Well, the gender thing is more necessary at boarding barns, I think, where there might be many new horses coming and going and it's simply safer to take that out of the equation. No one wants to discover a gelding who was previously meek with other geldings is actually studdish when put with mares. My older horse is an amazing, mellow guy in a herd of geldings but turns into a total freak if he is even stalled next to a mare. The last time I fell off him he ran straight back to the barn and tried to get *into* the stall with his (now ex) girlfriend.
But, there are many ways of managing horses and one of those will work very well for this or that situation, whereas as another might work better for a different situation. (foursocks, throwing oil on the waters)
You can take a line and say it isn't straight- but that won't change its shape. Jets to Brazil
My horses aren't kickers, but I wouldn't be surprised if they kicked when provoked. The 2 riding horses are shod all around, then there is the alpha broodmare and the weanling. My herd dynamics are fine and I don't have anyone with bite marks on them.
I'm in the group of having good herd dynamics and not so much worried about what's on their feet. A well placed kick can do serious damage regardless of there being shoes on or not.
The worst kick I've seen was at feeding time with Unshod horses that had been living together for awhile. One horse kicked a pregnant mare in the knee, dead on, broke the leg instantly and said mare (and unborn foal) had to be euthanized immediately. Stuff happens, we try to minimize risk when we can...
I have never understood strict gender-based turnout -- do those barns also consider personality?
My gelding can't go out with mares. He falls in LOVE. When I take him away from his girlfriend he screams constantly for her. He also won't let her on the portion of the field closest to the other geldings and would herd her away. She was "his". He would never mount a mare but was just possessive. He has done this at two farms with various mares. Just not worth it.
Current BO does not turn out mixed herds as a general rule. She did turn out the 36 year old OTTB with a paint mare. But he was slowing down at that point in his life. She also has 2 jennies that go out with her 2 year old gelding but I don't think she counts them as mares. They are mini donks.
Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)
I would never turn out horses together that had hind shoes on. Mine got kicked in the shoulder and the vet said if it had been 1 inch higher, he would have been crippled. This was THROUGH his blanket! Yes, a bare foot can do damage, but a shod foot can do a lot more!
Teh worst injury I've heard of wasa friend's mare who got kicked in the hock by another mare who was barefoot. The hock shattered. These mares had been out together on a 3 acre pasture for more than 2 years without issue but horses will be horses. Doubt the injury could have been more severe had the mare been shod.
Cloudy was once kicked on the hock by an unshod 2 yr old filly who had been bullied by numerous horses, excluding Cloudy and Callie, in a herd. He was standing with a friend and me when the filly came over and wheeled around and nailed him with a big clunk on his hock but he was OK, and walked it off. Cloudy and Callie boarded at barns with private turnout, turnout together, and turnout with some of the meanest horses I've ever seen in a herd of over 20 horses. Fortunately for both of them, each of them partnered up with a horse of the opposite sex who was meaner than the mean ones. So both of mine were protected most of the time. Both of mine wore hind shoes, but they were not kickers.
Cloudy and Hattie both wear hind shoes. Once I saw Hattie take her hoof and place it in the center of Cloudy's chest and push him away as he picked on her. Gently. I never would have boarded Cloudy and Callie at any barn where the herds were segregated by sex, since each of my horses always paired up with the opposite sex. Callie without having sex, she'd had 6 foals when she got off the track and she wasn't in the mood to have more,, and Cloudy with, well, he's had a lot of sex with alpha mares. When Hattie selected Cloudy to be her guy, after rejected geldings and her owner's stud for 9 years, they've been together now for almost 6 yrs, about 4 of those years with other horses. Neither ever kicked anyone. Both wear hind shoes.
I don't turn my horse out with horses that have hind shoes. I am at a pleasure barn now, and there are only a few (three) with hind shoes so it is not much of an issue.
I understand the logic that the metal wouldn't make a big difference, but so far (last year or so) at our barn we have only had one turn out injury - fully shod horse kicked another in the stifle area - receiver of the kick is now retired due to his injuries.
And I leased a horse once - that was kicked in the shoulder by a shod horse, caused major nerve damage and a long rehab.
Another horse at my old barn received a terrible kick was was put down due to a broken femur - again, a shod horse.
So, while while a sample size of three isn't exactly scientific, I have seen a number of non shod kicks that did not result in injury - so I choose to not turn my horse out with any one with hind shoes.
How many of you have horses with hind shoes that get turned out with other horses? Or have a horse that is turned out with others that have hind shoes?
My older gelding wears hind shoes but is turned out with a younger horse that does not have hind shoes. I don't worry about my gelding kicking because he isn't a kicker. In 10 years I have never seen him kick out at another horse in a malicious way, he prefers to charge and these days he rarely charges lol. Him and his pasture mate are both pretty docile. Before the young gelding he lived with an 40+ year old barefoot mare and neither horse ever suffered any sort of pasture injury. They were attached at the hip practically. I agree with the person that says compatibility is key when turning out horses together.
I am very picky about what horses I turn my horse out with.
I have a youngster that needs hind shoes for the foreseeable future and he is regularly turned out with my old retired guy. They are buddies, but the youngster is regularly running circles around the old guy. I'm pretty sure all my horses have been turned out with others with hind shoes and it's never been a problem, but now that I'm in control (I keep them at home), I'm giving pause. Thoughts, experiences with a horse that was kicked in a pasture by another with hind shoes?
As long as they have proven to get along very well I wouldn't worry about it. I worry alot more about shoes & injuries in big group turnout.
About 8 years ago my gelding was turned out with 4 other rambunctious geldings and suffered a kick to the stifle area from a horse that was not only shod behind but also had good sized ICE STUDS!! A 2 inch wide, 1 inch deep hole was left as a result that took quite awhile to heal and the vet that treated him said it was a matter of 1 inch further over that could have been a career ending injury. He healed from the kick but still to this day has minor scar tissue build up in that area. After that incident I decided I would no longer board my horse at a place where he would be turned out with more than 1 or 2 quiet, compatible horses. The last barn he was at he was turned out alone because there was not a suitable group.
I've always boarded at places that do group turnout and don't really pay attention to whether there are hind shoes on any of the horses. Really shouldn't be a huge issue if the horses are well-matched.
At a boarding barn where horses come and go in a larger herd (especially if it is mixed geldings & mares) it is unlikely that every single horse in that herd is going to be well matched. My barn has two big turnout fields with groups of 6-8 horses. Every single time there is a change in one of those herds there is alot of herd dynamics that happen and the risk for potential injury. I can definitely see why people would be concerned. The only way my horse would be turned out in those groups would be if he was 100% retired from riding.
And if the horse is worth that much that you are worried about it, I would probably do semi-private turnout with a little pony or submissive oldster.
It is not always a matter of how much a horse is worth financially. My horse is worth alot to me because I board and I can only afford one horse. If something happens to him I can't ride and have to retire him. Not to mention he is a wonderful match for me that would be hard for me to replace even if I had a substantial budget. If he were to be retired due to a kick in the pasture from another horse I would be devastated. Crap happens with horses and injuries are not always avoidable. However, some injuries can be avoided and I do my best to limit risk.
One of our mares had to get a chunk of her splint bone removed after it was shattered by a kick from an unshod 15.2 mare. Horses are powerful and if a hoof comes into contact with a leg or face it rarely ends well regardless of whether or not they are shod.
A horse of my friends' was turned out with a hind shod horse. Group had always gotten along well together, He got kicked in the forearm which SHATTERED the humerus. Nothing could be done for him. I had been showing him all summer and them had to hold him for the vet one last time
We should submit the question to Mythbusters over whether or not the force is more with the shoe, etc.
Anyway, I would worry more about the size of the turnout than the shoe, gender, etc issues. I've never had any problems with kicking horses but I wouldn't turn horses out together in small spaces. It also seems to me like there are more problems when horses spend part of their time in the barn and then they get turned out with friends than horses who live out together 24/7
“While the rest of the species is descended from apes, redheads are descended from cats.” Mark Twain
We should submit the question to Mythbusters over whether or not the force is more with the shoe, etc.
Well do we have any physicists around here?
Force = mass X acceleration. Assuming a kick from a shod horse vs. an unshod horse is the same (e.g. acceleration), a shoe would add more mass, therefore more force. The question is how much more and would it make a difference. I couldn't even guess at the acceleration of a horse kick to be able to do those calculations.
Most kick injuries (to bones) are obviously shear, meaning perpendicular to the long axis of a bone. Bone is worst at resisting shear forces, and the max strength limit is about 52MPa (~7500psi). In contrast, bone is best at resisting compressive forces (e.g. putting weight on a leg) and that max strength is about 170MPa (24,600psi). Which is obviously a wide range. So does adding a shoe to a horse's hind limb really add that much more MPa/psi to a kick to do "more" damage? Or is it far more about the placement or location, and direction, of the kick?
ETA: I guess what we would need Mythbusters to find out is how close to the 52MPa a horse kick is to tell if putting a shoe on would routinely push it over that limit or if it is always routinely above that limit.
I have never understood strict gender-based turnout -- do those barns also consider personality? I've seen some nasty aggressive geldings and some meek mares, I just haven't found the gender turnout system to work for me. I do personalities. My current herd leader is a gelding and is a good, kind boss, mare is in the middle and a peach, lowest is a gelding and totally submissive. Peaceable kingdom here right now.
None of my current horses kick to hurt -- if anyone was to get hurt, it would be by accident/someone got in the way. They might kick out occasionally, but not in order to make contact. I also try not to have more than 2-3 horses in a field at a time. I find that really reduces accidents -- it is easier for them to be aware of where all the hooves in the field are at any given time. When I have 4 here, I tend to split them up 2 and 2. I shoe according to the needs of their hooves, not turnout arrangements.
I have always owned mares & geldings and everyone lives together. Some had shoes, some not. The only time I would be concerned is if you have horses that are known to pick on ( or at) certain ones. If kicking happens a lot then I would remove the disruptive one.