Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Hatton Vale, QLD, Australia
my first piece of advice would be to get bub used to being around you and being handled/petted by you before you push the halter. at this stage she is trying to get through her head that this big scary predator is trying to touch her and then on top of that this human is trying to put something constricting around her face and head. but yes, once you start, dont stop until that halter is on and baby is relaxed.
as said before, bub is a sponge at the moment and even the teeniest of things can cause long term damage that will be very hard to reverse. i suggest spending some quiet time with mum and foal. even if you just spend some time hanging out on a chair reading a book near where they are eating. baby needs to understand that you are not a threat to her. pure instinct alone drives babies and all they know is to be suspicious of those things that may not seem natural to them. by spending quiet time around them, not even trying to touch her will eventually lead her to you. when this happens you want to do nothing more than give her a pet or maybe a treat and leave. leave her wanting more not the other way around.
when you can rub her head all over without a fuss i would start trying again with the halter.
with regards to getting mum into shape, i would work more on regaining her weight while bub is suckling. there is plenty of time to work on conditioning once baby is weaned especially if mum is protective and a little freaked out with a foal at foot.
"I whisper but my horse doesnt listen...So I yell!!...He still doesnt listen"