Foal Imprinting - The Horse Forum
View Poll Results: What do you think of foal imprinting?
Yes, it makes a difference 22 88.00%
No, doesnt do anything for them 2 8.00%
Never heard of it/ Never tried it 1 4.00%
Voters: 25. You may not vote on this poll

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post #1 of 21 Old 09-20-2009, 01:11 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: New York
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Foal Imprinting

i was just wondering everyones take on foal imprinting.

the first foal we had we didnt do the imprinting and she was a holy terror. she would throw herself over backwards whenever she didnt like something. we tried many times to crosstie break her, unsuccessfully. etc. we ended up sending her to the Amish to be broke to drive because we just couldnt do it.

her full sister we did imprinting on. she has been the most compliant foal i have ever met. never does anything wrong, easy to handle, she broke SUPER easy for us, etc.

now i know horses have different personalities and this could make a difference in everything. but i really believe the imprinting makes a HUGE impact on how a horse is. my mother, sister, cousins son (who works at the barn) and some other people fully agree with me. my cousin, uncle, and some other people think its a load of crap and it makes no difference because "theres been tons of great racehorses and they didnt have it done, so why do you think all these horses need that". they dont get that im not saying it HAS to be done or the horse will just never be any good (my first filly is an angel now, so obviously i dont think that) i just think it makes the process MUCH easier. what do you guys think???
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post #2 of 21 Old 09-20-2009, 02:27 AM
Join Date: Jul 2009
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Just had to say . You can imprint any horse!

When im looking at horse for the first time the first thing ill do is go up to him and give him a good scratch all over if he likes , get him nice and relaxed , always stay calm ! our first encounter will be remembered by him and its imprinted in his mind that Im good to be around. Its where you want to start from.

May we all see horses through the eyes of children
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post #3 of 21 Old 09-20-2009, 08:36 AM
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Ohio
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We do our own version of imprinting. I have seen imprinting taken to the extreme and the result is a very bratty disrespectful horse. The key is to remember they are a horse not a child or a dog.

I have imprinted some that were still very antisocial and then a couple months later they become very friendly. We are hands on though with our foals and horses every single day and I think that too makes a difference.

Many larger farms imprint them then turn them out on 50 acres and never touch them again until they are weaned. Those are very hard foals to handle
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post #4 of 21 Old 09-20-2009, 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by weefoal View Post
We are hands on though with our foals and horses every single day and I think that too makes a difference.
It makes a big difference, IMHO. Being at home, our horses are handled every day, too, and folks are always amazed at how social, willing, and well mannered they are.

On the sixth day, God created the Quarter Horse.
On the seventh day, he Painted the good ones.
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post #5 of 21 Old 09-20-2009, 10:41 AM
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IMO "imprinting" is just a catchy term used for training young foals. I think any foal handled frequently is going to behave better in the long run than as weefoal said "imprinted" then turned out to pasture till they are a weanling/yearling. Also I have to agree with what Shalani said, any horse can be imprinted or trained to be calm under certain conditions. I feel this is something that needs to be done at a slow steady pace not break out feed sacks, tarps and ropes the minute the poor foal plops out of it's mom.

Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway~~John Wayne
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post #6 of 21 Old 09-20-2009, 12:05 PM
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I can't really say one way or the other because I have only ever had one foal to mess with and he hasn't grown up yet so I don't now if his breaking will go easier or not. And I did discover that (unlike some of the imprinting sites tell you) you don't have to do the whole "stick your fingers in their ears and up their nostrils and in their mouth" thing during the initial imprinting. At least I didn't have to with Rafe. The day that he was born, I just stood by him and scratched on his neck, sides, and back. Then the next time that I came home, I could touch him anywhere, mess with his ears, play with his nostrils, open his mouth, etc. I am hoping that he will be easy to break to ride cause he is gonna be huge but I have already done the lead rope girth around his middle and flanks and even leaned on his back just a bit and he stood like a champ for all of it.
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post #7 of 21 Old 09-20-2009, 12:22 PM
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Alberta, Canada
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I think imprinting is very important. If it is done properly the foal will not be disrespectful but will be extremely easy to train, break and handle. I've imprinted all the foals I've been around and at 6 months they knew everything (and more) than a lot of adult horses - other than the saddle and bridle training of course.
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post #8 of 21 Old 09-20-2009, 12:47 PM
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I agree with whoever said imprinting is just a "fancy term". I really don't believe imprinting has to be the whole technical procedure if getting to the foal before he even gets up and nurses to rub him all over and do weird things with him. Doing that means absolutely NOTHING if you don't continue to work with the foal, and likewise, I've seen tons of foals who were beautifully behaved and a joy to work with just because they'd been handled from birth (no "true" imprinting done). I don't think it has anything to do with what you do to the foal while he's still on the ground, I think it has everything to do with what you're doing with that foal the first few months of his life.

When Zierra has born, she actually helped turn her mother around. Zena had been with us a month, had been abused and neglected, and had a mortal fear of humans. We didn't get to Zierra until a good five hours after she was born, at which time we went in, held Zena and petted her. I don't know if it was her personality, but that filly was just born loving people. I was really scared that Zena's fear would turn her into a shy and difficult foal, but it was the exact opposite. Zena learned to be accustomed to people because that little daughter of hers would leave her side to come running to me! I worked with her constantly as a newborn, always petting and scritches and getting her used to the halter. Her training was an absolute breeze.

I think people get overzealous with imprinting sometimes. It's fine if you're there, but so many people get SO upset if they're not there to "imprint". I've yet to see a properly handled foal be difficult from lack of true imprinting. Of course, some DO have difficult personalities, but with proper work I find it's relatively easy to bring them around.

I hope God tells her to smash her computer with a sledgehammer.

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post #9 of 21 Old 09-20-2009, 05:08 PM Thread Starter
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Location: New York
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when we do our imprinting, we do it when they are still on the ground after they have "talked" to momma for the first time. we mostly rub them all over, play with their ears, feet, etc. but we are also very hands on. we are with our foals every day. we do everything from playing in the paddock, to working with their feet. we dont take imprinting to the "extreme", though i dont know what everyone considers extreme or not. i just found my foal who wasnt imprinted was very difficult compared to my foal who was. maybe personality has something to do with it, i dunno for sure. but our newest colt was not imprinted, and my mare is in foal right now and that one will be. so we will have another set to compare i guess.

i guess if anything i more or less just enjoy the bonding time.
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post #10 of 21 Old 09-20-2009, 09:52 PM
Join Date: Feb 2009
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I think its a good thing if done properly. You can go too far and ruin a horse though so there is a limit.

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