How young is too young? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 06-10-2009, 04:12 PM Thread Starter
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How young is too young?

At the barn I help at one of the mares foaled on June 2nd (a week and a day ago). The little filly is growing Very quickly and has a lot of spunk testing out her legs and trying to kick up her heels. It's cute but because she's growing quickly (she's a morgan) it will soon be a problem for her to kick out at people even though she is still young. How young is too young to put a halter on a foal? I think it would allow a better way of handling her. She enjoys following me around (I'm soon to be 15) and we play tag like games in the mornings before school, but this morning she kicked up like she has been doing lately while we weren't playing and I was petting her and she kicked up and kicked my leg. I didn't scold her too harshly because I know she's still very young but I did talk to her in a stern tone. She usually keeps her distance when we play this tag like game and it involves her chasing me around for a small distance then half rearing a distance away and then me following her around then I tag her shoulder and she turns to me. It's a cute game and she seems to know when enough is enough. She is young to be handled to too much of an extent, but leading around wouldn't be too bad I suppose. With two more foals on the way in possibly a week and a half I think she should start having a halter around her and maybe following with it on and whatnot till she can be led a small distance just to have more of a way to actually handle her. She currently is living in a large field. What does everyone think about introducing a halter around her?
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post #2 of 5 Old 06-10-2009, 04:22 PM
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There is no too young for a horse to learn how to lead and learn respect. Just don't leave the halter on her when you turn her loose. This "game" you talked about concerns me a little bit. It may seem like she knows when enough is enough but it sounds like to me she is seeing you as a playmate instead of the boss she should see you as. There is no problem with a horse of any age playing and bucking/kicking around, but they should learn that it is not appropriate behavior around people. I would stop that game immediately. But that's just IMHO.

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post #3 of 5 Old 06-10-2009, 04:47 PM
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I agree with smrobs. The game may seem cute, but I would highly recommend not playing it with her. She's flat out to young to understand the difference between horse playing and human playing, and the more she regards you as a "fellow foal" at this point, the worse time of it you're going to have with her later. I know we all want our foals to love us, but it's never too young to start teaching respect.

My mare was haltered within a day of birth, and being taught to lead within a week. The younger the better in my opinion, because those first few days are when they're learning all their new things, and if the halter, lead and respect for humans is incorporated right from the beginning, it stays with them for life. Foals are just obsessive with the newness of being touched, so tons of scratches and pets when you're working for her are going to be a better reward then food likely ever will. Obviously you have to have a lot more patience, and very short sessions, but anytime I compare foals that are handled and taught respect/training immediately from birth to those who don't, the handled foals ALWAYS come out on top with much better minds and attitudes as adults.

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post #4 of 5 Old 06-10-2009, 05:33 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks. I think you're both right about the game.
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post #5 of 5 Old 06-11-2009, 01:02 PM
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The tag game is a huge no-no. My friend did the same thing and it was cute and funny when the horse was a baby and now he is 17hh and he still plays it and it is VERY scary and dangerous.
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