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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar. 14, 2007
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    Default spinoff: 'Companion for the Companion' problem

    While I've read all the pros and cons for: minis, mini donks, sheep, goats, shetlands, etc, etc....

    The one question I'd really (!!) be interested in feedback on:

    Is there any(?) small barnyard 'companion' animal that can be ok 'alone' and not need a third companion for those times when horse is away?

    I know its always better to 'get two'...but thats just not in the cards. Are there any posters out there who can share their experiences with a companion who is perfectly happy, healthy and A-O-K when left alone?
    I just don't know if there is? such a thing. I WONT keep a companion 'alone' if that animal would be miserable.

    I've posted of the situation: one gelding, boarded here with me, but 'Farmette' is now finished for frequent, extended visits (for now) at mom's house. Eventually, will retire there, and it will be permanent. But now, when I haul there, gelding is very stressful without a companion.

    In all the discussions on the best 'companion' set up, I'm still looking for experiences with a SINGLE companion who has worked out just fine when alone?

    TIA!
    ayrabz
    "Indecision may or may not be my problem"
    --Jimmy Buffett



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb. 6, 2003
    Location
    NorthEast
    Posts
    24,720

    Default

    Maybe try a wether? Male goats might do better alone than a nanny, and a wether doesn't smell to high heaven like a billy does.
    Goats aren't always easy to keep fenced though, good tight fencing is kinda necessary for the ones that like to wander.
    Mini horses and donks...like big horses and donks some do fine alone but many won't. It can be hit or miss finding one that doesn't mind being alone. The trick is to look for ones already kept solo or else ask the owner if it's ever alone and does fine that way. And make sure to ask if the animal that they have that is kept alone is being kept alone because it's nasty around other animals. (gotta be careful of those)
    Or how about one of those mini cattle?
    Can you ask around near where you board or near where your parents are if anyone has a compnion type animal you can borrow free or even pay a small fee for a short term lease that you can pick up when you haul there and then drop off when you haul back? That way the companion doesn't have to be alone. Maybe try asking at a local feed store? Or putting a notice up in local feed and tack stores?
    Companions...always fun with herd animals. The two horses I have right now are both companions. My gelding Petey I bought to keep my mare Gal company because she was a basket case alone and needed a certain type temperament horse with her due to also being a major alpha. Was thrilled to find a horse that matched perfectly and was young, safe, sane and sound too. So he's a western horse and I don't ride western really, no big deal because he was the perfect match. Then we lost Gal...Petey was alone for a while and doing okay but then I felt bad he was alone. Looked for quite some time for the perfect next horse for myself...couldn't find a darned thing and ended up getting him a companion from ac4h. Another great young horse...also safe sane and sound. A-n-d also western. But he needed a home, I needed a companion for Petey and the price was right. Voila, that's how we got Sonny.
    So now I have two companions and still working on keeping them from getting herd bound so I don't need a third companion's companion, LOL!
    Good luck!
    You jump in the saddle,
    Hold onto the bridle!
    Jump in the line!
    ...Belefonte



  3. #3
    Join Date
    May. 9, 2008
    Posts
    2,887

    Default

    Dumplin' was actually fine alone. He had been bullied by being kept with the big horses most his life and had to fight for everything he got so to be alone and be spoiled by us was a-ok for him. So like MistyBlue said, you might find a critter that might enjoy having a break here and there.

    Oh my gosh those miniature cows are cute!
    I Loff My Quarter Horse & I love Fenway Bartholomule cliques

    Just somebody with a positive outlook on life...go ahead...hate me for that.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug. 2, 2000
    Location
    Chesterland, OH USA
    Posts
    2,776

    Default

    My Hector donkey is fine alone. I regularly take my other two off to ride with my daughter and he seems almost relieved to have the place to himself.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    May. 21, 2008
    Location
    Sonoma County, California
    Posts
    2,525

    Default

    Friends of ours have a pair of Nubian goats that are companions to their single horse at home. When the horse travels, the goats still have each other. The goats cry out for the horse when he loads into the trailer!

    I also had a single nubian goat for many years. He was very handy, I'd put him in the barn next to a horse on layup, etc. Most horses were pretty happy to have him as a buddy, and he did OK on him own. I did feel guilty in winter that he didn't have a companion to snuggle with to keep warm, so we blanketed the goat.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar. 14, 2007
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    Default

    thanks guys.
    I DO wish I could find that perfect 'always kept alone before' mini who isn't 'show' quality, and would LOVE the job! )

    I'm just not ready to strap my mom with "real' horsekeeping...just so my guy can have a friend on visits! So, I keep investigating, reading, learning, all I can to help me when the right time comes to get a little friend who can live at the farmette.

    But you're RIGHT Misty Blue, it would be great if I could just borrow a friend to bring with me for the visits...or 'rent' one locally when there. HAHAHAHA....

    Problem with that, (even if I could manage such a thing) is that one of the best things about stalling over and visiting there is the State Park and the fab trails less than 2 miles from the driveway....So....I'd be worried about the 'babysitter' of a friend, when I would load up my guy and be gone for 3 hours or so on the trails!

    I HAVE taken my guy, and kept him 'alone' for 2-3 night stays, but I can tell its VERY hard on him. I've not had the heart to put him in the stalls 'alone', but have left him in the sacrifice area with run in. I'd prefer the 12 / 12 stalling/turnout, since the 'pasture' area there is small enough that it will require stalling half days.

    I just keep thinking about a lil' friend who might be tickled pink to be the 'sole renter' of the spot, with lots of attention and human love....but then when my guy comes to visit, would be ok with that too!

    I'll keep investigating! (and thanks for the help)...
    ayrabz
    "Indecision may or may not be my problem"
    --Jimmy Buffett



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov. 1, 2005
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    The Prairie
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    Default

    The companion to the companion thing...

    A friend (who shall remain nameless but she will probably read it and figure out who I am talking about ) got a free giveaway pony to keep her solitary horse company. Horse goes to trainer's barn, she feels sorry for the pony so she got a goat to keep the pony company. Pony wanted nothing to do with the goat. Feeling sorry for the goat she got goat #2 to keep goat #1 company.

    These things can kind of snowball...
    I love cooking with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun. 22, 2006
    Location
    SF Bay Area, CA
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    1,811

    Default Small Herd Dynamics

    Quote Originally Posted by Mozart View Post
    The companion to the companion thing...

    A friend (who shall remain nameless but she will probably read it and figure out who I am talking about ) got a free giveaway pony to keep her solitary horse company. Horse goes to trainer's barn, she feels sorry for the pony so she got a goat to keep the pony company. Pony wanted nothing to do with the goat. Feeling sorry for the goat she got goat #2 to keep goat #1 company.

    These things can kind of snowball...
    This is hilarious!!!! Yep - we went through the same thing when we bought our ranch and brought the horses home. We have 3 horses but 2 would always be gone at the same time for events, riding, etc. So we got a small Shetland that would keep that horse company.

    It's tough with your numbers. You may need to get two little companions, seriously Small equids don't eat much or poo much and they bond way better w/ thier own kind.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Equine & Pet Portrait Artist
    www.elainehickman.com
    **Morgans Do It All**



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr. 6, 2004
    Location
    Elkton
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    4,464

    Default

    siiiiigh!

    I'm living this right now

    I have 2 horses: Jay and Juice.

    Jay is 10 but is retired for physical and mental reasons. He's a very stressed horse and can not be alone. It's not a matter of screaming or pacing the fence, he will seriously hurt himself. Run himself into a tissy or run through the fence. It's just not worth trying to "teach him to deal" at this age and after all the b/s he's been through.

    He's obviously fine with Juice but Juice is my competition horse and there's been clinics and shows I've wanted to go to that I can't because Master Jay can't be alone.

    So... my sister gets a horse so now we have a friend for Jay.

    But obviously when I take Juice to fun shows and clinics... sister wants to come and then Jay is alone again!

    I've had multiple people approach me about giving their kids riding lessons so I think if I can get a few solid commitments then I can justify buying a pony. Lessons would always be at my farm so Jay's pony would always been in sight.

    Now it's just finding the "right" pony... the LAST thing I need is another problem child or a crazy pony to aid in the crazy horse's insanity!



  10. #10
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    Feb. 6, 2003
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    NorthEast
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    Default

    Meredith...I know how that feels! When Gal was still alive she was always a major alpha who also had separation anxiety issues. She couldn't even have a fence between her and other animals, they had to be in with her or she'd plow through the fence.
    Then she developd a serious serious heart condition. The gelding we had as her companion also went through a health crises around the same time, but he came through it fine. (stones followed by colitis) Afterwards the gelding and mare did NOT get along at all. Major personality changes for both. Since Gal couldn't be constantly edgy due to her heart, we rehomed the gelding and thankfullly I found Petey who was perfect with her. By then she was so uptight and her heart was so bad that I didn't risk riding Petey unless it was in the paddock with her, so basically just short pleasure rides to keep it safe. I had to stop really riding for quite some time because taking him outside the paddock even just to the other side of the fence made her run, scream and ram the fence. 10 minutes of that would have stopped her heart.
    I considered a third...but figured introducing a third with her health problems would probably make things worse so just left it as it was until she passed.
    It's tough when there's one with issues.
    You jump in the saddle,
    Hold onto the bridle!
    Jump in the line!
    ...Belefonte



  11. #11
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    Apr. 6, 2004
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    Elkton
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MistyBlue View Post
    It's tough when there's one with issues.
    I'm glad someone else has been through this. It's hard to explain to my parents (not that they pay for the horses but there's always that judgmental look...) that I need a fourth horse now to keep the crazy one they don't even think should be here anymore from going more crazy.

    I thought about a donkey or mini but it'd be really nice if I could have something that might almost earn its keep!

    there was an old women who lived in a shoe, she had so many horses....



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug. 11, 2008
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    MD
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    3,862

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    I'm an evil horse mom. I make my guys tough it out alone while I take one or the other for lessons.
    Lowly Farm Hand with Delusions of Barn Biddieom.
    Witherun Farm
    http://witherun-farm.blogspot.com/



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul. 15, 2004
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    PNW
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    I'm also having this "2 horse" issue right now. Retired TB gelding has major separation anxiety issues. I am keeping my show horse at home right now as well, and have yet to haul him to the trainer for lessons because I'm afraid of how the TB will react. He screams like crazy when I even put the other horse in the cross ties (directy in front of TB's stall). Is there anything I can do (besides getting another animal) to make the situation less stressful for my old guy when I haul the younger horse to lessons in the next few weeks?Stress colic is the biggest thing that concerns me right now.....any suggestions?



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug. 2, 2000
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    Chesterland, OH USA
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Romo View Post
    I'm also having this "2 horse" issue right now. Retired TB gelding has major separation anxiety issues. I am keeping my show horse at home right now as well, and have yet to haul him to the trainer for lessons because I'm afraid of how the TB will react. He screams like crazy when I even put the other horse in the cross ties (directy in front of TB's stall). Is there anything I can do (besides getting another animal) to make the situation less stressful for my old guy when I haul the younger horse to lessons in the next few weeks?Stress colic is the biggest thing that concerns me right now.....any suggestions?
    Just reiterating my suggestion for a donkey. Easy keeping, cart pulling, fine in solitary, entertainment galore!



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul. 30, 2005
    Location
    England
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    Default

    Might not be an option, but what about fostering a horse/mini/other for a rescue?
    Horse Show Names Free name website with over 6200 names. Want to add? PM me!



  16. #16
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    Nov. 1, 2005
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    The Prairie
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Romo View Post
    I'm also having this "2 horse" issue right now. Retired TB gelding has major separation anxiety issues. I am keeping my show horse at home right now as well, and have yet to haul him to the trainer for lessons because I'm afraid of how the TB will react. He screams like crazy when I even put the other horse in the cross ties (directy in front of TB's stall). Is there anything I can do (besides getting another animal) to make the situation less stressful for my old guy when I haul the younger horse to lessons in the next few weeks?Stress colic is the biggest thing that concerns me right now.....any suggestions?
    Would it be possible to take him along and either keep him in a stall or a nearby pen while you lesson? Or will he scream his head off while you are lessoning?

    Or maybe leave him at home with a nice relaxing Ace cocktail?

    Also, you might want to have someone check on him after you have been gone for a while. One of mine used to kick up a fuss when he was left behind when others went trail riding. Had husband check on him 30 minutes after we had gone...he was quietly eating hay in his stall.
    I love cooking with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug. 7, 2005
    Location
    Georgia
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    2,543

    Default

    Two goats are less trouble than one goat. Goats do not like to be alone and a lonely goat will go to great lengths to go to find company which can lead to some walkabouts for the care taker searching for the absentee goatie.

    Before you decide on a goat or goats for your horse do make sure your horse appreciates goatie company. Not all do and some will kill a goat deader than a door nail. My mule would (r.i.p. John) and it took a few years before I could trust my appy mare with them. She ignores them now but for those years she had to be fenced separately from goats.
    You know why cowboys don't like Appaloosas?" - Answer: Because to train a horse, you have to be smarter than it is.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul. 15, 2004
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    PNW
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    Unfortunately hauling him along is not an option as I know he would scream his head off and probably still work himself into a frenzy. I may try the Ace, at least for the first time so I can see how he reacts. Or a little banamine as a preventative measure to avoid any colic issues - he has had history with stress colic before.

    People with goats - how do they do with wooden fencing? If I recall correctly from growing up with a few goats, they will eat anything in sight. Will this include our nice wooden fencing?

    PJ - good advice on the goat killing horse. I used to have one of those, but luckily he waited until after I sold him to kill a goat!



  19. #19
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    Mar. 14, 2007
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    in terms of ace: just be aware of your own gelding's reaction to it. The one and only (!!) time I tried ace for my guy (moved to a large fancy barn at a resort type place that set off HUGE fireworks for July 4) I had the dreaded 'drop' issue...scared the liver out of me(!!!) once I found out some can do this and sometimes its permanent! He retracted fully in about a week, but I'll NEVER chance it again on a gelding!
    ayrabz
    "Indecision may or may not be my problem"
    --Jimmy Buffett



  20. #20
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    May. 6, 2006
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    Warren County, NJ
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    It's complicated finding the right number of horses, isn't it. I've got 2 and they are inseparable fullstop. It used to bother me, now I accepted it, take one, take both.

    That being said, there are actually horses out there that don't care being alone and that don't mind you taking their friends away.
    For the many negatives my TB used to have, his big plus was that he was perfectly happy to be left alone. He had no issues us loading up his two mates driving off the farm and him being left alone stuck in his stall for the afternoon. The only thing he demanded was a giant haynet and a snack-a-bal.
    I wished the two I have now, had taken an example to him. Even all the horsey candy in the world, will not help them stay behind alone -sigh-.



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