Q: When my daughter tries to catch her mare, Bonnie, from the field, my gelding, Archie, will sometimes crowd her and threaten to kick because he thinks she’s trying to take his girlfriend away from him.
And at times, she’ll egg him on to run away from us just as we’re about to catch them both. What can I do?
Katie Mcalister answers:
I would recommend that both horses are caught together by separate people so that you can avoid an accident. Electric-fencing a strip of the field can be helpful, so that once you have caught the horse you want, you can put him into the fenced-off area to avoid being chased or threatened.
I sometimes find that when trying to lead a horse out of a field with another one interfering, a carrot thrown past the interfering horse can distract them long enough for you to get out of the gate with the other horse.
Social problems with horses often start when changes occur, such as a new horse arriving or a horse leaving. Horses are always re-evaluating their social statuses within their social groups and it’s likely that your gelding is seen as socially inferior by your mare. And because she has been able to boss him around, this has boosted her social confidence and has made him feel insecure.
With regard to your problem, I’d recommend you contact a UK-registered equine behaviour consultant to assess your particular situation at your yard, so that husbandry and safety suggestions can be made in order to improve the problem.
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