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So the pasture fence is ready and the auction is a little over a month away.

 

I have two horses (an 18hand Trahkaner gelding and a about a 16.1hand thoroughbred mare) the sheep will not need to share pasture but will be adjacent to the horses.

 

Since Keeva and I will be moving the sheep they may need to come in contact with the horses.

 

Does anyone see any issues? I can find nothing that suggests any problems with sheep and horses.

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Depends on the horse, some horses have no problem with sheep some do. Some will chase them for fun, some will get very worried at the sight of sheep or if the sheep get under foot and some flat out don't care.

 

Typically if they are nervous about them that will pass with time, the chasers bother me. Growing up our neighbor had a gelding that hated sheep, picked a big old ewe up in his teeth and threw her into the hay feeder. He took a big chunk of meat and hide out of her back that took ages to heal.

 

Anyway, it's just a case by case deal, when you put the ewes out for the first time do it with caution, might want to have the horses put up just in case they do something silly like take flight, if they have never seen sheep before.

 

I remember the first time may mare saw a llama, you would have thought that llama was going to eat her alive, horses are not always the most rational thinkers.

 

We only have one horse here now, he will chase the sheep if they get in with him so we don't allow it, but he also has a fit when he can't see them, a little flock bound (lol)

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As Debbie said, it depends on the horse. My sheep lived next to a group of horses for several years and whenever the sheep were in the field next to them, they'd go a little wild, snorting, racing around, etc., if the sheep were moving about. But the place where I started out had horses out with the sheep and they co-existed very nicely (the wilier sheep would hide under the horses when you sent a dog out to gather the flock, but the horses would ignore the dogs). More recently I had a mini donkey as a flock guardian. She was so hard on the sheep that I had to rehome her.

 

A bigger concern might be what the horses will do while you're moving the sheep past them with a dog. The combination of sheep and dog can set off a normally placid horse. Keep in mind that equines are sometimes used as livestock guardians because they will go after a dog. One of the horses in the field next to my sheep at the old place was said to be a dog killer. I never tested that out. I did find that dealing with the guard donkey with my dogs was a PITA. This donk had been raised from weaning with my flock, and so worked by the dogs along with the rest of the flock. As she matured she started going after the dogs. Unlike my guard dogs, she made no distinction between a predator and my dogs who were in the field only in my presence.

 

I think it's one of those things where you will just have to try it and see what happens, being prepared to do damage control if the horses react badly. It's most likely they'll just snort and run around a bit, but do be careful if you're moving the sheep past the horses with Keeva that the horses don't go after her.

 

J.

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Since those are two breeds known for being high strung (have an OTTB myself), I would introduce everything very slowly and just see how things go and take it from there. Pen the horses up if you feel it would help control the situation. They may not care one way or the other, or they may pitch a fit, regardless of how easy going or not they are. Horses are funny that way but if you ease your way into introductions/working the sheep next to them, you should be able to easily control any problems that crop up. In my experience even the hottest horses will happily tolerate just about anything as long as they've got something tasty to munch on.

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I'll echo what others have said. It depends on the horses, but I'd be very cautious. The horses may do nothing, or they may come galloping up to see what's going on. And they could very well decide to chase either the horses or the dogs - or both.

 

So, I'd say take it slow and let the horses and sheep get used to each other slowly, with a fence between. And even if they do get along fine on either side of the fence, horses can decide things are suddenly realllly exciting, once you and the dogs come through that gate. In any event, keep close watch on your dogs, any time you have to move sheep through the horses' area.

 

~ Gloria

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I agree with everyone here! I have to add I have had two young fillies in to train, one off the track, who soon got switched to 3-day as she would kick my lambs and screw around when following the flock on the trail. Then a little sorrel quater horse filly from Idaho who can live with sheep just fine. And turn a cow sharp just for fun. She is really young and I have only been on her back for a couple of months, but what a pip!

 

Darlin is her reg name

Darling Millenium.

 

sadly i can't spell millenium

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Ive kept sheep and horses together for yrs, and worked dogs in and amongst them both. Never had a prob or injury, (and yes sometimes the smart ones do head straight to the horses the sec they see a dog coming on the feild lol ) even the new lambs that were born on/in the same pasture the horses live in/on were safe from harm by the horses, but both were older mares so that mothering thing coud have played into that reasoning. But too Ive seen the damage a horse can do when they bite sheep. Yes, deep gaping wounds that take long time to heal. So if its possible to fence them next to each other for a few days, that allows u to watch the interactions, and decide what to do. Depending on the ponies, some folks will run a hot wire along the top of the fence to keep a horse from grabbing and tossing a sheep. I saw old Hugh do that once when he thought a sheep was getting to close to his grain pile, but the sheep was fine and from then on, she left old Hugh alone when he was eating.

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Hello to everyone. I have a funny story to tell. Years ago I ran my little mare with my sheep. After coming home from work one night, I could hear the sounds of newborn lambs screeming and the calls of a mama ewe. When I went out into the sheep field, I found that my mare had the baby lambs contained under her and was keeping the ewe from getting to the lambs. She was determined that the lambs belonged to her. Another time with a different horse, a young filly, one of my dorper ewes took a dislike to the filly and would run across the field and butt the round corral fence when I worked the filly. If the filly was turned out with the sheep, this same ewe would chase her around trying to butt her. I also had a ram who for a short time tried to take on one of my mares by butting her in the rear legs or chest. The mare did not know what to make of it and mostly just tried to ignore him. And the rest of the story is I no longer run my horses with the sheep due to different feed requirements, ie fat horses who run the sheep off their feed.

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I would echo everyone else's thoughts and add (didn't see it mentioned before, but mabe it was) that eventually you could run a strand of hotwire that is high enough the sheep can go under to get away from the horses if there is trouble. Although I would start them out seperate from one another.

 

I have had two mares in the past that were not fond of sheep, or any other small creature that came into their territory. One of the geldings I have now loves the rams, he could care less about the ewe's but with two different rams over the past few years will spend hours hanging his head over the gate sniffing noses with the ram. They will even play games. Tardy the hore will nip at the ram, then the ram will back up and ram at Tardy's nose, it's really cute to watch. This picture is last spring when the ram was lonely and busted out of his pen to be close to Tardy.

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I had a setup where the sheep could go under the hot wire and leave the horse pasture to go into their own pen when it was time for hay. The horses had their own hay feeders. Once I forgot to close the gate when the sheep went into their own pen at feed time so they ate their own hay and went back into the horse section to see what they could steal from the horses. I saw this from a window and before I could get outside to separate them my mare had kicked one of the ewes in the head. She dropped like a brick and I though she was dead, but she got back up after just a minute and walked away as if nothing had happened. I felt terrible and made sure the gate was never left open again at feed times.

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