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Mares and Geldings Together (good or not good)

I have had my gelding for three years (he's seven). He was an only horse until February, when I rescued a mare. He has been boarded at farms with other horses, but was alone the first five months that I had him and was alone for the year before I got my mare. (There are horses across the street that he can see.) I used to be able to ride him on my property and to my neighbors with no issues. Even when he was boarded with other horses, riding off the property was never an issue. He was always great, willing, responsive, etc. However, since I got the mare, I cannot ride him off of my property. He tries to turn around, prances, does not listen, tosses his head, tries to canter the whole time, etc. One time, he was very dangerous. We were driving cattle across the road (he's driven cattle before), and he went nuts. He ran backward (didn't know a horse would do that), tried to rear, and completely ignored me. He could see and hear his "friend," but even when I pointed him toward her, he would run backward away from her and try to rear. When I trail ride off my property, even with other people, he is prancing and tossing his head, etc. He calms down only when he can see her and walk next to her on the other side of the fence. He is completely barn sour, too. However, if I trailer him somewhere, he is my good old boy, whether alone or with other horses, on the trail or in an arena. Any suggestions? Thank you very much.

Regards, Shannon

Hi Shannon,

Thank you for your question. Sounds like you have your hands full with him. Geldings frequently get so attached to mares that they become quite a problem as you have seen. That is why generally, geldings and mares are usually kept separately. If the is any way you do not need to keep him with the mare, but rather, with another gelding that will help solve your problem faster. At the ranch I live at here in Colorado one gelding became so much of a problem being kept with a mare he became dangerous. I got his 'manners' back but he had to be separated from the mare or he would revert to the negative behavior. There is no easy fix for your situation. Having the mare there with him will negate any training (this has been my experience). There are techniques for handling a herd bound horse and some of them are already in archived questions and answers on my website. But your situation has the gender element that is a bit specific to you. Can you remove him from the mare and put him with geldings? That is the biggest aspect to your problem.

Good Luck .

Aloha, Franklin

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