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Zwarte
Apr. 18, 2011, 04:26 PM
I have a 4-year old gelding who has lived his life, so far, in the company of other horses.

I will soon be moving him to my farm where he will be the only horse. So far, so good. But I will be travelling to Florida next winter with my horse and leaving my farm for 2 months.

Will he suffer being alone till winter? Is there anything you would recommend for this situation?

CHT
Apr. 18, 2011, 04:36 PM
Some horses seem ok being along, but some really do not adjust well and will loose weight, get ulcers, and in general become unhappy ponies.

Are there ANY horses in his view?

Is there the option of having a short term boarder? Maybe a rehab horse who needs pasture turn out for a while?

Janet
Apr. 18, 2011, 04:40 PM
It depends entirely on thre horse.
WHen I had one who didn't like being alone, I "free leased" a friend's retiree.

Wellspotted
Apr. 18, 2011, 04:43 PM
I'm confused by your second paragraph, Zwarte. Will he be going to Florida with you, and will he be alone there too? Or will he be staying behind on the farm while you go to Florida with another horse?

deckchick
Apr. 18, 2011, 05:40 PM
You really should get another critter for him. It doesn't need to be a horse, but really, they are a herd animal...

jawa
Apr. 18, 2011, 07:47 PM
I had one by himself at my farm for awhile. He had always been with other horses before.

Every time I opened the back door to go outside, he made the most pitiful whinny!! He was ever so hopeful that I'd go visit.

I borrowed one from my cousin ( she had 10 at the time ) and he was much happier.

LookmaNohands
Apr. 18, 2011, 08:14 PM
Borrow another horse!!

I had a horse come to me for training last year that had lived about three or four years alone. She had so many physical problems that I had to attribute most of them to stress. So did the vet. She spent three months with the vet before she became rideable.

IMHO you should NOT let your horse live alone for an extended period of time.

Zwarte
Apr. 18, 2011, 09:05 PM
My horse will go with me to Florida for the winter.

pferdfeathers
Apr. 19, 2011, 07:28 AM
You really should get another critter for him. It doesn't need to be a horse, but really, they are a herd animal...

LOVE this!!:lol:

pferdfeathers
Apr. 19, 2011, 07:31 AM
Sorry about the previous quoted post - I was trying to respond to the byline that starts with "reporting from...." It made me giggle.

Mosey_2003
Apr. 19, 2011, 10:26 AM
He'd certainly survive, but it's generally best to get them a friend of some sort. Will have to try it and see. I seem to have an odd duck and he actually *prefers* being alone, stressed himself literally almost to death being in a herd at the boarding barn. But even so I plan on getting him a small donkey or maybe a goat when I can get some more area fenced well.

stilldreaming
Apr. 19, 2011, 11:16 AM
I have seen the worst-case scenario. I know a horse that cannot handle this, by any means. Panic, sweating, weightloss, injuries caused by nervous action, etc. It's ugly. Tranquilizers help a little, but it is very unpleasant so now it's a requirement that the horse is never isolated again.

I suggest you give it a trial run so you know what you're in for. Isolate him somewhere. Off the property, empty show grounds, a friend's property, perhaps? You could even try leaving him on another empty corner of the farm for a few days, I suppose. But he may be able to call back & forth to his friends.
You don't want to find out at go-time, and then be desperate for a plan B.

sk_pacer
Apr. 19, 2011, 12:56 PM
My remaining horse prefers being alone too. He has become less of a pain to deal with, has calmed down, gained weight, no longer tries for escape through the people door; about all that remains of old 'bad' behaviour is kicking (not at me, just walls). His bad behaviour was stress related rather than being a pill. He is also no longer headshy, and lost that worried look. He honestly seems to prefer the cats to anything living except for me. So, a horse alone IS fine, depending on the horse.

Wellspotted
Apr. 20, 2011, 04:51 PM
I would definitely get him a buddy. Another horse, preferably, but at least some animal who will be company to him.

susanne
Apr. 20, 2011, 06:10 PM
My horse was an only horse when we first got him. We spent a lot of time with him, and he seemed perfectly happy.

Then we got our second horse, and I realized there is happiness and then there is bliss. These two became instant best friends.

Your horse might do fine by himself, but he will do better with a friend.

hundredacres
Apr. 20, 2011, 06:16 PM
Where are you? I'll loan ya one ;)

Zwarte
Apr. 21, 2011, 09:48 AM
I am in Arkansas. I saw this one on Craigslist today.

http://littlerock.craigslist.org/grd/2338151116.html

I would go upgrade this poor darling but don't know what I would do with her when I leave for the winter.

wireweiners
Apr. 21, 2011, 09:53 AM
Hey Zwarte, want a donkey? I've got a lovely little jenny and a gelded jack that I really NEED to find a home for. They've both been running with horses, especially the jack. Either one would make an excellent companion for your horse, plus they don't eat much. I'm in Texarkana.

moonriverfarm
Apr. 21, 2011, 10:10 AM
Goat, donkey, GP, mini...horses need company..I find that mine buddy up at bedtime and one watches while on sleeps.

Zwarte
Apr. 21, 2011, 08:56 PM
Hey Zwarte, want a donkey? I've got a lovely little jenny and a gelded jack that I really NEED to find a home for. They've both been running with horses, especially the jack. Either one would make an excellent companion for your horse, plus they don't eat much. I'm in Texarkana.

I just might. Would they survive ok with a barn, a stream and a 5 acre pasture without daily care? (For 2 months in the winter). I think they might be fun to drive, too. I could arrange for my neighbor to toss them some hay or provide a round bale or several. My farm is on Highway 21 in Boxley Valley (near the Buffalo River)

That might work for donkeys - not for a horse. Horses can get into too much trouble. donkeys seem more sensible.

EqTrainer
Apr. 21, 2011, 09:12 PM
My horse was an only horse when we first got him. We spent a lot of time with him, and he seemed perfectly happy.

Then we got our second horse, and I realized there is happiness and then there is bliss. These two became instant best friends.

Your horse might do fine by himself, but he will do better with a friend.

My experience, too.

willowbean
Apr. 22, 2011, 05:39 AM
[QUOTE][Then we got our second horse, and I realized there is happiness and then there is bliss./QUOTE]

I love this! How true. Although for purely selfish reasons, having one or three plus is so much easier. Right now with two, when one leaves I cringe to come back to find what kind of lather and mess I have to clean up. The one left usually gets more exercise than the one riden!!!

wireweiners
Apr. 26, 2011, 03:59 PM
I just might. Would they survive ok with a barn, a stream and a 5 acre pasture without daily care? (For 2 months in the winter). I think they might be fun to drive, too. I could arrange for my neighbor to toss them some hay or provide a round bale or several. My farm is on Highway 21 in Boxley Valley (near the Buffalo River)

That might work for donkeys - not for a horse. Horses can get into too much trouble. donkeys seem more sensible.

They would do quite well. These donkeys ran with our cattle before my dad sold the cows so they don't get daily care here either. They are pretty hardy little critters. Blackjack got handled a lot because we had another jack who literally tried to rip him a new one. (His nickname is Chewed Butt) I got him up in a small pen, doctored him, and since he was there I put a halter on him and worked with him. I had him leading, letting his feet be handled, and grooming him. He loves being curried but doesn't care for baths. He is used to being around horses since I eventually moved him into a pen with one of the colts. They got along fine. If you are interested send me a pm.

Cataluna
Apr. 26, 2011, 04:09 PM
I borrowed a mini donkey to keep my filly company, and it was a great decision. Cute, cuddly, and costs barely anything to keep. I don't even need him anymore and I still have him. :lol:

LovelyBay
Apr. 26, 2011, 09:17 PM
I'll be the odd man out.

In January I moved my horse to a new "barn" (aka pasture) where she is the only horse, and the only other animals around are two outdoor cats, chickens, and coyotes. I was really worried about her too, but so far she has been just fine. It's actually really nice not to have to worry about other people's horses, and I get to use the pasture and barn how every I want. She always trots up to me when I pull in. She doesn't act nervous or upset, and she has been really good under saddle too. I did have an emergency back up plan in case being alone didn't work though. The first few days I made sure she had tons of hay (thank you nibble net!) and bribed her with her amazing graze. I go out every other day and spend time with her because I feel guilty.

It's not ideal, but this place has the best fencing, is closer to home, and cheaper than my previous barn. Ideally I could afford another horse/donkey/etc to keep her company, but we are moving in a year and I can't justify having another mouth to feed and animal to care for. When we move to our next location (more permanent) I will definately get her a companion.

deckchick
Apr. 26, 2011, 09:58 PM
My remaining horse prefers being alone too. He has become less of a pain to deal with, has calmed down, gained weight, no longer tries for escape through the people door; about all that remains of old 'bad' behaviour is kicking (not at me, just walls). His bad behaviour was stress related rather than being a pill. He is also no longer headshy, and lost that worried look. He honestly seems to prefer the cats to anything living except for me. So, a horse alone IS fine, depending on the horse.


I'll be the odd man out.

In January I moved my horse to a new "barn" (aka pasture) where she is the only horse, and the only other animals around are two outdoor cats, chickens, and coyotes. I was really worried about her too, but so far she has been just fine. It's actually really nice not to have to worry about other people's horses, and I get to use the pasture and barn how every I want. She always trots up to me when I pull in. She doesn't act nervous or upset, and she has been really good under saddle too. I did have an emergency back up plan in case being alone didn't work though. The first few days I made sure she had tons of hay (thank you nibble net!) and bribed her with her amazing graze. I go out every other day and spend time with her because I feel guilty.

It's not ideal, but this place has the best fencing, is closer to home, and cheaper than my previous barn. Ideally I could afford another horse/donkey/etc to keep her company, but we are moving in a year and I can't justify having another mouth to feed and animal to care for. When we move to our next location (more permanent) I will definately get her a companion.

My horse likes my cats and chickens too. I think the important thing is they have contact with another animal.

My mini-donkey is awesome, he "protects" everything, he is quite cute when he charges across the pasture with his head down because he thinks something is going to eat one of his many friends.

Fancy That
Apr. 26, 2011, 11:16 PM
Horses are herd animals. They are social. They need companionship. I think it's cruel to have a solitary, lonely, single horse. (sorry, just my opinion)

Get another horse (borrow, lease, whatever) or pony/mini.

Prime Time Rider
Apr. 26, 2011, 11:38 PM
I brought one of my horses home (my retired show hunter) and even though there were horses next door and horses across the road that she could see she was miserable! She actually bolted out of the barn one night and ran away in search of equine companionship. After that incident my friend offered me her small pony as a "buddy" for my mare. Having a buddy made all the difference for my mare and she quickly adjusted to life at home. Your horse may be the exception, however, many horses don't do well alone. Find a buddy, whether it's a mini, a pony or a donkey.

fivehorses
Apr. 27, 2011, 12:24 AM
I can understand someone not wanting to spend the money on another mouth to feed, but what about getting someone in as a boarder, coop, etc situation.

Horses are herd animals. I think some can get along alone, but others would find it depressing. You might not notice it, but as the other poster said, there is a difference.
I think the stress, although maybe not overt, would take its toll.

I highly doubt I would ever do that to a horse unless I was sure the horse preferred being alone, and I don't think you find that many horses who would find that situation the best. Unlike humans, they cannot communicate to us, and some of us humans are rather dull to picking up the equine behaviour signals.

IFG
Apr. 27, 2011, 08:05 AM
I think it depends a lot on your horse, the horse's age, and how close other animals/humans are.

I moved my horse home so that 1) I could afford to keep him and 2) I could provide the in/out situation that he needed to manage his heaves. He has never tried to escape. His old boarding barn is a 15 minute hack away (less than a mile). We go over there when he is shod, and he never seems too keen to see the other horses. The barn that he was at when I bought him is a 5 minute walk straight down the road, and he never tries to go there either. He is social with me, my husband, our dogs, the cats that hang around the barn. He has gained weight and seems content.

IFG
Apr. 27, 2011, 08:07 AM
Forgot to add, I have been working with this horse since he was 6. I bought him at 8, and I moved him home at 15. I think that the longevity of our relationship is part of the reason that he is happy here. His paddock is also right next to the house, and in summer, he can hear us in the house.

FatDinah
Apr. 27, 2011, 12:20 PM
Contact some rescues or local animal control departments and offer to foster with the understanding that you can't during the months you are gone in the winter.

You'd be doing some animals a big favor and your boy would have company.