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2-horse herd dynamics--mare/mare or mare/gelding?

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  • 2-horse herd dynamics--mare/mare or mare/gelding?

    After seeing a previous post about a gelding going crazy over mares........I'm wondering what to do. I have a mare who is all by herself right now. I am thinking of getting one more horse.......generally speaking, what usually works best--another mare, or a gelding? (I realize it really depends on the individual horse). She has been with both in the past, with not issues.....though she is bossy and really bossed the gelding around (he was a lot older than her).

  • #2
    It probably just depends on your mare :0). My mare likes mare's better than geldings (cept when she's in season ..though she likes mares then too.). She doesn't 'bond' with geldings. We got her a pony mare.


    • #3
      My 2 yo. filly lives with a gelding and it seems to be a good match. I find geldings are more likely to put up with "mareish" behaviour, and won't retaliate. Maybe I've just had bad luck with mares though...
      Equine Sales - We make online horse shopping easy


      • #4
        I have all mares, and they do fine. Of course, I have no idea how it'd go if I added a gelding. That might be fine too, but at this point, why buck the trend?


        • #5
          I put a pony gelding out with an old TB mare at my farm. The pony screams and runs and acts like an obnoxious little $hit whenever the mare's owner takes her away from him, even though other horses are in a field 10 ft away from him.

          My other mare/gelding pair couldn't care less about each other. The gelding bosses the mare around a bit but otherwise they co-exist well.

          It just depends on the individual horses.
          come what may

          Rest in peace great mare, 1987-2013


          • #6
            Depends on the mare, and the companion chosen. But although I very regularly keep horses in mixed groups I would probably choose another mare if the sole purpose is to keep a given mare company. The odds of compatibility are better.
            Click here before you buy.


            • #7
              As others have said, it totally depends on the individual horses. I was told to buy another gelding to be best buds with the young wb I bought. Fortunately I went out and found, while trying out said prospect, an old ottb mare.

              Turned out my gelding only likes mares. And my mare only liked geldings. (and she chose the "bad boy" chestnut geldings at that.) No sex was involved with my mare. She'd already had 6 foals before I found her.

              My gelding has always had domineering girlfriends who told him what to do and when to do it and protected him. He's been with his own mare now for over 4 yrs. He has always been sexual, but he stays with one mare till they moved or we moved.

              Despite both my mare and my gelding having friends of the opposite sex, they stuck together. After my mare was deceased, my gelding found this mare, and I ended up taking her with us when we changed barns.

              So don't worry about stereotypes. I've seen buddies who were geldings who stayed together, and that's great for them. But my gelding never wants any other gelding to touch him, and has rebuffed all efforts by nice geldings to be friends.


              • #8
                As with everything, it depends.

                That being said, I would rather be shot in the foot than have JUST a mare and a gelding together. Obviously, there are plenty of, uh, same sex couples that get overly attached (or one gets more attached then the other), but I find it is almost guaranteed when talking about a mare and gelding. I hate it.

                I typically try to stick with same sex matchings, and I prefer three to two (so that MOST times, someone always has a companion). But, you do what you gotta do. I only have pairs (same sex ones) right now.

                I think I would go for a mare, if that is the sole reason for a second horse. Look for one that is beta to make the transition easier.


                • #9
                  My mare and gelding lived together peacefully for years until the old man died. Prior to that she had lived with several other mares. After he died she lived for about 4 years by herself then with several mares, then with a mare and gelding for several years and now is in a pasture with several mares.


                  • #10
                    My mare and gelding co-exist quite well, although when push comes to shove, the gelding is the boss.

                    My mare loves geldings, seems to just ignore other mares.

                    My gelding loves mares, hates geldings, will beat the snot out of them, ESPECIALLY if you put him in with a mixed herd. The mares are HIS and no other man is going to come near them!

                    They get along great together! However, sometimes too great...like when you take one and the other paces the fence and screams until we're out of sight. In that case, it would almost be better to have a pair of horses that just didn't care for each other
                    "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."


                    • #11
                      It depends on the horses involved and your situation.

                      I currently find myself with a single mare and a single gelding, and it is Not A Good Thing. They love each other, leading to screaming/running/anxiety when separated. I have managed to deal with it by turning them out individually in separate paddocks where they can see each other, but have no contact. They must be brought in together, or one runs the fence line and the other rips circles in the stall, both screaming their heads off. When turned out together, it made riding each of them difficult-- the one left in the barn went nuts, and sometimes the one I was riding was very distracted. By turning them out separately, I am now able to leave one in the barn (quiet) while I ride the other.

                      My mare has been turned out with other geldings, and always has a tendency to get attached, but never so badly as with this one (it's never affected performance or stall behavior before). It doesn't help that this gelding is a bit studdish, to the point of jumping her when in season (!!) so that's also why they are separated for turnout!

                      Generally, unless the horse has a specific problem with his own gender, same-sex pairs are more successful than mixed. By "successful," I mean ability to get along AND ability to be separated.
                      “A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it.”
                      ? Albert Einstein



                      • Original Poster

                        Thanks, everyone. EventerAJ, you brought up a great point as far as them not only getting along, but being able to be separated. I would think there would be a better chance of that happening with two mares, too.....a gelding and mare would be more likely to be really attached to one another, I think.


                        • #13
                          It really does simply depend on the horses but most of us would agree that same sex is the safest bet. I currently have a mare and a gelding that get along extremely well with no attachment issues (sheer luck).

                          However, this fall my daughter and I decided we needed a spare horse for a variety of reasons. We added a gelding, against my better judgment, and it was a nightmare to say the least. He and my mare were unbearably attached and he was horribly mean to my original gelding. My mare would go into heat every time she was near him. That had never been a problem when it was just she and our original gelding. As a matter of fact, I had never even seen her in heat before we brought this other gelding home.

                          We ultimately decided to let the gelding go and brought another mare home. So far the two mares and a gelding are working out well.