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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb. 16, 2009
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    41

    Default Options for companion to a lone horse

    Hi All,

    I am really getting tired of boarding and am trying to move into the country and just take care of my own horse.

    I don't want him to be alone, but am not sure I want to have 2 horses and was just wondering what some other options are that have worked well for other people.

    I have considered a pony, a mini, sheep, goats, etc. But would like to hear of experiences that people have had before deciding which is the best way to go.

    Thanks



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec. 29, 2003
    Location
    Long Branch, NJ 07740
    Posts
    794

    Default

    I know you said you did not want another horse, but wouldn't it be great if you'd reconsider and adopt a "pasture pal" type horse from one of the adoption/non-profit groups? (You can see where this is going if you look at my signature!)

    There are so many kind, older or quiet horses, who, due to injuries or age, cannot be ridden, but are happy and easy to have turned out as a companion.
    We have all Thoroughbreds right off the track--all shapes, sizes and demeanors. My favorites are the older class horses who are smart, quiet, and have definitely earned their keep! Many are easy keepers, too.

    Can I change your mind????

    Maybe someone else would consider this?

    Call or email with any questions...
    Turning For Home, Inc.
    Philadelphia Park Racehorse Retirement Program
    www.patha.org
    turningforhome@patha.org



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul. 13, 2006
    Posts
    2,495

    Default

    Well if you want a second super easy keeper horse that I would think costs about the same to upkeep as a pony without the high risk of foundering let me know, we have an older saint of a retiree that hates his living arrangement and we would be happy to send him somewhere that he has nice grass and attention. Problem is we are in CA and not many people want one of those around here, and nobody wants to ship a 19 year old anywhere to hang out and mow the lawn.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct. 18, 2000
    Posts
    22,498

    Default

    Actually if I were you I'd consider two companions.

    No matter what animal you decide on for your horse, it will most likely be a herd animal.

    If you decide to take your horse away (trail ride, show, hunting,) the companion animal would be alone and likely to be distraught.

    I always suggest a goat but people seem to have strong feelings about that choice. But it is a very inexpensive choice, and if you have the right fencing works out fine (if the horse likes goats!)

    But I'd say get two goats or two companion animals for your horse.

    Certainly a retired old schoolhorse or a pasture ornament horse would be worthwhile - just more expensive to maintain.

    Good luck.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun. 18, 2007
    Location
    Mississippi
    Posts
    409

    Default

    We have a mini donkey for our horse. They are so cute together and really get along great. If I take the horse out of the pasture without the donkey, the donkey gets really upset and calls to us the whole time. I don't take my horse anywhere, but if I did the donkey would come with us. We also have a potbelly pig that hangs out with them.
    CRAYOLA Posse: PLUM



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb. 16, 2009
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    41

    Default

    We actually have thought about the "get two" companions. I don't do any showing and the only reason my horse might go anywhere would be on a short trail ride. He is somewhat lame in his hind right leg so he is only able to be lightly ridden.

    I don't know that I want to get a second horse because then if I do want to go for a short trail ride - then the other horse would be left alone and it is my experience that they don't usually like that.

    Also - with this economy my business has pretty much dried up and the added expense of how much a horse eats and the farrier, vet, etc really adds up.

    I am just looking for an inexpensive way to give him some company - although, I may consider a very small horse as compared to a pony as a possibility if I found the right one.

    For now, I was just looking for experiences people have had with having one horse and having goats or sheep, etc for a pasture buddy.

    Thanks,



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct. 18, 2000
    Posts
    22,498

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Qtina View Post
    For now, I was just looking for experiences people have had with having one horse and having goats or sheep, etc for a pasture buddy.

    Thanks,
    In that case, I'll tell you that I have had goats for a lone horse and it worked out fine. Economical (goats still eat most of the weeds), my horse was "ok", and when I went somewhere the goat had a buddy.

    Things have changed a great deal since then but I still enjoy owning goats. BUT - I have my place set up for multiple species. So goats don't get loose and wreak havoc on equipment, vehicles and my roses.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    May. 21, 2008
    Location
    Sonoma County, California
    Posts
    2,659

    Default

    I was in the same boat as you and took on a second horse. It was difficult because when I went out to ride, the companion horse went nuts. So we took on a third horse, a boarder. That solved our problem. Now of course we have 7 equines here....Equine companions are generally best, but if you can't do that, consider a pair of large breed (nubian, alpine), sturdy, de-horned goats. Introduce your horse slowly through a fence as many don't like goats.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb. 16, 2009
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    41

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Watermark Farm View Post
    I was in the same boat as you and took on a second horse. It was difficult because when I went out to ride, the companion horse went nuts. So we took on a third horse, a boarder. That solved our problem. Now of course we have 7 equines here....Equine companions are generally best, but if you can't do that, consider a pair of large breed (nubian, alpine), sturdy, de-horned goats. Introduce your horse slowly through a fence as many don't like goats.
    I am very aware of how horses can go nuts when left alone - and I really don't need to have 3 horses (at least not big ones).

    When I was little we had goats. I really liked them, but we didn't put them out with the horses, they lived in the barn and I just got them out to play with them and let them eat grass, etc. Sometimes we put them in a small pen outside to just get some fresh air.

    So, a question - when you say some don't like goats. Is this just at first and you have to introduce them like you mentioned. Or are there cases you know of where the horse just never likes them at all?

    I am thinking that if it is just him and the goats - he would learn to like them out of a need for companionship.

    I have a friend who has the little pygmy goats and they live out with her horses and no one seems to mind.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar. 26, 2005
    Location
    Back to Normal.. or as close as I'll ever get
    Posts
    11,121

    Default

    Your horse may be just fine by himself.
    Will there be any other horses at least within sight where you plan to move?

    My guys spend a great part of their day gazing at the neighbor's horse who is turned out alone at least an acre away from my pastures.

    My Senior horse doesn't even care when I take his friend offsite for as much as 3 days. As long as the food keeps coming he's fine by himself.

    Of course the younger one hasn't been Home Alone but once and that was when Sr had to be left at the vet's overnight. He spent a lot of time calling and looking, but survived the experience.

    If your guy frets when he's left alone then please do consider a retired horse as a companion animal. Really a goat, sheep or donkey is going to need care too - vet and hoof care.
    And do you really want to have to learn a whole new set of animal care practices?
    *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
    Steppin' Out 1988-2004
    Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
    Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec. 6, 2000
    Location
    SE Mass
    Posts
    4,717

    Default

    My horse is happy living alone. I never thought that he would be, but he has thrived since I brought him home. Even when we hack over to our old barn, he doesn't start calling or anything, and he is happy to come home.

    It really depends on the horse. I thought that he would need a companion, but he has been fine for over a year now.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb. 16, 2009
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    41

    Default

    Thank you all for your input.

    I don't think he would like being alone because he doesn't even like coming in the barn by himself. He will, but he doesn't like it.

    But, sometimes I think it is because he knows they are out there and he seems to consider himself the leader - so I think he wants to know where they are at all times.

    I have often wondered if he would be Ok alone once he got used to it, but would still consider having some sort of companion for him.

    As for having to learn about taking care of goats - as I said, we had them when I was little and I loved them, so I have had goats before. That is part of why I am wondering about having them as his companion - they could be for me too



  13. #13
    Join Date
    May. 21, 2008
    Location
    Sonoma County, California
    Posts
    2,659

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Qtina View Post

    So, a question - when you say some don't like goats. Is this just at first and you have to introduce them like you mentioned. Or are there cases you know of where the horse just never likes them at all?
    .
    I just lost my goat of 8 years. Two of our 7 horses loved him (one really grieved for him). The rest only tolerated him, and a couple never learned to like him. They did OK with him in pasture, but I had to be very careful that he did not come into a stall/paddock with a horse who disliked him, as they would kick at him. In pasture, they would not kick. Hope that helps.

    Try your horse alone. He might do just fine!



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb. 5, 2008
    Location
    Upstate NY
    Posts
    2,142

    Default I bought a Holstein steer as a companion...

    Quote Originally Posted by Qtina View Post
    Hi All,

    I am really getting tired of boarding and am trying to move into the country and just take care of my own horse.

    I don't want him to be alone, but am not sure I want to have 2 horses and was just wondering what some other options are that have worked well for other people.

    I have considered a pony, a mini, sheep, goats, etc. But would like to hear of experiences that people have had before deciding which is the best way to go.

    Thanks
    Consider rescuing a steer that would otherwise go for veal...I did and Mootallica was the best turn out buddy for my horses...he didn't run, buck, kick or do anything other then just hang out. He cost $80.00 to buy and it was well spent. I had him 11 yrs and sadly he passed away last spring...



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct. 14, 2004
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    9,068

    Default Llama?

    If we eventually get our horse property, I'd like to get a Llama. They are supposed to make good guardian animals, plus I think with two horses, they may tend to get herd bound. I know mine would.
    MnToBe Twinkle Star: "Twinkie"
    http://i236.photobucket.com/albums/f...wo/009_17A.jpg

    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug. 8, 2006
    Location
    In limbo: St.Louis or NC
    Posts
    459

    Default

    Sheep are kinda iffy-my old guy HATES any other animal except his younger cohort and thats probably because he knows he's stuck with him, so of course he hates the sheep. And obviously, if you do get sheep then buy ewes or whethers(like geldings) and not a ram. Sheep are sweet and FUN though.

    I vote for a donkey, horse/pony, or a goat. My donk is a hoot and cheap in terms of feed and very sound/never gets sick.
    Slave at the insane aslyum known as Hillyard Farms....



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb. 16, 2006
    Posts
    718

    Default

    I vote for a pony!

    There are so many ponys that are ending up at auctions. I heard at a local auction they were going for $20.00. Ponies live on air so he really wouldn't eat much more then a goat.

    We have always had our barn within 100 feet of the house. This way the horses feel like a real part of the family. Coolest thing I saw when the kids were little horses out chasing bubbles. I wish I had a video camera - but it is etched in my brain forever. My horses are involved in every BBQ and every time we let a dog outside or a cat lazes around the patio. It helps them alot to know they are not alone.
    The View from Here



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Nov. 30, 2008
    Location
    Washington
    Posts
    333

    Default

    I have a standard donkey with my horse. I didn't mean to get a donkey but I couldn't leave him at that awful home. My horse was alone for 11 years and I am so glad I got him a buddy, not only do they play like crazy but the donkey is smart and brings my dingy horse in out of the rain. Dang horse would go into a trance when the weather was bad and just stand there. Now I can just leave the stall open 24/7 and they stay in when it is bad.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar. 9, 2006
    Posts
    201

    Default

    We bought a companion Llama for my mare. It has worked out well for us. He has been around horses all his life, and I think he thinks he is one! He is gentle and low maintenance. (very little feed and very clean in the stall) Easier than a goat because regular fencing works. They have bonded closely so that I do still have separation issues, but it is more manageable since they can not call to each other. The woman I bought him from did say that she would ordinarily recommend buying two because they are social herd animals, but because this one had been around horses more than other Llamas he never learned Llama etiquette and was actually bullied by the other Llamas. So it was a good move for him as well. Before him I had two mares at home, and it was a total nightmare! Even just trying to lead one at a time to and from the paddock was nerve wracking. Good luck!



  20. #20
    Join Date
    May. 20, 2008
    Posts
    1,568

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Qtina View Post
    Hi All,

    I am really getting tired of boarding and am trying to move into the country and just take care of my own horse.

    I don't want him to be alone, but am not sure I want to have 2 horses and was just wondering what some other options are that have worked well for other people.

    I have considered a pony, a mini, sheep, goats, etc. But would like to hear of experiences that people have had before deciding which is the best way to go.

    Thanks
    Been there, done that. Ended up with another horse anyway!



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