Keeping 4 Horses Altogether

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14 May 2019
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306
Pros and cons of keeping horses in a field together please? I have moved to a house with 10 acre of good grazing and have 4 horses. Two are retirees, one of which is used to living in a herd, the other two are my husband's hack and my competition horse. The latter two are the only ones who would leave the field. Is it more natural to keep them together or is it a bad idea because of injuries, different feeding regimes. They are currently in separate fields and can all see each other. I know this is a first world problem but would be interested in peoples views. I'm planning on putting the two retirees together and they will be living out 24/7 where as the other two will come in at night in the winter.
 

Pearlsasinger

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I would never keep a horse on individual turnout if it could be avoided. We used to have a herd of 4, for many years, with different horses making up the 4. First of all we built up our herd on livery and when we got to 4 had our own field for them. Then when we moved to a house with land, the 4 all lived together with absolutely no problem for 20 years. One was retired and the other 3 went out in pairs, usually. Because of various health problems, we had newcomers join the herd but they integrated well, while we had 'boss horse'. Then, after boss horse was pts aged 31, we found ourselves with 2 mares that didn't get on at all - one in her teens and the other a 2 yr old. In the end we had to separate them and keep 2 pairs in different fields, which was a complete pain.

If you can keep yours together, I would do so.
 

Wheels

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It would never occur to me to keep them separate unless they fought or were picked on. Horses are herd animals and they should live in a herd if possible. .
This!

Although I have one who can be aggressive but only to certain horses. I keep my 4 in pairs as a result of that but I would prefer them all in together and I expect the other 3 would too
 

meleeka

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Hants, England
I have 5 living together, ranging from a 16hh to a mini. It wouldn’t occur to me to separate them unless there was a specific reason. Two of mine come in at night in the winter as one does better in and she needs company, so the fat cob joins her. They get fed apart from each other and I’m pretty good at padding feeds out with low calorie chaff for the fat ones, so that they all finish roughly together. They are a happy, stable herd and I can remove any one of them without the others minding too much so it works perfectly. Even the one that was a kicker when she first came has now calmed down and there’s zero fighting or injuries.
 

poiuytrewq

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I always aim to keep together, it’s not working at the moment so have a group of 3 and two ponies separately, they will hopefully be back together shortly though. Too much grass in the bigger field for the ponies and two that have to come in last.... but not together 😂🤦‍♀️
 

windand rain

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Mine will be all together in winter at some point but we also have a how much grass issue with a laminitic and two fatties the others are growing youngsters but I expect next year they will stay together as they will all need restricted grazing
 

Carrottom

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I prefer pairs for ease of handling when I'm on my own. My fields are a 10 min walk from the stables so it is easier to bring in or turn out 2 at a time if they are in pairs.
 

Winters100

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My experience of individual turn out leads me to view it as a last resort. When I first got my mare she was out in a big pack and I could see that she was not happy. There were a couple of youngsters who irritated her, and fetching her in became really difficult with others barging at the gate. She got kicked in the gateway, nothing serious and without injury. but it was the last straw for me and I put her on her own paddock with others either side. I thought that she was happy, but when a new pony came to the yard and I was asked if he could join her I realised that I had been mistaken. She immediately bonded with the new pony, and went from following me as I poo picked to not being a bit fussed about me. Stupid really, but after having had horses for so many years I had not recognised her behaviour as loneliness, I thought that playing over the fence was enough, but I was wrong. Since then I have acquired 2 more and they are all out together along with the other pony. They come inside to eat as they have very different sized meals, but other than that are out dawn to dusk, and 24 hours if weather / mosquitos allow. As 3 are mine and the other owned by someone sensible we have no problem maintaining good discipline (muggings and gate barging are well understood to be not allowed), and I really see that they are happy this way. Of course if I had an aggressive horse or one who needed weight control I would use individual paddocks as necessary, but if they can go out with company I believe that it adds a great deal to their lives.
 

Cortez

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Ireland
If it worked before with separate fields/regimes I personally would leave it that way. Just fence off your 10 acres appropriately.
Good lord, why? I've had up to 27 horses out in a herd, and unless one of them's a psycho (does happen) there's no reason to separate them. If one or other is getting bullied then you may have to step in, but usually they all settle down and co-exist happily enough.
 
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I have 3 in a group. A 17 year old, a 7 year old and a 4 year old. They get on really well. The 17 year old is in charge , he is a benign dictator, the other two respect him and he keeps order for me. I can easily take each horse out separately and also leave each horse alone.
I would never choose individual turnout unless their was a specific issue with a particular horse.
 

honetpot

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Mine live in small herds, nearly all of them have known each other most of their lives and I only change the mix if one lot is getting over weight and the two older ponies who do not really get along are getting thinner. In thirty odd years I have only had one minor kick injury although they do like to bite each other backs, so sometimes they get a bit scabby.
 

M1lbie

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31 July 2019
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I have 3 all kept together, 2 retired (28 & 20) and my ridden horse. The 20 year old is the boss. They are a settled herd, live out 24/7 all year. Have previously had 4 and again all together. The only time I have separated one was last year for a few months in winter when the oldest could no longer cope with hay and needed a different feeding regime. They all went back in together once spring arrived with no trouble.
 

gemisastar

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25 February 2019
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Myself and my friends who I share a yard with have 4 mares who live together, out 24/7, they are happy as pigs in ****. I wouldn't have it any other way - I just know they wouldn't be happy if they were separated. I know my friends all share the same view and it works very well indeed for everyone. I also used to livery somewhere that had the horses living out on huge acreage in huge herds - 60-70 of them. Never had a problem, except finding your horse. I wouldn't separate yours.
 
Joined
14 May 2019
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306
So glad I started this post because you have all been so positive about putting them altogether whereas my friends who mostly have horses living separately at livery yards have advised me against it. I know in my heart it's the right thing to do as it's most natural for my boys. I'm going to give it a go now and have already put the two ridden and two retired ones in pairs. It's incredible how much time they spend together even just grazing side by side. Thank you everyone who commented
 
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