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Small herds - mixed sex

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  • Small herds - mixed sex

    Anyone here have a small herd at home with both mares and geldings? How does it work out - do you keep them separate or do they go out together? Is there drama? Do you wish you had all boys or all girls?

    I'm considering adding a third horse and I swore I'd never get a mare because of the potential drama... I've found a breeder and I'd love to have one of her horses, but with the exception of a foal and one other gelding, she has all fillies!
    My Mustang Adventures - Mac, my mustang | Annwylid D'Lite - my Cob filly

    "A horse's face always conveys clearly whether it is loved by its owner or simply used." - Anja Beran

  • #2
    I run mares and geldings together and haven't had any real problems. I tend to group horses by their needs rather than sex. For examply, the ponies are grouped together because of their size, the oldies are together because of their nutritional needs, the fatties are separate because they don't need extra feed and so forth.
    I'm a second hand Vegan. Cows eat grass. I eat cows.

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    • #3
      I have 4 horses, 3 geldings and 1 mare; they all get alone fine, no drama, all have 24/7 turnout together. The mare was the most recent horse added to the herd, I kept her in a small pasture with a shared fence with the geldings and her stall was next to theirs. I gave her a full month then introduced each gelding into the small pasture and allowed them to stay together for a week or so, eventually adding all horses together in the small pasture. Once acclimated there, I allowed her and the old gelding into the big pasture and did the same there. Whole process took about 2 months but never had any issues and they all get along great.
      "My treasures do not chink or gleam, they glitter in the sun and neigh at night."

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      • #4
        We have had small mixed groups in the past. Aside from one horse who was notoriously obnoxious, unruly, and mannerless who thankfully left - we have had no issues. Our turnout had up to 6 with 2 geldings and 4 mares.

        Is there a way to separate your pasture if the third doesn't mesh well with the others? I dare say it's less gender related for me and more a personality call. Even if the third was a gelding - what alternative do you have if he or she doesn't get along?

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        • #5
          Drama? You mean where the mares follow Cloudy around and force him to have sex with them? True at most barns we've boarded at. Mares after the big boy. Callie being his relative wouldn't give him the time of day, but she always had a gelding admirer she paired up with, although no sex since she'd had 6 JC foals before I bought her. I always said if my 2 were put into herds by sex, that Callie would go with the geldings and Cloudy would go with the mares. At last barn, he was out with3 mares and with a pony gelding and a pony mare. And Cloudy ended up being taken care of by a maiden mare who had refused to have sex with BO/owner's stud for 6 yrs. . Worked out great since now Hattie is Cloudy's mare legally.

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          • #6
            I don't currently have any mares in my herd but have had many in the past. Have never had trouble mixing mares and geldings

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            • #7
              I've always had mixed sex groups and only ever had issues one time, with a gelding mule, who never exhibited any other kind of stud behavior, but who would "breed" horse mares when they came in heat. He ignored the one mule mare I had when she was in heat. But, I had room to separate them during those times, so it wasn't a big deal.
              "Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything
              that's even remotely true."

              Homer Simpson

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              • #8
                The ranch I board at has a mixed herd. My gelding got kicked out because he was too friendly with the ladies. For the most part they all get along well, but the ranch is pretty strict about kicking out trouble makers. My mare moves in there next week. Crossing my fingers she fits in.
                For the horse color genetics junky

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                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by Jo View Post
                  We have had small mixed groups in the past. Aside from one horse who was notoriously obnoxious, unruly, and mannerless who thankfully left - we have had no issues. Our turnout had up to 6 with 2 geldings and 4 mares.

                  Is there a way to separate your pasture if the third doesn't mesh well with the others? I dare say it's less gender related for me and more a personality call. Even if the third was a gelding - what alternative do you have if he or she doesn't get along?
                  Oh yes, my pastures are separated so I could keep them separated. I was just wondering about if they tend to get paired up any moreso because of mixed sexes. My two geldings are each okay by themselves and not herd bound to each other. My one gelding gets attached to certain mares, but not all mares. I wish I knew how to know ahead of time which ones he would like and which he would ignore.
                  My Mustang Adventures - Mac, my mustang | Annwylid D'Lite - my Cob filly

                  "A horse's face always conveys clearly whether it is loved by its owner or simply used." - Anja Beran

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                  • #10
                    I've always had a small herd--3-5 of both geldings and mares. Initially there might be a bit of drama, especially from the mares, but it shortly works out and everything runs smoothly.

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                    • #11
                      I have also not had problems with mixed herds. The mares tend to keep the geldings behaving better!

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                      • #12
                        our barn has one pasture that is mixed; one mare and several geldings. They are friskier Arab types. She is NOT. She ignores them all while they run around.

                        My old guy used to go out w/ a group of three other geldings back in the north. One day they added a mare. She spent about an hour fairly politely trying to organize things - you go here, you go there...The geldings all said "well, OK whatever". When she got over the need to organize, they all went back to their normal patterns and all was well.
                        We don't get less brave; we get a bigger sense of self-preservation........

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                        • #13
                          I’m down to three mares and one gelding now. But at one time I had four mares and four geldings all together. Everyone got along then and still does. The lower ranking members hassle each other sometimes, but overall it’s always been a pretty happy herd.

                          Surprisingly, none of the mares has ever been "in charge." When I had eight, it was our old gelding, with a retired broodmare as his second in command. Now a different gelding is head fred and the mares seem to shuffle the order every now and then. I love watching herd dynamics.
                          __________________________
                          "... if you think i'm MAD, today, of all days,
                          the best day in ten years,
                          you are SORELY MISTAKEN, MY LITTLE ANCHOVY."

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                          • #14
                            I have boarded at oh, 4 different places that had small mixed herds. Never had a problem (there was one PROBLEM horse at one place - would run and attack horses, but HE was the problem, not the group).

                            Now I at a big facility, and they have 4 pastures, mare pasture, gelding pasture, oldies, and youngsters in separate groups.

                            No issues for the young and old in mixed herds.
                            APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman

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                            • #15
                              I've always had mixed herds sorted by feed needs. It probably does make it slightly more likely that introducing a new horse will involve drama, but for a home herd that does not get frequent new arrivals it's not a big deal.

                              That said I might have to separate one gelding from the fatty herd if I catch him mounting one of the mares again but hopefully the urge has passed.

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                              • #16
                                No problems and I run 2 separate mixed herds; some mares are more "wenchy" than others when in season, and some geldings more "randy." We DO run everyone without hind shoes, which I think is important.

                                I actually think geldings do less stupid stuff when they have a few mares to keep them in line. The mares are VERY bossy.

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                                • #17
                                  I have two mares, one gelding, and one jenny, and no issues. I had a friend's gelding here for a bit, and that just didn't work. He mounted the jenny, beat up my gelding, and spent too much energy managing the mares. I think that was an individual mismatch though, not a gender thing. I've had fosters here, both mares and geldings, without problems.

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                                  • #18
                                    I have had issues with my mare being with both sexes, but it has usually been a poor match, not a gender thing. She is in a mixed group now, one other mare and three geldings and the only issue is the geldings keep bringing her into heat...the one horse she didn't get along with from that group was a dominant mare who is now gone...

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                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by 2tempe:

                                      My old guy used to go out w/ a group of three other geldings back in the north. One day they added a mare. She spent about an hour fairly politely trying to organize things - you go here, you go there...The geldings all said "well, OK whatever". When she got over the need to organize, they all went back to their normal patterns and all was well.
                                      I love it! It reminds me so much of intersex human interactions -- with intact males!
                                      Founder of the People Who Prefer COTH Over FB Clique
                                      People Who Hate to Rush to Kill Wildlife Clique!
                                      "I Sing Silly Songs to My Animals!" Clique

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                                      • #20
                                        It depends more on the individuals and not the gender.

                                        I've kept numerous successful small, mixed herds over my lifetime. It can work great. Although an addition to a herd can be potentially incompatible regardless of the gender.
                                        Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO

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