Jennifer Middleton posted an update 3 years, 1 month ago
Hi Julie. I am extremely satisfied with everything I am learning from you. It has brought up my horsemanship quality immeasurably, and my horse and I are much happier for it! Thank you so much!
I have a question about putting horses together for social time. I have a dominant mare, Liberty who, thanks to what I’ve learned from you, is no longer dominant with me, but she is quite dominant with other horses. I’ve turned her out many different times with different horses and she always comes out on top because she is very willing to get big and exuberant to make her point. This is fine when the other horses submit however, there have been a couple of times where they have not. Last summer, Liberty was invited to join another small herd for a “graze date” and she and another mare were having fairly minor scuffles over dominance, but it ended with my mare kicking the other mare in the labia, and it caused a minor bleeding tear. Thank goodness it did not require veterinary assistance. I’ve not been invited back to graze with that group. Now, at my barn, I have my single mare in an enclosure, and across the driveway is a single gelding. We would love to have the two horses socialize together sometimes. When his owners and I decided it was good timing to try them together, we did. I thought it would be a simple discussion because he is a submissive horse by nature. The problem is, he is also lazy and when Liberty demanded he move his feet, he refused and it ended in a bum to bum kicking match with neither horse budging. It must have been 5 kicks each when I decided to use my voice to break up the fight. They broke off and then, of course, commenced kicking again. This time the gelding lost his balance and fell down. None of us humans were comfortable with what was happening so I went in with my stick and string and caught my mare and removed her. She has shoes on and he does not.
So my question is this… do you think this is a case where they should not be turned out together? Are there some horses that are too dominant and aggressive to turn out with others? Liberty has been successfully out with other horses many times before. I want to meet her social needs, and the social needs of the gelding, and it would be great if they could be put out together a couple of times a week. I’ve been using the presence of the gelding to work on Liberty’s focus, and herd bound issues with great success. I have to add that I have been applying what i have learned from your podcasts about riding a dominan/herd bound horse in a group, and the results are beautiful! It went from my horse having to always be in the front, and her giving directions to the other horses to not pass, to me being able to ride her in any position with her paying full attention to me, and no longer signaling the other horses in any way 😀 Huge Huge victory for us!! Thank you for that!
Thank you in advance for your time and consideration on this matter.
Respectful and joyful regards, Jen