Join Date: May 2007
Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
Best mare/foal care methods
I know that this is fairly premature, but our mare is due to foal in April, and I have been "nesting" like crazy lately. I have been trying to make a checklist of things to do (minor changes to her pen, purchase of needed supplies, etc.)
I have been reading up on nutrition, training, gelding, and weaning. The sources seem to vary greatly depending on who wrote the article or book.
I would just like to hear from those of you out there about what you think is the best way to:
Work with the foal from a training standpoint
House a foal (mare and foal alone, with group of horses, etc.)
There is another thread on here about gelding, so I won't ask about that.
But...I would also just love to hear any tidbits that those of you gained through experience. Such as something that you didn't do with your first foal, but decided to add for future foals. Items that you feel are "must haves", favorite feeding program, training methods, etc.
Written sources conflict in so many of these areas, so I just want to hear what ingredients those of you with experience think makes the healthiest, happiest young horse. I am happy to hear opinions from those without personal experience as well.
I am currently leaning toward:
-a longer more gradual weaning (not sure on specifics yet)
-using a mix of nutrena youth, vitamins, salt, alfalfa, and grass hay for lactating mare and growing foal (specifics depend on stage)
-housing mare and foal in field with geldings (after foal gets around well)
-vaccinating/worming mare properly during pregnancy
-having vet check foal over after birth (will give proper vaccines/worming after birth according to vet - still haven't looked that up)
-pretty consitently (but not intensely) training foal from the beginning
-riding and working with mare fairly actively after foal gets around well (foal at side)
-possibly (not sure yet), showing foal in weanling halter
-haven't decided wether to seclude mare to stall for foaling yet or allow access to bedded stall in hopes that she will use it to foal (more research needed)
-doing a lot with imprinting, natural horsemanship training, and general exposure to "scary things" while foal still has mom for confidence.
-keeping vet on call for emergencies during foaling, but otherwise allowing it to occur naturally
...I am sure there are more pieces to the puzzle, but that is all I can think of at the moment...these plans are just ideas based on my current research, they are not set in stone yet...I am open to hearing better ideas and reasons why.