Introducing a horse to herd turnout

Joined
15 June 2017
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My horse has always had individual turnout, and although most of the time he just gets his head down and eats, he can be quite playful and excitable at times.

I may be moving to a yard which only offers small herd turnout (single sex) and I'm worried that my horse won't adjust and will be a liability.

On the other hand, it could be that he will be more settled and less excitable if he is in a herd environment if done correctly.

Has anyone had any experience which they can share?
 

ycbm

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30 January 2015
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Just remember that single horse turnout used to be unheard of a couple of decades back unless a horse had already proved it wasn't safe with any other horse. He'll be fine.

Do you know how the new yard manage the introduction?
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Joined
15 June 2017
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Just remember that single horse turnout used to be unheard of a couple of decades back unless a horse had already proved it wasn't safe with any other horse. He'll be fine.

Do you know how the new yard manage the introduction?
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No, but I will find out. Do you think horses are less anxious in a herd than when turned out alone?
 

Lammy

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My friend just bought a horse who had been on individual turnout we think for most of his life. He was a right nervous nellie to start. It took him a week or two to assert himself, it’s a mixed herd of 3 and him and another have come in with a couple of minor bites but they’ve all settled now and he’s comfortably in the middle of the herd. All have no back shoes either which I think is important and he was turned out next to them the day before going in with them so they got all the silliness out before they were all in together.
 
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Mine hadn’t had herd turnout for some years when I bought him. He was anxious at first and got very attached to one particular horse, I started small with him. An hour a day and I’d make sure I could see him but he couldn’t see me (or he’d stand at the gate) and then slowly increased it the more settled he was. He doesn’t particularly show that he likes to be out for prolonged periods of time and I suspect that’s because he isn’t used to it. He’s happy to go out for a few hours with his next door neighbour and then come in overnight.

I would speak to the yard owner and just explain your situation and see if you can come up with a plan. Chances are he will be fine and be happy to be out with others
 

oldie48

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Rose was turned out with another three mares after 6 months of box rest. I was really worried but she spent a few hours in with the dominant mare in the next pen and then went out and she's been absolutely fine. Found her place in the little herd very quickly without any real issues and is very happy.
 

stangs

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Just keep in mind that a horse not used to being in a herd is liable to develop some separation anxiety - aka not wanting to be caught because they don't want to 'lose' their herdmates again. Completely understandable imo, but it can mean that owners need to make allowances for horse to understand their new routine.
 

laura_nash

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It depends a bit what you mean by always had individual turnout. If he wasn't given a chance to socialise as a youngster he might struggle. If always is just since adulthood he should be fine, but you might find he gets a bit clingy to begin with until he's confident his new herd aren't going anywhere.
 

Caol Ila

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My old horse was on individual turnout for most of her life because she was a massive liability otherwise. Very dominant, very aggressive. I did try to integrate her into a herd. She caused chaos. For a year. When I moved to a barn that offered individual turnout, she became far more relaxed. And had fewer vet bills. As much as I hated the idea, I decided that was the way forward with her.

Every time some YO told me that they had some amazing horse who would 'put her in her place,' I'd be like, please, for the love of God, don't do that. She wasn't socialized enough as a youngster, didn't learn how to be dominant in a safe or effective way, so she was just violent and bullying.

If the horse has been on individual turnout since it was a youngster, be careful.
 
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