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Help, my new horse is a wimp. Update March 1

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  • Help, my new horse is a wimp. Update March 1

    I just bought a wonderful new horse and need to integrate him into my established herd of 5. These five have been together for about 5 years with no new additions. New horse (Domino) was first turned out alone across driveway from herd.

    Next I added the 21 year old T'bred (Buddy). All went well for several hours until established herd went out of sight. Buddy started pacing fence line as if he were all alone and Domino continued to calmly graze. I had to take Buddy out as he worked himself into a lather.

    Next try, I added Lily, an eight year old quarter horse mare. All went well and she kept him company for several days. No issues.

    Next, I trailered Domino and Otto (16 year old mischievous Morgan cross) together and went on trail ride. When we returned, they went out together and were fine.

    I added Buddy (the T'bred) to this group thinking since they already met and had no real issues with each other that surely this would work. Fast forward a couple of hours. I look out and Buddy is chasing Domino around the pasture relentlessly. Meanwhile, Otto is calmly grazing and watching the chase. I catch Buddy and remove him.

    Next day,I added Rocket, the benevolent dictator of the herd. He is a 20 year old draft cross. All goes well....for awhile and then Rocket started chasing Domino while Otto calmly watched. Had to go catch and cool off horses again.

    Neither Rocket nor Buddy has a history of chasing horses. This is unusual behavior for both of them. If Domino would stop running I think they would stop chasing.

    I found out from previous owner that a big draft cross had chased him before and she just separated them. Domino went out with a herd of older calm horses and never had any issues.

    I always considered my herd to be older and calmer, except for the mare they are all 13 and older.

    I have a round pen with a hitchcock, so I'm thinking of putting Domino in the round pen and Rocket in the hitchcock for a day in hopes they will meet and Domino will get comfortable. Another option would be to take Rocket and Domino together in the trailer to a trail. Rocket tends to bond with whoever he is trailered with.

    Any other suggestions? I would really like them to all be together and get along if at all possible.
    Last edited by bird4416; Mar. 1, 2013, 10:01 AM.
    Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

  • #2
    I always turn new horses out with the herd leader for a while (after an iso period) and an adjacent paddock period) with have the rest of the horses in an adjacent pasture. Then I turn them all out together.


    • Original Poster

      Wow, no one has ever had this problem?
      Thanks for the suggestion LauraKY.
      Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.


      • #4
        Herd dynamics change each time there is a switch on herd horses. I think part of the problem has been constant switching around which is unsettling to everyone. I will turn a new horse out with the herd and let them resolve the pecking order. It usually takes 10 minutes. Unless there is merciless chasing and aggression, there is no point in shifting horses around.
        Where Fjeral Norwegian Fjords Rule


        • #5
          Originally posted by IronwoodFarm View Post
          Herd dynamics change each time there is a switch on herd horses. I think part of the problem has been constant switching around which is unsettling to everyone. I will turn a new horse out with the herd and let them resolve the pecking order. It usually takes 10 minutes. Unless there is merciless chasing and aggression, there is no point in shifting horses around.
          I have to agree with IF. Your plan sounds incredibly thought out and conscientious, but you are likely unsettling the established horse that you move to Domino's field (by removing them from their herd AND putting them with someone new) and the rest of the established herd. I would put Domino in with your current herd and give them 10-15 minutes to work it out. If there is awful chasing/aggression then you may have to move him (can you put the round pen IN the established horses field with Domino in it...?) temporarily and try again.

          There is always the possibility that they just are not going to accept him - hopefully that isn't the case! If nothing else they may just need to share a fence line and go on a few rides together.

          Good luck! Let us know how it ends up.
          "No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle" - Winston Churchill

          Check out Central Virginia Horse Rescue


          • #6
            "Looking forward" to this next week, as BO is getting in 2 new mares from the same farm, and wants to throw my guy in with them - that way they can have the big pasture together. Gets along fine now with one or another. Been changed a few times due to logistics/weather. A bit worried the tides will be turned, and they'll gang up on him...?

            Would be nice if things could always be left the same, but guess that's the hard part of pasture turn-outs. I'd also like to hear more stories...
            But he thought, "This procession has got to go on." So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the train that wasn't there at all. H.C.Anderson


            • Original Poster

              The weather has been so wet lately that I've put off my herd assimilation plan until it dries up some. The rain is finally over for now so in a few days I'll try again.
              Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.


              • #8
                I've always turned a new horse out in a paddock and let them meet the rest of the horses over the fence....then turn the new horse out in the big pasture and introduce other horses one at a time until the whole herd is out. Sometimes they chase and run around, and it always takes a new horse a couple months to really settle in, but they always work it out with a minimum of fuss.
                Teaching Horseback Riding Lessons: A Practical Training Manual for Instructors

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


                • Original Poster

                  Thanks for the ideas. Equinekingdom, that is the approach I have used in the past. This horse got treated a bit different at first as I had him for a trial period and didn't want to take any risks with him until he was mine. Once the pastures dry up some, I will put him in a field with a shared fence line and let him meet and greet over the fence line. If all goes well, I will proceed from there and try putting him out with the rest. This has worked in the past for me but the other horses weren't as wimpy as this one. This one is so bold under saddle and soooo wimpy in the herd. He is a take charge and go horse on the trails and over jumps so this seems so weird to me that he has no confidence on his own.
                  Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.


                  • Original Poster

                    The new guy is finally out with the majority of the herd. The benevolent dictator has accepted him. The only problem is the 21 year old T'bred gelding that thinks he is 5. The minute I put him out with the rest, he goes straight for the new guy and relentlessly runs him around the pasture. I'm very annoyed with him. I keep hoping they will work it out but so far the old man just doesn't want the new guy in the herd and I don't want to risk injuries. So, I'm keeping old guy out with one other horse and new guy is out with the rest of the herd.
                    Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.