Saturday, August 28, 2010

A Wolf in Horse's Clothing

This is Gunner. He looks innocent, doesn't he. He looks like a nice guy, doesn't he?

But HE is responsible for THIS!

And probably all of the other wounds Junior has had in the past two months. Nice, huh? And this is AFTER I hosed it and the swelling went DOWN. Vampire pony.

They've been turned out together along with Max and a hundred year old ex-grand prix jumper since the beginning of July. The first few wounds were BIG and if you remember what he looked like when I got back on August 2nd, those were nice too. He has a new one nearly every day, but he hasn't had a "big" one since August 2nd until this one. But still, they are somewhat constant.

I'm used to grooming around them and putting ointment on them, noting which ones are healing and which ones are newer. Today I found this and did my normal freak out. I called the BM who said that she noticed a bite on his neck when they came in this morning, but it was not at all this swollen. She of course came and looked at it and we talked about what to do. I hosed it for a while which brought the swelling down and then I gave him the last dose of Banamine I had leftover from his eye.

Would you leave your horse in this situation? I know perfectly well he instigates part (if not all) of it but he is MUCH worse for wear than Gunner. If a horse ignores Junior's pestering or makes it clear that playtime is not on the agenda Junior will back off and be content to just hang out. But if he has a playmate that is game he is ALL IN. Both the BO and the BM have told me they can be separated and I will only feel a little bad if I decide to ask for that. But should I? I know it takes a while to establish herd positions and all of that, but how long do I let this go on? It's all superficial so far, but I cannot help think of how bad this one could have been. How long would you leave your horse in this situation? Is two months a decent litmus test of how horses are going to behave together? Longer?

What would you do?


  1. I was told that bite on the neck are a more aggressive (bites on the butt and back are to be expected).

    If it was my horse, I'd ask him to be moved. Not every herd combo works out, even given time.

  2. How big is the area they are in, and is there anything else to do - grazing for example? I've found that horses on good grazing will play a bit and tussle, but the grass is a great distraction. If they're in more of a dry lot situation, he may need a move to a different herd.

  3. @Breathe, He has many bites along the neck, but he's been wearing a fly sheet and the sheet is covered with nicks that suggest he gets bit everywhere and that the sheet somewhat protects him. He even has bites up by his jowl. I didn't know they meant different things.

    @Kate, they are in a decent sized field for only four horses. It is a grass field but not super plush and this late in the season the grass isn't regenerating as quickly.

  4. OUCH!! Poor Junior!

    Now I'm sure I'm the last person to be giving advice about boarding, pastures, goats... you know... but I would think that by now, they would have the herd order established.

    I think I'd ask for him to be moved. Sounds like the combination of horses isn't working, especially since that injury seems pretty severe.

    I hope he's all better soon!

  5. @Cedar View, Yes. I am increasingly jealous of your situation. I have drooled extensively over the photos of your beautiful, private barn. Maybe someday I can be a recovering boarder, too.

  6. One of our boys was in a pasture where this was happening. When they started biting each other on the neck like that they were separated. Things are better now with the two offenders being in separate pastures.