Taming foals - The Horse Forum
  • 1 Post By LadyDreamer
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post #1 of 6 Old 12-20-2011, 04:39 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: South Africa
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Taming foals

Hi Everybody
So three of the four mamas on the farm have finally decided to humour me and deliver their babies. So far he count id two fillies and a colt. we're still waiting for Onrus the piebald pony to deliver. I will try and post some pics as soon as I get to a faster connection. Now of the three foals the little pinto filly and a colt that's so far a light bay, but hislegs are going lighter by the day and since we wuspect his dad is grey, who knows what he'll be in six months tiime?
What I really want to ask however is tips/ techniques you've found helpfull to tame them. At the moment I just try and approach mama and then give her loads of attention and then kind of bye the way try and touch the filly. She loves sucking my fingers and i was wondering if there was somethng I could put on my fingers to make me even more desirable? I try and scratch her butt or withers when I can and generally just make her friend.
The colt's mom is unfortunately not such good friends with me, so I try and work him a little while mama is eating, but it's a slow process.
I assume they are still too young for treats, like little pieces of a carrot of a little sugar/molasses syrup? I try and use approach/retreat and trying to go slow, but I'm only human and they're Sooo cute...
Sorry this is so long!
Sheepdog is offline  
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post #2 of 6 Old 12-20-2011, 05:10 AM
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Am I correct in assuming that you have very limited experience in handling youngstock?

Please don't hand feed or put anything on your fingers to encourage the foals to nibble or suck on your hands. Would you put your fingers between a full grown horse's teeth? The lessons they learn in their first few months will stick with them for life, so make sure that they are the right lessons.
Do NOT encouraging mouthyness by allowing them to chew on your hands, this is teaching them that chewing and biting is ok, and once they get teeth, they will become dangerous.

Just spend time out in the paddock with them, patting them, getting them used to you being around. Also, PLEASE enlist the help of someone experienced with handling foals, to help you halter break them asap. The longer you leave this vital lesson, the more difficult they will be to handle later in life as they tend to put up more of a fight to pressure when they are older and bigger.

Because of your (assumed) low level experience with youngsters, I cannot stress strongly enough that you should get the hands on help of someone with experience. So many things can go wrong with young horses even if you have 50 years of experience behind you.

~Horse & Hound Artistry~.

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post #3 of 6 Old 12-20-2011, 08:51 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks< I guess I wasn't thinking straight when I thought of encouraging mouthiness. Right now I just try and spend some time trying to touch them, scratching them, basically trying to teach them not to fear me. At what age would you suggest I start with halter training? The filly is now a week old and the colt three days. I thought of waiting a few more days before starting real halter training. I've had and raised with relative success (they are tame, can be caught, some are being backed) foals before, but it's been about three odd years and somedays it feels I've forgotten everything I knew about raising foals.
Her mom. Rain Storm is one of those foals, Today I can walk up to her in the veld and scratch her, catch her and she's quite chilled with me trying to make friends with her baby. the colt's mom unfortunately have only been mine for about a year and due to abuse in her past, she's still struggling to fully trust me, or anybody for that matter, so I've got a double whammy there, needing to "tame" both mom and baby.
Perhaps someone can recommend me a good book on 'training' foals?
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post #4 of 6 Old 12-20-2011, 01:07 PM
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Don't hold your breath for a gray colt. Most non grays have pewter legs. My advice is to find a friend who has some exoerience to mentor you. That is the BEST way to learn. I can't offer much help in training the little ones since I don't halter train until the colt is weaned. My situation allows this.

As I say in every training bbies thread. You have all the time in the world. Go easy. Keep things kind, fun and short. Their attention spans are only as big as they are. Babies soak up every lesson good or bad and every time you are with the baby it is a lesson.
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LadyDreamer is offline  
post #5 of 6 Old 12-20-2011, 06:34 PM
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Ideally halter training should start at a few days old, when you can put your arms around the foal to hold it quiet and still. Once they get bigger, they get stronger and more resistant, so life will be harder for you! The sooner they accept a halter, the better. If you need to get the mare into a float for a vet trip if something goes wrong, it helps immensely to be able to lead the foal.

As for grey - well the foal may be bay or brown. My brown yearling had such white legs as a foal that people thought he had 4 stockings. His legs are now jet black and he is very much a brown/dark bay - definitely not grey!

~Horse & Hound Artistry~.

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Kayty is offline  
post #6 of 6 Old 12-21-2011, 12:05 PM
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Um, WOW. Please don't let them suck on your fingers!!! Really not a good idea. As far as halter breaking...I haltered mine within hours of birth. They learned within a few days how to accept the halter without a fuss, then learned to lead. Instead of letting them run around while we led the mare to turn out, we lead baby along side of mom. They learn pretty quickly. Plus it's much easier than fighting with a larger older foal, teaching it to lead. If you don't know what you are doing, have somebody that does come and help you.

I agree with Kayty, on the gray issue. Two of my foals have turned out to be browns, both born with almost silver colored legs and up under the belly. Now their legs are BLACK. Babies change color, that's for sure. Even our weanling we have now, born a sorrel, is now a liver chestnut.
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