one horse are more likely to get another one...maybe they can take a boarde5r... The horse in the pic looks young.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2010
  8. Robin'sBrood

    Robin'sBrood Flock Mistress

    May 8, 2008
    North Carolina
    I don't plan on making enemies of the neighbors over their horse (unless I saw blatant abuse) - especially since they tolerate the crowing coming from my yard [​IMG] - and I would NEVER visit or feed her without their permission. In all fairness to the neighbors, it isn't like I'm looking out my window at their backyard every minute of every day, so they could be spending time with her that I just don't see. I'm sure once the weather turns warmer they'll be out with her more often. I guess in the meantime I'll just have to get used to seeing her looking lonely. I just wish she had a companion out there with her.

    Quote:That is my line of thought. [​IMG] I would LOVE to have a mini horse but we don't have room for one. Would a mini make a good companion for a standard? I wonder how much it would cost to feed a mini horse each month? How much in vet and farrier bills per year? Something to ponder, for sure.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2010
  9. ND

    ND Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 20, 2010
    As far as the mini idea... I'd be careful putting a mini in with a standard sized horse. I'm sure some horses may be fine with them, but others can kill or seriously injure them...intentionally OR as just part of sorting out the pecking order. I've seen standard sized geldings literally grab a mini by the back and pick them up and slam them down. [​IMG]

    We have one mini...that occasionally shares his pasture with a younger pony sized gelding. Out of 6 other horses, he's the ONLY one that's trusted to be with the mini. I do occasionally worry that he'll accidentally injure the mini during play (that the mini initiates), but so far, so good.

    The mini will NEVER be introduced to anyone else in our pastures. (he has his own small pasture) Even one stray warning kick from one of the others could/would snap his leg right off. His leg bones aren't anything compared to the other horses... they're like the size of my arms! He's got some serious 'little man syndrome' attitude, too... he'd DESERVE the kick that killed him.... [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Feeding a mini is usually *cheap*... cheap, cheap, cheap. In fact, the biggest problem is OVER feeding them, causing serious health issues, founder, or colic, etc. They are little air ferns... literally. We have to carefully monitor our mini and even use grazing muzzles during the lush grass parts of the year because he'll get SO obese otherwise.

    Any other care they require is just like big horses... with the same price tag as the big horses. They must have their hooves trimmed regularly... they don't weigh enough nor travel enough to wear them down at all and hoof care can't be neglected. Vet care costs are the same, if needed. And one should really know how to properly handle a BIG rowdy horse before considering a mini. They may be almost the size of dogs, but they are NOT dogs... and tend to get an attitude and can get hard to handle at times. I see this mostly when people treat them like a big dog... but it can get BAD. Our mini has serious attitude (with frequent adjustments needed!) because of how he was previously allowed to act for years before we got him. He's better now, mostly...but man-- it's a good thing he's *little*, because if he'd been standard size, he'd be downright dangerous at times!


    Anyway... feeding is usually significantly cheaper... space allowance can be somewhat smaller... but otherwise, minis are still horses, and require the same care and handling as standard horses...with the same expense.


    I can't say whether the horse is bored or lonely based on those pictures... I could go out and take a VERY similar looking picture of any one of my horses, several times a day... and we have a total of 7! When they sleep/lounge like that... that's just the way they look!
     
  10. jettgirl24

    jettgirl24 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 21, 2010
    Duvall, WA
    I definitely think horses get lonely. Several years ago my mom gave her horse to a friend of ours becuase she wasn't really riding anymore. My horse was miserable. He looked sad out in the pasture and was EXTREMELY clingy. Luckily the same friend who took my mom's horse had a mini-mare with a foal that needed to be weaned. She gave us the mare to keep Rey company and he immediately turned around. Now they are inseperable. I can take Rey for rides and the mini gets upset but not dangerously so. OH MAN you better not take that mini away from Rey though! I swear there have been a couple of times where I though for sure he was going through the fence... He sure can move at 28! LOL

    Here they are a couple of winters ago [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     

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