'Foal Proud' Mare? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 09-13-2010, 10:14 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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'Foal Proud' Mare?

Just looking for a little advice here.

I have a 10 year old Standardbred mare who is in foal to a Clydesdale stallion for a november foal. I bought her about 3 months ago, so already in foal. When I bought her I was told that she can be a little foal proud when the baby is on the ground.


In the last few weeks, she's started to show her pregnancy more and her temperament is changing too. She was a sweet little thing when I first brought her home, but now she is becoming borderline aggressive.

She will not let me touch her flanks or anywhere approaching her udder without kicking out at me. She has times where she just plain doesn't want to be touched and if I dare go in to give her a scratch she will pin her ears at me.

At this stage, I am dealing with the aggression the same as I would with any of my other horses. It's just not tolerated. She gets a good whack if she tries to bite and the same if she tries to kick. This keeps her in check for the most part.

What I am wondering though is - Is this the beginnings of her becoming foal proud?

And then of course, the question is, do I handle it the same way with the baby on the ground? As I am assuming she is quite possibly going to get worse then.

And because a pregnant mare thread is always useless without pictures....

Trojan 09.11.02 - 26.10.10 // Kody 01.09.89-25.06.12 // Rex 05.11.95-21.12.12
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post #2 of 12 Old 09-13-2010, 10:20 PM
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she shouldnt be showing it now...maybe she is just in pain a bit?
but i may worsen when the foal is born ...and just watch out...i have been kicked in the face and it hurts (as it would)...but when the foal is born i would treat the mare the same as i have been or maybe just stay away from the foal or dont touch it until she is over her foal proud stage

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post #3 of 12 Old 09-14-2010, 05:03 AM
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I've never heard the term foal proud and I don't know what it means.
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post #4 of 12 Old 09-14-2010, 06:53 AM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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My understanding is basically like an over protective mother, reluctant to let anyone or anything near her baby

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post #5 of 12 Old 09-14-2010, 08:46 AM
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Sounds like nothing more than pregnancy hormones to me.

Female humans also get witchy their last trimester. You'd be evil too if you had a 100 lb. watermelon constantly sitting on your bladder!
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post #6 of 12 Old 09-14-2010, 09:24 AM
Green Broke
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From my take on the conversation, I would be concerned they were trying to give you a subtle heads up that the mare might become dangerously aggressive after the baby is on the ground. I'd take that warning and be prepared. New babies can make even the most docile horse dangerous, and some certainly react stronger than others. Even my Freyja, who is as easy and docile a horse in existence, broke the neighbor girl's leg when she got in my pasture alone and tried to handle 4 day old Fiona. I'd make sure you are equipped to handle the potentially problematic mare while routine care is given to the foal.

That being said, I seriously doubt this is what the mare is doing now. In my experience, mares don't make the direct association of being pregnant with the baby on the ground when it comes. I think right now you are dealing more with a hormonal girl, as Speedracer said. Personality changes at different stages of pregnancy aren't unusual for animals of any species - humans included!

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post #7 of 12 Old 09-14-2010, 01:56 PM
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I have to agree with Indy, right now it is probably a combination of hormones and probably some discomfort. If they people that you got her from said that she is foal proud, it was their way of warning you that she can become aggressive after the foal is born. I would call it more of foal possessive though. I've been around a couple of mares this way, one was significantly worse than the other. The one mare that I was around had to be locked in a good sized stud stall because of her aggression. And all horses had to be moved away from the paddock that was attached to that stall because she would charge them through the fence, and she even hit the fence once. It was hell to try to treat the scrapes because she was so aggressive. It took two people to hold her once you finished fighting her to get her caught. You didn't enter her stall without protection of some form. It took two people to run her and the foal out of the stall just to clean it. Now the kick is, when she didn't have a foal, she was the most laid back mare on the entire place. She loved attention, and was a regular lesson horse.

I don't think some mares can help it. I think that after the birth and some while they are nursing that their hormones are so out of whack that they get beside themselves, and get aggressive. I don't know why it happens, but I'm thankful that it doesn't happen often.
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post #8 of 12 Old 09-14-2010, 07:42 PM
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I agree with everyone saying it is just hormones.
When Sonya was approaching foaling time, she was absolutely miserable.
3 or 4 weeks before Rumour was born, I was checking Sonya's udder, and she turned around on me and bit my back, taking away a few layers of skin. That was the first time she had ever shown any aggression towards me, so I knew it was just hormones. She knew she hurt me bad after that, because she was really sorry afterwards.
Mares just have really crazy mood swings when they are getting close to foaling. I don't think she would be starting to be 'foal proud' just yet, since there is no foal on the ground yet.
Do you know if the people handled the foals a lot at birth, or did they start a couple days or weeks to handle the foal? Maybe that's why she was 'foal proud', because they don't touch the baby, and then are suddenly all over it?

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post #9 of 12 Old 09-15-2010, 12:47 AM
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I never realized mares could be so protective/aggressive or whatever the case may be. When Isabelle was pregnant, I was all over her, checking her milk twice a day to see if it was changing and everything. Sitting with her in a chair all during her dinner just to feel the foal kick. I was kinda crazy, I know! But she was totally awesome and never aggressive with me.

Now once the foal was born, she was very, very nervous. She still wasn't aggressive towards me, but it was like she couldn't relax and hardly stood still long enough to let the baby nurse. That first few days I actually would halter her and hold her steady so the baby could get a good long nursing. She just was kind of worried and paced. And she was VERY aggressive to the gelding in the next pen. I had to run a rope across the back of his pen to keep him away from the mare. He didn't do anything towards them, but Isabelle felt like she had to back up and kick at him whenever he came near. So I did it to keep her from kicking the fence and injuring herself. After about 2 weeks or so, she settled down and was less nervous and was less aggressive towards the gelding too.

Now I've seen Isabelle bite her foal on the rump when he was too rough with her udder. Then he would get mad and kind of kick and buck after she bit him. That was kind of humorous to watch. And I didn't go messing with her udder after the baby was born because I would probably have been fair game for biting and kicking then too.
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post #10 of 12 Old 09-15-2010, 12:54 AM
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We have a foal proud mare at our barn. She just had her baby weaned and there is a two month old just weaned foal at the barn that she goes crazy over to get too.

I hadn't heard the term before until I moved to this barn about ten years ago.

The attitude change is likely what they said above, hormones. Same thing happened to the BO's mare. Nice until later in pregnancy then became really nasty. Once the foal was born, things were fine.

I've never been pregnant but I've been around the pregnant women in the office and seen the same thing.

Unless it weighs a ton... it's just a horse. Draft horse motto.
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