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*sigh* Is it time to look for a companion horse?

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  • *sigh* Is it time to look for a companion horse?

    The little paint pony is off at boarding school for at least the next month, and maybe the next two or three. My RI is bringing him back into work and then I'll have lessons on him. I don't plan to bring him home until both of us are supremely confident hacking out alone.

    So this leaves my old gentleman, a twenty-something retired STB/Clyde cross, all alone. He's been alone this week and is eating and pooing normally. He's a tad bit jumpy at times and a little more affectionate towards me, but other than that I haven't noticed anything odd going on.

    But horses being, y'know, herd animals, I just think it can't be good for him to spend so much time alone.

    Thing is, I'm the only rider on my farm. DH has less than no interest. I have one nephew who's eight and thinks he might want to ride but has never been near a horse so we really don't know. Same goes for the two little girls up the road. But I'm hesitant to get another retiree for fear of the vet bills that might follow. With one horse in training and on full board and another to look after at home, I'm on a tight budget. Plus, since I only have two stalls I'd have to build another before the little paint pony comes home from school.

    But once Quanah is home, he and I will be riding off at least three times a week, leaving Bram standing alone and bored and maybe feeling kind of old and useless.

    I'm not ignoring the rules. I'm interpreting the rules. Tamal, The Great British Baking Show

  • #2
    If he is not fretting, why not be glad that he is fine alone when he has to be, especially since it fits your management best?

    I don't believe all horses need company and have seen plenty that don't, are perfectly happy either way.
    Yours seem to be one.
    I have even seen a few horses that get grumpy with company and in a herd go off on their own, don't like to mingle.

    Alone is not always lonely, for people or horses.


    • Original Poster

      Originally posted by Bluey View Post
      I don't believe all horses need company and have seen plenty that don't, are perfectly happy either way.
      Yours seem to be one.
      I have even seen a few horses that get grumpy with company and in a herd go off on their own, don't like to mingle.

      Alone is not always lonely, for people or horses.
      Very true. I, for one, get a little nuts if I don't have time to myself every day.

      But Brammie has always lived with other horses - at least he has for the four years I've owned him. He was in a large mixed herd at our last boarding barn, and with Quanah since we've moved home. He was somewhat distressed when Quanah left - calling and pacing - and still occasionally calls for him.

      I had to make Bram a dry lot back in the fall since he can't eat grass anymore. So he and a new horse would have a fence between them all the time, at least until I make my dry lot a little bigger. He and Quanah spend a lot of time gossiping over the fence or sleeping beside each other, though.

      Quanah is absolutely and obviously ecstatic to have multiple horse friends again at his boarding stable. He's always been my little social butterfly. So I'm also going to feel kind of sorry for him when he has to come back home to just one elderly companion again.

      But I am really less than thrilled at the idea of another horse. *sigh* Maybe I just haven't met the right one yet?
      I'm not ignoring the rules. I'm interpreting the rules. Tamal, The Great British Baking Show


      • #4
        Oh, that may change things.
        I had understood that your lone horse was cool as a cucumber alone, not that he was still looking for company.

        For us, horses do best with a minimum of three, so there generally are two left behind when we need to do something with one in a hurry, like go get cattle back in.
        Two tend to buddy up too much, three generally don't quite so bad.

        Our horses are used to one go work and eventually coming back, so they don't fret, but if they are not used to that, one left behind pacing can get sick from worry.

        There are oodles of give away horses now and even more dirt cheap horses going thru sales.
        Surely you can find a companion that would be suitable, at little cost, if that is what you are needing?

        There are several rescues posting right here also, maybe one of them has a horse you could use?


        • #5
          I take it a companion like a goat is not an option?
          Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
          Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
          -Rudyard Kipling


          • #6
            Foster for a rescue...wouldn't be permanent, so if it works, great, if not, the horse is not there forever.


            • #7
              Offer free board to the right retiree (no riding though). That way you aren't stuck with vet and farrier bills. All you're out is some hay, grain and bedding and a little extra time. Also, you probably won't need any additional insurance, like Care Custody and Control, because you aren't charging board. You said you dry lot your guy, so see if you can find a nice fat Morgan or QH or Arab that is a super easy keeper. I've had 2 Morgans and an Arab on my farm and they couldn't be turned out on lush grass or they would have foundered for sure.

              I'm not saying let's go kill all the stupid people...I'm just saying let's remove all the warning labels and let the problem sort itself out.


              • #8
                Originally posted by JSwan View Post
                I take it a companion like a goat is not an option?
                That's what I was thinking.
                Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!


                • #9
                  You could foster (great idea!) or take in a free lease until your pony comes home. The free retirement board is a great idea, too.
                  Lots of good ideas here!
                  Equine Retirement at


                  • Original Poster

                    Actually, I was thinking of getting either a small flock of sheep or some goats (*shudders*) to help keep the pasture grass down. Now that Bram can't eat grass, I just have one tubby pony eating six acres of grass. Which is why he had to go back to work.

                    Anyways, I just have three strands of electric rope up right now, which wouldn't keep in sheep or goats. But with the money I'd save not getting another horse, I could afford to put no-climb on the outside of the electric rope to discourage ovine escapes.

                    And oh, boy, would I be popular with the border collies if they had their very own sheep. We stopped working when gas got so high because we had to travel two hours to the nearest dog-broke flock.

                    Since Bram doesn't seem to be pining away for equine companions, just a tad nervous at being the only herbivore standing out on a flat plain, maybe some sheepies would do it for him.

                    I like the idea of fostering for a rescue as well, although we don't have one in my area. I believe the closest is PEARL, in Upstate SC, or maybe Red Dog Farm in NC. Or boarding a retiree. Either way, I'm not stuck with big vet bills should something happen.

                    Y'all are a fount of inspiration as usual.
                    I'm not ignoring the rules. I'm interpreting the rules. Tamal, The Great British Baking Show


                    • #11
                      If you want stock you can train the border collies on, how about getting some hair sheep, Katahdin?
                      Three would be enough, if you work the dogs singles and they would keep the horse entertained by just being around.
                      Those don't need much fenced room and are not the escape artist other goats or sheep can be and last forever as training stock, don't get sour.
                      Just get your steel toed boots, as they really are hard on your toes and knees and will try to run over you if the dog gets too strong.

                      Those could make a good companion, if not directly by interacting with your horse, just to have something around to watch.


                      • Original Poster

                        Oh, yes, I've been run over by plenty of Katahdin in my time. Personally I like being run over by Cheviots the best, because they have that springy hair that acts as a cushion. Of course you have to shear them. Barbados blackbelly are my least favorite - no cushion at all and unlike the Katahdin they're also kind of boney. I cannot imagine what the cattle dog people do - seems like being run over by five steers would really smart.

                        But I've just had a brainwave - what about a mini? Bram has to be on a dry lot anyway, so I wouldn't have to worry about the little thing getting fat (as they're apt to do). And they're small so either it could share Bram's stall (12x12, and Bram's only 15hh and not a moose) or if they didn't like sharing then I could run an extension down off the roof line on my barn to make a sort of porch for shelter. What do y'all think of that? Always seems to be plenty of mini's looking for homes.
                        I'm not ignoring the rules. I'm interpreting the rules. Tamal, The Great British Baking Show


                        • #13
                          Mini's can be escape artists too, so another strand of electric might be needed. They certainly don't eat much.
                          Get a healthy one so you don't have a ton of vet bills.
                          They are very cute and lots of fun.


                          • #14
                            what about the RI teaching you and the boys to pony... that way Both Boys get some exercise...
                            If i'm posting on Coth, it's either raining so I can't ride or it's night time and I can't sleep.