Originally Posted by sundancecanyon View Post
My wife and I have had horses for a few years, but just had a mare deliver our first foal Tuesday night. Of course it was a cold and windy night, but all went well....mom and her new baby girl are healthy and doing great. Sarah, the mare is a 5-year old Foxtrotter and this is her first foal. She has always been very people friendly and has an in-your-pocket personality.
We know the importance of imprinting at this early stage and how important it is to handle the new foal and get her to recongize our scent, etc. The first couple of times we approached mom and foal all was good. She would let us pet the foal and rub on her with no problems. Yesterday, Sarah started running interference anytime we tried to approach...putting herself aggresively between us and her foal. The foal is curious and wants to come to us, but mom will not let her. Our plan is to tie Sarah to a hitch rail while we pay some much needed and overdue attention to the new foal...making sure we allow Sarah to see what's going on. My concern is: when we tie Sarah up and limit her access to the foal, I'm worried that she's going to go bonkers and turn the session into a bad, if not dangerous, situation all around. Any suggestions on how to calm an over-protective new mom?
After the first several hours (bonding time for mom and foal), I don't tolerate any nonsense from momma. If she wants to interfere, becomes aggressive with blocking me from the foal, she gets tied. I'm not even all that sensitive to where or whether she can even see what I'm doing. I will give a maiden a little more leeway than an old campaigner, but I tolerate no interference, period. I understand that they are protective but it needs to stop right now before the mare can decide you are a danger and she becomes dangerous.
If you tie her to the hitching rail, make sure it's good and sturdy. Nothing worse than she pulls back or otherwise yanks the whole rail out of the ground and runs off with it chasing her. Yep, BTDT.
If she throws a fit at the rail, I would seriously discipline her for acting up. It's just not acceptable. Work with the foal for 5 mins, let it go to mom and nurse for a while and you go away.
I have big foaling stalls and I like to do my first work in the stall with momma right there. She's not allowed to interfere but she can see everything. Once I have the baby coming up to me and getting petted, I start with picking up feet and haltering. All in the stall, outside in their yard is their time. If mom tries to interfere in the stall, she can either be held by another person or tied so you can work with baby. Most of the time they'll settle down pretty quick.
I've found that once you get things established inside, then if you need to handle the baby outside, it's not as big a deal. Again, if mom tries to interfere, I either tie her, corner her or have someone else hold her, while I do what I need to do.
Main thing is, you're in charge, not her and you need to forcefully remind her of that.