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Franklin Levinson's

Horse Help Center

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More Herd Bound Behavior

I love your site and it has helped me may times...although I have a situation that I don't know what to do about. I have a 17 year old thoroughbred mare that raced for 10 years. She is a great horse to ride, although not a real loving horse. I also had a 6 year old thoroughbred mare that was really sweet, but awful to handle. I used to board them both where I had an indoor arena and could work with them daily in a controlled environment. I have moved and now they are in my back yard, and it has become hard to work with my younger mare, I live in northeastern Ohio and the winters are bad here. So I made the decision to sell the younger mare, because I could not give her the training she needed and it had come to the point where she was hard to handle and prevented me from even enjoying my older mare because I couldn't leave the younger one alone. Now I have only one horse, but plan to buy an older horse that is already trained. My older mare "Cher" that has never been herd sour, or really even liked other horses, has began to pace, squeal if I touch her, kick her stall, and throw her ears back if I get near her. There are other animals in the barn with her, cows, chickens that are loose and love her stall to scratch in, and a barn dog. So I got rid of one to be able to spend more time with Cher and now she doesn't want me near her. It has only been a few days since I sold the other mare and it doesn't help that Cher is in heat, but what do I do? Do I need to hurry and find another horse? Buy a goat for a companion? Cher is a very dominate horse, she was the alpha mare where I boarded before, but she has never been like this.....any suggestions? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, Lisa

Hi Lisa,

It is still herd bound behavior. Horses, as you know, can extemely sensitive and they are very social. Now that your mare is alone (without equine companions) she is going to be pretty upset (her estrus cycle certainly isn't going to help). If you had the facility (round pen, indoor arena) to have a lot of movement with her and the ability to have a lot of dances and games you do with her, that would certainly help. However, thoroughbreds (especially mares) are high strung, can be very tempermental, are 'hot' blooded (as opposed to quarter horses which tend to be calmer and are cold blooded) and even in the best of environments with other horses, can be moody, and not very consistent in day to day temperment. Your situation is not good environmentally (given the lack of other horses and lack of facility for consistent exercise and movement). My suggestions are to get your horse around other horses. Get some good ground schooling reminders on your horse and begin a very consistent and regular program of exercise and activity. Your horse will come back to being compliant again, but not in the situation she is in right now. Good Luck and be CAREFUL!

Sincerely, Franklin

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