What do do with new foal?? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 04-04-2013, 10:32 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Texas
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What do do with new foal??

Ok, You guys know this is my first foal...what do I need to be doing now?! I have read and heard so many conflicting things I don't know what to do at this point. He was just born early yesterday morning. I handled him some yesterday, rubbed him all over, touched under his belly, lifted legs, and put a halter on. He was fine with all this while laying down, but when standing didn't really want to be touched. Well today he doesn't want to be touched at all and he bucked up at me! What is the proper course of action to take right now? I'm moving to Texas which is a 15 hour trip (will be much longer with horses) and having him calm and trusting is very important to me so that it makes it less stressful on this trip and when we arrive at our new house, etc. Someone mentioned that it's normal for them to be like this as they are still figuring things out and all. I don't want to do anything to make him fearful or possibly get hurt.

He is definitely a feisty boy, I can already tell he will be a handful!!
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post #2 of 15 Old 04-04-2013, 10:47 PM
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If you get down on his level he'll be more receptive, let him come to you. If he takes a step forward you take a small step forward, if he backs up you back up, it won't take long and he'll be right there curiosity usually wins out of being scared of you.
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post #3 of 15 Old 04-05-2013, 08:09 AM
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Remember that when you touch the top of their croup, that buck/kick is a reflex reaction. So he may not have been doing it AT you!
I like to just get in the stall with them every chance I get, and catch and scratch. Just let him know you make him feel good. Run your hands down his legs, and then in a few days, pick up his feet.
Lead Mom around the stall, and lead him with her.
When you take them out, lead him first, and she will follow.

Where in Texas are you going? We just moved to KY from there.

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post #4 of 15 Old 04-05-2013, 11:46 AM
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My little guy had such long legs when he was born, I was able to stand next to him while he tried to get up to 'escape'. He ended up leaning against me, so I started the gentle rubbing. No patting, just rubs and circles. He wasn't too sure but his mama was really good and let me do that. Since my round pen connects to the stall, I just opened the gate and mama went out with Jr following and I would use a soft brush on her and ignore him and when he couldn't stand it anymore, he would come sniff and get a brief stroke. None of the slow motion stuff, just normal strokes, ignore, stroke. I think they call it 'approach and retreat' and pretty soon he was looking forward to the attention. He would jump and buck and his long legs would go flying by and mama stood patiently munching some hay I put down for her, but he was able to put on quite a show. They are such a hoot!
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post #5 of 15 Old 04-05-2013, 12:14 PM
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I have done it a few ways now... Not sure yet which I like best.

I have done the daily work with a new foal. I still have that gelding, he is sweet, and you can do pretty much anything to him... But he isn't the most senstive horse in the world when it comes to cues. He's a bit more relaxed about any cue he's given and sort of has a "I'm getting to it, don't get yourself worked up" attitude. That may be his breeding. He makes an excellent beginner horse because he rarely over reacts to anything and always gives you time to "change your mind" (so if a rider pulls a bit too hard on one rein because they came off balance, he doesn't immediately follow the pressure, he waits a few seconds to determine whether it was "meant" to be a cue or if he should just carry on)

I did one where I left them alone, totally, until weaning. This left a bit of a job at weaning time, but the end result was a horse with no "personal space" issues at all. He was just plain more respectful, and a lot lighter to work with. Quiet, but, he could still tend to react warily to something new. He was herd raised with mares and geldings.

And then I did one down the middle of the two methods. I didn't push myself on him, but didn't not handle him either. He is 9months old now, so a long way from "done". Generally I find he is bold and curious, but still a bit shy about things like having me right up close doing "stuff" to him. He does seem to be a bit more in my face than my untouched weanling, but less difficult to send away than the handled foal. I let his mother and other mares and later some geldings give him his early education for the most part, but not without my influence.

At the end of the day, I hesitate to say what the best method is... And I think it really depends on your situation. You said you need to do a long trip with this foal, and I agree with you, I'd want the foal to be as comfortable around people as possible for that situation - just make good and sure you are training habits you will still appreciate when he is full grown. It really seems what they learn from a young age is what really sticks with them. Don't work until the foal's brain shuts down, make sure he is still as alert and "with you" from beginning to end... For some wee babies this is only a few minutes at a time.
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post #6 of 15 Old 04-05-2013, 12:40 PM
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I handle the new foals only a couple of times a day and only for a few minutes each time.
I restrain him with both hands one arm circling his neck and chest the other his hindquarters. Until he stops resisting. i then start slowly scratching and rubbing him all over. he loves me to scratch his tail and now at 5 days old he is starting to shift his body for me to scratch his favorite spots.
He still is nervous about being caught and handled but once i have him he settles down. Good luck. Shalom
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post #7 of 15 Old 04-05-2013, 02:01 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you all for the input!! He was much more curious about me today and approached me several times and was eager to get a scratch. I didn't realize the croup touching would cause the bucking reflex, and I saw the mare nibbling him there today and he bucked up when she did it also, so I know it wasn't something directed at me now lol. At one point he tried to play with me, and I know this is a no-no, so I pushed him away hard enough that he got the point. He would come and flop down right in front of me, so I know he is comfortable with me around.
I think my plan of action will be to hang around as much as I can, give some scratches here and there and let him learn that me being there is a good thing. Oh, I also made him move for me a few times too. I will try restraining him later today and see how that goes.

I will say, this mare is a great mother and is teaching him boundaries already. She doesn't just let him do as he pleases. If she doesn't want him to nurse, she will kick at him and swat him with her tail. She knows what she's doing that's for sure. I certainly don't know it to be fact, but knowing horses and the way they operate I feel that this will definitely help him in the later years to not always expect to get his way.
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post #8 of 15 Old 04-05-2013, 03:14 PM
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I halter broke my colt at 2 days old and lead him off while the Mare followed from that point forward. He was a curious little guy but would still be a bit spooky the first week or so if I did something he wasn't sure he liked. After the initial period of him getting used to me being around and handling him, I couldn't get rid of him, lol. He would give to pressure, etc, but was also really sweet and loved scratches. He'd even scratch me while I scratched him xD. I wouldn't handle him for hours while your boy is this young, but you can definitely go out 2-4 times a day and rub him down. I'd definitely not leave him untouched. If he doesn't wanna be caught, catch him anyways and then just rub him down til he relaxes and turn him loose. You certainly want him used to being caught ASAP :) good luck! I live in Texas, where are you moving to?
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post #9 of 15 Old 04-05-2013, 03:28 PM Thread Starter
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The unfortunate thing is that I have nowhere to lead them out to that there isn't other horses (except for inside the barn), and I know as soon as I bring the pair out they are going to be rushed by curious onlookers. How should I go about this then?
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post #10 of 15 Old 04-05-2013, 03:39 PM Thread Starter
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I think I will just start off leading out of the stall and into the barn first. That's better than nothing I suppose and still serves the purpose of halter leading.

Did you have to use a rope around the butt also? The only thing I'm afraid of is him flipping out at being led and it turning into a negative experience.
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