Horses not getting along

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by hollyclyff, Aug 14, 2008.

  1. hollyclyff

    hollyclyff Chillin' With My Peeps

    446
    1
    141
    May 18, 2007
    NC
    Several months ago we bought a horse for our daughter. We had her boarded until our fence was up. Two weeks ago we brought her home. While she was boarded, she was turned out at night with three other mares and a gelding. She had a few skirmishes with the mares at first, but had no problems with the gelding. She is wonderful with people and the barn owner said she settled down with the other mares after a couple of days, although I still saw some ear pinning from them when walking her past them in their stalls.

    Last Tuesday we bought a gelding for me. The mare is not being nice at all to him. It's not bad out in the field as long as he stays far enough away from her, but when they come up for feeding time (they are fed in separate stalls), she gets aggressive towards him and chases him off and sometimes kicks at him. A couple of days ago, he kicked back and got her in the chest. Normally he just runs away. She left him alone the rest of that day, but went right back at him the next day. None of the aggression is aimed at people, but if someone got in the way.... Even in the stalls, she rushes at him and sometimes kicks the wall between them. When I turn them loose after feeding, she chases him again. I know it can take some time for horses to work things out, but I'm not seeing much improvement here and I'm starting to worry. Any advice?
     
  2. greyhorsewoman

    greyhorsewoman Chillin' With My Peeps

    853
    0
    149
    Mar 3, 2008
    Endless Mts, NE PA
    I'm not sure I totally understand your dynamics. How do they chase each other at feeding time if they are in separate stalls? If they aren't secured in those stalls, that is the first thing I would do. Lead them in, secure them, then feed them.

    Another way to quickly establish a bond between two horses is take them for a trailer ride.

    Mares are dominant. It might take a little while for the gelding to earn her affections, but it should happen.

    Good luck!
     
  3. texasreb

    texasreb Chillin' With My Peeps

    250
    0
    119
    May 18, 2008
    Is there any way you can divide the pasture? There is a reason most well-run boarding stables have separate pastures for mares and geldings...

    Having said that, I actually keep my gelding and my neighbor's mare together. They get along famously and always have. The gelding is actually the dominant one in our little herd that also occasionally includes a longhorn cow, a barbado ewe, an angus cow and an angus bull. When the pastures are thick and lush, we throw them all out together, but when they are sparse (like now) we separate them so that we can feed according to their separate needs.
     
  4. hollyclyff

    hollyclyff Chillin' With My Peeps

    446
    1
    141
    May 18, 2007
    NC
    It happens when they come up from the field at feeding time. I don't have a chance to go and catch them and lead them in. As soon as they see me, they start heading for the barn and she starts after him right away. It's only after she has successfully chased him off that I can get her in her stall and then I can get him in his. They are closed up in their stalls before they are actually fed. And they know when it's near feeding time. I can go out to the field at other times during the day and walk up to each of them without incident.

    I had heard that about a trailer ride, but we don't have a trailer at this time.
     
  5. hollyclyff

    hollyclyff Chillin' With My Peeps

    446
    1
    141
    May 18, 2007
    NC
    No, there's no way to separate the field. It's just not configured in a way that would be practical at all. She was kept in a mixed herd both at her previous owner's and at the barn where we boarded her and she had no problems with the geldings at either place. In fact the barn owner where we boarded her suggested I get a gelding rather than a mare as a second horse because she got along better with the gelding there. Now her previous owner didn't feed any grain, and that seems to be where the problem mainly comes in here. But she was underweight without it. She's 18-19 years old and a hard keeper. She needs more than grass and hay. She was fed grain at the boarding barn apparently without incident. We have plenty of grass right now and no need to fight over that.
     
  6. miss_jayne

    miss_jayne Lady_Jayne

    Jun 26, 2008
    Columbiaville, MI
    don't let her push him around or rush up like this.

    first, go and restrain her, lead her into her stall WITHOUT giving her the food. do not carry the grain bucket out with you. make her wait in her stall until YOU decide she is ready.

    lead your (DONT LET THEM GO INTO STALLS ON THEIR OWN) gelding into his stall and then when all is calm, feed them. your gelding first, then the mare.

    if they run into the stalls, chase them back out and tell them NO!

    they will figure it out after a week or so. YOUR SPACE is YOUR SPACE, your gelding included. not only is the mare pushing him around, they are pushing YOU around.

    no one needs 1000-1800 lbs of horse pushing them around.

    best blessings on a safe, enjoyable horse family!
     
  7. hollyclyff

    hollyclyff Chillin' With My Peeps

    446
    1
    141
    May 18, 2007
    NC
    miss jayne - that makes sense and I already do that partly. I don't go out with the bucket and I do lead the gelding into his stall because he won't go in otherwise. What I haven't been doing is leading the mare in or feeding the gelding first. I open the door for her and tell her to go in, but I haven't been actually leading her in. I can do that, but by the time I get to her to lead her in, she has already run the gelding off and is only a few feet from the barn. The chasing usually starts before I even can get there. They see me coming. So when she is near the barn, should I run her off and then go get her? Or just lead her in the stall from wherever she is?
     
  8. lorieMN

    lorieMN Chillin' With My Peeps

    992
    0
    149
    Apr 19, 2008
    montevideo,MN
    she is a she and that is the problem..she was in the pasture first and that is also part of the problem..most mares and some geldings are very dominant..if you can get ahold of her and lead her in its good,might help some probably not..she wasnt the herd leader at the boarding place that is why she fell in line faster and it was peacefull,and like another said put them in the stalls but dont feed them for awhile,and I would tie her up,not in her stall but outside somewhere and leave her tied for several hours,she can learn a little patience,wont hurt her one bit,and the more she fights being tied the longer I would leave her tied..really this is why I wont have a mare on the place (now I know I will here lots of things about lots of wonderfull mares,but the majority are like this) you could also look into getting her spayed,might settle her hormones some..
     
  9. snowydiamonds

    snowydiamonds Chillin' With My Peeps

    One thing to change is the feeding time. They will not know when you decide when that is, daily. Other horse people may disagree w/shedules changing so drastically but I've worked w/people hating horses and what I've learned is much human contact, they must eat only out of my hand and when I decide, they must be feather light in response to my requests which are also feather light- no heavy hands on either side. Never lose your temper, they will do so, too.

    Teach them to back up every time they begin anticipation and only at your command, this command comes in very handy for many instances. Also, begin the step up command. Make them do little commands for a mouthful or biteful and they will learn who is in command and begin manners and become very interested in you and learning, instead of horse to horse. Center their thoughts on you, not competition w/each other. Also, teach a certain noise which means among other things, your attention on ME now, Stop, Look, etc., it can be a grunt, whistle, or whatever is your preference. I know this takes major time and effort but its the most reliable method of attaining lifelong, enjoyable and satisfactory companionship.

    Start taking their halters and walking them in a circle, stepping back, whatever little moment to get their attention on you, not each other. They will watch you take turns w/each one and learn from each other. No head tossing allowed either, YOU are in charge, you are the sargent!
    edited to include: I always used the word HEP! Its something no one else usually will use.
    AND,
    to add to loriMN's tying up method, always, always, look for the "release" meaning once they poop, they are giving in and reward them with kind words, and do something w/them they have mastered, praising again. Celebrate the moment, each small moment and the learning comes quicker.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2008
  10. hollyclyff

    hollyclyff Chillin' With My Peeps

    446
    1
    141
    May 18, 2007
    NC
    I just went out - it's not feeding time yet, but they were both up near the barn hanging out. I haltered and lead them both into their stalls with no problems at all. Led the mare right by the gelding who was standing next to the barn. She was very polite and minded her manners until the gelding got in his stall. She started to pin her ears at him, but I waved the lead rope at her and she stopped. Maybe there's hope?
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by