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stacieandtheboys 04-27-2009 10:20 AM

Getting mama into shape and halter breaking filly
I bought my boys a pony in January so that they could ride when I did. Low and behold she turned out to be pregnant and foaled March 22. Cutest little filly but now that she isn't fat anymore you can really see she has no muscles and needs a work out. She is way to small for me to ride and i don't feel safe putting the boys on her with the filly at her side (she gets a little freaked out now when we do stuff to her because of the baby). Can I lunge her with baby there? Is there anything else I can do besides that? I dont have a round pen just an arena to work in.

Second I am working on halter breaking the filly. i started out rubbing the halter all over her and I can put it on her nose, sometimes get the strap behind he rears but forget about buckling it. She starts to freak out. I dont think she likes the clanking of the buckle or both sides meeting up to buckle it. I am working really slow and i dont want to freak her out. i did get the halter on once but havent been able to again. I really wish I would have started sooner.

Any help would be great. I never really wanted to get into the baby business because I don;t really have the time for training but it is what it is and I am getting it done slowly. Oh and I can rub all over her, pick up her feet, rub her down with fly spray, she will come to me...anything else I should be doing besides trying to get the darn halter on?

stacieandtheboys 04-27-2009 10:57 AM

Oh and one more thing...we have two other horses. We have the 2 big horses separated from mama and baby. When can we put them all together and how when the time comes should we do it? I have a gelding and a mare. They can see each other through the fence and get kinda snippy with each other so I dont think the time is now.

BackInTheSaddleAgain 04-28-2009 01:59 PM

Have you tried a rope halter for your filly? Maybe you can make more progress with a rope halter and move on to the buckles after she is used to it..

weefoal 04-28-2009 02:23 PM

I would not lunge her with the foal in the pen. You know horses and they seem to find any freaky way to get hurt. I would feed mom into better condition and worry about the rest when the foal is weaned.

I know I will get flamed but we halter break on average 5 foals per year. One thing I never do is stop once I start. If they freak out they freak out. The thing is they learn once the halter is on they are fine. The freak out usually only lasts a few seconds while you are fastening the halter. By stopping you are training her to hate the halter and that she doesnt have to wear it.

We start by having them wear it about 30 mins to one hour 3 times before we ever put a lead rope on. NEVER leave a foal with a halter on unattended. Then I attach the lead rope and yes most will explode LOL. I then leave them in the stall (with mom) with the rope attached and wait and watch. (never leave!) The foal will learn to give to pressure by stepping on their own lead rope. I do this in a couple different sessions. Depending on how the foal did I either start teaching them to lead or for ones that are a little slower I will attach their lead rope to their moms halter and then lead the mare. Most foals are more then happy to be attached to moms halter. Again it teaches them to give to pressure. I have friends that do this step with every single foal but they start at like 2 days old.


stacieandtheboys 04-28-2009 05:15 PM

I don't know if I could find a rope halter around here to fit her. I am using a foal halter right now and it is still to big on the smallest settings. putting a lead rope on her is the furthest thing on my mind. I am scared of getting hurt or the foal getting hurt or mama getting super pissed at me (she already is hard to catch herself) if I force it. Remind me never to buy a mare again. At least with a gelding I know he can't be pregnant lol. Thanks for the advice.

weefoal 04-28-2009 07:35 PM

Wish you lived closer and I could show you what I mean :)

Keep in mind though that as she gets older she gets bigger and stronger and if you think its hard now to get a halter on her it will be worse as she gets older.

Everyone has to do what they are comfortable with for sure :D

I promise though the explosion is usually over in a few seconds

stacieandtheboys 04-28-2009 07:55 PM

Should I take mama out of the stall. I tried to just get it over with tonight and now baby wont come near me. I wish I had someone who could do this for me. This is why I don't do babies no experience.

Any online resources, videos, ect?

weefoal 04-29-2009 06:41 AM

Stacie do you have someone that can go in the stall and help you?

You really are in effect training her to hate and refuse being haltered and I hate to see that start at such a young age.

Once you do get the halter on her give her some grain (if shes used to grain) to reward her. You want her to associate that halter with GOOD things.

Please do not attempt it again unless you are positive you can get the halter on.

At this age her mind is a sponge and every time you are with her you are teaching her something weather you realize it or not. You have to be sure its a good something.

She will most likely get more wound up if you remove mom at this point.

You can however start seperating them to feed them. This does help them to become a little independant and gets them fed well so mom doesnt steal it. Just lead mom out of the stall and immediately put down a bowel of Equine Jr. They usually love that stuff so much they forget mom is gone. This will bond her a little more to you and does make weaning time easier because the foal is used to eating alone.

Stacie I am going to use a little tough love on ya so please dont get mad. You are basically letting a one month old filly tell YOU what she is or isnt going to do. Just like any horse of any age you have to be the leader of the herd. Dont worry about her being "mad" at you etc. Sometimes we tend to give horses human emotions and forget that they are horses.

Also keep in mind that being able to put a halter on a foal is important in that you never know when you may have to have a vet out and if you cant halter her etc it would be a nightmare for your vet. Shes also going to need her hooves trimmed and again will have to wear a halter.


orangetictac 04-29-2009 07:01 AM

I agree with weefoal... you really can't let the filly think she doesn't have to wear the halter... It's just like when you're riding...if you're horse is being naughty and you end it there he's going to think he can end the lesson all the time just by being naughty.

We have an early March foal at the barn I work/board at. Mr. Bobby's been really cool about letting me do a lot with him and showing me different things when he handles him. Mr. Bobby's method is a "just do it" kind of method. He just puts the halter on him and gives him a handful of grain. He doesn't hang around or wait to see if the foal's feelings are going to be hurt because he's being made to learn something. When he was learning to tie...Mr. Bobby just tied him in the stall. He could pull and pull, but pretty soon learned he couldn't go anywhere so he just stood there.

Now he's learning to pick up his feet. When I clean the stall I catch him and start rubbing my hands all overhim, working my way to the legs...then I just pick it up...sometimes he'll fight a little, or get stiff when I try to pick it up...but it's pretty easy to overpower him right now because he's still just a little guy. I've had to teach an older horse to accept stuff like that, and trust me...if you think it's hard wait to see how hard it is when she's older and doesn't know it.

jazzyrider 04-29-2009 07:11 AM

my first piece of advice would be to get bub used to being around you and being handled/petted by you before you push the halter. at this stage she is trying to get through her head that this big scary predator is trying to touch her and then on top of that this human is trying to put something constricting around her face and head. but yes, once you start, dont stop until that halter is on and baby is relaxed.

as said before, bub is a sponge at the moment and even the teeniest of things can cause long term damage that will be very hard to reverse. i suggest spending some quiet time with mum and foal. even if you just spend some time hanging out on a chair reading a book near where they are eating. baby needs to understand that you are not a threat to her. pure instinct alone drives babies and all they know is to be suspicious of those things that may not seem natural to them. by spending quiet time around them, not even trying to touch her will eventually lead her to you. when this happens you want to do nothing more than give her a pet or maybe a treat and leave. leave her wanting more not the other way around.

when you can rub her head all over without a fuss i would start trying again with the halter.

with regards to getting mum into shape, i would work more on regaining her weight while bub is suckling. there is plenty of time to work on conditioning once baby is weaned especially if mum is protective and a little freaked out with a foal at foot.

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