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 Intorducing a new horse to a herd

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Posts : 282
Join date : 2009-04-02

PostSubject: Intorducing a new horse to a herd   Wed Feb 23, 2011 11:03 pm

How do you introduce a new horse to a herd of horses? We are getting a new horse in a few weeks and in the past I have just put the new horse in the herd and let them figure it out. We don't have a very large herd, right now only three horses and they get along pretty good. One of our horses is pretty dominant, but is not the boss of the herd, that belongs to the old fellow, Thunder. No one messes with him!

Should we introduce the new horse to Tramp, who is the bottom of the herd, then to Thunder (the boss man) then finally to Trigger (the bully)? In the summer we had another horse in the herd but he had to leave because Trigger was WAY to mean to him. Just picking on the old fellow none stop. Making him run and run. It was not fair to the old guy.

Is there anything I can do to avoid that?

Thanks for the help!
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Posts : 716
Join date : 2009-03-31
Age : 57
Location : Possum Critter Farm

PostSubject: Re: Intorducing a new horse to a herd   Thu Feb 24, 2011 12:24 pm

IMO, or at my place at least!! - there is waaaay too much snow right now to turn out strange horses, together - no where for them to run once the pecking order party begins...tough one...good luck, and tell us more about your new horse!
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Posts : 1307
Join date : 2009-03-30
Age : 42
Location : Debert, NS

PostSubject: Re: Intorducing a new horse to a herd   Thu Feb 24, 2011 1:51 pm

I agree with EM. When George came it was a sheet of ice and it turned into a nightmare. Never mind that I was pretty much convinced George was going to kill Dexter, I have never seen horses fight like that :O Dex and Prince couldn't get away from him without risking breaking a leg. I ended up locking George in a "stall" in the shelter (at the time I had it seperated into 3 sections). They could sniff and squeal over the gate and it was sturdy enough that George wasn't breaking out. Every day I would take George out on a lead and walk him around with Dex and Prince. Eventually I put him out with Dex alone and locked Prince in the stall for short periods. Prince was still a baby and didn't know enough to get out of the way. When George was okay with Dex, I turned him out with Prince alone. Eventually I was able to let all 3 out together but it was a long time before things settled down. Still now if I take one into the barn for 1/2 hour when I turn them back out George will squeal and strike at the other 2. I think George was a bit of an extreme case though since he had only been gelded 2 weeks prior and he hadn't been turned out with other horses in a long time (8-9 years).

If you have a way to seperate the new guy at first I think that would be best, then add one so they're paired up.

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Posts : 1272
Join date : 2009-05-18
Age : 58
Location : Woodstock, NB

PostSubject: Re: Intorducing a new horse to a herd   Thu Feb 24, 2011 3:51 pm

When we add a new horse in we have an area where we let them introduce themselves over the fence. We do this for a week or so so when the time comes to turn them into the group , they are not totally new. Also we will often bring in one of the less dominant horses to buddy up for a period so when the newbie goes out, they will at least have one familair friend. If you aren't able to let them join over the fence, I would be tempted to bring the most dominant in and then turn the newbie in with the less dominant of your herd in order for them to bond, sort their order and then gradually bring the more dominant horse back into the mix. I know our group will still have squabbles...even the ones that have been together for years.

It is a treachous time for sure with the ice and snow. Good luck with your new horse!!!!!
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