H&R Expert Jane van Lennep BSc, MSc, NPSD, BHS SM gives advice on keeping horses in solitude.
Q: My 21-year-old mare has lived with a Shetland pony for the last 20 years. But recently, I had to have the pony put down and now I’m worried that my horse may be missing her. Upon my vet’s advice, I allowed my mare to go over to my Shetland so that she could realise she wasn’t with us anymore and she seemed fine, going about her business as usual. However, do you think I should now get her a new companion or could she cope on her own
Jane van Lennep answers:
It sounds as if she has accepted the parting of her little friend, however, horses are herd animals and will always feel safer with others of their own kind around them, helping to look out for danger, and for companionship and play, for instance.
My suggestion is that if you are in a position to do so, I am sure your mare would appreciate you finding her a new companion. In the meantime, if you have any items that her late friend had – such as a rug, numnah or even just her headcollar – she might find it comforting to have this near her, hanging on the field gate or over the stable door perhaps.
If you are looking for a companion horse or pony, remember that there are currently lots of horses and ponies in various rescue centres desperate for a caring home. So you could be helping out in a wider way if you were to offer a home to one of these needy equines. Or try our classifieds for a companion horse or pony.