Keeping horse alone?

noblesteed

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Been offered a nice sheltered field for my gelding. He's arthritic, laminitic and I think approaching retirement :( The field is a sloping 1.5 acres of 'yorkshire fog' type moorland meadow grass so good for keeping lami at bay. He would live out in his muzzle by summer and unmuzzled in winter. It seems perfect. The farmer is nice and the field is easily accessible from the road and adjacent to bridleway so I could ride if horse was well enough.
There are horses at a neighbouring farm so he would be able to see them in the distance.

I am just not sure if it is fair to keep him on his own.

Currently he's on a small livery yard alone in starvation paddock but next to his friends. Winter he will be stabled at night but I would rather keep him out so he keeps moving. When the weather gets bad the farmer just bans turnout for a few weeks completely - awful for an arthritic :(
What are people's thoughts on keeping them alone?
 

Umbongo

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It's a no from me, I think it is very important as herd and prey animals to be kept with other horses. So I would look for a companion. You may need 2 if you intend to take him out of the field to ride.
 

Pearlsasinger

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I would never want to keep a horse on its own, it really isn't fair to them, being able to see horses in the distance just isn't good enough and it certainly isn't the way I would want my elderly, arthritic horse to end his days.
 

Goldenstar

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No from me to it's no way to endure retirement .
However how about fostering a rescue plenty of ponies for whom this would be ideal.
 

Tinytots

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I think it's unfair as they are herd animals, can you find a companion, a rescue pony with similar grazing needs?
 

milliepops

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No from me to it's no way to endure retirement .
However how about fostering a rescue plenty of ponies for whom this would be ideal.
^^ agree.

I have one that was kept on her own for several years, she is still troubled by it and I couldn't ever do it to a horse.
 

turnbuckle

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Would the fencing be good enough for sheep or even goats?

I think the need for equine company can be overdone. Mine has beasts to talk to over a gate and really is quite happy. I am very sensitive to animal emotions and I get no bad vibes. Happy to chat to and work alongside other horses when he goes away from home, but actually far less clingy and nappy than when he lived in a small herd...just a contrarian view.

The 24 live-in in bad weather would be a decider for me.
 

Rosiejazzandpia

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Other horses are a must. What about fostering a pair of small ponies? If the grass is good for a laminitic then two small ponies would be good company, plus it would free uo space for a local rescue :)
 

Dry Rot

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Discussed this with a WHW officer recently. Horses need to be able to mutually groom with another horse so it is illegal to keep one on it's own. See item 3 below:

Legislation

The Animal Welfare Act 2006 makes owners and keepers responsible for ensuring that the welfare needs of their animals are met. These include the need:

for a suitable environment (place to live)
for a suitable diet
to exhibit normal behaviour patterns
to be housed with, or apart from, other animals (if applicable)
to be protected from pain, injury, suffering and disease

Anyone who is cruel to an animal, or does not provide for its welfare needs, may be banned from owning animals, fined up to £20,000 and/or sent to prison.
 

Orangehorse

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I have a horse and a companion and they NEVER groom each other, in fact they pretty much hate each other, don't hang out together and graze at opposite ends of the paddock and my horse tries to kick and bite the pony if she gets too close. Companion, eh?

I kept one grumpy mare by herself. When I sold her she went to a livery yard and proceeded to kick and get kicked by the other horses.

Another horse I knew lived mainly by himself, he was a very timid character and when he ex field mate was turned out with him, he jumped over a hedge to escape him. He did like my horse though.

So, no, it isn't ideal, but some horses just aren't that sociable and older horses sometimes seem to prefer the peace and quiet.
 

Pearlsasinger

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Discussed this with a WHW officer recently. Horses need to be able to mutually groom with another horse so it is illegal to keep one on it's own. See item 3 below:

Legislation

The Animal Welfare Act 2006 makes owners and keepers responsible for ensuring that the welfare needs of their animals are met. These include the need:

for a suitable environment (place to live)
for a suitable diet
to exhibit normal behaviour patterns
to be housed with, or apart from, other animals (if applicable)
to be protected from pain, injury, suffering and disease

Anyone who is cruel to an animal, or does not provide for its welfare needs, may be banned from owning animals, fined up to £20,000 and/or sent to prison.
If only that happened!

I hate seeing horses on their own all the time.
 

ester

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Would always have said no and we were totally prepared to acquire a companion when I move Frank to Wiltshire leaving Mum's mare on her own. But she is a real people horse, seemed fine, seems to have no ill effects from it and was a bit pee'd off when he returned as she didn't have free rein to our back garden set up/stables anymore.

It would however absolutely not suit my boy, he doesn't even do well with individual turnout.

However I do also know how much better he has done with his stiffnesses having more turnout.

Would I want to do it definitely long term with a retiree, I don't think so, I would be looking at sourcing a small companion that would fit his lifestyle and also doesn't need any grass in their lives.
 

Goldenstar

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Discussed this with a WHW officer recently. Horses need to be able to mutually groom with another horse so it is illegal to keep one on it's own. See item 3 below:

Legislation

The Animal Welfare Act 2006 makes owners and keepers responsible for ensuring that the welfare needs of their animals are met. These include the need:

for a suitable environment (place to live)
for a suitable diet
to exhibit normal behaviour patterns
to be housed with, or apart from, other animals (if applicable)
to be protected from pain, injury, suffering and disease

Anyone who is cruel to an animal, or does not provide for its welfare needs, may be banned from owning animals, fined up to £20,000 and/or sent to prison.
Provide one piece of case law to show a successful prosecution of someone keeping a horse in a field alone .
 

Malibu_Stacy

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25 May 2010
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897
Agree with others that permanently on their own (unless medical/ welfare reasons) is a big no for me. Horses not grooming each other is not evidence that they'd be fine on their own. In 2.5 years I've never seen my companion pony groom with my others (she demands scritches from me instead) BUT she and my retired mare are devoted to each other and don't like to be out of each others sight.

If you're going to be within about 50 miles of Leeds then I'd contact Hope Pastures to find a rescue companion; as a smaller charity they can consider each individuals situation. It is worth contacting them even if you think nothing on their current rehoming list will suit as they have currently been rehabbed or wait list ponies that could also be suitable
http://www.hopepastures.org/
 

paddi22

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It is a very sad way for an elderly horse to spend his last days. They are herd animals and need a social life. What about getting a little mini from a rescue to keep him company?

We have a few neighbours that keep sad old ponies by themselves and they literally just stand in the one place all day looking depressed, i get really upset driving past them. I had the most antisocial old rescue i ever got in - he had no interest in the herd at all, but he never looked like he even cared for them, or interacted with them, but he still stayed around them. And he only lay down when one was keeping watch near him. I would never keep a horse alone, no matter how stoic they seemed. I have little minis that I throw in with them if one ever has to be kept by themselves.
 

Ceriann

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No from me too. I have 3 - two are relatively independent and can happliy graze in a paddock alone, go in alone and venture out. The third is anxious - she's a rescue and spent a couple of months in hospital so I really struggle with her. They all spend time together and even if separated, can groom over fencing. They spend 22/23 hours most days without us as horses, we should give them company.
 

rabatsa

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I kept one on its own and only when a second horse arrived did I realise just how stressed the first had become. Within two days she had relaxed and was a different horse.
 

oldie48

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I kept one on its own and only when a second horse arrived did I realise just how stressed the first had become. Within two days she had relaxed and was a different horse.
Friend was convinced her pony was fine on his own but he was nervous and constantly on alert, and very spooky to hack. The hunt went by and the pony managed to jump out of the field to join them and if I passed by he'd run up and down the hedge line shouting. When she moved him to somewhere were he could go out in company he caused havoc, was quite aggressive towards one of a pair bond as he tried to pair up and was difficult to catch. This convinced her that he was better on his own, I thought it proved the opposite.
 

milliepops

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This convinced her that he was better on his own, I thought it proved the opposite.
Well, quite :( Easier to manage if he was on his own, perhaps, but not better for the horse. What a shame :(

I don't think Kira's previous owners had any inkling that she was so stressed on her own, she looked calm and quiet but seeing how she reacted on getting company has been fascinating. She's a different pony, but it took a long time for her to lose the hunted look in her eye and she is still extremely clingy.
 

fburton

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Discussed this with a WHW officer recently. Horses need to be able to mutually groom with another horse so it is illegal to keep one on it's own. See item 3 below:
I'd be interested to hear how WHW envisages stallions being treated under this commendable directive. Personally, I would love to see stallions getting more opportunities for social interaction, but practicalities and culture tend to militate against that.
 

meleeka

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14 September 2001
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Hants, England
Discussed this with a WHW officer recently. Horses need to be able to mutually groom with another horse so it is illegal to keep one on it's own. See item 3 below:

Legislation

The Animal Welfare Act 2006 makes owners and keepers responsible for ensuring that the welfare needs of their animals are met. These include the need:

for a suitable environment (place to live)
for a suitable diet
to exhibit normal behaviour patterns
to be housed with, or apart from, other animals (if applicable)
to be protected from pain, injury, suffering and disease

Anyone who is cruel to an animal, or does not provide for its welfare needs, may be banned from owning animals, fined up to £20,000 and/or sent to prison.
Not law sadly, but guidelines and rarely enforced.

I kept a pony on her own for a while. She'd come from a yard where she had little interaction with others so at the time was better off as she at least was out 24/7.

Once I got her a friend I wouldn't have ever put her back to being alone, it wouldn't have been fair. I have my own field now and two is the minimum I'd have. The cost of two is outweighed by the benefits imo.
 

Goldenstar

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I'd be interested to hear how WHW envisages stallions being treated under this commendable directive. Personally, I would love to see stallions getting more opportunities for social interaction, but practicalities and culture tend to militate against that.
Exactly the 'right ' to show natural behaviours is just nonsense -any one up for a mass prosecution of vets who castrate male horses or on owners who give their horses regumate
 
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