Things to look for in a new foal - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 10-05-2011, 06:09 PM Thread Starter
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Things to look for in a new foal

Hi Guys

New to the forum :)

I'm currently looking at buying my first 'baby' (weanling) I have had horses all my life and done work with babies and breakers but only as the helping hand and onlooker.

I'm looking for a future eventer, (Way way down the future), I want to really take my time with the bub and eventually break in myself (under the watchful eye of an amazing breaker). I'm going to look at a Buckskin colt on the weekend, who is out of a Clydie/Apaloosa mare and by a Stockhorse Stallion.

If anyone has any tips for 'must' check out things when I view him, would be much appreciated. Will have a good look at both sire and dam, their natures etc etc.

But any tips especially re conformation or things that I otherwise may not think of please let me know

Much thanks
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post #2 of 14 Old 10-05-2011, 06:27 PM
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First off, howdy and welcome to the forum .

The first thing that I would look at when looking at the foal is his legs. I would want them to be straight and clean. Look closely for toeing out, toeing in, knock knees, cow hocks, unusual swelling or shapes on his joints or long bones, etc. That will be what is most important. An experienced eye can get a general idea of what his final body conformation will look like from looking at him as a weanling, but since many of them go through such wonky growth spurts, so much of how he looks right now can change in the next 2-3 years and really surprise you sometimes (for the better or worse can only be guessed ).

There are lots of knowledgeable people on here that could give you a good idea of any faults he may have if you were able to post some pictures of him. Someone here may be able to see something (good or bad) that you maybe missed.
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post #3 of 14 Old 10-05-2011, 06:36 PM Thread Starter
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Great idea! Will get some photos over the weekend and upload :) Thanks!
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post #4 of 14 Old 10-05-2011, 07:25 PM
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I would also make sure he doesn't appear to have an umbilical hernia, his teeth come together normally (vs. a parrot mouth or anything abnormal like that), and I don't know if he will have testicles showing or not, but if it does, two are always a plus.

I guess what I am saying is that I would look for things he could be born with that could lead to problems down the road.

I would want a horse with nice normal looking pastern slope too. Nothing too upright or too sagging.
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post #5 of 14 Old 10-06-2011, 05:12 PM
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Also keep in mind that while he will grow and fill out, his conformation will not change. Conformation is bone structure, which does not change.
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post #6 of 14 Old 10-06-2011, 05:54 PM
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Along with the suggestions above....

When purchasing a foal, I check to see what the dam and sire have done in the discipline I expect the foal to excel at.

I check show records, and barring those, what have the other foals out of this mare and by this stallion done? Are they showing? Did they turn out nice with a good disposition and clean lines and an aptitude for the particular discipline you want to do?

Were there any latent medical problems that showed up?

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post #7 of 14 Old 10-08-2011, 12:08 PM
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You want to look at angles in the leg, shoulder and hindquarter, and you want a foal that is relatively well-balanced. If you can see foal photos (3 days, 3 weeks, 3 months) they are also a good guide.

OP if you're from aussie-land anything you're looking at that has been weaned is already a yearling. Or it's been weaned too young. You want to look for this year's foals and wait a while, unless you specifically WANT a yearling.

Bloodlines are important. Parents' performance records? Conformation? Temperament? Especially seeing as you want an eventing prospect! I like clydie crosses for eventing, but not particularly sold on stockhorses or appies (have noticed a tendency for them to be a bit downhill) bar the occasional spectacular individual.

I just recently ventured into weanling-ownership myself and my filly is by an unproven stallion (the stallion was not even started under saddle, let alone competed, but has a nice jump), first foal from the cross, but I was looking for nice clean straight legs, good angles in the shoulder and hindquarter, and ok overall balance. And TEMPERAMENT. It is VITAL to get a foal with the right temperament for YOU, especially for your first. My girl is really pushy, but I chose her for that, because I'm really dominant and I don't want to frighten an already timid foal. She's not a spooky sort, in fact she is amazingly chilled for a foal her age. But definitely not lethargic. That is REALLY important!

You need to be able to tell the difference between chilled out/relaxed and lethargic! It is so easy to fall into the trap and end up with a foal that was drugged when you went to see it, or worse, a foal that's real sick.

I am lucky, I chose the foal most people advise to avoid - crossbred, totally unregisterable even with colour societies, from an unproven sire whose conformation was less than ideal. But I also chose the foal with nice clean straight legs, nice shoulder and hindquarter angles, and GORGEOUS movement. She is like a mini-warmblood. She's a bit of a fugly at the moment but that's yearlings. Like I said, you'll ideally want to see foal photos (I couldn't even see those! bit of a blind stab... hoping she turns out nice), especially if the seller is claiming that the foal is in the ugly stage.

In a foal at 3 days, 3 weeks or 3 months, you're looking specifically for good angles, nice even build (shoulder, ribcage and hindquarter should all be roughly the same size and the foal should not, at these ages, be downhill at all, or too uphill), and CLEAN, STRAIGHT legs. Great hooves are a MUST. You will ideally want a foal with some length of rein, but they are often short in the body and neck for their size. Ideally the top line of the neck will be longer than the bottom line, and the other way around for the body. I like a short body with a slightly long neck.

I, too, ride eventers/showjumpers, and I specifically bought Satin hoping she would mature into a nice eventing pony. But when buying a foal, you do need to keep in mind that you might end up with an unpleasant surprise down the end of the line. And you are guaranteed to look at your foal at some point and wonder why in heck you bought it... I'm at that stage with Satin at the moment because she is well and truly into the yearling fuglies.

EDIT; the person who suggested looking at previous progeny of both parents is very wise. It is a VERY good idea. Unproven stallions, mares, or crosses are a HUGE risk to take, because you honestly never know what you'll end up with... At the same time, though, I know a pair of ponies that are full brothers - chalk and cheese, my friend! One is absolutely stunning, stallion quality for sure (but sadly gelded as he is unregistered), and the other is, well, fugly. That's putting it politely!

Last edited by blue eyed pony; 10-08-2011 at 12:11 PM.
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post #8 of 14 Old 10-08-2011, 06:59 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you all for your advice, I'm going to see him today and will take everything everyone has said on board, will also get some pictures and upload them. The stallion he is by is also unbroken but I will have a good look at his conformation and check out his nature.

Will get some more pictures this afternoon to upload, (As he is now 4 months old) but here is a very early picture, anyway.
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post #9 of 14 Old 10-08-2011, 07:07 PM
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Holy moly, does that baby ever have stocky legs and a big ol' bum. Wow. For some reason, his neck seems a little short to me, but that could be how he's holding his head. His hooves also look pretty dainty for the size of his legs, but that could change as he gets older too.
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post #10 of 14 Old 10-08-2011, 07:29 PM
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Aw, he's a cutie. I see the fairly short neck as well, but that could very well have already change or change in the future as he grows. He sure has good bone and I'll bet his feet will grow into the right size as well. My draft cross baby had tiny feet as a foal, but now at 2 years old, he would fit into about a size 3. The angles on his legs look good from what I can tell. IMHO, he'll be worth a look.

I can't wait for more current pictures .
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