|Michigan 7 year old Paso Fino owned by novice.
Question: This is not a training problem but it is a huge hurdle we
will be facing in the next couple of months. My mare has always been
with a herd or boarded at facilities with several horses. When I
first stared working with her she would work herself into a lather in her
stall, rearing, pacing, the whole bit. She has improved and now doesn't
mind being worked by herself or even being in a pasture by herself as long
as she can see another horse. However she still paces her stall or
the fence if the other horses are out of site. I am preparing to
move her home and there are no other horses here. I don't know how
she will react to being an only horse. Will it make a difference
that there are no horses within sight, smell, or hearing distance?
What can I do to make this transition as comfortable for her as I can?
From Panelist Erica
You just answered part of your question - from your description it will
only be natural that she will have a hard time adjusting at your place
with no other horses. If you have the time prior to moving her, I would
keep working with her and getting her comfortable being away from horses
for a short time to start out and slowly lengthening it as she becomes
more comfortable. If you form a good partnership bond with her you can
become a part of her herd and be the company she seeks most - but it will
take time and work. Keep her
From Panelist Jonathan
Well this is a rather pleasant problem compared to most . Of course only if your mare reads this and complies ;) .
What you will need is a substitute pasture pal . A goat , donkey , sheep
, I have heard of a llama , pig and even a dog filling the bill . Caution
should always be taken when mixing other creatures with horses . My most
favorite cat is no longer with me because of a young territorial filly
and one of my stallions doesn't care for goats much .
Good Luck , try it you'll like it !
From Panelist Stella
Check carefully to make sure all your home facilities are safe and sturdy.
It may take her several weeks to totally adjust, but not having a response
from other horses means less reinforcement to continue to call and act
out, have the behavior subside more quickly. Try to plan on being home
the first few days,groom her, ride her, walk her to familiarize with the
new environment,but not to coddle her every time she acts out; but at least
be somewhere you can monitor her, out of sight, just in case....just dont
Whether or not she remains lonely really depends on how much time you spend with her on a regular basis. There are some horses that have difficulty and do better with even another species, small animal, such as a goat, etc. as a companion, particularly in situations where the horse is not handled regularly.
From Panelist Lee
Horses are by nature herd animals. They have a psychological *need* for companionship of some kind. When you are present for lessons or general riding, you make up the "herd" for this horse, and she has learned to accept that and work for you. However, you are not going to be with her all the time when she moves home with you. The fact that there are no other horses around will not make her any happier with her solitary state.
She will need something to be her herd -- even if it is not another
My suggestion would be to find her some hooved animal to keep as a companion --it is possible that she could fret in her solitude to the point of losing weight and developing stess ulcers, which is not a good thing.
Good luck with your new horse.
From Panelist Nancy
Have you considered buying a Shetland to keep her company? They
From Panelist Liz
I recommend being sure that she doesn't get to stressed at first and would spend a lot of time with her at first and keep some good grass hay going to her to keep her busy and watch that she continues to eat and drink normally.
I think it is better to have her where there are no signs of other horse than another close by that she may be able to see in the distance or hear.
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