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For those who have mixed herds...it worked!

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  • For those who have mixed herds...it worked!

    How did you do it???

    I really want to "mix" my herd but I'm worried about the ramifications. I have 2 geldings (11 & 9) and my filly. They've been in the same field with electric tape separating them for 2 months now and there hasn't been any issues.

    The electric is on step in posts which are really obnoxious and in the strong storms we've been having aren't holding up well. My 2 choices right now are to put in real T-Posts (with caps don't worry!) so she can stay in her own paddock or let them mix.

    Any thoughts?
    Last edited by Meredith Clark; Oct. 2, 2010, 06:31 PM.
    http://www.clarkdesigngrouparchitects.com/index.html - Lets build your dream barn

  • #2
    I've mixed mine for years without any issues. The geldings may both try for a day to make her 'their' mare, but she'll pick a favorite and then all 3 will happily settle into a typical little herd. Most of the real problems I've seen is when you try to introduce a new mare or gelding in with a mare/gelding pair that's been together for a while.

    Mine never had a clear pecking order. Mare was dominant over the dominant gelding, but the less dominant gelding was dominant over the mare.
    Lowly Farm Hand with Delusions of Barn Biddieom.
    Witherun Farm


    • #3
      I've never purposely separated horses by gender, but have often had just mares because that's the way things have worked out for me. But when I do have a mixed group, it's always worked itself out depending much more on the temperaments of the individuals than on their genders. Yes, there is a certain amount of, ummm, gender-specific behavior from time to time, but I sort of think that's part of letting them be horses.

      I think lots of turnout helps (mine are out 24/7) in keeping the high-drama shenanigans to a minimum. That and having an ultra-vigilant, bitchy boss mare who happens to have an "iron fist in a velvet glove" philosophy on herd dynamics. Everyone falls all over themselves to please her, but she asserts herself extremely non-violently. Just pulls those mare faces and the whole herd falls in line, boys and girls alike.
      Last edited by deltawave; Sep. 27, 2010, 08:26 AM.
      Click here before you buy.


      • #4
        I have two mares and two geldings.

        Once in a while there are problems between the two geldings.

        But most of the time they are fine.

        chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).


        • Original Poster

          That gives me confidence! My horses are out 24/7 so I'm hoping they can easily adjust to not having plastic tape between them. Just not sure how I want to go about doing it
          http://www.clarkdesigngrouparchitects.com/index.html - Lets build your dream barn


          • #6
            My gelding is out with two mares. We introduced them slowly and they have been fine.

            In the past I had him out with my other gelding.

            If I had to introduce another gelding into the herd at this point it might be a bit tricky as my boy thinks those mares are now his.
            Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
            EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.


            • #7
              My paddocks are split up by personality and dietary needs (I have some serious pigs). I currently have 5 mixed groups, 4 single-gender groups. And that's purely by accident, not any other reason other than, that's the way its worked out. *shrug* I've been pretty lucky, the horses we have are pretty mellow, and I can pretty easily swap my groups around as needed, and most of them get along pretty well. In your situation, what I might be tempted is to turn the filly out with the more alpha gelding, then add the other gelding. Since they've already gotten to be friends over the fence, hopefully it's a smooth transition.
              Different Times Equestrian Ventures at Hidden Spring Ranch


              • #8
                I have a mare and two geldings out together. I have no issues, Bean thinks she is his girl... but only if I take her out. Otherwise she is one of the guys. Each of my horses is very easy going in the pasture which is why I think it works well. I think putting out horses according to personality is more important than seperating by sex.

                As far as introducing them to being together, I would put them out together when you are there until there are no theatrics. I would do at least a few days to be sure.


                • #9
                  My mare joined a little herd of a gelding and 2 other mares a few weeks ago. Previously she was in a small paddock adjoining theirs, so she wasn't a total stranger.
                  She got 2 little bite abrasions on her butt the first days while they were working out their new hierarchy, and since then everything's fine.

                  Previously she was in a little herd of only mares, and prior to that a big (40+) mixed herd. I don't think the sex of the horses made any difference in any of the cases.
                  Proud Member Of The Lady Mafia


                  • #10
                    My filly was out with 2 geldings and 3 mares. No issues. Move to a different barn she goes out with a another filly. They will be going out on a 20 acres: I think four mares and 1 gelding. The mare rules the roost


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Meredith Clark View Post
                      That gives me confidence! My horses are out 24/7 so I'm hoping they can easily adjust to not having plastic tape between them. Just not sure how I want to go about doing it
                      Start by turning her out with just one gelding. Til they are both relaxed

                      Then turn her out with just the other gelding.

                      Then finally all three together.

                      chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).


                      • #12
                        If any horses don't get along in our herd, they get along down the road....after proper introductions, of course.


                        • Original Poster

                          Originally posted by Janet View Post
                          Start by turning her out with just one gelding. Til they are both relaxed

                          Then turn her out with just the other gelding.

                          Then finally all three together.
                          That's what I was thinking. Gram is a bit more studdish (he was cut years ago but probably fairly late considering he was racing well) but he is lower on the totem pole than Jay. I think Jay will be fine, he was turned out with a mare I had years ago, I'm just worried about how the dynamic between the boys will change with Barbie being introduced.
                          http://www.clarkdesigngrouparchitects.com/index.html - Lets build your dream barn


                          • #14
                            I noticed most people have 'mixed herds' as in more than one of each OR one gelding and more than one mare.

                            Does it work less so with one mare and several geldings?


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Meredith Clark View Post
                              That's what I was thinking. Gram is a bit more studdish (he was cut years ago but probably fairly late considering he was racing well) but he is lower on the totem pole than Jay. I think Jay will be fine, he was turned out with a mare I had years ago, I'm just worried about how the dynamic between the boys will change with Barbie being introduced.
                              I have a very studdish gelding. When I introduced him to my herd of 2 mares, he was of course in heaven. He was the man. One of the mares left so he was "it" for about 3 months. Then I introduced my pony gelding . I waited for about a good month of rotating everyone together before I turned them out all together. OMG! Everyone said the geldings would eventually get along, but neither wanted to be the lesser of the 2 boys. So now poor Studly goes out in his own field and when the other 2 are up, he can be in the paddock around the barn so he can have more companion time around them. He loves being around others and even loves to be around pony boy, but when the mare gets near Studly watch out pony boy! Pony boy doesn't like to give up so it is a never ending cycle if I turn either of them out with Studly. Didn't work for me and I tried :-(


                              • #16
                                I've had mine in mixed herds forever. I much prefer horses in herds and won't keep them in ones unless there's a pressing health requirement.

                                I've got them now with one mare and several geldings (2 herds) and I've had them that way in the past. Frequently.

                                You'll find most likely that she'll rule the roost and the boys will settle down once they've decided which is going to be her number one.

                                Personally speaking I'd not recommend that you turn her with one first. That way you've still just got one sitting in the wings. Just ensure that they're not crowded for space. That you're not having them jostling over feed and don't panic. Left to their own devices they ordinarily sort things out and live very amicably. They often do a lot of squealing and running around and high jinx but they soon settle providing you don't go interfering and panicing too much.

                                Though I'm thinking if you've already got them separated just by electric fencing then I'm not thinking you'll have much of a problem at all when you just remove it.

                                Like you I also use electric tape on easily moved step in posts to separate mine. Albeit I'm usually separating "herds" in a huge field and using it as a means to strip graze and control feed.

                                I'm on a hill that is possibly the windiest place in the world and it's not unusual for tape (or trees!!!) to get blown down. It's also not unusual for a greedy pony or cob to just barge through from one side to another or for a sports horse to pop over to visit friends. Particularly so with a couple of very tarty mares I have. When they're in season they go visiting and peeing on everything in the spot! So it's not unusual for me to find the herds not as I intended them to be.

                                I've never had a problem and because they all know each other very well over the electric tape anyway.

                                So you can see what I mean:

                                This is a colt meeting a stallion and a gelding:

                                Me attempting to get them back in the herds they should be after the fence blew down or got barged through! :


                                • #17
                                  *sigh* Thomas, every time you post pictures I just DROOL. Might be the windiest place on earth, but is also heart-stoppingly GORGEOUS.
                                  Click here before you buy.


                                  • #18
                                    I turn my horses out based on the individual rather than gender and I have had mixed and single gender groups, but it's been on the horses involved not gender. Never had any problems.
                                    Check us out on Facebook at EVER AFTER FARM


                                    • #19
                                      Mine are all out together...I had one mare with 6 geldings and now I have two mares with two geldings. Never had any issues.

                                      Like Trevelyan said, you may get some shenanegans in the beginning, but after a few days they should be getting along fine.

                                      Since they have been over the electric for sometime now, you should be ok just putting them in together.


                                      • #20
                                        depends on their personalities. My mixed bunch (three geldings, one mare, one gelded donkey)was fine and had been for a while until we bought Toppy. He doesn't warn another horse more than once. He spins and fires. He's nailed my mare more than once, and sadly she hasn't learned to give him a wide berth. So we have endured a threepeat seeing if she'd get the details sorted out. Nope.

                                        So I'm going from mixed to modifed mixed. Toppy will live with the donkey, Maggie and the other gelding will live together.