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Solitary Horse. How long is too long?

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  • Solitary Horse. How long is too long?

    Inky's been off to the trainer since beginning of March. Rico is home alone. It was a tough decision, but in the end there was no alternative. We thought he'd only be alone for a month, but DD has decided to keep Inky at trainer until the end of April. (BTW, he's doing fabulous!)

    So far, Rico seems to be OK, although he is definitely displying signs of lonliness. Being in his familiar environment probably helps keep his stress level to a minimum, but I hate seeing him alone. I have some feelers out to get him a companion, now that I know it will be another 6 weeks, but should I be a little more 'urgent' about it? And is it wise to take in a strange horse to keep him company for just 6 weeks?
    Lowly Farm Hand with Delusions of Barn Biddieom.
    Witherun Farm
    http://witherun-farm.blogspot.com/

  • #2
    If he's happy why are you worried?

    To me the importance of having a companion is right when the separation happens - both my riding horses freak out to the point they are a danger to themselves if left alone. My companion horse runs and plays, but doesn't really mind being left alone. She's crippled so can't be ridden but not in pain and runs and bucks like a champ, and is just generally happy - even if we take both her friends away.
    Originally posted by Silverbridge
    If you get anything on your Facebook feed about who is going to the Olympics in 2012 or guessing the outcome of Bush v Gore please start threads about those, too.

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    • #3
      It depends on the horse - some really don't mind in the least. Wallkicker has been alone since Mr Fussy died 15 months ago, and I have never seen him so relaxed, calm and FAT (at least for him). There have been no adverse behavioural changes, nothing and now he shows signs of lying down at night. Any changes have been positive: more responsive, friendlier (not lonesome clinginess), less kicking, more playful and energetic. BUT, not every horse will accept alone so quickly and nicely: some try fences, beging eating things they shouldn't, learn vices, etc. Only you know the horse well enough to understand.
      Founder of the Dyslexic Clique. Dyslexics of the world - UNTIE!!

      Member: Incredible Invisbles

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      • #4
        The only concern that comes to mind is that as a prey animal he might become hypervigilant. When his buddy was there did he sleep in the paddock? What I mean is, was he the type to lie down and take a nap? If so is he still able to do that now that he's alone? To me a change in that behavior is an indicator of stress. The concern is of course that he may not appreciate a stranger anyway and still would be stressed until his buddy comes home in 6 weeks.

        Paula
        He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).

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        • #5
          depends entirely on the horse. I have had to keep my mare solo before and she was okay with it, she is now with two others and while very fond of them (will holler on the way home to announce Her Highness's return) she is not herdy and will be happy to ride out alone. Honestly even when she was alone she wasn't worked up over other horses, it's not ideal to keep them alone but I don't think it is awful either, especially if the horse is well socialized.

          My only concern would be if the solo horse was young or showing signs of stress, I think your boy will be fine until his buddy comes home from training.
          for more Joy then you can handle
          http://dangerbunny.blogspot.com/

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          • Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by paulaedwina View Post
            The only concern that comes to mind is that as a prey animal he might become hypervigilant. When his buddy was there did he sleep in the paddock? What I mean is, was he the type to lie down and take a nap? If so is he still able to do that now that he's alone? To me a change in that behavior is an indicator of stress. The concern is of course that he may not appreciate a stranger anyway and still would be stressed until his buddy comes home in 6 weeks.

            Paula
            Good point. He's always been a sleepyhead, and I have seen him still taking the occcasional nap since Inky left and he is definitely sleeping in his stall. He's really a quiet, sensible horse in general, but he also tends to be very stoic about things and I worry about what's going on 'on the inside' as he can be prone to ulcers.

            He's eating & drinking normally, not testing or running the fence, so all in all I guess he's doing pretty well. Of coruse, once Inky comes home, I'll most likely have to deal with the herdbound problem from he!!, but I'm used to that with him.

            Oh well... if my trainer sends me a horse, I'll take it, but otherwise, I don't think I want the responsibility of anyone else's horse for now.
            Lowly Farm Hand with Delusions of Barn Biddieom.
            Witherun Farm
            http://witherun-farm.blogspot.com/

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            • #7
              My horse is home alone right now. Sometimes I keep him alone for weeks, sometimes he goes back to the barn- depends on my schedule. He did get a little goofy awhile back one of the times when he was alone, would eat a bite then come running out of his run-in to look around, lookier than normal- but that went away. He came back this time, whinnied twice that I heard and is back to being fine. If your horse is doing fine, I wouldn't look for the added expense of a companion if he doesn't need it.
              Kerri

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Trevelyan96 View Post
                Good point. He's always been a sleepyhead, and I have seen him still taking the occcasional nap since Inky left and he is definitely sleeping in his stall. He's really a quiet, sensible horse in general, but he also tends to be very stoic about things and I worry about what's going on 'on the inside' as he can be prone to ulcers.

                He's eating & drinking normally, not testing or running the fence, so all in all I guess he's doing pretty well. Of coruse, once Inky comes home, I'll most likely have to deal with the herdbound problem from he!!, but I'm used to that with him.

                Oh well... if my trainer sends me a horse, I'll take it, but otherwise, I don't think I want the responsibility of anyone else's horse for now.

                There you go then. If he can still lie down and nap in the paddock then he's doing okay. Is it worth trying to match him with a stranger for 6 weeks? Maybe not.

                Paula
                He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).

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                • #9
                  My old horse was alone until a few days ago, my other horses somewhere else, when a friend needed a horse picked up and kept for some days for him and I have him here now.
                  He likes this horse, but really don't mind being alone and I am starting to think he is looking forward to see his company leave, so he can truly nap the day away.

                  If your horse is fine alone, not running around and nickering and fretting, don't worry, his companion will come home soon enough in a few weeks.

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                  • #10
                    Fenway's been alone with just goats for company for three years now. The goats don't particularly like him. I know he'd love a horse buddy, but it's not practical. I think it depends on the individual, and I wouldn't worry a lot if he's not worrying a lot!
                    My ears hear a symphony of two mules, trains, and rain. The best is always yet to come, that's what they explained to me. —Bob Dylan

                    Fenway Bartholomule ♥ Arrietty G. Teaspoon Brays Of Our Lives

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                    • #11
                      My horse has lived alone for the last year. I wasn't my first choice, but the pasture/fencing was the best boarding option I could find, and I knew it was relatively short term. I was really worried at first, and was prepared to find her a friend, but she's been fine.

                      OP If you only have another 6 weeks I wouldn't worry unless you see obvious signs of distress.
                      Foaling Around www.facebook.com/foalingaround
                      Custom Equestrian Items and Bath Products

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                      • #12
                        Is he eating & drinking? Calm? Acting normal?? He may be in a period of adjustment, but if he is all of the above I would leave things alone. If he were a nervous wreck, running the fence and calling, not eating or ever calming down then I would get another horse.

                        Many horses do fine alone and as you say the other horse will be home in a month or so.

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Thanks everyone! I do feel a whole lot better. Trainer may send me a horse anyway, as she has one alone at her place who's 'talking to herself', LOL, but she's waiting to determine if she actually needs to go back on stall rest. Mare has only been on limited turnout for the past few days. She doesn't want to bring her back to the facility and turn her out with the herd, but Rico is so quiet that she'd be fine with him.

                          I don't mind taking one of my trainer's horses for a short term, but don't think I'd feel comfortable taking anyone else's, so if the mare doesn't come, he'll stay home alone until Inky gets back from boot camp.
                          Lowly Farm Hand with Delusions of Barn Biddieom.
                          Witherun Farm
                          http://witherun-farm.blogspot.com/

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