Does Your Horse Need a Companion

Print this page    
When you’re looking at horses for sale with plans of bringing home a new horse, having an appropriate companion for that horse probably isn’t the first thing on your mind. But if you plan on bringing your new horse home to a horse stable in your backyard, there might not be a second horse there to keep your new horse company.

Here’s what you should know about equine companionship before you bring home a horse to live alone.

Horses are Social

By nature, horses are social creatures. They live in herds in the wild, and a herd means protection for a horse. Herds of horses can alert each other to potential danger, so staying with other horses is an innate behavior that remains, even in the modern horse.

This means that your horse will naturally feel safer with another horse around. Additionally, a second horse provides interaction and companionship for your horse. Mutual grooming is a behavior that horses naturally partake in which helps to not only relax the horses, but which can lead to a better quality coat.

Living Alone Can Cause Issues

The environment that we create for our horses is an unnatural one. Often we separate horses from each other, and we close them in stalls for hours each day. Keeping horses in stalls can lead to boredom and anxiety, and not providing them with companions can further increase those issues. When horses are bored, they can begin to display undesirable behaviors, such as cribbing, weaving, and stall kicking. Depending on how social a particular horse is, the horse may even become depressed when kept alone, away from other horses.

Potential Companions

While it is ideal to give your horse at least one other horse to socialize with, that isn’t always possible, due to financial and space restrictions. Luckily there are a number of animals that may be used as substitutes. Goats are possibly the most popular alternative equine companion, and they’re easy to care for and feed. Some horse owners have also successfully introduced sheep as companions. In some cases, a cat may also substitute as a companion.

When you introduce a potential companion to your horse, it is important to make sure that the two get along and will be safe within each other’s presence. Make sure that you make introductions gradually, and give each animal a way to spend time without the other present. Supervise the animals carefully until you are certain that they will get along.

When you’re looking at horses for sale, remember to think about how to provide your new horse with the companionship that he will need.

Share |