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Help! Pasturing probems! (sorry--long)

Outlook Express Stationery from Sue C's Stationery HomePage: Lead A Horse To
WaterHi all,

I am moving and therefore HAVE to rearrange horses.  I decided to make
introductions here where I had a large area with solid 3 board fences rather
than wait until I got to my new place where there are only two places with
good fences right now--both less than 2 acres.

For the last 3 months, I have kept my horses in 2 groups.  Two geldings
share the paddock area with the yearling colt.  This area has 2 two acre
adjoining paddocks with an open gate between them.  Kashew (a gelding) and
Justen (the colt) have buddied up and act a bit like Siamese twins.  Dragon
(8 years old) was just gelded in November.  He is aloof from the other 2 but
there have been no problems in the field--he simply ignores them and they
ignore him.  Dragon has never lived alone but never buddied up to his
gelding pasture mates.  He was with Stroika for the first 6 years of his
life.  Sometimes other geldings shared their field.  Dragon ignored them
all.  The last 2 years, Pride shared the paddock with Dragon (and
occasionally others).  Pride is a major wimp--always low man in any field.
He followed Dragon around like a puppy but all his friendly overtures were
ignored and if he was too persistent, he was chased away.

About March, I took Pride and Stroika and turned them out on pasture with
the girls leaving only Dragon and Kashew in the paddocks.  A couple weeks
later, I put Justen out there.  That is how they have been until yesterday
morning when I brought Pride back in.  When I first turned Pride in with
them they did the expected "chase the new guy around" but nothing rough.
Kashew and Justen quickly lost interest in Pride and went back to eating.
Dragon continued to harass Pride for a couple hours but things finally
settled down with Dragon watching the road for volunteers to pet him and
feed him grass from the other side of the fence (always his favorite pastime
as the many walkers on our road oblige him) and Pride on the far side of the
second paddock staring longingly back out toward the pasture he came from.
The other two ignored both of them.  At 10 last night, that was still how
everyone still stood.

When I went out this morning, all 4 were close together and appeared
relaxed.  Pride was on the opposite side of the paddock dividing fence but
all were right next to the fence.  Kashew was laying down and chose not to
get up since it was obviously not breakfast time yet.  Justen was standing
against Kashew.  Dragon was about 5 feet from Justen with the pair between
him and Pride.  When I went to pet them, it did not look like such an
innocent peaceful scene.  Justen and Kashew are fine--obviously not directly
involved in the problem.  Dragon and Pride were both rough with dried sweat.
Dragon has a huge lump on the left side of his neck with a nice crescent
mark from a kick.  Pride is moving a bit stiffly.  Both have other minor
scuffs on them.  I fed some hay even though they had not cleaned up last
night's hay.  Justen and Kashew were enthusiastic about that (new hay always
tastes better--even if it comes from the same bale).  Dragon went on past
the hay to stand next to the fence by the road.  Pride remained where he

I brought Dragon and Pride in to adjoining stalls in the barn to put a hot
compress on Dragon's neck.  They are now standing as far from the dividing
grill as they can get.  Dragon looks fine other than that lump.  Pride looks
miserable.  So what do I do now?  Do I put Pride out with the other 2 for a
couple days and then try adding Dragon back in?  Do I put them both back
(watching them closely for trouble) on the assumption they came to some sort
of agreement in the fight last night and separating them for a while might
make them start over?  Do I keep them in adjoining stalls for a few days and
then turn them both back out?  Neither is used to being stalled any longer
than it takes them to eat their grain.

I have shuffled and rearranged and introduced new horses for years and never
had any spat last this long or actually had a horse get anything worse than
a minor scuff mark.  These 2 horses lived together before without problems.
I will have fencing to divide them up at the new place eventually but not on
arrival.  There are no stalls at the new place yet.  Sigh.  Stroika has to
be added back in before the move too.  I thought about adding him now to
give Pride a buddy except they have not been buddies in the pasture--Stroika
often chases Pride away from the group there.  Help!  We have to move them
August 9th and I can't come up with any safe way to keep them separate there
at least until I get some fences built.

Donna Dochterman
Dokada Arabians

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