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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul. 21, 2006
    Location
    South Carolina
    Posts
    5,362

    Default *sigh* Is it time to look for a companion horse?

    The little paint pony is off at boarding school for at least the next month, and maybe the next two or three. My RI is bringing him back into work and then I'll have lessons on him. I don't plan to bring him home until both of us are supremely confident hacking out alone.

    So this leaves my old gentleman, a twenty-something retired STB/Clyde cross, all alone. He's been alone this week and is eating and pooing normally. He's a tad bit jumpy at times and a little more affectionate towards me, but other than that I haven't noticed anything odd going on.

    But horses being, y'know, herd animals, I just think it can't be good for him to spend so much time alone.

    Thing is, I'm the only rider on my farm. DH has less than no interest. I have one nephew who's eight and thinks he might want to ride but has never been near a horse so we really don't know. Same goes for the two little girls up the road. But I'm hesitant to get another retiree for fear of the vet bills that might follow. With one horse in training and on full board and another to look after at home, I'm on a tight budget. Plus, since I only have two stalls I'd have to build another before the little paint pony comes home from school.

    But once Quanah is home, he and I will be riding off at least three times a week, leaving Bram standing alone and bored and maybe feeling kind of old and useless.

    WWYD?
    I never rode a broke horse but then maybe I'm a sorry hand. - Ray Hunt

    Chase the trouble. - Buck Brannaman



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2007
    Location
    TX
    Posts
    51,479

    Default

    If he is not fretting, why not be glad that he is fine alone when he has to be, especially since it fits your management best?

    I don't believe all horses need company and have seen plenty that don't, are perfectly happy either way.
    Yours seem to be one.
    I have even seen a few horses that get grumpy with company and in a herd go off on their own, don't like to mingle.

    Alone is not always lonely, for people or horses.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul. 21, 2006
    Location
    South Carolina
    Posts
    5,362

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bluey View Post
    I don't believe all horses need company and have seen plenty that don't, are perfectly happy either way.
    Yours seem to be one.
    I have even seen a few horses that get grumpy with company and in a herd go off on their own, don't like to mingle.

    Alone is not always lonely, for people or horses.
    Very true. I, for one, get a little nuts if I don't have time to myself every day.

    But Brammie has always lived with other horses - at least he has for the four years I've owned him. He was in a large mixed herd at our last boarding barn, and with Quanah since we've moved home. He was somewhat distressed when Quanah left - calling and pacing - and still occasionally calls for him.

    I had to make Bram a dry lot back in the fall since he can't eat grass anymore. So he and a new horse would have a fence between them all the time, at least until I make my dry lot a little bigger. He and Quanah spend a lot of time gossiping over the fence or sleeping beside each other, though.

    Quanah is absolutely and obviously ecstatic to have multiple horse friends again at his boarding stable. He's always been my little social butterfly. So I'm also going to feel kind of sorry for him when he has to come back home to just one elderly companion again.

    But I am really less than thrilled at the idea of another horse. *sigh* Maybe I just haven't met the right one yet?
    I never rode a broke horse but then maybe I'm a sorry hand. - Ray Hunt

    Chase the trouble. - Buck Brannaman



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2007
    Location
    TX
    Posts
    51,479

    Default

    Oh, that may change things.
    I had understood that your lone horse was cool as a cucumber alone, not that he was still looking for company.

    For us, horses do best with a minimum of three, so there generally are two left behind when we need to do something with one in a hurry, like go get cattle back in.
    Two tend to buddy up too much, three generally don't quite so bad.

    Our horses are used to one go work and eventually coming back, so they don't fret, but if they are not used to that, one left behind pacing can get sick from worry.

    There are oodles of give away horses now and even more dirt cheap horses going thru sales.
    Surely you can find a companion that would be suitable, at little cost, if that is what you are needing?

    There are several rescues posting right here also, maybe one of them has a horse you could use?



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct. 18, 2000
    Posts
    22,498

    Default

    I take it a companion like a goat is not an option?



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep. 10, 2008
    Posts
    398

    Default

    Foster for a rescue...wouldn't be permanent, so if it works, great, if not, the horse is not there forever.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug. 14, 2000
    Location
    Rochester,NY,USA
    Posts
    8,258

    Default

    Offer free board to the right retiree (no riding though). That way you aren't stuck with vet and farrier bills. All you're out is some hay, grain and bedding and a little extra time. Also, you probably won't need any additional insurance, like Care Custody and Control, because you aren't charging board. You said you dry lot your guy, so see if you can find a nice fat Morgan or QH or Arab that is a super easy keeper. I've had 2 Morgans and an Arab on my farm and they couldn't be turned out on lush grass or they would have foundered for sure.
    Sue
    Sometimes you have to burn a few bridges to keep the crazies from following you!



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug. 30, 2007
    Location
    Illinois, USA
    Posts
    8,374

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JSwan View Post
    I take it a companion like a goat is not an option?
    That's what I was thinking.
    Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep. 27, 2006
    Location
    kentucky
    Posts
    459

    Default

    You could foster (great idea!) or take in a free lease until your pony comes home. The free retirement board is a great idea, too.
    Lots of good ideas here!



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul. 21, 2006
    Location
    South Carolina
    Posts
    5,362

    Default

    Actually, I was thinking of getting either a small flock of sheep or some goats (*shudders*) to help keep the pasture grass down. Now that Bram can't eat grass, I just have one tubby pony eating six acres of grass. Which is why he had to go back to work.

    Anyways, I just have three strands of electric rope up right now, which wouldn't keep in sheep or goats. But with the money I'd save not getting another horse, I could afford to put no-climb on the outside of the electric rope to discourage ovine escapes.

    And oh, boy, would I be popular with the border collies if they had their very own sheep. We stopped working when gas got so high because we had to travel two hours to the nearest dog-broke flock.

    Since Bram doesn't seem to be pining away for equine companions, just a tad nervous at being the only herbivore standing out on a flat plain, maybe some sheepies would do it for him.

    I like the idea of fostering for a rescue as well, although we don't have one in my area. I believe the closest is PEARL, in Upstate SC, or maybe Red Dog Farm in NC. Or boarding a retiree. Either way, I'm not stuck with big vet bills should something happen.

    Y'all are a fount of inspiration as usual.
    I never rode a broke horse but then maybe I'm a sorry hand. - Ray Hunt

    Chase the trouble. - Buck Brannaman



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2007
    Location
    TX
    Posts
    51,479

    Default

    If you want stock you can train the border collies on, how about getting some hair sheep, Katahdin?
    Three would be enough, if you work the dogs singles and they would keep the horse entertained by just being around.
    Those don't need much fenced room and are not the escape artist other goats or sheep can be and last forever as training stock, don't get sour.
    Just get your steel toed boots, as they really are hard on your toes and knees and will try to run over you if the dog gets too strong.

    Those could make a good companion, if not directly by interacting with your horse, just to have something around to watch.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul. 21, 2006
    Location
    South Carolina
    Posts
    5,362

    Default

    Oh, yes, I've been run over by plenty of Katahdin in my time. Personally I like being run over by Cheviots the best, because they have that springy hair that acts as a cushion. Of course you have to shear them. Barbados blackbelly are my least favorite - no cushion at all and unlike the Katahdin they're also kind of boney. I cannot imagine what the cattle dog people do - seems like being run over by five steers would really smart.

    But I've just had a brainwave - what about a mini? Bram has to be on a dry lot anyway, so I wouldn't have to worry about the little thing getting fat (as they're apt to do). And they're small so either it could share Bram's stall (12x12, and Bram's only 15hh and not a moose) or if they didn't like sharing then I could run an extension down off the roof line on my barn to make a sort of porch for shelter. What do y'all think of that? Always seems to be plenty of mini's looking for homes.
    I never rode a broke horse but then maybe I'm a sorry hand. - Ray Hunt

    Chase the trouble. - Buck Brannaman



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr. 5, 2009
    Location
    Missouri
    Posts
    136

    Default

    Mini's can be escape artists too, so another strand of electric might be needed. They certainly don't eat much.
    Get a healthy one so you don't have a ton of vet bills.
    They are very cute and lots of fun.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec. 12, 2005
    Location
    Myrtle Beach, SC
    Posts
    3,122

    Default

    what about the RI teaching you and the boys to pony... that way Both Boys get some exercise...
    If i'm posting on Coth, it's either raining so I can't ride or it's night time and I can't sleep.



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