Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Herd Dynamics

My little herd has had some issues lately when it is time to come into the barn at night.

Secret, John and Remi are all turned out together during the day. Three is hard because there is always odd man out. But trying to merge another horse at my parents barn into the group has been slightly stressful (for me, not the horses). Secret does not get along with Daybreak. Lily picks on Remi. I'm afraid Secret would pick on Lilac. So I leave it at three.

Secret is alpha mare. She bosses John and Remi around. I always put John out first so she cannot torment him too much. I believe it gives him a bit more footing - he was out first so she can't pick on him too much. I put Remi out last because she waits for the other horses at the gate and tends to get in the way.

John bosses Remi around, but Remi is not afraid to run up to him and kick out at him before skittering off. When Secret comes around, Remi gets out of the way, although the girls will share a hay pile.

At night, Secret has always come in first. Being the overly smart Morgan that he is, John realized that once I was holding Secret and leading her through the gate, she could not pick on him. He started coming after her while I was leading her. I started carrying a whip to discourage this behaivor in him. John can be incredibly rude when he chooses to be and this is not a situation to perpetuate.

Despite my efforts, Secret has decided that it is easier to let John go first. The last few nights, he is at the gate first, then Remi and Secret hangs back and goes in last. While they are out, she is bossing them around, but when it is time to go in - she waits.

I don't want John to get too cocky though, so I make him back up, halt, and back up again before I take him to his stall.


  1. They'll work it out. I'm a big believer in keeping safe when leading a horse, too - and keeping the horse I'm leading safe.

  2. Thanks Kate!

    To prove me wrong, Secret came in first the next two nights. John only likes to pee in his stall (an issue I am slowly working on) and it seems that on the nights he "really has to go" he hassles her. The other nights she goes first.