My mare has turned so unfriendly after foaling - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 09-29-2013, 02:33 AM Thread Starter
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My mare has turned so unfriendly after foaling

Hope someone can reassure me on this one. My Arab mare foaled three days ago, and since then she's turned into the most unfriendly animal you can imagine. Normally she is friendly, although she's always had a streak of temper, but now she lays her ears back and swings her quarters towards anyone who approaches. She's defending her foal, of course, but we've never mistreated her so I don't know why she's so over the top.
This isn't her first foal, I don't know how her previous owners treated her when she foaled. Maybe she has had bad experiences in the past?
Anyway, she foaled three days ago and she's still very rude with us. I have no previous experience with brood mares but it seems like everyone on the forum can cuddle their foals no problem. I've only touched the tip of his nose when his mother was distracted in a bucket!
Is this normal? I can only approach her when she's eating. I stroke her and praise her, but the next time I try and come up to her it's ears back and bottom swinging all over again.
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post #2 of 18 Old 09-29-2013, 02:40 AM
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My girl is foal proud and a little aggressive for the first week after foaling and then relaxes. Give it a few more days and see if she calms down before worrying too much :)
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post #3 of 18 Old 09-29-2013, 06:13 AM
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Some mares are like this and it has nothing to do with you or past experiences. I've even seen mares strike at people. Give it a few more days, but you still want to correct the behavior with your voice and/or a smack, etc. and be careful..
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post #4 of 18 Old 09-29-2013, 08:55 AM
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It's because she's a good mommy. She's protecting her baby. You need to be careful for now. Put a halter on her when handling the baby and always keep the baby in between you and mommy. She'll settle down.
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post #5 of 18 Old 09-29-2013, 09:06 AM
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When my mare first foaled she was a bit leery of me, and would not put up with anyone else in there by her baby. She wasn't aggressive, no pinned ears, barred teeth, or flying hooves; just would push herself between the baby and I or herd the filly into the corner to hide from everyone. Of course, her filly was so cheeky that it wasn't long before she was glad to get a few seconds of rest.

Be careful of what you do, and always halter the mare up first. I did just in case, as my mother wanted to come flying into my mare's stall and started a crash course in flash photography. I wouldn't handle, or more so take the foal away until the mare is comfortable with you around or the foal gone. It will take a few weeks.

But just because she has a foal, I would not put up with any of her crap. Don't go out of you way to nitpick her, but she does not get to bite, kick, or pin ears at you otherwise, she should not get to now.
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post #6 of 18 Old 09-29-2013, 09:58 AM
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My mare was leery of anyone but me being around her baby. It took a week for her to settle down and allow others around.

Give her a break and give her some alone time. Shell come around.
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post #7 of 18 Old 09-29-2013, 11:24 AM
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Some mares are over protective. You just have to keep your guard up around them. Once they realize you aren't going to hurt the foal, they settle down. Some will take longer to come around.

I've only dealt with two mares with foals. The first was when we got Lucy. We didn't own her mom and Lucy was only a few weeks old. Silky, her mom, was extremely protective, pretty much aggressive. She did allow me into their stall after three days but didn't want anyone else near it. We had to have the vet come and look at Lucy because her leg was injured. Silky chased the vet out of the stall.

One time that we took them out to graze, Lucy walked away from Silky and got on the other side of me. Silky charged at me. I was very inexperienced with horses at the time so I just stood there. My thought was to show no fear like with dogs. She could have easily hurt me but she veered off at the last moment.

The other mare was one we have now. She just foaled a month ago. I don't know her previous history since we just got her in the spring. I just kept an eye on her and watched her reactions. She did pin her ears a few times but I just nicely corrected her and she settled. She did go nuts when the vet came and we had to pull the baby away for him to get looked at. She settled down again after a few minutes when she realized he was ok.
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post #8 of 18 Old 09-29-2013, 01:16 PM
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Keep your guard up for a while. She's just protecting her baby.
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post #9 of 18 Old 09-30-2013, 01:52 AM Thread Starter
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I'm a livestock farmer (dairy goats) so I'm used to the occasional goat that butts you when you look at it's newborn kid. But a mare doing the same thing is a whole different ball game :-!
I'll be patient and hope she grows out of it. The foal's such a sweetie, I'm aching to handle it!
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post #10 of 18 Old 09-30-2013, 02:17 AM
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As what others have said, she is protecting her baby until she knows who to trust and that nobody is going to hurt them.

If that were me, I'd go down numerous times a day and just stand at a distance and simply speak to her for a while. Let her know your there and that your not going anywhere, nor are you there as any kind of threat. Eventually she will relax and come closer to you, trusting that your friend not foe.
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