Saturday, September 8, 2007

A Baby Boomer Dreams of Arabian Horses - Down a Rocky Road Part 3

Part 1 of the Baby Boomer Series

Down A Rocky Road Part 1

One of the hardest things I found about this tragedy was finding out after the fact all of the people who had had similar experiences. How is it that something like this can happen and no one talks about it?

Talking with the vet that day, I learned that he had seen instances in his practice of geldings attacking mares and killing them. I also learned later, when I called Shannon Armstrong to tell her what had happened to Scandalous, she said that she had seen that same thing happen when she was a kid. She said that's why she didn't ever turn geldings out with mares.

The whole time I worked at Feature Farm, I knew the rules were horses were turned out only in pairs and mares and geldings were never mixed. But no one ever told me why! I doubt if anyone but Shannon ever knew why. I wonder to this day, had I been told would this tragedy have been avoided.

As for the whys of this event. I don't know that there are answers that make any sense of this violent act. The only thing I'm sure of is it has something to do with instinct. All I can think is that Scandalous and Aidol grooming each other is what set Mark off into that rage. I can tell you, I will never, ever put a mare or mares out with a geldings again. I don't care how many people who have never had a problem, it's just not worth it!

Just like when a stallion savages a mare, there seems to be no reason for it. But there sure is a huge amount of drive on the part of the stallion. And it can happen with the kindest of stallions. Instinct has to be the key.

After this happened, I still had Mark to deal with. I didn't even want to look at the horse, let alone have him on my place. I remember Lindsay asking me that evening if I was going to get rid of her horse. My response was "I cannot do to you, what has just been done to me."

As much as I would have felt much better never having to look at that horse again, the facts were that was my daughter's therapy horse. To my thinking and many of her doctors, she survived her cancer because of him. I sure wasn't willing to risk my daughter's health by getting rid of her horse just to make me feel better. So, for the time being at least, the gelding still had a place here. However. it was weeks before I could even go out to the barn.

To be continued........

Part 4


  1. I've never heard of geldings and mares having a problem being turned out together. We've always done it, everyone I know has always done it. Very interesting.

    I agree though, it has to be instinct of some sort or some sort of herd dynamics that is beyond mere human understanding. While we think we're the supreme being on earth, the truth is that we're simply arrogant, we don't know near as much as we think we do. Or maybe it has something to do with a hormonal imbalence from being gelded... I'll have to think on that one.

    I think I would have a hard time forgiving the 'other' horse. That's a very tough thing to get through.

  2. You are right, I've never heard of such trouble. I've had horses boarded in fields with both mares and geldings and never thought there could be a problem. In my life mares tend to be the bosses, with geldings happy to follow the rules. I'll have to rethink all this.

  3. ((HUGS!!)) I've never heard of that happening. Thank you for sharing this experience. I never liked the idea of mares and geldings together but more because most of the mares I've known have been the aggressors and beat on the geldings. Now here's another good reason why they shouldn't be together. ((HUGS!!)) and I'm so sorry you lost Scandelous...she was a lovely horse. :( It's hard to lose a best friend. Again...((HUGS!!))

  4. Thank you so much for posting this tragic story. I will make it a point to never turn out mares and geldings together ever again. I did not realize this was an issue, although I noticed at one barn where I worked that they kept mares and geldings seperate. Now I know why. Perhaps by telling this stories you have saved others from having to go through the same situation.

  5. I also have never heard of this happening between geldings and mares, in fact the stud we had gelded a few months back, I recently introduced to the three mares and he was fine, maybe that was because he was the sire of two of the fillies and the other mare was the mother of a few of his babies, my mare Lori included? Wow I will certainly be careful in the future. He is the first gelding we have had on the place so I didnt think twice about it. Food for thought, thanks for that.

    As for forgiving Mark I can understand how hard that was too. Our mare that died recently while foaling in Iowa was the mother of Wiggle, my bottle baby. She attacked me badly when Wiggle was two days old and I was trying to get Wiggle to feed out of a bucket because the mare didnt get her milk in. She came at me with all her weight behind her and I was standing with my back to the wall so she hit me like a ton of bricks. She bit me just above the right breast and I was bruised and in severe pain for 6 weeks afterwards. I found it very hard to trust or like her again after that. It was probably hormonal with the new foal etc. but boy did it wake me up.

    Thanks for sharing this story, if it goes towards helping one other person avoiding the same thing happening then it wont have been for nothing. ((((Hugs))))