Protective mare... how to gentle the foal?
My uncle's mare, Ginger, had a foal awhile back, and I absolutely fell in love with it. It's pure white with two blue eyes, and very curious and trusting. My uncle has always told me that I can come out and work with his horses anytime I like, and I can show any of them if I want, and I was considering gentling this foal, then maybe showing it if I get along with it's personality. (I've very particular about what type of horse I'll show.)
Only problem is, Ginger is very protective. She doesn't strike out, but she'll stand between the foal and people/other horses, and trots off (with the foal following) if you bother her too much. No one has even figured out if the foal is a colt or filly yet!
I've trained two colts already -- Bandit and Dante -- and worked around various other foals and their dams, but I've never dealt with one that you just can't get near.
I was thinking that maybe if I get the pair in a round pen and just fawn over Ginger for awhile, maybe she'll warm up to me and trust me more around her foal, but that's the best solution I could come up with.
How old is the foal?? Hopefully someone dipped its cord in Nalvascon. Usually mares calm down once the foal is about a week old. If not you may have to tie her and handle the foal. Its not good to let foals go untouched as then they can be very hard to handle and train later. Also if the foal gets sick or needs help you have to be able to handle it
that would be my first question too - how old is the foal?
If it's her first foal, she may be overprotective, and not sure what people are trying to do with her baby. I had a mare like that with her first. I just had someone hold mom while I handled baby. She wasn't being nasty - just playing keep away with the little one. Put a rope on mom & have someone hold her while you catch baby. That way, someone can soothe mom while you meet baby. May be best to do it in a stall too.
Did baby's navel get dipped, and did it get a tetanus shot? Those are day 1 issues. Let us know, and good luck.
I think the baby is a few days old, maybe four or five days, and I don't really know what my uncle has or hasn't done with it, he just told me he's not sure if it was a colt or filly. I'm pretty sure it's not Ginger's first, either.
And when I do get out there, I'll make sure to bring someone to hold Ginger. That seems like it might work better than my idea. ^^;;
Man, I wish all mares could be like Ruby was! As soon as you even imply that you might like to interact with her foal, she pushes the foal to you and wanders off across the pasture as if to say, "OK, he's all yours! I'll be back whenever I feel like!" XD
I dealt with a mare like this a few years ago. It was her first baby, but she was far too overprotective. The groom had to throw her feed on the floor because she would kick if the foal was near the door.
The way I got through was to ignore the foal... at first. I would walk into the stall like the mare was the only one there. I groomed her and loved her and the baby would come to me. It only took a couple of days before the mama was completely open to me touching, halter breaking, and loving up the foal, as long as i groomed her first.
I think I was just a lot less scary when I pretended the foal wasn't there and he came to investigate me.
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