I am still neck deep in your videos and website. The things you say seem to be so much common sense and it has changed the way I look at my past horse experience. I am seeing just how different dog training and horse training is. I have never had trouble with any horse I have previously owned-- Had lots of problems with my mother's horse since she'd do something stupid to the poor thing and then hand him off to me to 'fix'. Learned the hard way how to deal with a bucking horse at 14 years of age-- still have a numb spot on my knee from that adventure. Finally learned from Red that bucking was his out of work plan and I started using him starting to buck as a 'Oh, you want to work really hard!' cue. Never could get him to stop bucking my mom but she was always so tense after that you could see him start to go wide eyed whenever she approached.
Anyway... I am receiving four rescue horses. Three mares, likely bred, and an unattached colt-- I won't even tell you how upset I was to hear this colt about six months old had been separated from his mother by the rescue folks. Somehow I kind of feel I am more rescuing these guys from the rescue folks than they were from the original owner. I am wondering if I am being too cautious about letting the colt join the herd in the pasture at his age. I haven't received them yet, have to wait for Coggins and such before they can be transported to my farm. Right now I have some mobile fencing that I have planned to use inside the pasture with the mares to keep the colt in. Should I? Should I let him out into the pasture loose with the mares or should I make him a creep where he can get away from them? I am trying to prevent myself from making mistakes. These horses have never even had their hooves handled... I don't know if they've ever had a halter on even. So it's going to be ground floor with them all the way. Don't worry about me coming back with a Barn Witch response to your answer-- I have my big girl panties on and if your answer is to simply keep reading your site and watching your vids, that's what I'll do. Thank you.
Well not knowing more than I know, it is impossible to give a good answer. If I was there I would be able to see pasture design, see colt move and interact, see the herd dynamics, dominance issues and other things.
However, with that said, I would not lock the colt up under any circumstances. Without knowing all the facts here is a few ways to consider:
Take lead horse and put in pen next to colt so they and interact for a day or so, after they develop a need for each other, then put them together in a pen, pasture, turn out that is big enough so they can move and give to pressure, preferable NO corners. After a few days of that, let out and they will have a bond.
Another option is put some temp panels in the middle of the pasture and put colt in for a couple of days to herd and interact between a fence and bond and accept each other. Then switch, put herd in pen and let colt free to hand out with herd- depending on how close or dependent they become let them lose together.
Other option is feed herd with more piles of hay than horse, like if three horses put out 5 piles of hay, while horses are focused on eating and pecking order, put colt out that will give another distraction or draw other than new colt.
Another option would be to tie herd up and let colt run free so the can walk up and meet the herd and they can't push or chase him.
There will be chasing, pushing and trying to claim him by different herd members so there is a chance someone gets knocked down, kicked or pushed into fence so doing with less in more controlled or round areas help minimize this.
Your urge will be to protect and help the poor little colt, if you do that you will make it worse and he only learn not to listen and respect the herd. The most I would do is YOU become a distraction, either with food, or pressure, walk around in the middle with plastic bag, if the herd pushes then you push, make the herd pay attention to you rather than chase the new little guy, the problem here is if you mess with timing or too much pressure or wrong pressure you will create what you are trying to prevent and you will the colt hurt.
The colt will be confused, scared, nervous and will not know how to react with all the attention of herd, too bad, he has to learn. Not an easy, fast or prefect safe way to do it, but do not use fear and protection as a reason to NOT do it and lock up the poor colt.