When Sugar the horse meets a mini-sized stuffed pony, she quickly falls in love and even becomes a bit buddy sour.
Meet Sugar, a paint mare. Sugar clearly enjoys the company of other horses - so much so that when her owners presented her with a child-sized stuffed pony, she decided that it was hers. Problem was, Sugar's owner didn't leave the pony in the pasture with Sugar. And that made Sugar upset.
Horses can quickly form strong bonds with each other, especially when there are only one or two horses living in a particular pasture or on a single property. Horses are herd animals, and they instinctively know that there is safety in numbers. Sometimes this makes them possessive of their friends, and Sugar is no exception.
Watch her reaction when her stuffed pony is returned to her!
When horses become very bonded, they can become buddy sour. If you try to take one horse away from the other, the horse may become upset, distracted, and even panicky when his friend is far away or out of sight. This can make going for a ride, leaving the property, or going to a horse show with just one horse a real challenge. It may even become difficult to handle a horse that is buddy sour.
If your horse starts to become buddy sour, the best thing to do is to start separating him from his buddy for periods during the day. Leaving the horses together all the time and then asking them to separate for an hour while you ride will only worsen the behavior. Instead, stall the horses at opposite ends of the barn, limit their time together in turnout, and make other efforts to separate them and restore a bit of independence.
When you do work your buddy sour horse, keep him working and moving forward and don't allow him to focus on his buddy. With time and some effort on your part, you can improve your horse's buddy sour behavior.