More on inseparable horses

It's funny - I was in two minds whether to post Lisa's question about how to separate her horses safely, without stressing them (original post here).

I'm so glad i did: a flood of emails and posts have come in. Have a look at these:

Julie really does paint a picture of just how stressful these beautiful herd animals find separation - and how dangerous it can become for us.

"I have recently had to seperate my two horses. One went back to the previous owner and they have been together for 4 years. I have never experienced such trauma in all my life. I thought my old guy was going to have a heart attack. I have not had much to do with horses and am a bit frightened but each day I have just spent more time with the old guy and he is loves his cuddles and attention. I have moved him to a paddock where he sees lots of other horses and he has settled down really well and only after a week. I am not sure if I should get him another friend or not but would be interested in any advice I can get.


"Sharon’s tips have hit an accord with my friend and i, we too have become horse owners for the first time and yes we bought two horses that had been paddocked together for years off a farmer,one a nine yr old the other ten yr.As my friend is leaving near christmas to move down to her farm we too are going through the process that Sharon has discribed with reasonable success.The mare [9 yr] we have dicovered has quite an attitude and is all to ready to kick out with her hind quarters to any unwary person and my horse we dont seem to be able to get this under control and as we are novices would appreciate any comments we can get to further our knowledgeon horses and yes we fully intend to buy the horse whisperer book when we finish paying off our vet bills.


"Here is proven method: Take one of the horses and put it in a pin that is safe with hay and maybe special hay such as alfalfa or orchard. Saddle the other one and ride away a distance to equal a time of about 2 minutes. Ride back. Ride away for 3 minutes, ride back. Ride away for 4 minutes, ride back. You get the jest, keep it up. The reason it works, the horse left behind gets anxious then calms down as you return. Then anxious and then calm. This process of anxious then calm actually builds until the horse left behind just says I know they are coming back and I am all out of adrenline so I will just eat my hay. Have patience and remember sometimes you have to do something 100 times not 3 or 4 or 10. Horses relate to repetition.


Hope you find them helpful. Please keep the posts and tips coming in.

And if you'd like to bond with your horse, have a look here.




  1. Dr Jane Perry

    I think this mare of Kerri’a needs some manners training before attemptng anything, as the horses confrontational attitude might result in an injury. Perhaps the two of them could then be placed in ajoining paddocks where they have visual and limited physical access (grooming over the fence etc.). begin this with just 15 minutes (or less if necessay)and increase the time on each occasion..until thy are happy to graze on their own (seperately)without being on ‘constant look out’. Once this has been accomplished you can then start (with baby steps)removing the horses out of each others sight – first momentarily and the for a couple of minutes and so on….Take all of this as slowly as possible to avoid serious setbacks…However please remember that the first task is to gain the respect of the mare….

  2. kumadee

    Love these stories! Keep ’em coming!!!

    1. Gwen

      I also love these stories every day I always look and read this e-mail. It gives me good advice and sometimes a laugh. 🙂 😛 🙄 😆

  3. cheryl andersen


    Thanks for posting that. I am a first time owner and my horse is a bit herd-bound, and as soon as I’m able to ride again (broke my back in the fall) I’m going to give it a try. We’ve bonded very well thru grooming and just spending time together, so I’m hoping the combination of that and your tip will work for us!! This is such a helpful site Al – thanks so much!!

  4. hctjudge

    This has become a real problem for me. My 7 yr old TWH picks a buddy on every trailride. He is fine if he can be near his buddy, but will throw a fit if he thinks he is too far away. Yesterday he tied himself in a knot (seemingly, jumped up in the air and spun around. I am no longer young enough to deal with this and have been thrown. Every cure I have researched requires lengthy training. I would love to find a cowboy who would step off of him and yank him off his feet when he does that. I’m thinking that would put a stop to his foolishness.

  5. I have a sad and amazing story about separation. When I rescued by 24 yr. old thoroughbred, Lady Rhythm, she had retired with an older mare, Dusty, and had been with for years. But the older mare was very feeble and though the owner had wanted me to take both, I was new to horses and had a small space and felt I would not have the resources to take proper care of an ailing horse. I had no idea about how close horses were. I had been told they would even accept chickens as a play mate and I had room for those. Also, the neighbors had a horse. I was told that was good enough. It wasn’t. My mare, Lady Rhythm, broke through a barbed wire fence of my neighbors to get to another horse. She hurt herself. So I bought her a young companion and she settled down. After eight months, both my mares broke out and ran down the highway and were brought back in the middle of the night by a not too pleased police officer. My old mare was very agitated and wouldn’t eat for two days. I called the previous owner and asked her if this had ever happened to the mare before. She gave me the news. They had put Dusty down the night Lady Rhythm had run away, heading down the highway toward Roy, WA where she and Dusty had lived, over 200 miles away. Lady Rhythm knew. I know she knew. They are not just herd animals. They are deep and loyal friends. I pray to God I never have to sell my horses.

  6. Jayne

    I have just moved my injured horse to a paddock on its own and I worry about how he will be when we go to events where there are other horses. There Re people around and a horse in a nearby paddock but you can’t see him. There are chickens and my daughter and I go and spend time before and after school .

  7. KF

    Oh my god, that is so tragic. Poor Lady Rhythm. Such a very sad story, thank you for sharing it. 😥

  8. Suella

    The separation method using hay as a soother is a good one. The using of their mouths leads to endorphins and a calmer acceptance. Think licking and chewing. And how we feel when eating.

    The other method of riding away and coming back very quickly is also a good one. I also will tell the horse being left well before I actually ride away that we are returning and I have a mental picture of riding back into view. I have no evidence but I do feel that it helps. Telling him earlier in the procedure means that there is no upset and I feel the communication is more likely to be “heard”.

  9. monica williams

    Hi. My name is monica. I have a 18 yr.old mare
    When i go get her in the pasture, she will let me catch her..but thats it! Theres no taking her out, she won’t move.The only way she will come out and go to barn is if i take her friend in first! Then i can get her into her stall, and i let her friend back out.she has a little bit of a fit, but calms down.its really hard to get her to leave the barn yard, but she will if i raise my voice and carry a crop,( I dont whip her)! I tap her shoulder to get her to go..but anyways is there a easier way to get her to the barn? HELP! Ty monica

  10. Alex

    I have a mare who battles with separation. If I take her on her own to a show she is fine, but if I take her with another horse from the yard in a box she gets absolutely hysterical and will trample people to get back to her friend. Because horses are so strong and big and its actually quite dangerous, I listened to a friend and I tried to sort the problem out by doing a lot of ground work with her like pirelli and monty roberts. It actually really worked, she is so much more aware of me and my space now and listens so much better.
    HOrses are herd animals and I am always amazed at the friendships they form. We had to put a horse down in our yard recently and his stable mate of 12 years paced his stable and paddock for a week, calling all the time. Heartbreaking.

  11. Robbie

    When I euthanized my old mare at age 30 I left her body in the pasture until her old friends could come say goodbye. They all stood around her with their heads drooping. I buried her in that spot and her boys still come and taste the earth around her gravesite.

  12. Jac

    🙁 I have a 23 year old mare that attaches to another horse very quickly and makes my life and time around them miserable. I’ve had her since she was two but leased her out for a year off premises. When she came back she was like this. Never used to be. Could ride her away and do anything with her. Not so much now. Do they get this way in older years? Senile?

  13. Ann Speakman

    Julie, Alot of race horses have anxiety issues,often times theses horses have goats for companions.The goats are great.Because of their size they can go almost anywhere the horse goes. my suggestion would be to look for a goat companion for your horse. Good Luck! Annie

  14. Alexa Mead

    Can any one help me I have a 5 year old rescue gelding He came from a bad area in South Africa .He is very hard to catch and he always has his ears back and seems unhappy We also took another horse at the same time and he bullies him a bit but they seem very close .When i work the youngster only lunging and long rein at the moment he is also very difficult napping .I put a saddle on him and we had a real rodeo show .Help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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