Q: Hi I have a question about mares...we've recently acquired a 12 year old TB mare (our first young mare) She is generally respectful and nice to handle. But she has major social issues with other horses - she simply cannot be in the same paddock as even through the fence any interaction with other horses is violent. She kicks - and means it! She usually will go over seeking attention from them but it always ends in a lot of peeing, squealing and fence rattling from her strikes. I've seen her almost appear to try and attack our neighbour's pony through the fence. So my question is there any way to improve her manners through training or herbs so she can at least keep her hooves to herself around other horses? She unfortunately will still kick if people are present which is dangerous and unfortunate as she is a lovely horse on her own. My thought train is if people seem to be able to teach a stallion to be a gentleman in theory a mare should be able to learn to be a lady? Thanks for any help you can provide.
Kay, via email
Horses aren’t ladies and gentlemen, they’re horses. You can teach your mare rules when you’re around her but when she’s out in the paddock you have to allow her to be a horse.
When horses are running in a paddock, we shouldn’t expect them to conform to a human’s idea of ‘manners’. It’s not going to happen. Stallions and mares have their hormones to contend with but even a paddock of geldings will kick, bite and strike each other from time to time.
Horses squealing, kicking and striking may seem very violent to us but it’s simply how horses interact from time to time.
Horse studs often have fifty or more mares – sometimes mares and foals – running together. They may kick and bite each other occasionally but they sort themselves out and live together quite happily.
I’ve had many thousands of horses through my stables and seen all sorts of squealing, kicking and striking. All my stables were lined with rubber and all my yards and paddocks were double fenced so that the horses couldn’t play through the fence.
Horses find all sorts of ways to injure themselves in fences and yards. You must manage all your horses, to try and avoid accidents. A big part of this is making sure your fences and yards are safe. You may need double fences or you may need to keep your mare in a different paddock so she won’t play through the fence and injure herself.