Having some concern over my horse's turnout situation at my barn and curious of thoughts from others. Here's the deal, my horse is a very active alpha who like to be the top guy on the totem pole, but is never mean and has never left a mark on another horse. He happens to be in a herd now with a very mean alpha that he basically brawled through to reach the top. It's been months, and in the last 8 weeks my horse has received two injuries that prompted vet calls, the most recent quite scary. The big issue is that the boarding facility is choosing not to address the problem as they have limited turnout resources. Thoughts? Would you leave your horse in the situation? Thanks!
This happened with my pony at my last boarding facility, although she is the super super LOW man on the pole. I addressed my concerns w/my BO and she wanted to give it more "time."
So I parked my butt down there in the paddock and watched for several hours and didn't like what I was seeing, and so I insisted my pony have a single paddock, which is what happened.
I like group turnout, but even now that my pony is home and we have two horses, my pony and my husband's horse (both mares) do not get along and they have a lane in their huge paddock separating them. They stand at the fenceline together, and their sheds have a simple divider in them. I see no problem with this and it's one less injury - peer induced - for me to worry about.
If it was my horse, I would get him out of there immediately. Two vet calls due to fighting? That is scary, and you said the last injury was significant. They may eventually work it out, but what permanent damage might be done to your horse by the time they do that?
The BO should have done something way before the vet had to be called the first time! That is what BO's do! They make sure horse and home is happy for all. I would tell BO that you want your horse out with other horses (if possible) or take the Alpha out of the herd and let him find another place to turn out.
Have you spoken up about it? Mine was getting chased around by his pasture buddy constantly, and he's recovering from a torn suspensory, so not good to be running and leaping from one pasture buddy who chases and bites him. Barn owner had already thought of trying him with someone else before I did.
Ask if yours can be moved because you're concerned about all of his injuries and think you've "given it enough time" - if BO says no, weigh the costs and benefits of moving.
"And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse..." ~Revelation 19:11
On the flip side of the coin, I have had horses that caused the issues themselves. They pester other horses until, finally the other horse has had enough and kicks or bites them. Horses will be horses, if I have a REALLY dominant one I move it around trying to find a situation that works for it, but usually they sort it out without any true harm Sometimes, in spite of having a fairly good "herd" someone gets hurt, it happens. But if it worries you or you feel that your horse won't adjust then move him if the BO has no other options for him. Also are their mares in the mix? that is USUALLY the major cause of these things and why I separate mares and geldings in turnout
Thanks for all the suggestions and insight, I really appreciate it and it certainly helps to sort through whether or not I'm overreacting. As my horse has never had the issue before, it just seems like the herd is not working out, and my horse for sure isn't as he's the only one coming in with injuries prompting vet calls. And, since the BO has maintained there isn't a problem, I suppose I need to sort through my options. Thanks again!
As my horse has never had the issue before, it just seems like the herd is not working out, and my horse for sure isn't as he's the only one coming in with injuries prompting vet calls. And, since the BO has maintained there isn't a problem, I suppose I need to sort through my options. Thanks again!
Well, if your horse is the only one coming in with injuries, I agree with the BO that there isn't a problem with the actual herd, just with your horse being in the herd. So, if they have no other turnout to offer you, you may have to move. Good luck!
Shawnee, funny you should say that. I have one gelding who is the annoying instigator. He has gotten better over the years but used to just stand in their bubble until they couldn't take it. Unfortunately, he has a mean bite scar at the base of his neck from this.
And my mare likes to start battles she can't finish either. She isn't nearly as bad though, mainly pinned ears and a kick to the air or two.
Properly managed though, neither of these two generally come in with issues. The gelding is out with my older, very patient retiree and the mare hasn't come in without anything beyond your average scrape.
Two vet calls would have me moving my horse if nothing would be done about it. Kids will be kids but there comes a point where enough is enough.