Sunday 26 October 2014

Friendship between horses

Paddy may be hitting his fourth decade, but he is still bright and sociable, and very much a ladies man.Over the last couple of months, he's formed a strong attachment with a very elegant chestnut mare he shares his field with, along with about a dozen other horses.

Today was one of the saddest sights I've seen in a while. The chestnut mare was moved to another field while Paddy was away from the field having his breakfast with my other horses. On turning them all out, the others were calm and behaving as usual. Paddy trotted then cantered up the field, calling and calling for the mare. He checked the whole (very large field), then just stood there whinnying - much more deeply and loudly than usual.
No blame to anyone else - Paddy's welfare is my responsibility, and none of us can find a perfect environment for our horses, we just do the best we can. Sharing a field with lots of other horses has been so good for Paddy - the downside is that horses will come and go, for all sorts of reasons. 

It really made me think about how we move horses, suddenly breaking bonds and having such a big impact on them - and often with little thought of how this feels from their point of view. We are rightly concerned and careful about introducing new horses, but may give little thought to taking horses away from a group, which is equally significant from the horses point of view. Planning ahead for group stability can make such a difference to your horse and is often undervalued or not considered at all.