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Preventing Herd Boundness

Hello Franklin,

I am currently looking for a horse to buy or lease, but would need a place to board it. I was thinking about boarding the horse at a friend's place. She has a 9 yr old gelding. He is very used to being with horses. Last summer, he went to a trial riding stable for the summer and was let out every night with twenty other horses, mares and geldings. Right now, I am interested in a 9 yr old mare. I told my friend this, and she told me if I were to board with her, she would rather I get a gelding. She told me how over the winter, when she leased a 11 yr old mare, the two horses became so attached to each other that she couldn't work one horse without the other horse in veiw, otherwise both horses would winny, pace along the fence, and the horse being ridden wouldn't listen to the rider. When the real owners came back for the mare, the gelding became depressed, would sniff around the pasture for her, winny constantly, and rubbed a bald spot in his mane. So I guess my question is if there is a way to prevent herd boundness right off the bat? Is there a way to stop it before it starts?

Thanks, Clair

Hello Clair,

Obviously, the horse as been habituated to it's herdbound behavior. Old habits die hard for horses and humans alike. The way to prevent this is to have a higher level of relationship (more bonding, trust, etc.) with the horse(s) to begin with. Some herdbound behavior is probably to be expected if the humans involved are not with the horses that much, even after spending a lot of time initially. My horse Pete sticks to me like glue when I am with him. But, now I travel much of the year, he will call for his pasturemates when I remove him from the field. But he gives it up afer a few minutes. We have a bond. Thats the key....

Sincerely, Franklin

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