herd dynamics...am I making sense or making this up?
My retired OTTB mare lives with one other horse. He's a 12 yo quarter horse gelding. They have lived together for over 1 year now, and truly are best friends, but the last 3 weeks, they have really started picking on each other. They are not hurting each other, and are not in an unsafe situation, but there's lots of ear pinning and squealing. They've been chasing each other away from blades of grass, etc. And feeding time has become a nightmare.
They both have their own stalls, and until 3 weeks ago, they would come in from outside, eat, and go back out. Now they have been invading each other's stalls, chasing each other away from their food, etc. So they are locked in their stalls to eat, which has stopped that problem...but the squealing, wall kicking, etc continues.
For the record, they both have a 12 x 24 stall and eat at opposite corners...so they are plenty far enough away from each other, but both run to the wall in the middle to terrorize each other (make faces and squeal) ...and like I said, it's only been the last 3 weeks. They are also both fed exactly the same feed...so it's not like one has something "better" than the other.
So my thought on the matter, since nothing in their lives has changed, and I mean absolutely nothing...the weather, but other than that...perhaps its just because there are no herd dynamics with just 2 horses. They have very similar personalities... both were living as horses at the bottom of the totem pole in their turnout groups before they moved to retirement heaven. And they are not being physically aggressive, just putting on a show. I'm thinking maybe now the honeymoon is over, and they are struggling for power since they are both comfortable with where they are and who they live with.
Do you think introducing a third family member may help even the score? We were thinking about getting a donkey, and were before all of this began, but I thought perhaps if we add a third, actually creating a herd, things might even out? Am I nuts?