Introducing a youngster and an oldster

Jane&Ziggy

Jane&Sid these days!
Apr 30, 2010
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So Charlie arrives next week, a 16 month old, 13.3 Highland x cob (mum) x tb (dad).

Mattie, my old boy, is 18 and desperately missing a companion. He spends a lot of time each day standing in the top corner of the field, where he is as close as possible to the next door mares. He is a gregarious, playful, submissive horse.

My YO and other people have intimated that I should keep Charlie and Mattie apart for quite a long time - YO even said 2 weeks. I am a bit poleaxed by this - when Mattie met Ziggy, they were in together and grooming each other within 10 minutes.

I do understand that Charlie may well end up being Mattie's annoying baby brother, but I am not sure how to gauge when it's safe for them to be together. Could you share your experiences and offer me your views? What do you all think?
 

fourlegs

Horse addict
Beware territorial issues - if you put Charlie in Mattie's field, Mattie might object - best to move them into adjacent fields or divide the field and let them run alongside each other for a while .
When eventually you put them together I would put leg boots on both to mitigate any kicks
 

Jane&Ziggy

Jane&Sid these days!
Apr 30, 2010
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Thank you. I'm starting them off separated, for sure - I have seen the damage a grown horse can do to a yearling. I suppose I'm finding it hard to believe that Mattie would take against any other horse, but I should know that anything can happen with horses.
 

chunky monkey

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May 2, 2007
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When I brought my second. I kept him seperated in another paddock but where he could see my other horse but not touch.
In an ideal world they should be isolated for 2 weeks to minimise the risk of bringing anything onto the yard anyway.
I then put into the same field but with an electric fence between them. For me I was not sure that my old horse would like another horse for company as he had spent so long on his own he was actually happy and settled. So it wasn't a case of mine missing a field companion like yours. Theirs about 16 year age gap between the 2 of them.
I actually kept my two seperate for 18 months. For me having them in the same field but with a tape between just made everything simple and safe. They actually groomed each other over the electric fence as well. The way I actually introduced them together was I had a seperate piece in the paddock which was a sort of third mini paddock in the field. If I was taking one out for a hack I'd let the other into it to graze then come back and swap over. Then whilst I went into there paddocks to poo pick they got to spend time together in this area. So in effect it was like mutual territory for both. Most of the time they just put there heads down to graze as it was a reasonable size the grass was always taster than them worrying about being in together. Once I was ready to feed they went back into there own individual paddocks. So there was never any hierarchy or fighting for food.
Whilst they have been together some 2 years now. I have to say my old boy still struggles with the youngster. He accepts him but his ear go back frequently. At feed time youngster finishes feed first and will try to see what the old boy has left. My old boy charges the youngster, ears back. Youngster doesnt get the message and it can get quite dangerous. The old boy is starting to get slow at eating his food so I have to stand between them quite often now.
I think each horse is individual. If mattie is missing company then they might get on well and could be friends in no time.
 

Kite_Rider

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May 18, 2009
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All I know is that when Belle moved in with a herd, we just put her out there and left them to get on with it, however, I guess it could be different with just two I guess.
 

Jessey

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Dec 20, 2004
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I doubt it's the introduction that they are really worried about, in my experience youngsters are very submissive to older horses and everyone settles pretty quickly BUT with all the flu etc. flying about it would be wise to have him in isolation for a period, no matter how nice the seller seems you just don't know and you also don't know about where the other horses on the box have come from etc. (I have known 2 friends who brought (and had vetted) perfectly healthy horses who then went down with strangles a week after arrival :eek: the yards they came off never had any outbreak, so in both cases it's thought it was picked up in the transport :( ). This is why Dan was in isolation when he came to me, not because the introduction required it :)
 
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diplomaticandtactful

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Apr 25, 2003
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Usually the youngster will mouth and make submissive faces you tend to get more trouble when they get older and bolder and try to be boss. when buddy arrived, and was top horse, Fleur used to go and make foal mouthing at him and he grooms her. He ignores Suze as she would be top horse. We haven't really had any issues introducing them. Usually it settles down quite quickly. Only bad time I had was molly took exception to two older geldings who came as companions. She got on better with youngsters and we swapped them over for two yearlings who she mothered and adored. when Rose arrived as a permanent she took over and was in charge of molly who was the original resident and just gave in to everything.
 

mystiquemalaika

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In the past we have just put horses together with no issues bar 1 and that was my Neala, every damn horse, ever the usual got on with anything 11.2 welshy chased her and wanted to beat the crap out of her! But echo Jessey, with the current flu i'd do the 2 weeks isolation with any new horses. It's also a very good and often not thought of point when using transporters, No matter how good they are, they can't always know if a horse they have on isn't carrying something.
 

Jessey

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Isolation means not being able to touch, eh? Poor little boy :(

@mystiquemalaika , @Jessey , he is fully vaccinated - would that make a difference? I guess that the strain of flu around at the moment maybe isn't covered by the vaccines, curses
Ideally a 5m exclusion between them was the advise my vet gave when I brought Dan in. Try to see the positive of it, if he only has you for company for the first couple of weeks he's going to latch on to you really well :)
Vaccinations don't prevent this flu, just lessen the severity of it, same with strangles if he's vaccinated for that, and there are other things which we don't vaccinate for like virus' that you would be able to spot in that time if he were carrying anything.
 

OwnedbyChanter

With out my boys life would be bland
Apr 16, 2009
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Chanter was 16 ginger 4, I separated the field with tape. Left them for two days then turned them out together.

When I lost chanter. Little one was just put straight in the ginger.

Horses can be next to each other for years grooming over the fence but put together still kick the poo out of each other.

It’s a gamble either way. I am planning on just putting Eddie in with ginger next year. They will have spent time on the yard together first
 

Bodshi

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Apr 23, 2009
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I wouldn't worry so much about the risk of him bringing flu since the virus can travel several miles by air anyway, so keeping them a few feet apart won't make much difference. As @Jessey says there are other diseases he could bring with him, or pick up in the transport though.
 

Bodshi

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Sorry ... I'm sure it will all be fine, even if you do keep them apart for a couple of weeks, it's only a couple of weeks and hopefully they will be itching to meet each other by the time they're allowed. Plus, as @Jessey also mentions, Charlie will probably be far more inclined to bond with you if you're his only company.
 

MrC

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I just put my two together in a neutral field and let them get on with it. Kia chased Faran terribly for the first few days then he started to accept him.

Unfortunately Kia was gone before I could put them in the herd together but when we introduced them we did it over a gate then the fence then just put him in and left them to it.
 
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