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Foal Advice

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    07-01-2013, 03:08 PM
Originally Posted by BayDancer    
At 7 mos, she'll be fairly big (I'm assuming she's a horse), so hopefully she hasn't learned any bad habits :)

With foals, from birth we put a halter on them and start teaching them to lead pretty much as soon as they're walking well. We never let them jump and play while on a lead rope, and we never let them "horseplay" with humans. When they're used to the halter/lead rope, we start getting them used to grooming--curries, brushes, towels, etc. We pick up their feet, and when they're comfortable with that, tap the feet with a hoof pick. We also go ahead and start teaching picking up feet from the same side (as in, pick up the right hoof while standing on the left side).

All that to say, the weanlings I worked with knew all of this. Since your baby is halter broke, I wouldn't say it would be a big deal to (slowly) go back and teach any of those things.

I'd be working on lots of ground work, although keeping sessions short. Seven months is still very much a baby, and she'll probably have a relatively short attention span. If you have the time, I would suggest 2-3 fifteen or twenty minute "work" sessions a day. But keep in mind that babies do nothing but learn, so anytime a person is handling her at all, she's learning something from that person.

I really like babies to be stall boarded too--not because I think they need to be in a stall, but leading them in and out gives them a chance to be handled multiple times a day in a routine setting.

Those are my personal preferences; there's lots of different theories of course. Good luck with your baby and keep us posted!
Thank you for the advice! She lets me pick up her feet, touch her all over, walk behind her, lead her, rub her all over with blankets, throw blankets on her, throw ropes over her back, lay across her, ect. I haven't started getting her used to brushing or tapping her feet with the hoove pick, so we'll try that! :)
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    07-01-2013, 03:22 PM
It sounds like she has a good foundation already. I keep building on this and start introducing more and more 'scary' things and getting her used to them - tarps, plastic bags, rain coat, plastic horse eating barrels, etc. as she progresses you can start doing safe and simple trail type obstacles (walking over plywood on the ground, then progressing to low bridge), walking through water, open/close a mailbox, etc. all of this should be done slowly and in a manner that is not too frightening but building trust in one another. Make sure there is lots of time for her to just grow up and be a horse too though, as you don't want her to burn out. And as others said short sessions are better than long ones.

How does she do loading in a trailer?

Eventually you may want to take her to a show environment just to see it all, even if she is not showing. This can help ger her used to 'that world' and all its sights and sounds without lots of pressure so that when you are ready to show (if you plan to show) it will not be too stressful to her. Some of the local shows around me offer trail in hand classes, where you lead a young horse through the trail course (rather than ride them) so that might be something to shoot for.

You can get her used to beng bathed and clippers around her head and face (without a blade first so that she gets used to the vibration and sound).

All of my horses by the time they are ready to go under saddle have seen many different obstacles and gotten used to them, so doing them under saddle is usually a piece of cake.
    07-01-2013, 03:48 PM
Make sure whatever you do to one side of her, you do to the other. This includes leading, brushing her tail, whatever it may be. She needs to get used to having things done on both sides.

filly, foal, training

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