Tips on Selling a bonded pair (Read for why it's so hard)

So I have a problem. I have a mare and her full grown seven year old filly. We decided to keep both when the filly was born, which was a mistake and now we have two inseparable ponies. They cannot be seperated or they go insane, mainly the filly does. I can barely ride the mare because of the filly going insane. But, she is a great pony when in a different area. The filly on the otherhand is a pasture ornament. We had brought her to trainers when she was young and they abused her. Told us she couldn’t be trained and when we got her back, she randomly acts up and is very flightly. No where near the point of riding. So my problem is, I think I need to sell the 7 year old filly so that she can go somewhere where she can be trained and actually have a purpose. I do not know how to go about doing this though, because I feel so bad separating them and I do not know how to find a training capable home.

TBH, I don’t know that you’ll be able to sell the filly. A 7 year old with little training, behavioral issues, and a severe attachment problem is not an attractive prospect for most people at all. At best, she may be a giveaway to someone who has the skills and desire to work with a horse like that, but good luck finding that person. Could she even be safely loaded and trailered away?

I would be working on gradually separating them. If you want to have any hope of making the filly a useful citizen or being able to properly ride the mother again, you need to start there. I have known horses with almost this exact same situation (dam and filly, but they were like 26 and 14 and had never been separated) and they were so impossible to work with. You couldn’t even turn one out and come back for the other, had to take one in each hand or they went ballistic. Owner couldn’t ride them.


You are not doing that mare (the 7 year old) any favors by trying to sell her unbroken. There are truckloads of horses heading south that have more value than she does, and they are still heading south. YOU brought her into the world- she is YOUR responsibility. Figure it out. Get her a job, or consider euthanizing her- an awful choice, but one that saves her finding someone else who will not be as kind.


furlong47, do you think I could give her to a trainer to resell?

You could possibly put her in training (that you pay for) and then have the trainer sell her on consignment. I imagine it would not be cheap, and depending on how she turns out she may still not have a great deal of value.


Does the filly have good breeding? What is she? Wondering if her pedigree may at least partially offset her lack of training value-wise? I agree with others, you’re not in a great situation, but at least you recognize it now and are trying to take steps to remedy. Do you have a friend with another barn that you could send the mare or filly for 30 days or whatever to try to wean them?

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Not directed at me, but I will answer the question. No, a reputable trainer will not take your freebie as a resell project. But…you can find a reputable trainer and pay them to get her started and independent from the mare. Then you might be able to find someone with skill who will take her on as a resell project.


Is she an actual pony or a horse?
If she was a small/medium pony & local, I’d take her on. But I’m nuts like that.

Do you have a friend who has good fencing that could board the filly? That would give her time to get over her mom, learn how to interact with other horses and may be easier to retrain her after that.


Allowing a mare and her foal to turn into a super attached pair is a not a natural or normal thing, and it invariably is very detrimental to the horses involved. Normally, foals grow up and form their own attachments with peers, and learn to deal with a wide variety of herd members who are both more dominant and more submissive.

My advice is, for the welfare of both horses, this pair should be separated at once, a clean break. It will need to be treated like a “weaning” in that the daughter mare, despite being a grown horse, is likely to be quite upset (as you already have noted). Personally, I would leave the daughter mare enclosed in a secure stall with plenty of hay and water and if possible, a companion horse next door. And I would keep her there until she settled, allowing her to carry on and get it out of her system. I’m guessing that within 2-3 days she will be calmer and down to the occasional pathetic whinny. When she reaches this point, then she can be turned out. I would turn her out with a dominant (but not mean) older horse, and continue to stable her by herself (with no neighbor) for at least part of every day. I would NOT at any point reintroduce the mother to the picture–ever.

Once this painful step has been accomplished, I think you can better evaluate what future this pony has in front of for the younger mare. As long as she is attached to her dam, she has NO prospects, so this painful step is one that must be undertaken.

As far as managing costs, I think that the “weaning” has to take place before any training attempts can reasonably begin, so I think that your best bet would be to keep the younger mare at home and send the older mare off for a little vacation elsewhere.

The younger mare needs to learn how to be a normal horse first, before she can begin an education. You might be very surprised–after the younger mare has been separated from her dam and been schooled a bit by a more dominant companion for a period of time, she might prove much calmer and more receptive to training than you had dared imagine. When the younger mare is starting to act more normally, then swap the two out, sending the younger mare out for training and bringing the older mare home.

OP, I hope you are encouraged here to bite the bullet and get these two horses separated. It sounds like the older mare will definitely be a reasonable resale project, and I think getting the two separated is really the only way the younger mare will have a chance at a reasonable life.


I’m glad that you’ve decided to sell the younger mare (I wouldn’t consider her a filly at Seven years of age). I hope you can separate them and get the younger mare trained well enough to find her a good home.

Please let us know how it goes and update us when she finds a new home.

Aha, nope, the “horse people” out here are not friendly and there aren’t many of them that my family is friends with. And I don’t believe she is considered local for you. We are all the way in Delaware.

Well most “horse people” aren’t going to do a favor like taking on a difficult horse with no training. So, while it would be nice if we all had a “friend” that would board or train our horses for free, it’s not very realistic. You have to pay for this kind of thing.

This is a pretty simple solution - you need to separate these two, and you need to put the 7 year old in training. No one reputable or trustworthy will want her as is, no one is going to buy her as a prospect, or even take her as a training project for free.

Find a trainer that will put her in training board, and in 90 days re-evaluate to see whether she will be likely to be saleable in any form.

Alternative: you could euthanize her.


There are lots of people out there who will take free horses, but there are just no guarantees about what they’ll do with them.

If you’re done with the horses then give them to someone you trust, with a written agreement that they won’t be sold on right away, and let them separate the horses and hopefully, put some training into them.

If you can sell them just be sure to get enough so they won’t be bought by a dealer who will just turn them over.

If you want to maintain control over what happens to them either separate them yourself and then pay a trainer, or pay a trainer to do all of it.

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Do you have other horses or just these 2? Was the filly appropriately weaned 7 years ago? Are they really ponies?

This is going to be an expensive project. You are going to have to pay someone to undo a lot of behaviors that have formed. So, how much money do you have to put into this project? This is a deadly serious question. No one with a lick of sense is going to take a dangerous, seven year old filly to retrain for nothing or on speculation. If they agree I’d be prepared for a bad result. You may find my view difficult but I’ve had some experience with this in the past and the odds are against a good result. I’d say you’re looking at 90 days at a minimum and if you get off for less that $1000/mo. consider yourself lucky. And if you bring the filly back home the odds of a reversion to prior behaviors are quite high. Meaning that after you spend the money to straighten her out you’re likely better off to just sell her and be done with it.

There is no “magic solution” to this kind of a problem. It will take time and money and a fair amount of both.

And if you spend that money we still don’t KNOW what you will have. Consider that as you go forward.



I’m also curious if you have other horses. I currently have a mare and her (gelded) long yearling son who live together with my other ponies and who don’t seem any more bonded together than they are with their other friends in the herd. I can take each of the out to work or off the property without the other getting upset. I did send the mare to live in a friend’s pasture for a few months at weaning time though, so they did have a period of separation.

As far as finding someone to take the younger mare, there are folks like @secuono and myself who are a sucker for a pony project if the price is right (free or close to it), but you will have to vet a situation like this very carefully to make sure she’ll be well taken care of. Most of the people I know who would take on a horse like this are not professionals making a living in the horse industry, but competent amateurs who enjoy working with green horses, which can make finding out about them a bit harder.

I am far away from you and also most definitely not pony shopping at the moment, but things that would make a pony in this situation attractive for me to consider as a prospect are:

  1. The younger mare has been separated from her dam long enough to settle down about the situation before I come to look at her/pick her up.
  2. She can safely haltered, led, and loaded in a trailer.
  3. She is up to date on basic care - farrier work, vaccines, deworming, etc.
  4. Good conformation photos and video of her moving at all gaits, even if just loose in the pasture. The distance I’m willing to drive to pick up a pony is much, much farther if it seems probable if I have reason to believe that the animal will be sound and has decent conformation.
  5. She is athletic with a “sport pony” type build and movement.
  6. She is registered and/or is of some kind of known, desirable breeding.
  7. She is flashy - a unique color or pretty markings (personally, I like plain bays, but if I plan to resell, a little “bling” never hurts)

You have no control over items 5-7 (with the exception of perhaps getting her registered if applicable), but can change items 1-4. If you think the mare is likely to have aptitude for a specific sport or discipline, I would suggest sending her to a trainer who is involved with that sport. Of course it doesn’t matter for this kind of basic training, what discipline the trainer is involved in as long as the training is humane and effective, but if mare is suited to the trainer’s area of interest, they are more likely to know someone who might be interested in her.

If you are not super tech savvy, find a horsey teenager with a smart phone and have them do some photos and video for you. This alone, can make a horse on the lower priced end of the “project horse” market stand out from others in my experience.

I hope you can find a great situation for your mare.


You can ask here for recommendations for capable trainers. I agree with the others above that it is going to be a very expensive endeavor. Where I live, 90 days of training board at a good place would cost north of three grand. I have no idea about the pricing in Delaware, though. And to be honest my guess is that six months is likely a more reasonable time frame to get the basics on a horse like this, maybe more.

You are not going to be able to get rid of the 7 year old until / unless you have made it a useful horse. If you have a really talented trainer, they might be able to make enough progress in 90 days to mean someone may take a chance on her, either as a giveaway or very inexpensive project. If the horse (pony?) is very well bred you may get someone to pay something. I would not go into the project expecting to get any money, but perhaps at least having the prospect of getting your older mare back as a riding horse.

We have no way of knowing if the trainers you originally hired told you the truth about the mare or were just incompetent and potentially abusive, as you believe. IF their program has otherwise produced nice riding horses, I think you have to consider the difficult possibility that your younger mare really does have a significant problem and may not be a good candidate for further training. That’s something you don’t have to share with us, but rather discuss with a competent professional.

You need to get over “feeling so bad about separating them,” as soon as possible. This is something that should have been done 6 and a half years ago and your choice then, as you now realize, has led to at least one of the horses being in potentially a very bad situation. Bite the bullet and get it done. It may help to look around at every other normal acting horse you know and recognize that every single one of them got weaned and went on to have a regular life.


I only have these two and yes, she was appropriately weaned. They are Whelsh cross ponies. The daughter is around 12 hh and the mother is 13.3 hh.

It always bugs me when I hear someone attribute a lifetime of unmanageable behavior to a short early training period that went poorly. This sounds like making excuses for not wanting to work with the horse. Horses can get past a period of poor training.

It is exasperating to read that you have watched this horse grow ranker and ranker for 6 and a half years, and are now saying “I might have a problem here”.

I think you should pay someone who is knowledgeable about horse training to come out and assess the situation, then do whatever they advise. And I agree with the above poster that euthanasia should not be off the table, for the sake of the horse. Depending on how bad things really are, she could be dangerous as a give-away, because she is child-sized.


Your prospects for selling the younger mare, when she is handleable, are going to be in direct proportion to how pretty she is, how tall she is, and how potentially athletic she is. If she is pretty and sticks under 12.2 such that she can get a measurement card as a small, and has a nice jump, yes you probably can find a job for her or at least someone willing to try.

If she is 12.2 1/2 or she isn’t pretty then probably no one will want to mess with her except if you pay them to do so, and even then unless she is a saint with little kids, is probably not sellable.

Agree on getting a sober professional evaluation as to the best case scenario… and I too would think euthanasia is an option to consider. That the dam has a nice temperament maybe is the best thing in your favor, that in the right situation she might settle. But I wouldn’t wait any longer to get this sorted - the older she gets, the more likely euthanasia will be the only practical option, especially if she’s not even safe and kind on the ground.