Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Alberta, Canada
I had this problem with some foals I have worked with. They were just a few days old and would not let me get near enough to handle them. Definitely it helps when the mother is calm and trusting as the baby will start getting the idea that humans are not scary. But what has worked amazing with those I have worked with, has been getting them in a small area if possible, with the mother, then crouching down to their level and opening and closing my mouth. I know it sounds really wierd to do, but when foals are real young they do this all the time to adult horses (its called snapping) but it really mean submission. They are basically saying I'm a baby, I'm not a threat, please don't hurt me!" When you get down on their level, and do that "snapping", they start to realize you aren't so scary and you aren't a threat and in my experience within 10 - 15 minutes you can start petting them all over their body. Go slow though and let your filly approach you. Keep your eyes averted too so you aren't staring her straight in the eyes. When she does approach, resist the urge to reach out and touch her but just let her sniff you. After a few minutes you can reach out and pet her. I have found when you use the horse's own language to get them to respond the way you are wanting, they train so much faster and it is a lot less scary for them. Hope this helps!