Last week Linda Tansek asked if I would share my thoughts of having just a single horse. My reason for wanting to keep only one horse is both health and financially driven. If I could I would have 3 – 5 as we used to. Coffee Clutch followers and Facebook friends know that I do have only one horse, my mare, Kessy. You may not know that before Kessy I had other single horses, my Competitive/Endurance horse, River and the fabulous rescue horse, Honey. All did fine being the only horse here.
Allow me to describe, "here" because I do believe their home environment plays a big part. A barn that allows Kessy to come and go as she pleases, about an acre to roam in among trees. No grass to speak of, but free choice hay in a slow feed hay bag 24/7. No grain, but some fruit and fresh vegetables. She also has her free roaming chickens, 2 cats and 3 dogs. Her barn is 30 feet from the house and her yard is our back yard, she can and will come right up to the back door. Sometimes she'll nicker softly to get my attention.
|Kessy's barn allows her to come and go as she pleases. Our chickens do too!|
Kessy has been an "only horse" for 34 months, she moved in with us in May 2011. Kessy had never been off the farm where she was born. She was 7 when she moved in with us. They had lots of horses. I believe she made the adjustment to being an only horse right away. So did River and Honey, but as I said, I suppose their "home" here had something to do with it, the free style roaming and pets and chickens, and our back porch. And don't forget I start each day with our Coffee Clutch. And sometimes I write in the barn, but only when it's warm. Now everyone who would like to keep only one horse may not be able to do everything we do here, but I share our set up as "food for thought." Perhaps it might help you to make your own plans.
|Kessy is free to roam her wooded acre lot. The dogs cats and chickens roam with her.|
Also I do a fair amount with Kessy, the release and relax exercises, we ride 2 or 3 days a week, groom her almost daily and other little things. But there are plenty of days that all I do is feed her, too.
|Kessy, Saturday and Dutch working on a story together.|
I've been told because of the herd thing horses need other horses to be happy, "they are herd animals" they say. Plenty of folks with one horse have ponies or minis as pasture buddies, or other companion horses. I think that is wonderful, if you want it. I was told a few years back, after River left and I was looking to adopt a horse, I could not adopt with only one horse, I needed at least a companion horse. I did not adopt there ... did that horse I wanted to give a home to find one? I don't know.
I know this is a touchy subject with strong opinions on both sides, but it's my opinion a horse can and will thrive and enjoy life if they are the only horse. Just as is the case with any horse be it your only horse, or part of a herd, how we care for, play with and learn from them are the most important things to that horse.
One final note, Kessy is just fine when we go riding with others, too. No excitement, no separation anxiety, no crowding on the trail. She is confident in herself, trusts me and enjoys herself. I think everyone needs to make this decision for themselves, but I think a single horse well cared for is perfectly wonderful. I also have several friends who have only one horse and are doing splendidly. I do think diet, exercise and no confinement to a stall is very important, but then I think that is very important for all horses.
Gitty Up ~ Dutch Henry