Gelding has become extremely herd bound after joining new herd...HELP!

I recently moved my 5 yo OTTB gelding to a new farm, and I have been having some problems with him being VERY herd bound.
Previous to moving, he was on 24 hour turnout with about 5 other geldings and I NEVER experienced any problems at all with him being attached to the herd. He would come running down the field every time I called his name and was always happy to come with me, no matter what time of day. This was from April through mid November.
At the new farm, he is out for about 12 hours with 9 other horses (geldings AND mares) and no longer comes when I call him. He even sometimes tries to run from me. Whenever I pull him out of the field while the others are still out, he starts to panic and will try anything to get back outside. I put him in his stall for a minute yesterday to try and change his blanket, and he almost jumped out the back door trying to get back outside, which was terrifying. I can’t cross tie him to do anything because he pulls and I’m afraid he will hurt himself.
He is fine after feeding time, when everyone else is in their stalls also. Its only when I take him out of the field and all the others are still outside. I am afraid that he is going to hurt himself or hurt me, and I really don’t know what to do.
Any help would be greatly appreciated…

How long has he been moved? When we had a new horse come in, he would SCREAM when separated from the others, rear, spin, and just generally tantrum. It took about a month before he was okay with leaving his friends.

We moved on November 17th, and he was separated from the herd for about a week. So maybe he is just insecure about his place, etc, because he was separated from everyone for a while?

You said that now there are mares, which there weren’t before. I think that explains it. Any chance of putting him into a gelding-only situation?

We moved on November 17th, and he was separated from the herd for about a week. So maybe he is just insecure about his place, etc, because he was separated from everyone for a while?[/QUOTE]

They are all different, and I can totally relate and share my experience. At our old barn, my horse Wizard was never herd bound. He could be the only one outside, the only one in the barn, we could ride alone, he could split up from another horse, and he was always fine.

When we moved to our new barn, he was very, very, very herd bound, especially with mares, for a few months. The things that helped him were:

  1. Time to settle in - for him, it took a few months to really get back to his normal self
  2. A turnout situation with no mares in the same paddock he’s in
  3. Stability in the paddock- once we figured out a good herd for him, we didn’t change it or play “musical horses” while he adjusted

He’s fine with mares in neighboring paddocks, but when they are in the paddock with him, he pines for them and frets over them. He’s the low man in the pecking order and he’s not studdish or bossy at all. Most of the mares don’t even like him much, but he just worries about them. Pacing, calling, fretting, running the fence, and losing weight. For him, it was not as simple as “let him figure it out” because he was losing weight and running the fence to the point that I was worried about injury.

I’m happy to report that he’s back to his normal self. He gained all his weight back, he’s back to being great by himself, and he’s fine when his buddies are taken out of the paddock.

The toughest part was the balance of experimenting with different arrangements but still giving each arrangement enough time to see if it worked.

Best of luck!

I think it’s the mares. I moved my Ottb to a stable where they have mixed herd turnout and that’s the only turnout they have. My previously could care less about being alone gelding turned into a looney tune when he was inside alone and was very much a pain in the butt when I would ride by ourselves. However he has gotten a little better about being alone and the more he gets worked the better he behaves, I think he’s realizing that he’s not leaving his girlfriend forever just for a little bit lol it will get better hang in there!

This makes a lot of sense…he has gotten very attached to two of the mares in the field. I think I will give it a solid month, and reassess the situation with the BO. I hate moving him around, because he is obviously sensitive, but maybe gelding only is safer for everyone. There is a mixed herd and a gelding only herd, so hopefully he can move over if necessary. Thanks for the input, everyone!

The only way to stop a horse from being herdbound is to remove them from the herd. Sometimes a different group of horses will be ok, sometimes they have to be alone. We finally figured out that my guy would be ok if we moved him with a different group every couple days. You could put him right back in with the first group after a couple of days with the second group. Guess he has a bad memory and forgets he was in love.