Horses that are turned out together often scuffle to establish a pecking order, sometimes regularly giving the head honcho a run for his money in an attempt to topple the hierarchy. As a horse owner, these squabbles can be tough to watch, with teeth and hooves flying.
Horses turned out in a herd will typically find one close friend whom they spend most of their time with. They can often be found hanging out with their best buddy, grooming each other, swatting flies as they stand head-to-tail and defending each other if the need arises. To encourage friendship formation, it’s best to have an even number of horses in a field, avoiding groups of three when possible. Two horses inevitably become friends, leaving one as the outlier. Having good-sized fields also encourages friendship and allows outsiders to get out of the way if a fight breaks out.
Instead of just throwing a new horse into the mix and letting him battle it out in the field, set him up for success by putting him in a smaller enclosure with one other horse from the established herd for a few days. The two horses will bond and then can be turned out into a larger herd together. This friendly face will hopefully allow the new horse to take a bit less abuse as he acclimates to the new herd.
Read more at EQUUS.
New to the Paulick Report? Click here to sign up for our daily email newsletter to keep up on this and other stories happening in the Thoroughbred industry.
Copyright © 2021 Paulick Report.