Should Mares and Geldings Run Together

q: Do you have any opinions on if it’s better to turn horses out in mixed gender or single gender herds, or does it make no difference?

I’ve always had geldings, but have been offered a mare, who has only ever lived with other mares.

I could potentially keep her on her own (but nearby) the geldings, but I’d rather put them all in together.

Friends have said this is a very bad idea!

Appreciate your wisdom.


Hi Sally,

People tend to overthink these things.

Whether it’s mares, geldings or a mixture of both, horses soon sort themselves out when they run together.

I’ve seen mares and geldings running happily together on hundreds of occasions.

Horses always run and snort and kick and play when a new horse is added to the group. It’s best to ignore this behaviour and allow your horses to be horses. They won’t run forever and they soon settle down.

It’s much safer to put horses in together than to have mares on one side of a fence and geldings on the other side.

This is asking for trouble. The horses will ‘fight’ over the fence and kick and strike and invariably be injured.

It’s much more important for your horse’s well-being to have safe fences and facilities. Most paddock injuries are caused by bad fencing, not from being kicked by another horse.

Everyone should check their fences and paddocks regularly and look for anything that a horse can be injured on.

It’s not an accident when a horse becomes tangled in a fence that’s been broken for a week.

Our local vet always says that the most common horse injuries are from leaving headstalls on horses when they’re in the paddock or stable.

Headstalls get caught in trees, bushes and fences and cause serious injury and sometimes death.

Also, it’s much better for every horse’s wellbeing to run in a paddock with other horses, rather than be on their own or locked in a stable.

The importance of safe facilities can’t be overstated. This is one of the important points of my book.