Advice for moving from individual to shared pasture turnout
My two geldings have been stabled and turned out next to each other for about a year and a half -- but always turned out in individual pastures. I'll be boarding at a new stable this summer and they will have more turnout if they can get along in one pasture together. So -- I want to see how they do together. Any advice on transitioning to shared turnout other than keeping an eye on them and seeing how it goes?
They're been turned out next to each other and can touch noses over the fence and such? They probably play halter tag over the fence and harass each other?
Then just put them out in the same field and see how they do. They'll likely be just fine and enjoy having more access to screw around
Yep. OP, I think you're over thinking it. It's not like you're putting one horse out into an established herd. Just chuck them out together and make sure no one gets killed.
I just tossed my recently-brought-home pony out in the gelding pasture, after he shared a fence line for two days. They'd already done their snorting and squealing over the fence so when I opened the gate and shooed him in, everyone barely looked up from their hay to say "Oh, hi."
I did have two pony geldings that were in pens side by side but couldn't touch. I figured that they would be fine turned out together since they were both mellow guys. I was wrong & my large pony was injured & off all show season plus some, by the time I got him back I had out grown him .
Whenever, I want to introduce horses to a herd or another individual I always set up a paddock that allows them to touch over the fence. They go out in that a minimum of a week & I always introduce one horse at a time never to the whole herd. I also always pick a bigger paddock/pasture so they can get away from each other if need be. For me I like leaving their leather halters on just in case I need to catch one until I'm comfortable (by no means would I ever jump into the middle of a horse fight. Example: if one was getting chased excessively). I have noticed that some horses take several short burst of turnouts together over several days to be okay with each other. I'm overly cautious but watching one pony almost break a leg was enough for me to learn a lesson that isn't worth repeating.
So if they have been turned out next to each other & have been able to touch than your probably fine. If not, I would start there by getting them use to each other over the fence.
Thanks to all for your responses. I may be over cautious -- but they're both athletic with shoes on all four and I am a bit nervous about putting them together. But on the other hand, I want to give it a try as they'll have twice the turnout time if they can get along. They are currently stabled next to each other with an open "grate" type barrier between them so they can touch noses in their stalls. So they'll probably be ok -- I'll start as jenbrin has suggested with short bursts of "togetherness" and leave their halters on and hope it goes well.
turn them out in the largest space you have available so they can get away from each other should one be agressive. leave the halters on and have a lunge whip handy in case you should need to break up a fight. but really they should be just fine!
I think it's interesting how horses bond when they go to new places together. I boarded at a farm where there were some trail riders... the horses who went on camping trips together were really a "clique" back at home... the cool guys club.
Anyway- I think it's possible that the transition may be easier for you because you are moving to a new place- when everything ELSE is brand new- that other familiar horse may be a big security blanket and they might be more inclined to buddy up than lash out at eachother. I'd be tempted to take them right off the trailer and turn them out together... maybe not in a giant pasture- but a smaller safer more secure pen.
Make sure the pasture is big enough so nobody gets cornered, and then... close your eyes and pretend to be deaf for the ensuing commotions... or try to enjoy their display of athleticism. Once they figure out who is boss they will settle. If each is dead set to be the boss, well, you are out of luck and you may have to separate them, but this is not common.