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Leaving mare by herself for extended time. How concerned would you be?

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  • Leaving mare by herself for extended time. How concerned would you be?

    Just curious about everyone's thoughts on this.

    I board at a private farm. There are five horses total; my mare plus four of the BOs. I absolutely love this barn. The BO is very nice and takes excellent care of Miss Mare.

    BO and her hubby trail ride and usually leave for several days to a week out of each month when the weather is nice. They take two horses, which leaves my mare plus two of theirs at home. This has worked out just fine.

    I recently talked to BO; they're planning trips starting in a couple of months and wanted to let me know the dates. Awesome.

    But.

    They are planning on selling one of their current horses because she never gets ridden, and they're planning to take the other "spare" mare, that usually gets left at home, with them on at least the first couple of trips because BO's main mare is having intermittent lameness issues and they're not sure if she'll stay sound on a long ride.

    So...IF their fourth horse sells in the next couple of months, this would leave my mare on the farm by herself. For four days the first time and a week the second time. She'll still be well taken care of, but...??? How comfortable would you be with this situation? I'm not sure how she'll react. She does fine away from her buddies, but I don't know if that will last for days at a time. There are horses at another farm across the road, but they're not always visible, depending on who is pastured where.

    I haven't said anything to BO yet. I figured I'd wait to see if the fourth horse sells first, and then see where to go from there.
    Caitlin
    *OMGiH I Loff my Mare* and *My Saddlebred Can Do Anything Your Horse Can Do*
    http://community.webshots.com/user/redmare01

  • #2
    Depends on the horse, really. I have one that does just fine on her own. Not much of anything worries her. I have another two that would be complete psycho nutjobs, at least for a little while, and I would worry about either going over/through fences or just running until exhaustion.

    How about a short dry run?

    Comment


    • #3
      I don't think it's great for any horse, even those that seem fairly comfortable by themselves, but if she is the super-content-alone type it may work for short stretches of time. I would have a back-up plan in case she goes nuts when they have left. Is there a possibility of borrowing a buddy for those few days?
      As Peter, Paul, and Mary say, a dragon lives forever.

      Comment


      • #4
        Agree with Simkie that it totally depends. I have one mare that would be like "yay, no one to boss me around plus I get to eat ALL the food!" I have several others that would be complete and total idiots and I would worry about them killing themselves.

        Who takes care of the horses when they are gone? Is that person there 24/7 or just comes twice a day to feed and clean stalls?

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Usually BO hires someone to come take care of the horses while she's gone, but at least for these first two trips, I told her I would do it. So I'll be there morning and afternoon, and will likely do a night check as well. Barn is only 10 minutes from my house. She has someone else lined up to take care of her dog and chickens. But no, no one will be there 24/7.

          I honestly don't know how she will react. She is a strong, dominant alpha mare. I can see her going either way...either not caring at all or going nuts. At the previous boarding barn, she was turned out solo always (policy with boarder horses) and was fine. But there were always horses over the fence.
          Caitlin
          *OMGiH I Loff my Mare* and *My Saddlebred Can Do Anything Your Horse Can Do*
          http://community.webshots.com/user/redmare01

          Comment


          • #6
            Yeah, being turned out in a separate paddock with buddies across the fence is a lot different than being the only equine on the premises. Have any friends with a suitable horse that might be willing to bring their horse over for company while the others are gone?

            At the very least, you need to have a plan of what you are going to do if your mare totally freaks out.

            Comment


            • #7
              I've found that the smaller the group and the quieter the atmosphere, the harder many horses will take it when the group gets smaller. In a small herd of just a handful of horses, I'd be a little concerned unless the horse had been in that sort of situation before and handled it well.

              Of the 6-8 horses I've had in my life the past few years, I'd wager only about 2 of them would handle being on our small farm alone without getting pretty upset. I'm pretty sure all of them would eventually be fine, but I wouldn't want to do that to them if I could avoid it.

              Any possibility for one of the horses from across the street to spend a few days in an adjoining paddock when the BO is gone to keep the mare company? I have loaned my Shetland to people for just that purpose on occasion. She's one of the ones who copes with anything, and is very nice to have around for accompanying goofy youngsters on long trailer rides, first overnight trips, etc.
              Last edited by deltawave; Feb. 13, 2013, 12:03 AM.
              Click here before you buy.

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              • #8
                I'd make sure that you're physically THERE when they begin to load up, so you can assess just how worried your mare is getting. And it would be awesome if they'd be willing to dry run it for you, so if she totally loses her brain, her friends come back and everyone can figure out how best to prep for the real, actual event.

                Bringing over one of the neighbor horses sounds like it could be an excellent idea, if they'd be willing.

                Or perhaps you need another horse/pony/donkey?

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                  I've found that the smaller the group and the quieter the atmosphere, the harder many horses will take it when the group gets smaller. In a small herd of just a handful of horses, I'd be a little concerned unless the horse had been in that sort of situation before and handled it well.
                  This has been my experience as well. And is why I'm leaning more towards the "she's going to freak out" direction than anything.

                  I don't know of anyone to borrow a horse from, and have never met the people across the road. BO knows them, but as to whether they'd let us borrow a horse? Who knows. BO also has lots of trail riding friends, some of whom have quite a few horses, so maybe a possibility there. And there is always the possibility that BO's main mare won't be completely sound and will have to stay home. So I figure I'll give it a bit to see what happens and go from there. BO is very easy to work with, so I'm sure we can come up with a good solution.
                  Caitlin
                  *OMGiH I Loff my Mare* and *My Saddlebred Can Do Anything Your Horse Can Do*
                  http://community.webshots.com/user/redmare01

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    If BO is very easy to work with, I would just voice your concern so you can come up with a plan together.

                    If I knew people across the street and their facility was safe, I would have no problem letting them borrow a horse for such a situation. My horse would just be across the street so it's not like I couldn't check on it and see it every day! :-)

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Originally posted by Simkie View Post
                      I'd make sure that you're physically THERE when they begin to load up, so you can assess just how worried your mare is getting. And it would be awesome if they'd be willing to dry run it for you, so if she totally loses her brain, her friends come back and everyone can figure out how best to prep for the real, actual event.

                      Bringing over one of the neighbor horses sounds like it could be an excellent idea, if they'd be willing.

                      Or perhaps you need another horse/pony/donkey?
                      Good idea on the pre-trip trip. We will have to try it out if Fourth Horse sells and all three are definitely going.

                      I would LOVE a mini donk, but don't want to pay board for another animal, and I think Miss Mare would be HIGHLY PO'd about sharing her stall.

                      Fourth Horse that's for sale is actually a really cute pony. We'll miss the little bugger.
                      Caitlin
                      *OMGiH I Loff my Mare* and *My Saddlebred Can Do Anything Your Horse Can Do*
                      http://community.webshots.com/user/redmare01

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        has BO agreed to a dry run? would love to hear how this turns out. I have horses that go both ways - a lot of them would be totally fine by themselves, but I have several that would absolutely flip out if they were the only ones here - I'd (literally) never hear the end of it!!
                        Teaching Horseback Riding Lessons: A Practical Training Manual for Instructors

                        Stop Wasting Hay and Extend Consumption Time With Round Bale Hay Nets!!

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          I haven't said anything to BO yet. She called me at work yesterday and we didn't get to go in depth about it. And we're still a couple of months out from the first trip, plus there is the fact that Fourth Horse may not sell or Main Mare may be lame, which makes this a moot topic. Too many variables...will have to wait and see for a bit.
                          Caitlin
                          *OMGiH I Loff my Mare* and *My Saddlebred Can Do Anything Your Horse Can Do*
                          http://community.webshots.com/user/redmare01

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I find this very interesting. I've leased a few horses out to individuals-not to boarding/training/lesson facilities.
                            All horses coming out of a group herd.
                            To being just one horse alone without neighboring farms. Horses being of different ages, sex, breeds.
                            Not once, never have any of them ever called, paced or fretted in any way.
                            They went into stall or pasture started munching and acted as if they've lived there alone for yrs.
                            And when brought back home, smell a few noses & go about your day.
                            Just an observation, I would expect no less.
                            Training, management or luck ?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Don't sell her short she may surprise you. Had 3 horses lost one October 2011, lost another August, 2012 the remaining mare, 11 yr. old QH, she called and looked around a little bit at first but no major melt down, after 2 days handled being alone like a champ she was alone for about 2 months before I found another horse. We weren't sure how it was going to go but it wasn't something we planned for, she loved getting all the attention and treats.
                              "They spend 11 months stuggling to live, and 25 years trying to die" my farrier

                              "They are dangerous on both ends and crafty in the middle"

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Could you take your horse over to the place across the street while BO is gone with her horses? If they had an injury paddock or smaller lot you might be able to put her in there alone but she would be able to see all the other horses...
                                "No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle" - Winston Churchill

                                Check out Central Virginia Horse Rescue

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Outwardly, my mare appeared ok when her companion went to a new home - but as the weeks went by she exhibited signs - walked more, chewed a hole in the barn siding, etc. It took about a month before I was able to find a mini for company and she's happy now.

                                  She may be quite ok with short absences and eventually accept that they will be coming back.
                                  Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Ltc4h View Post
                                    I find this very interesting. I've leased a few horses out to individuals-not to boarding/training/lesson facilities.
                                    All horses coming out of a group herd.
                                    To being just one horse alone without neighboring farms. Horses being of different ages, sex, breeds.
                                    Not once, never have any of them ever called, paced or fretted in any way.
                                    They went into stall or pasture started munching and acted as if they've lived there alone for yrs.
                                    And when brought back home, smell a few noses & go about your day.
                                    Just an observation, I would expect no less.
                                    Training, management or luck ?
                                    Different situation. How would yours behave if you took their herd away from them, rather than taking them away from their herd?

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I would expect the mare to be upset! Sometimes it takes more than a few hours for them to get around to doing something really dangerous.

                                      Those that settle for simple fence walking are fine, compared to those who decide that that gate absolutely must be jumped.
                                      Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                                      Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Thanks for all the ideas; will definitely keep them in mind.

                                        The farm across the street is also a private farm, not a boarding facility. I don't think I'd be comfortable asking to just move her in for a week or so.

                                        I also don't think she'd jump a fence. I've owned this mare for 15 of her 19 years. If I know one thing about her, it's that she's *NOT* a jumper.

                                        What I'm more worried about is constant running the fenceline, neighing, calling, and just generally getting herself worked up into a tizzy, leading to colic or ulcers or some other lovely vet requiring emergency.
                                        Caitlin
                                        *OMGiH I Loff my Mare* and *My Saddlebred Can Do Anything Your Horse Can Do*
                                        http://community.webshots.com/user/redmare01

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