My TB mare does not get along with other mares...because she is downright nasty...but loooves to be out with geldings. She did ok out in a large herd of mares, but if there are fewer than 4 others....she is an evil witch
Now she lives on a little private farm, just her and her gelding. She flirst with him like crazy during those "special moments" and he just gets scared and hides. We did have an issue with she and a gelding pony getting waaaayy too attached at another farm a few years ago. They would both scream their heads off if they weren't in sight of each other...
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We have 20 horses out in one "herd" and everyone gets along for the most part. There is one weanling, 3 yearlings, 2 two-year-olds, and the rest are adults. They are out on 80 acres and think they are "wild mustangs" when on the back 40. If you look at them, nobody has bite or kick marks and other than ugly faces, everyone just hangs out and is pretty happy. We have had aggressive horses in the past and they got their 30 day notice and were put in a paddock until they left. I'm very careful what goes into the herd so we keep with good herd dynamics.
My mare is pretty easy going. She has been out in groups of mares, mares w/single geldings, or occasionally two extremely mellow geldings. I think turning her out with more than one "interested" gelding would be a potential disaster. She seems to get those boys all in a tizzy!
I have two geldings and one mare on my place, they all go out together and they've been together for four years now.
Funny thing is the mare is the smallest and she's the meanest. Those two boys walk the line around her and give her a wide berth. There's no question who rules the pasture out there. They all get along like horses, which means they all have days when they are best buds and days when they can't stand the sight of each other. I've look out there several times and have seen them all standing in three separate spots in the pasture or huddled together plotting on what stinky thing to do to me next.
The bossiest most troublesome diva pony mare.... goes out with my wussy TB gelding and lets him boss her around! They are total bff's and my QH gelding just kind of watches from the sideslines and stays out of their way. It's a pretty good mix, on 8 acres, so everyone can have their own space, of course.
Do not take anything to heart. Do not hanker after signs of progress. Founder of theRiders with Fibromyalgia clique.
I think it comes down to personality, density, available space, and the drive to breed or be bred.
Of the 60 horses on the farm, 3 are individually paddocked, and 57 that are turned out to free roam on 75 acres. The herd splits itself down into three smaller herds, which tend to reflect personality preferences: quiet horses, busybody horses, and the young bachelor geldings/pony herd which stirs everyone up several times a day! The herds migrate throughout the acreage (we think they follow the sun, as you rarely see them in the shade as the position of the sun changes), sometimes gather together for meetings, and then split off and migrate again. The bachelor herd is a real PITA to the other herds, as they wind themselves up and then go blasting through the herds, splitting them up like a marbles game. Gets the blood moving and the oldsters get exercise! The vets estimate that the horses walk about 25 or so miles a day when turned out. Under this management, horses don't usually go out into the herd unless they are 18 months to 2.5 years old. Under past ownership, the age was 6 months old when they were turned out. Not all geldings like young horses, and serious injuries to young ones can occur because of this.
In addition to the bachelor/pony band, the fun comes in when one gelding wants another's mare, or when one mare wants to steal away to another geldings mare band, which usually happens when the mares come into season. Geldings who have mare bands usually have 3 or 4 mares in their group, and these groups hold constant until the stealing comes along. Then the chasing back and forth erupts, with some biting. We have even seen one mare steal away, the chasing begin, and another mare from that same band quietly move to another gelding's band during the heat of the battle. No sooner does the gelding get stealer #1 back, then he looks around, realizes he lost a second mare, and has to go get her back as well. It's like herding cats! This can take up much of his afternoon, and go on for several days. Althoug bites and scratches are common, rarely has anyone been seriously injured. Sometimes a gelding will really like one of his mares, and lose her to another gelding, which makes him a very sad guy for quite a while. But, he moves on.
On 75 acres, this usually works out because everyone has room to run, play, steal and retrieve. Put them on 20 acres or so, and we would be having the vet into the place on a daily basis. As it is, most of his trips in for lameness injuries involve a sprained fetlock from tripping in a hole, arthritis acting up from too much hoopla, or a hoof abscess.
Until very recently, I've never seen the real need for separating by sex. However, with the addition of a rather studly gelding, it became evident that some horses really are better off on their own.
But in over 25 years, I've personally never owned any horses who had trouble with a mixed herd situation...as long as there's a enough room and enough food it's never been a problem. Having a friendly but firm boss mare really seems to help though. I have one of those.
A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.
I like having geldings and mares turned out together. The problems I've seen in herds were not from hormonal issues, but from mares and geldings who beat up both genders.
When Callie was alive, she would dump her brother Cloudy and let a chestnut (always a chestnut) gelding of ill repute become her guardian. Since these geldings were biters and kickers, they protected her from all other horses and she didn't get marked up. She'd leave the chestnut gelding each time and come with Cloudy to come in for riding and grooming, but she'd go back to him when turned out again. Chestnut rogue gelding after chestnut rogue gelding as one left the barn and another replaced him.
Cloudy on the other hand, ignored hanging out with geldings who wanted to be friends, but ended up with dominate mares who bossed him around. At one barn a huge 18.2 mare who beat up all the other geldings chose Cloudy as her boy the first day, and he didn't get a mark on him from 3 other geldings who beat up everyone, since this behemoth, whom Callie nicknamed "Brunhilde" would put her huge neck and head over Cloudy's back and protect him from all.
Now Cloudy has a 14.3 girlfriend who bosses him around.
I used to keep all of mine in one herd - until the colt at 10 months decided he wanted to start breeding. Then he was separated but I wanted to keep in a herd environment as well as adjusting to being by himself - so I alternated geldings with him and his mom - who is in foal as well.
My gelding can go with anyone but I have one alpha mare that we put back shoes on - for safety I have kept her with her other friend mare and sometimes put the gelding and her daughter with her.
So I mix up the mares a bit but for the most part I now keep 3 separate groups. I used to keep ponies, horses, mares, geldings and the colt all together and it was great but sometimes a little dangerous when you went out to get a horse.
I have always had geldings. The difficulty with group turnout in my area is that there is often not enough room for proper herd dynamics - horses end up getting "beat up" because they cant retreat far enough. I have had my geldings in mixed group turnout with mixed results. Some were fine with it. The last two, however, had, ummmmm, boy issues. Both would attempt to "breed" a mare in heat. And my current boy would become somewhat aggressive when herding and protecting "his" mare. They both ended up in gelding-only turnout.
I usually have 3 horses, one pony mare and 2 geldings. The mare is aloof and quiet. She's fine alone or with others. With one other gelding, there's no problem. With 2, there ends up being posturing and bickering over her and I end up separating her out. She's 14.1 and right now the geldings are 16 and 16.2, I'd rather have her alone than hurt. I have a new guy who I was told freaked out when turned out with an aggressive gelding. My big gelding is not aggressive, but at this point the mare is his and I think he would posture with the new guy. So now, big guy and mare are together and new guy is separate, sharing a fence line so they get aquainted. I think gender matters a little, as my big guy is not possessive of other geldings but he is with the mare. If the third guy was a quiet, submissive type, they would probably be fine together, but I never seem to end up with those types!
We have 2 geldings and 3 mares out in the main pasture together, and it works great for them and for us. A mare is the alpha and then a gelding, then two more mares, and then the other gelding is the omega.
My MIL has her weanling filly in with our aged gelding and they're doing really well together, and we almost always use him for the ones being weaned every year. He's very patient and kind to the youngsters, even the boisterous ones.
"Life's a bleach and then you dye"
"Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet." Roger Miller
In the most recent grouping my usually alpha mare was put with a pony mare she knew already, and a new gelding, who was in for training. She went right for him, asserting her alpha spot. He, however, was an enormous draft cross, easily twice her size. He simply turned around and presented his gigantic behind, and you should have seen the look on her face as she reconsidered biting him mid stride! She turned around and walked away. Much to her annoyance he then followed her around for half an hour, with a "hi, can we be friends?" expression on his face. The next day they were sharing hay.
yes, the stud colt is out with a gelding and weanling fillies and another gelding is out with a herd of mares. Our previous stallion could also be turned out with the 2 geldings. We had a previous very studdish gelding that could not be turned out with other males....all depends on the individual.
My barn mainly does same-sex turn out, and do strictly for the stall horses. Mine are pasture boarded and there are 12 pasture slots (supposed to be 6 mares, 6 geldings), well 10 of the pasture horses are geldings, which means my mare and the other mare are out with four geldings on their side. I like this because the geldings seem to pick on my mare less and she has less bite marks than when she's out with more mares. My gelding is also in the mixed herd and he gets along with everyone pretty much.