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Flatbroke Farms

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Do any of you run stallions or stallions & colts together? I know it is a bit of a controversial topic, but I am curious. I've never had the need to do it, but now I actually find myself considering it.

I have a 14 year old stallion that is a sweetheart. He does act studdish around mares, naturally. But he is so lonely and miserable by himself. I can see it in his eyes. (Sidenote: he was given to me not too long ago, I'm not the one that left him intact.) Anyways, I have a 7 month old colt that has not dropped yet. He's pastured with a filly that is possibly close to coming into her first heat cycle (based on her age, not her attitude), so I feel the need to separate them to avoid any potential issues.

Yes, I can paddock all three separately. But I am entertaining the idea of putting the older stallion and the colt together, but I am leary of it, too.

I was just wondering if anyone has had any experience doing this?
 

Leeana

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Going to depend on the the horses temperment.

I have two yearling colts that drylot with a 2yr old stallion ..they are both and they rough house but no fighting, they all have super temperments and have never been agressive with either of the others. The stallion has settled mares this year, i think there is something about that line that makes them so easy ..all have the same great "i could care less bro" temperment...its really neat how they all get along.

I do not pature my 6yr old stallion with them during this tme of year ..he is a bit more agressive and with mares just a few pastures down, i dont feel safe with him.

During winter i turn the boys out in the drylot ..and the mares/geldings in the pasture ..works for me.
 

Jill

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I think it can be seemingly okay but then change to a horrific blow up in the blink of an eye. Stallion fights can be deadly and a person could be seriously injured trying to break them up.

DunIT, one of my stallions, grew up with two mellow geldings. I had to separate him from them the fall of his 2yo year because he was getting too rough with them, who he'd always been with and who are not the least bit studdish. A lot of times, stallions just have to be kept separate, or with only mares. I think on the farms where it's most likely to work (two stallions together) they've got huge pastures so that the boys can each have their own area and a way to stay appart when necessary.
 

River Wood

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Yes we have done it for many years with no problems and know others that have too, but it does depend on their temperment. As stated earlier it can be deadly.
 
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StarRidgeAcres

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I don't really have much to add, the other posters have stated it nicely. I just wanted to suggest trying the two boys together by putting up a round pen or some panels for the young one inside the older boy's pasture. See how they do with the fence in between them. It may tell you nothing or it may tell you there's no way! And even if they do get along for now, it may change as the young one matures. I also agree that the more space they have the better. It helps if they can really get away from each other at times.

Good luck and let us know how it goes. It can be done.
 

Riverdance

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During breeding season my stallions would like to kill each other. In the fall, I put all of my stallions together. I have two seperate paddock areas for them away from all of the mares, where they can not even see them.

The boys puff up, smell each other, squeal a lot, a couple of air kicks, then silence. They get a long really well all winter, even wither each other. They pair up in buddies and seem to really enjoy each others company.

In the spring I bring in the boys that I want to use for breeding, but leave the others in this paddock area for the Spring and Summer. The ones left behind do not fight and get along really well. Right now I have 5 mature stallions and a 2 year old. As well as several yearlings.

In the wild there are many herds of batchelor stallions who get along fine with each other. It is only when there is competition for the ladies that there is trouble. They will have a pecking order as do the mares. I have actually had more fighting with the mares then I have with the stallions.
 

Marty

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No I surely wouldn't do that. I kept my two colts together after weaning for a long time until the rough housing got way too out of hand, then that was it. I don't have one scratch or bite or kick mark on any of my horses and I intend for it to stay that way. You are looking for an accident to happen. Do you really need that experiement? As stated, they can go along just fine for a while then BANG, when you least expect it its all over. Theres a fight with injuries or death. That's how come so many of our horses in rescue last year came from Kansas with missing eye balls and other serious injuries. I play it safe.

You don't have to put them in together so he'll have companionship.

My quarter horse is a gelding but had to be treated as a stallion his entire life, separated because he is dangerous to other horses. He shares a fence line as do my mini stallions with the others for company. As long as you have good fencing, we have hot wire inside and out and they all respect it. In some areas I have double fencing. The boys will talk back and forth, run and play. My new junior stallion the little "Dickens" loves loves loves my senior stallion Nick, who is very placid but will never be given the opportunity to have him for a roomy. (Nick and Dick )


But they do enjoy racing and showing off for eachother and they sure aren't lonely. Good luck and best wishes to you.
 

Nathan Luszcz

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Not only can stallion fights be deadly (more like funny in minis, but not always), but you WILL cause behavioral changes to them.

There are three types of stallions (well, two, but we'll add a third as an exception).

The first type is a harem stallion. These are your breeding horses. One stallion and a group of "his" mares. In a natural or pasture breeding situation, a harem stallion will have a group of mares to serve and protect. He will browse through, teasing and breeding as he (and the dominant mares) see fit. In this situation the stallion's testosterone levels, and therefore his sperm count and libido, will be at their highest. Testicular size will be optimized and he'll be aggressive and active in his breeding. For a breeding situation this is ideal. Remember one important thing though... a stallion does NOT have to have his OWN mares to be a harem stallion. A stallion in a barn with mares around him is also a harem stud, as is a stallion in a paddock overlooking a mare paddock. If a stallion can see and talk to mares, he's interacting with them and will have high testosterone levels. The closer the contact, the higher the levels.

The second type of stallion is a bachelor stallion. In the wild, colts are expelled from the herd when they become sexually capable. They wander off until they hook up with other colts and form their own herd of males. While homosexual activity is not unheard of in this type of situation, it is very uncommon, and breeding opportunities are rare. A bachelor stallion will have very low testosterone levels and will have a very low sex drive. Harem stallions who join bachelor herds will drop testosterone and will become the same as the other stallions. If this horse became a bachlor as an adult, with a "strange" group of studs, THIS IS PERMINENT! An adult bachelor stallion takes a VERY long time to recover harem stallion testosterone levels. They will never regain the average levels of a life long harem stud.

The third type of stallion is a combination of the two. I'll call them family... when colts are RAISED together, from birth/weaning/whatever, they can become harem stallions easily. This is what colts do in natural herds... they join up young and develop naturally into bachelors. They will have low levels like a bachelor stallion until they find their own herd, then they will become harem studs. So if you raise a herd full of intact colts, when you are ready to breed they will be completely normal (we all laugh, of course... how many people have "normal" colts? Do they exist?).

A harem stallion can become a bachelor stud; it’s not hard at all. You can take a whole herd of stallions and turn them out together. Once a pecking order is established, injuries will be minimal and they'll lead a natural life. But they will now ALWAYS be bachelors, and their testosterone will stay lower permanently. They will be difficult to train back into harem stallions.

Moral of the story, I guess, is to keep breeding stallions separate. As youngsters they are FINE, and healthy, to live together, but once they start to breed (on purpose! :p) keep them separate. You can put them together, they will fight, hard, you will have injuries, and they will adjust and become friends eventually. But, they will never go back to the breeding status they were before.
 
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Riverdance

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Not only can stallion fights be deadly (more like funny in minis, but not always), but you WILL cause behavioral changes to them.
There are three types of stallions (well, two, but we'll add a third as an exception).

The first type is a harem stallion. These are your breeding horses. One stallion and a group of "his" mares. In a natural or pasture breeding situation, a harem stallion will have a group of mares to serve and protect. He will browse through, teasing and breeding as he (and the dominant mares) see fit. In this situation the stallion's testosterone levels, and therefore his sperm count and libido, will be at their highest. Testicular size will be optimized and he'll be aggressive and active in his breeding. For a breeding situation this is ideal. Remember one important thing though... a stallion does NOT have to have his OWN mares to be a harem stallion. A stallion in a barn with mares around him is also a harem stud, as is a stallion in a paddock overlooking a mare paddock. If a stallion can see and talk to mares, he's interacting with them and will have high testosterone levels. The closer the contact, the higher the levels.

The second type of stallion is a bachelor stallion. In the wild, colts are expelled from the herd when they become sexually capable. They wander off until they hook up with other colts and form their own herd of males. While homosexual activity is not unheard of in this type of situation, it is very uncommon, and breeding opportunities are rare. A bachelor stallion will have very low testosterone levels and will have a very low sex drive. THIS IS PERMINENT! A bachelor stallion takes a VERY long time to recover harem stallion testosterone levels. They will never regain the average levels of a life long harem stud.

The third type of stallion is a combination of the two. I'll call them family... when colts are RAISED together, from birth/weaning/whatever, they can become harem stallions easily. They will have low levels like a bachelor stallion until they find their own herd, then they will become harem studs. So if you raise a herd full of intact colts, when you are ready to breed they will be completely normal (we all laugh, of course... how many people have "normal" colts? Do they exist?).

A harem stallion can become a bachelor stud; it’s not hard at all. You can take a whole herd of stallions and turn them out together. Once a pecking order is established, injuries will be minimal and they'll lead a natural life. But they will now ALWAYS be bachelors, and their testosterone will stay low permanently. They will be difficult to train back into harem stallions.

Moral of the story, I guess, is to keep breeding stallions separate. As youngsters they are FINE, and healthy, to live together, but once they start to breed (on purpose! :p) keep them separate. You can put them together, they will fight, hard, you will have injuries, and they will adjust and become friends eventually. But, they will never go back to the breeding status they were before.
I disagree with this.

Stallions hang together in the wild till they are mature enough or strong enough to have a herd of their own. Some will never be big or strong enough to father foals. Some will be herd sires for a while, perhaps loose their herd and perhaps gain another one in the future. Do you not watch any of the animal planet shows? They have had shows on wild horses as well as zebras who are similar.

I put all of my stallions together for the winter. They do not fight, there are no scars, bites, lost eyes, etc. They are TOTALLY away from any of the mares, where they can not see them. They even have buddies that they enjoy being with.

In the spring when I bring them back to the mares, they are all business. They have serviced my mares without a problem, their sperm level has not gone down and they will fight then with their best friend to protect their herd, and yes, at that time, if they got out with each other, they would try to kill each other.

The difference here is, they are around mares that are coming into heat. The stallion paddock areas that I have are NOT NEAR ANY MARES, and I can keep extra stallions together during breeding season without them trying to fight each other. It is set up very similar to a wild situation. Stallions can run together as long as there are no mares within sight.
 

Flatbroke Farms

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Thank you for the opinions!

I did put the two together last night as a get-to-know-you experiment. It went well. The stallion asserted his dominance but not in a rough manner and the weanling colt did the submissive teeth clacking until he felt safe. I even turned them loose together, with me standing in the paddock. They eventually grazed for a bit and seemed comfortable, but the stallion was definitely maintaining a sense of dominance at all times. However, there was NO way I was going to keep them together after such a short introduction. I separated them again and the stallion ran the fenceline frantically looking for the colt.

Right now, the only female on the property is a miniature yearling filly. She is on the opposite side of the property and has been kept with the colt, but that time is ending. All of the large horses that are near the stallion paddock are geldings. The colt in question will also be gelded once he drops.

I do know that it could turn nasty in the blink of an eye if one of them becomes too aggressive, which is why I sought opinions and experiences here. I'm definitely not sold on the idea, but I haven't ruled it out completely yet, either.

I just don't know...

ETA: The stallion is not being used as a breeding stallion now, but he has in the past, I believe.
 
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ontherisefarm

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Not only can stallion fights be deadly (more like funny in minis, but not always), but you WILL cause behavioral changes to them.
There are three types of stallions (well, two, but we'll add a third as an exception).

The first type is a harem stallion. These are your breeding horses. One stallion and a group of "his" mares. In a natural or pasture breeding situation, a harem stallion will have a group of mares to serve and protect. He will browse through, teasing and breeding as he (and the dominant mares) see fit. In this situation the stallion's testosterone levels, and therefore his sperm count and libido, will be at their highest. Testicular size will be optimized and he'll be aggressive and active in his breeding. For a breeding situation this is ideal. Remember one important thing though... a stallion does NOT have to have his OWN mares to be a harem stallion. A stallion in a barn with mares around him is also a harem stud, as is a stallion in a paddock overlooking a mare paddock. If a stallion can see and talk to mares, he's interacting with them and will have high testosterone levels. The closer the contact, the higher the levels.

The second type of stallion is a bachelor stallion. In the wild, colts are expelled from the herd when they become sexually capable. They wander off until they hook up with other colts and form their own herd of males. While homosexual activity is not unheard of in this type of situation, it is very uncommon, and breeding opportunities are rare. A bachelor stallion will have very low testosterone levels and will have a very low sex drive. Harem stallions who join bachelor herds will drop testosterone and will become the same as the other stallions. If this horse became a bachlor as an adult, with a "strange" group of studs, THIS IS PERMINENT! An adult bachelor stallion takes a VERY long time to recover harem stallion testosterone levels. They will never regain the average levels of a life long harem stud.

The third type of stallion is a combination of the two. I'll call them family... when colts are RAISED together, from birth/weaning/whatever, they can become harem stallions easily. This is what colts do in natural herds... they join up young and develop naturally into bachelors. They will have low levels like a bachelor stallion until they find their own herd, then they will become harem studs. So if you raise a herd full of intact colts, when you are ready to breed they will be completely normal (we all laugh, of course... how many people have "normal" colts? Do they exist?).

A harem stallion can become a bachelor stud; it’s not hard at all. You can take a whole herd of stallions and turn them out together. Once a pecking order is established, injuries will be minimal and they'll lead a natural life. But they will now ALWAYS be bachelors, and their testosterone will stay low permanently. They will be difficult to train back into harem stallions.

Moral of the story, I guess, is to keep breeding stallions separate. As youngsters they are FINE, and healthy, to live together, but once they start to breed (on purpose! :p) keep them separate. You can put them together, they will fight, hard, you will have injuries, and they will adjust and become friends eventually. But, they will never go back to the breeding status they were before.
That was very interesting Nathan. I never really looked at it that way. I have a suckling colt that tried to attack
my 2 yr old stallion when I put him out in the field to check my mares. The suckling literally went after my stallion with wide open mouth pinned back ears . I pulled my stallion out fast. Not that the stallion tried to hurt him but because I didnt wanna take the chance he would have to defend himself and then hurt him... So I think this baby was in his harem stallion mode as he was the only male as the other two foals are fillies.. This little baby has both testicles down and both are well developed for his age... So dont know if that made a difference in his behavior. So I dont think I would ever put that colt with other boys...
 

Nathan Luszcz

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Do you not watch any of the animal planet shows?
No, I prefer to get my facts from the people who have studied this for their whole lives. This bachalor/harem stallion phylosophy was one of the main principles I learned during my time at one of the leading equine reproduction facilities in the world while I earned my Masters.

I can guarentee you that your stallion's testosterone is lower than it once was. Does that mean they won't perform? NO!!! Just that their libido will be lower than what it could be. They won't be as masculine as their potential would have been had they lived in front of mares their whole lives.

Do ANY stallions live like a "true" harem stallion? Not really! Horses in heavy training are not allowed to be harem horses. Show horses, etc. Only breeding studs get the ability to live like harem boys.

The issue as I see it is what does what I described mean to YOU. Does a lowered testosterone level mean they won't breed? Of course not. It just means they'll breed a little slower than they might. Will you notice a difference? Maybe, but probably not, unless you keep really detailed records or have a photographic memory. But that is how they act and why they act the way they do.

Miniature horses have the POTENTIAL to kill each other, yes, but when I see them fight it looks a lot more funny than it does dangerous. 1200lb horses fighting have a lot more force and a lot more damage. But that doesn't mean that two miniature stallions fighting can not damage each other beyond repair, or create blemishes that make them unshowable. Its still a huge risk.

I know a lot of miniature horse people put stallions together and do a lot of management techniques that big horse people would never THINK about. They can do this because of the lesser ability for miniatures to do harm. This should not be forgotten!
 
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Jill

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Not only can stallion fights be deadly (more like funny in minis, but not always), but you WILL cause behavioral changes to them.
What would be funny about a mini stallion fight? Two 32" stallions are as likely to cause deadly harm to each other as two 15hh stallions. And if not serious harm, torn off pieces of ears, big bite marks, a kick to the ribs... none of that is funny regardless of size.
 
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Nathan Luszcz

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Because most of the time it looks like playing. But, like I mentioned several times, the potential IS there for deadly injuries or disasterous blemishes. I've stressed several times that people treat miniatures more like their own species than they treat them like full sized horses. The management should be the same, the expectations should be the same, and the behavior should be the same.

Miniature horses have the POTENTIAL to kill each other, yes, but when I see them fight it looks a lot more funny than it does dangerous. 1200lb horses fighting have a lot more force and a lot more damage. But that doesn't mean that two miniature stallions fighting can not damage each other beyond repair, or create blemishes that make them unshowable. Its still a huge risk.
 

Leeana

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Not only can stallion fights be deadly (more like funny in minis, but not always), but you WILL cause behavioral changes to them.
What would be funny about a mini stallion fight? Two 32" stallions are as likely to cause deadly harm to each other as two 15hh stallions. And if not serious harm, torn off pieces of ears, big bite marks, a kick to the ribs... none of that is funny regardless of size.
I also find NOTHING at all funny about it ..how on earth someone could find two stallions ripping each other to shreds funny is beyond me. Not funny if they are 28" or 16hh. I know of a lady who had two of her stallions fight just weeks before nationals, the stallion she was going to take was torn up badly from the fight and she was out big $ on entrys and training for that stallion ..now i personally am sure they did not find that funny.

A 1200lb horse is fighting a 1200lb horse has the same odds as a 250lb mini fighting a 250lb mini ...there is no difference.
 

Riverdance

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Do you not watch any of the animal planet shows?
No, I prefer to get my facts from the people who have studied this for their whole lives. This bachalor/harem stallion phylosophy was one of the main principles I learned during my time at one of the leading equine reproduction facilities in the world while I earned my Masters.

I can guarentee you that your stallion's testosterone is lower than it once was. Does that mean they won't perform? NO!!! Just that their libido will be lower than what it could be. They won't be as masculine as their potential would have been had they lived in front of mares their whole lives.

Do ANY stallions live like a "true" harem stallion? Not really! Horses in heavy training are not allowed to be harem horses. Show horses, etc. Only breeding studs get the ability to live like harem boys.

The issue as I see it is what does what I described mean to YOU. Does a lowered testosterone level mean they won't breed? Of course not. It just means they'll breed a little slower than they might. Will you notice a difference? Maybe, but probably not, unless you keep really detailed records or have a photographic memory. But that is how they act and why they act the way they do.

Miniature horses have the POTENTIAL to kill each other, yes, but when I see them fight it looks a lot more funny than it does dangerous. 1200lb horses fighting have a lot more force and a lot more damage. But that doesn't mean that two miniature stallions fighting can not damage each other beyond repair, or create blemishes that make them unshowable. Its still a huge risk.

I know a lot of miniature horse people put stallions together and do a lot of management techniques that big horse people would never THINK about. They can do this because of the lesser ability for miniatures to do harm. This should not be forgotten!
Nathan,

I would agree that I would never put large horse stallions together.(though some people do) But, I also hate for a horse to live such an unatural life. To me it is not fair or natural for the boys to have to be in small stallion runs or in stalls because they are used for breeding. Since the Miniature boys do not really do much fighting, I have created an area just for them where they can be just horses for the winter.

I too have consulted top vets who are top breeding specialists at some of the top universities. They are the ones who helped me set this up for my Minis.

We are talking Minis here and not full size horses. Keeping them in a group for the winter months has never affected their breeding performance and perhaps have made them happier and healthier horses. I have some very agressive stallions who would be more than happy to bite someones head off during breeding season, but seem to mellow out during the winter months and also seem to enjoy more freedom and companionship.
 

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My stallions live a natural life year round even when they aren't breeding... just because a horse is intact doesn't mean it has to live an isolated life. But I choose to pasture mine with mares, not each other. My QH lives alone but he is by no means isolated. My pony lives with his mare year round; through management no foal results. It is possible to manage them well and socially without modifying their perminent activities. And like I said, just because they have LESS testosterone and LESS libido doesn't NOT mean they have NONE! Just less
 

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Riverdance I also keep my boys together in the off season. My young stallions (not being used for breeding yet) stay together year round and mature stallions are separated by fence lines or sometimes a greater distance once the days lengthen in the spring. I have the facilities to keep my mares out of sight (altho not sound since the horses from 1/2 mile away can be heard calling too) and that does seem to make it easier.Right now I have my 2 young stallions pastured with a group of geldings and my senior stallions in their own small pastures even tho I am not breeding either of them this year. Once the weather cools and days shorten again I will re-introduce them to the gelding herd for the winter. This works for me and the only really rough play I see is in the yearling colts who I believe benefit from living with mature horse who keep them from being overly aggressive.
 

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We have to manage our stallions on a case by case basis.

Topper...he's gentle enough to be loving and so very good with foals, but at weaning I would pull them and leave him only a mare or two (or three) for company. He has no problems settling his mares, so the mares he winters with are bred and we have never witnessed repeat breedings of known pregnant mares.

Peppy...While we had leased him, NO WAY would I even dream of putting him with foals or with other colts or geldings. His personality is not laid back, and he is very territorial with his mares due to the circumstances from which he'd been rescued from previously.

Cowboy...When we first brought him home as a new 3 yr old, we pastured him with three younger colts. They were all fine for all of 2007. As spring of 2008 came around, the play became progressively more rough with two of the older colts. Cowboy and the now yearling colt are very bonded, and they are now seperate from the other two colts who are now 2 yrs old. As Cowboy is maturing (now a 4 yr old) and in his second (small) breeding season, he eventually will be seperated from his younger buddy, Gus. Time will tell if his temperment will permit continued pasturing with mares and young colts.

As for our Arabian stallion, he was kept completely ALONE for 7-8 years with no companionship of any kind before we bought him. He's a loving boy, but NO WAY would I think of putting him with another stallion. He was temporarily with another gelding, but their play was a little bit rough for our comfort (although the gelding was the aggressor).

So, for us, it's definitely on a case by case basis...
 

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This is a group of (at the time) 2 6 year old stallions, 2 2 year olds and one yearling. There are mares in smell/hearing distance and perhaps sight, but not in *close* proximity. The older stallions were often pulled out to hand-breed mares and then put back in with the boyz. It's been my experience that the boys play nicer together than the girls do.

With any animal that has hard teeth and hard clubs at the end of each leg, there's a potential for it to cause injury... to another animal, to a person, even to itself. We all manage our critters in ways that work best for each of us. Right now all my stallions are in separate but adjoining corrals, but that's mainly because I have mares and foals filling up my turnout areas. When the foals are weaned and in the barn for the winter to learn their show duties, the boyz will be turned back out on the hill to play and relax.
 

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