[Q] My horse lives at home with us and I ride to my coach for lessons every week. We would love to provide him with a companion. Keeping a horse can be expensive, so we were wondering what other animals live well with horses?

Asked by Christie Boulden

[A] Horses are herd animals by nature, so they are pre-eminently oriented on social contact with fellow species, and this is one of the pillars of horse welfare. It is best to keep a horse together with other horses; a horse does experience stress when living alone. Having said that, there are some alternatives.

Firstly, consider a Miniature Horse or pony (such as a Shetland or Falabella). These smaller equines are less expensive to keep and don’t require such specialised care. Perhaps you can reach out to your friends about borrowing or leasing a retired or injured pony.

Secondly, a donkey could be an option. The introduction of a donkey to your horse can be difficult sometimes, but there are success stories! Keep in mind that you need to regularly deworm your donkey against lungworms, otherwise this could be dangerous for your horse.

Although a goat can be very cosy, it is not a real replacement for a horse. But, like a horse, a goat is a herd animal and can function as a companion for your horse.

Answered by Equine Support International