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Franklin Levinson's

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Gelding Aggression towards Foal

Hi Franklin,

I have a 10 year old gelding (Jazz) who has lived in a pasture alone since he was a yearling. However he has had another horse (Benny) in the neighbor's pasture for the past 7 years and they hang out at the fence together, groom one another and play. The few times Jazz has been pastured with other geldings and/or mares, he has always been at the bottom of the pecking order and is quick to show his submissiveness without any challenge.

I recently purchased a weanling to be a companion for him as Benny is very old now (34+). Jazz, who has never shown any aggression towards any horse or person, tried to harm (and possibly even kill) the weanling in spite of the fact the foal was constantly displaying the suckling posture. Jazz is an extremely bright and curious horse and tends to think things through rather than just spook and run. The vet believes that because he has lived a life of solitude, he has never learned herd behavior and doesn't know how to read the weanling's suckling posture...and that the reason Jazz uses the suckling posture himself when around other horses is because that was his last learned behavior from his only herd life (from birth until a yearling). I'd love to get your insight on this as it has been most frightening.

Thanks very much!........Cherry

Hi Cherry,

I agree with the vet's response. Domestic horses are kept so un-naturally that behavior like what you are seeing is becoming seen quite often. Rather than a weanling as a companion for your horse, a mature gelding would have been a more appropriate choice. Your horse is aggressive towards this foal because it can be. It may seriously hurt your baby. Please consider this was an ill-founded decision and you may need to make a radical change to protect the well-being of the weanling. Wish I could be of more assistance.

Sincerely, Franklin

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