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Old 01-25-2005, 07:53 AM  
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Keeping a horse alone

I know of several people who have lone horses. But it isn't working for mine, and I don't have the space to get a second horse. Should I just give up?
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Old 01-25-2005, 08:32 AM  
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Have you considered a mini, or maybe a goat? They make good buddies and aren't as big... Do the neighbors have horses that you can visit occasionally? Our neighbors have a big QH and a little pony. My mare and filly play with our duck, sometimes anything can be a buddy. Goats can sometimes be fed horse feed, depending on what you feed, of course, and they like the stemmier hay that the horses pick through. I'd hate to see you give up...
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Old 01-25-2005, 08:33 AM  
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Some horses get really depressed when they have to live alone. On the other hand some are just fine. If you feel that you have tried everything and have no room to get another, you could board him somewhere. I am not sure what the living situation of your horse is. If he is alone in a field then you could possibly look around close to you, perhaps someone has a horse or two in pasture and you could keep yours there as well. Sometimes it just takes awhile for a horse to become used to living alone. I had a 4yr old thoroughbred gelding that had always lived with other horses. I moved him to a pasture alone, in the begining he was a little restless but soon settled into his routine and was soon fine alone.
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Old 01-25-2005, 09:32 AM  
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4sale, how long did it take him to adjust?
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Old 01-25-2005, 10:44 AM  
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OK, I know this sounds dumb, but consider getting him a mirror. Of course it has to be in a safe place, but it has been proven that horses kept alone are more relaxed with a mirror. This has been used by vet clinics and quarrentine units where animals have to be kept isolated. It reduces pacing, pawing and wood chewing.

I have only heard of this being used for stable kept horses, but it may work for feild horses as well. Alternatively I would go for a goat, keeping in mind they more secure fencing than the average horse does (they climb, and squeeze through fencing).
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Old 01-25-2005, 11:11 AM  
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Never heard of the mirror thing! The reason I mentioned giving up is that some people seem to be VERY adamant that none of them can be kept alone, ever, at all. That it's a cruel, awful thing to do.
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Old 01-25-2005, 12:24 PM  
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Horses are social animals, I personally would not keep a horse alone-- when you take responsibility for an animal you are the one who makes all the decisions for them, and they have no choice in the matter. Horses, being herd animals, would never choose to live alone. I agree with muttduck, goats or ponies/minis make great buddies for horses, and they even use them on high-strung racehorses-- kept in the stall with them. (That shows how little extra space you'd need, lol!)

Of course it doesn't always work, some horses don't get along with either, but it's worth a try!

Best of luck!
Lily
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Old 01-25-2005, 12:29 PM  
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I guess I'd avoid the minis as you have to be so careful they do not eat too much; it can be hard to feed them along side a full sized horse. I guess the same may be true of goats, but I have not heard of a goat foundering.
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Old 01-25-2005, 12:31 PM  
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I love goats, I ran a small barn here locally and we had a "herd" of them (5)... they were awesome, they ran around like puppies, ate all the weeds in sight and never tried to leave the property. I can't wait until we get a place of our own, we will definately have goats again!! So I really recommend them, lol!

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Old 01-25-2005, 01:26 PM  
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I would try the goat, as long as the feed bucket is up where they can't reach, you're fine. They can eat themselves content on hay and weeds, they're ruminants, meaning they do the cud thing. So they're built for grazing... The best part is they like the stuff that horses don't, and seem to prefer it. Mutt type goats can be picked up around here for less than $50.
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Old 01-28-2005, 08:18 AM  
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It took my gelding about a week maybe 2 at the most to adjust. He wasn't crazy in the feild at all, nor was he stressed out, just wondering where his buddies had gone. Horses are herd animals yes, however sometimes circumstances make it so that he can't be around other horses. If at anytime it looked as though my horse was stressed or really upset he could have gone back the barn, but he adjusted just fine, and ended up being good friends with a wandering turkey. It is not the end of the world to keep a horse on it's own if it adjust to the situation, if not, then you would have to look into alternatives naturally, but if you are in a sticky situation then just see how it goes.
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Old 01-28-2005, 09:00 AM  
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When I bought my gelding, he was the only horse in the pasture. He was fine, but my farrier advise me getting a companion because horses need companionship. They get lonely, but Dunner seemed fine to me. Now that I have 3 more, he's going LOCO! He bites, snarles, everything! Big GOOBER!

I would consider a goat. A horse lover should have a horse...it's only right. Don't give up. Get another farm animal....One time my husband had a horse he couldn't approach, halter or anything! ! ! We put a pig, YES A PIG, in the arena with it. The horse was much more approachable, nicer and you could actually start ground work on him! Did just fine, think they bonded!

Goats are great animals, they eat weeds and things that horses don't. AND it would be a friend! ! Where I am, they aren't expensive. And, they are funny! But I would get a girl...I think that the boy goats stink...YUK.

Just give your horse lots of attention, and maybe a ball! They have horse balls to play with! My silly gelding played with a barrel one time! Didn't like that, because I barrel race and that's a no-no to knock over the barrel!

Good Luck and he/she should be fine!

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Old 01-28-2005, 10:49 AM  
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<But I would get a girl...I think that the boy goats stink...YUK. >

Not if its castrated.

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Old 01-28-2005, 02:18 PM  
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Even castrated male goats produce the musky smell. It's just not nearly as potent! Castrating makes it decrease by a lot ,though. Whew, intact males make my eye water!
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Old 01-28-2005, 06:07 PM  
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reminds me of a funny story:

Way back when my former trainer took some students to the Brandon Winter Fair. when she was there she saw 2 obviously unhappy young goats in a petting zoo (intact males) , so she bought them.

She figured they could ride in the back of her Jeep Cheroke...the thing was, it is about a 15 hour drive! Man did that Jeep stink by the time she got home! I think she spent about $300.00 getting the smell out!

Live and learn i guess!
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Old 01-29-2005, 05:12 PM  
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pretty much anyone who keeps their horse in a pasture has enough room for two horses, as long as you keep the grass up and the ground from getting muddy. My friend has two large horses and a miniature pony in a (to me) small pasture (.5 achre) and she mucks the pasture once every day, that keeps the grass coming up. If you can get another horse, and can afford to pay for another horse, then as long as you take care of the land they are kept on, I would think eveything would be ok. During the winter however hay is needed. If you cant afford another horse, try adopting a lame or retired horse, they come cheap, if not free, but you also must consider the cost not only of purchasing this other animal you wish to keep with your horse.

I dont think that keeping horses alone is at all inhumane, it is true that horses are herd animals, but if you think about it, not all horses like to be with other horses. I think that horses tend to depend on you better, thinking that you are their only friend, and you are all that they need, on the other hand though, if your horse is a horse like i used to have, no matter how long you leave them alone they still pace the pasture and neigh for a friend, then they may become over excited when taken out of the pasture.
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