Integration of a New Member

How do we integrate a New Member?

Integrating a new animal into our herd is similar to adopting someone into any family. There’s that period of curiosity, jealousy, excitement, and resentment. Its important to make sure that the new animal feels safe and is able to meet their new family on their own terms. 

Horses are prey animals and thus have a fight or flight response to danger. They wear their emotions on their hooves! When they arrive they are given enough space and time to adjust to their new home.

Grissini Before & After

Grissini came straight off the track. I thought he would instantly bond with Binks whom he knew years ago but he didn’t. I tried doing the basics; grooming, picking his hooves, walking with him, showing him where everything was…he wasn’t too keen on me or any other human getting close to him. He had no desire to be touched at all.
I decided to see if he and Charlie would get along. This was early days when I was inexperienced and immature. Charlie decided to get on his level and show Gris he may look small but he’s really a powerful draft horse. It was very impressive to watch. I let them get acquainted and within a day they were buds.

It turns out Grissini has a big heart and gentle nibble. He loves Binks even though he sometimes challenges him for the top spot. Jess is his gal and he is always there to defend her from pushy minis and barks dogs (Cole!)

Grissini & Charlie

When Freddie arrived, he was a 16 yr old thoroughbred stallion, very skinny with a blank stare. He has been taken from a hoarding situation where he and 6 others were wasting away in a barn with no food or water and standing in manure for months. Having lived a life with this negative experience, he had no trust with humans and being a stallion, he had no experience being part of a herd.

In order to integrate him into the herd, he needed to gain weight and strength for his mental and physical health, he then had to be gelded. In the meantime, there were two fences between him and the herd to avoid him possibly jumping over and landing on one of the ladies.
He took one look at Sky and was in love.


During the next few months, his trust for me grew as I tended to his recovery. For the first few weeks Binks and Freddie ‘conversed’ about Sky. Freddie seemed to understand that Binks was the boss and Sky was the First Lady. There were times when I just stood back and let them snort and rear and posture with each other, it was amazing to watch.
Freddie was successfully gelded and integrated into the herd 5 months after his arrival. The love triangle persisted and Binks allowed Sky and Freddie to become closer.

Tilda was another challenging integration. She was a 19 yr old standardbred broodmare who was taken out of a kill pen after birthing 10 foals. When we picked her up she was very thin and her demeanour was angry. We walked her into the front paddock and the boys (Tucker, Charlie, Maverick, Timbit) got so excited that I thought what’s the harm….immediately poor Tilda had 16 little hooves running after her. She’s a force but she didn’t need little devils at her hooves. Tilda has integrated well but knows how to stay out of everyone’s way and maintain self preservation. Since Sky’s death, Freddie has finally attached himself to her and loves to follow her around.

Tilda Before & After

When the cows arrived, no one was prepared. Carl and Brandi, 6 month old Jersey steer and beef cow, being bovine, had no fear and acted like they owned the place. I kept them separated for a few weeks and after seeing mild interest and possibly disdain from the big horses, I opened the gates. There was little drama until Timbit locked eyes with Brandi. He would seek her out, she would sense his stare, lift her tail and take off which sent Tim’s little hooves tearing after her. Protective Carl would chase Tim and then all the minis got involved. No harm no foul in the end.

Cow and Horse
You learn as you observe and adapt to unforeseen situations.
Each integration brings a new problem to solve. The most important thing is to respond to individual needs and listen to the herd.
I have a feeling a new member is on the horizon and I’m sure it’ll go smoothly…..yeah right!

Our Services


We offer a large range of workshops from Clicker Training, Bee Keeping and Foraging


Come visit the farm for Events or
Book your visit for your personal experience


We offer the milling of dimensional and live edge lumber.  We provide new and reclaimed wood and offer custom millwork.


Send An E – Money Transfer to carlislecreekfarm4@gmail.com
To Help Support our Passion for Animals.

Find Out More About Our Services