Green owners with Green horses
I have recently purchased two foals, an 8 month old Filly and a 7 month old colt. We had him gelded about two weeks ago and he has had no problems since. I am looking for any advice I can possibly get on caring for and training them. I have some horse experience but am not a pro by any means. I am looking for help with the following:
Feeding- They get hay 2x daily, pasture grazing (but this is KS in winter) and Purina Strategy 2x daily. Is this enough? If not, what do I add?
Training- EVERYTHING!! Grooming, sacking out, leading, handling (they were not imprinted or handled until the week before we bought them). Picking up their feet, lounging, backing them up, ground tie, cross tie, stand for the ferrier. Anything you can think of telling me, I am open to!
We do plan on working with a professional trainer in the near future, but any help now would be much appreciated. Thanks!
I'm no feed expert but I would get a feed especially made for babies.
Start working with a trainer now so you have the basics down. Someone right there telling you will be more beneficial than anything a forum can tell you as they can spot mistakes immediately & give you corrections.
Those babies will learn whatever you teach them now so it's best to be sure you're teaching them the right things. That comes with experience so find someone who has that with babies.
I am sorry I don't have any advice
but Good luck with your foals and welcome to the
I hope it's ok to suggest 2 things, 1) the British Pony Club Manual because it deals with alot of horse keeping issues and explains basics of care, tack, housing, etc. 2) subscribe to the free newsletter from the vet site " thehorse.com' they have articles that are easy to understand and excellent for owners of foals to aged horses. You can learn about specific stages of growth and nutrition required and derwirming and vaccination tables you can print and keep on file. They also mention growing problems that can occur.
1) If you don't already have it a good home vet book too, babys can be more rambunctious and prone to injury. I got one as a gift with my first mare - best horsey gift I could get, it saved her life.
2) the western horseman book "Well Shod" it's got the best articles on how to teach a baby to stand for the farrier and why you need a farrier for all stages of life. It will definitely teach you a thing or two and you will reference it years later.
It's great you are asking for suggestions, so many folks don't and end up with regrets. I also asked neighbours, freinds, anyone I knew who was a respected horseman in my community when I got started with my own young horses. That British Pony club manual I used was from 1960's and 30 years later still very sound in horse handling principles.
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They should have hay in front of them at all times or they will develope ulcers. I fill small mesh hay nets and either tie them high or throw them in the snow like pillows. For two babies you should have three nets space well apart. Just spend lots of time rubbing their bodies all over with your hands, barely picking up a hoof. They have very short attention spans. You can do things like slip the halter on, then immediately remove it and walk away and return and repeat. Rub some more and pick up another foot. You can graduate this to rubbing with a plastic bag and getting them used to the feeling of a rope, first on their back and later around their legs. You can even put a cloth on their back. Always let the colt see and sniff what you have first. If he's hesitant then step back with it and see if his curiosity will come in to play. If he comes and touches it, start near his shoulder and rub him all over with it. This is time well spent as he's learning to trust you, that you won't force him and it will pay huge dividends later.
this great advice from both these people
Good luck, taking on youngsters is very rewarding, but it's a tough road!
I have been riding, training and working with horses in general for a number of years, with multiple horses. And only just took the plunge into purchasing my first weanling, with a LOT of help from my coaches, friends with their own studs and so on. I certainly wouldn't have done it without this fantatsic support network.
Feed for babies can be difficult, as tempting as it is to get them fat and shiny, with ample rib cover, avoid it! They are much better to be a little on the lean side, than too fat. Extra weight puts extra strain on their soft and growing joints and bones, which can lead to any number of soundness problems later in life.
Keep going with the hay, and look into the nutritional requirements of weanlings. I have chosen to go with a pre-made, extruded option designed particularly for youngsters and broodmares, and have had great success with this, plus a general mineral/vitamin mix. My now yearling, is extremely soft and shiney, with slight ribs showing, plenty of energy etc.
As for training, as you're doing now, just exposing them to as much as you can, without frying their brains.
Make sure they are exceptional off pressure, with a rope halter you should be able to get them to step forward, back, sideways, drop their head etc from minimal pressure on the halter.
You want them moving away from pressure on their body, yielding quarters, shoulders, picking up feet and so on.
Take them for walks, expose them to every day objects, get them used to being tied, brushed, hosed, wormed, stabled, enclosed in a truck/float.
All of it is just your basic respect ground work. Be creative :)
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