In the past, it has been nearly essential that they be turned out together. Let me explain. Endurance horses lead a very different life from most other horses. They often spend a lot of their time in the trailer, or tied to a trailer. And if their owner has more than one horse, they are frequently in a trailer with another other horse, or tied right next to the other horse, for several days at a time. It is imperative that they get along. Very well. Kind of like family.
Since I occasionally enjoyed doing multi-day endurance rides and camping trips, it was imperative that my horses travel comfortably together in the trailer and stand for several days together, tied to the trailer. To facilitate this sense of togetherness, I worked diligently to ensure that my horses were good buddies. They were turned out together, tied to the rail together, and ridden together ... frequently.
There is a however to this "best of buddies" situation. When two pony pals are such good friends, separation anxiety is often the result. In my particular situation, Montoya was the more independent sort and could walk away from her current pal without much fuss. Mickey, and later, Speedy G were not quite so happy with the separations that would ensue and would often vocalize their dismay. Loudly. Since one of the pony pals didn't raise too much of a ruckus, that would be Montoya, the vocalizations would eventually die down and things would continue as normal.
Since I am no longer competing in endurance races and haven't been camping in more than a year, I re-evaluated my need for the buddy system. I came to the conclusion that I didn't want to deal with a screaming equine who is certain his pal will never return. So, no combined turn out for my boys. Instead, I've let my boys get to know one another through occasional sniffing over the gate as we pass by. This was going pretty well at our last barn. Sydney lived several stalls down the barn aisle, and the boys only got to know one another as well as neighbors might who pass in the corridor. Good morning ... Nice to see you ... How's it going? ... Have a good weekend ... and so on.
So I was quite surprised at the over-the-top, hysterical screaming that ensued the moment that I took one of the boys out of his new stall. They hardly know each other! And yet, it seems that simply recognizing the horse next door puts him in the best buddies category when you've moved to a brand new neighborhood where you don't know a single other horse. Simply having seen him before makes him your new best friend!
The horses moved in on Sunday. Each afternoon this week, the barn has been subjected to violent dust storms stirred up by frantic hooves, and the air has been filled with the plaintive wailings of a forlorn, and obviously forgotten pony. I am certain that as time goes by Speedy G and Sydney will make the return to polite, but no need to be best friends, type of neighbors. And if not, RM's barn might be shrouded in a permanent dust storm!