Seperating two horses.

Liz is a Recommended Associate of the Intelligent Horsemanship Association, and can help with behavioural issues
Sinead Davis
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Dec 08, 2011 9:54 pm

Seperating two horses.

Postby Sinead Davis » Fri Dec 16, 2011 6:37 pm

Well, it isn't happening just yet.
We are minding an 'in-foal' Shetland mare for a few months, and has been great company for my 15.2hh Mare. Before the pony came there was no other horses around, apart from donkeys in a field next to my horse and cattle and a field beside and behind. [The cattle are gone now] The thing that's worrying me is that.. When the cattle were being taken away, my horse ran up and down the field neighing, so.. She really likes the pony that's here at the moment, and it will probably be difficult to take it away. Any tips for keeping her reassured when it is gone, and going? [It's still here for a few months]

P.S. We are thinking of getting a companion for her when the Shetland Pony goes.
Thank you(: And sorry for any confusion. :D
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Joined: Wed Apr 21, 2010 10:44 am

Re: Seperating two horses.

Postby Expert_LizPitman » Mon Dec 26, 2011 12:34 pm

Hi Sinead,

I'm sorry to keep you waiting. It's been so quiet on here I've got out of the habit of checking!

Your horse sounds like she's displaying perfectly normal behaviour - she's a herd animal and needs company. Going ahead with your plans to get another companion for her when the pony leaves is absolutely what she needs. Assuming you ride her and/or otherwise take her out, getting a pony who doesn't mind being left from time to time would be sensible, so that you don't end up with that one stressing when you take your mare out.

Apart from that, the best thing you can do is work on your leadership relationship with your girl through good leading and groundwork, so that if it is just the two of you she understands that she can trust you and needn't worry. As and when you get your new companion, I'd suggest that you then use the groundwork exercises you've taught her as something very positive to do when you take her from the field and also when you take her companion out. From the start, let her know that her companion can come and go, and that when he leaves the field he will come back

When you first start taking a new companion out, do it for literally just 30 secs or so, just to the other side of the gate, then put him back. As you repeat and practice, your mare should learn that she doesn't need to stress as he will come back. You can then build up the distance and time (separately). Be slow and careful when you first take him out of her sight, again just a few seconds, and bring him back.

If there are 2 of you to work together, it can also help for one person to do groundwork in the field with her while her companion is being taken out as above. It can help reinforce the message that trusting you in these worrying situations is the right thing to do.

If you need some ideas for groundwork exercises, Kelly Marks' book Perfect Manners has some good ones - simple but effective - that should give you a good starting point.

Good luck!


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