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integrating new member of very small "herd"

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  • integrating new member of very small "herd"

    I have two Morgans at home, Horse#1 and Horse#2, who are old (27 & 20) and have been BFFs for 15+ years. Horse#1 is a unilateral cryptorchid, and always bonds strongly with his buddies to the point of exhibiting strong stallion behavior (squealing, striking, kicking) towards other horses encroaching on his "mares", despite his advanced age. Horse#2 is a super sweet but super broken gelding who loves Horse#1 but really isn't herd bound. However, he cannot be out with other horses unless supervised because of his injury, though I sometimes make the exception with Horse#1 since he's so old. Horse#2 cannot get out of trouble fast enough if he's in such a situation.
    Horse#3, the one I'd like to move home and incorporate, is a big young dumb TB with absolutely no social skills. He lived in a big field for years with a large herd of other horses, but still lacks any sort of common sense, and appears to either A) have no recognition of what flattened ears/squeals mean or B) doesn't care. He's also 17h to Horse#1's and Horse#2's 14.1h.

    Horse#1 and Horse#2 are fine, Horse#1 and Horse#3 are fine, but Horse#1 wigs out when all 3 come together, or he is left out when the other two are together. Horse#2 and Horse#3 are fine together, but because of Horse#2's injury, I am very hesitant to leave him out with a big young idiot unattended who may hurt him further or push the old guy harder than he can go (e.g. running around like idiots).

    My set up is such that each horse has a stall (Horse#3 across the aisle from the other two), I have a small sacrifice lot attached to the barn, and a larger field attached to the sacrifice lot. Horse#1 can make kissy faces at whichever horse is in the sacrifice lot, since his stall wall borders the lot and does not extend to the ceiling.

    I feel my situation is like that riddle where you have the wolf, chicken, and corn, and have to get them across the river. Eventually, I'd like to have everyone turned out together to graze when I am home, but I don't know how to go about incorporating Horse#3 in a safe manner, especially for Horse#2 who may get caught in the middle of a fight between Horse#1 and Horse#3. I know eventually, Horse#1 will "accept" Horse#3 into his "herd", as he's done it with other horses before, but I'm just worried about the drama it's going to take to get there.

    Anyone have any suggestions as to how to ease everyone into this?

  • #2
    The combination of Morgans and TB is like mixing oil and water

    We have one 17h TB filly who is like yours, she has a nickname of Goofy as nothing seems to phase it and it just going about its way in its own pleasure.

    Unlike you, we have paddocks that have no direct contact from beast to beast.

    We kept Goofy there for a week or so then limited introduction into the gang... Which then split into two groups... Goofy and the lead 15h gelding was one pair going about their merry life while the others stayed with the lead mare

    As for threesome, it will depend on horse #2 accpeting the position as #3

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    • Original Poster

      #3
      Originally posted by clanter View Post
      The combination of Morgans and TB is like mixing oil and water
      Sigh. This is what I was thinking. It's not the end of the world if I have to go to rotational turnout, especially because Broken McGee very much prefers his stall and only a couple hours of grazing, if that.

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      • #4
        Hot wire. Just separate them in the pasture.

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        • Original Poster

          #5
          Unfortunately not really possible. A large pond is smack in the middle of my pasture, so I cannot section it off without removing access to the rest of it. And the areas that would be sectioned off would not have access to any shelter, even in tree form. Not ideal in the summer on the gulf coast when it reaches 90+ degrees.

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          • #6
            If morgans are 14.1 and t-bred is 17 can you make a 'creep gate' they can go under, but the tall guy can't?
            I think no matter what you do there will be at least one race around the pasture. It's just how they establish a pecking order.

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            • #7
              I have several retirees here that are totally convinced they are Stallions, tho they have been gelded many years. It is all mental, blood test prove it. However, it has to be dealt with.

              My solution is to put them out on opposite turnout of everyone else. Right now, the two aggressive geldings go out together at night.

              I know your aggressive one doesn't like being alone. However, HE is the problem, so in my book, the one causing the problem gets the least consideration. If that is not possible, put the TB out alone at night. Or put horse #2 out both day and night.
              Facta non verba

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