One of the perks of having two horses is that you can turn them out together. There were some concerns about letting Chicolina loose on Snoopy because she is a very dominant mare, and he’s a little idiot who doesn’t even defend himself. However, in March I decided to take a chance and put them together in a medium sized all-weather turnout (pastures were still closed at that time). I stayed with them the whole time for a couple of weeks to be safe.
The first time, nothing happened. They said hi, then went about their business, getting together for mutual scratching every so often. It was on the second and third day that I had to step in and set down some ground rules. I doubt that Chicolina was ever socialized properly, at least not as an adult horse. On the second day she thought it was a great idea to chase Snoopy round and round. Little fool that he is, instead of just kicking her (which I’m sure would have put an end to it), he let her. It got dangerous when she then went on to corner him and bite and kick him.
I tried just stepping in and separating them for a couple of times, but that meant I had to stay in the turnout the whole time, standing between the two as a physical barrier. Since the idea was to turn them out and be able to do something else while they’re outside, this wasn’t a long-term solution.
When she started chasing him again, I picked up a big lump of dirt and threw it at her hindquarters. For once in my life, I hit my goal. The little whack on the bum threw her off and she left Snoopy alone for the rest of the day. On the third day, while I was still in the turnout, she went after him again. This time I was close enough to interfere directly. When Snoopy galloped past me with Cheeky at his heels, I jumped in between the two and chased the mare off in the other direction, yelling and making a fuss. Turned out this was the magic formula, as that was the last time she chased him.
We had a little relapse this week when she cornered him and bit him because she wanted to be the first at the gate, but generally, they are super happy together and enjoy each other’s company. Snoopy is still extremely submissive, but she no longer takes advantage of that.