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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was surprised on Easter when my granddaughter's mini surprised us with a foal. The vet had seen her the month before and said she was just a little overweight. She looked like she had swallowed a bus, so I guess so. Anyway, because she was in the pasture when I found her with the foal who was at least a day old, the foal missed the colostrum and had to be taken to the clinic right away for plasma infusions.


She's fine now but obviously afraid of people since all they have done is poke her with needles. She was at the vet that whole first week. Now that she's home, she is very timid. I have sat still in the pasture and the stall and she will come up sometimes and sniff me, but if I reach ever so gently to touch her she runs.


I don't know what to do now. Do I just continue to let her sniff or hold her and scratch her. She won't appreciate that at first but from what I'm reading it seems I need to do that so I can get her used to a halter. I don't know what I'm doing. I also have some meds I have to start giving her so I have to catch her and I am afraid that is just going to make her even more afraid of me. I work all day but I have 3 day weekends and time at night to spend with her. Any suggestions?
 

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How big of an enclosure is she in? I'd put her and mom in a stall or small pen, and sit in the corner. If a couple of days of that has not resulted in any progress, you may need to corner her (gently) and catch her, then rub and scratch on her to show her you won't hurt her. She's small enough someone can kneel and hold her with an arm around her chest and an arm around her rump and keep her still. If she's completely wild, pick her up and she will calm. While she's caught, slip a halter on and off several times. I wouldn't leave one on her as it's easy for it to get caught on something, but the advantage with minis is that they are small enough to catch, then halter. Work gently on teaching her to lead-- you don't ever want her pulling hard or plunging around on the end of a rope-- it's far too easy to damage her neck this way, but apply some gentle pressure, then release instantly when she follows. Leading mom and having someone lead the foal behind her can also help her get the idea once she's yielding to pressure in her pen.

If you MUST get meds into her, then you catch and medicate her by whatever means necessary, and work with building trust again later. Don't let her go unmedicated because you can't catch her. She's small enough you can hold her to administer meds if need be.

Good luck with the little cutie! Minis tend to come around fast once they realize it's ok. Go in and catch and hold and scratch her several times a day. Do it a lot more than you medicate her.
 

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First of all.... PICTURES! You can't post about a mini foal and then not include pictures!

Second, if it were not for the medication, I would say yes just let her keep sniffing you. Let her work her way up to feeling comfortable with you, because there's no rush. But... I mean, if she has to have these medications, you just don't have a choice. And it's going to be hard, for her and for you. If you could, I would spend as much time hanging out with (or even just near) her, not even focusing on her but just being there, so she gets used to you and at least won't run away when you come out with the medication. Maybe do try to pet her a little. If you can find a spot where she likes to be rubbed or scratched (a lot of foals have itchy butts, for instance) you could do a lot of that, especially when you have to give her the medication.

I'm just throwing things out there, I have very little experience with foals and no experience with a situation like this. Hopefully someone else (@foxhunter?) with lots more experience will weigh in. Just know, even if it's hard, that you are doing the right thing. And, did I mention about posting pictures....?
:smile:
 

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So basically you post about a mini foal and you don’t add pictures!?!?!?! Scandalous!!


But seriously, pictures of the wild child please!!!
 

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I second SM's suggestion. I'd also try to keep my behaviour/bodylanguage as different as possible to normal when you must catch her to medicate, to try to ensure she doesn't become more worried about your normal bodylanguage & being there/catching her.

So what was the prob that she needed to go to the vets for the first week? Did the mare not let her feed or didn't produce colostrum or some such? Did the mare go to the clinic with her, or was she there alone? If alone, how is the mare & her feeding going now?
 

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Since you're new to babies--- minis are small, but they are still horses. If you pick up this foal, do so with an arm around the chest and one around the rump. Never pick up or lift a foal under the belly-- it's too easy to rupture the bladder on a youngster.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you all so much. I have a very large stall so no problem there. They are both in a 1/2 acre paddock. I caught her and scratched her 2x this morning. She hated it- every seconds nd of it. At first she was shaken by. Broke my heart. Before I caught her the first time she reared and charged. Sorta of like having a large puppy jump up on you but I know I have to nip that in the bud. It was just me working with her. Maybe there should be 2 of us? She will walk up with her mom to the fence when I come in and she will get close but any touching freeks her out. She was at the vet because she had to have plasma infusions. No colostrum meant no antibodies. She had a catheter in for antibiotics while she was there but I have to give her paste for two more days. How often should I hold and scratch in a day? I can do it for the next two days but then work means I can’t do anything til I get home at 5. I am going to try to post a couple of pictures here of our Easter Lilly. The one with my son was taken right after we found her before she had to go to the vet for a week and get poked with needles. She was very sweet then. Thank you so much again!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I failed to answer the colostrum question and others. She was in the clinic with her mom. She was born in the pasture because when I had the vet out to see if she was bred, she said - no ponies are just built that way. I bought her in November for my granddaughter. I didn’t find them til momma didn’t come in to eat that morning. I went looking for her and carried the baby back across 40 acres. The Lord was with me that day! The sweet couple I got her from only had mares. They can’t figure it out. She’s a little miracle I guess. I wasn’t watching her. I don’t know if momma leaked her colostrum or what but she’s a good momma. Baby was eating well when I found her.
Just came in from spending time with her again and she kept spinning and kicking at me. I growled and backed her til she faced me and then she came close to me and just started munching grass next to me. I didn’t try to hold and scratch her. I left it on a good note. Maybe she’s just a stinker:))
 

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Adorable baby!!

IMO you should approach momma and baby 3x daily. Make sure to give momma a little treat so she is happy to see you. Then scratch on momma and baby.

Momma will soon be eager to see you, and the baby will follow her.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thank you. I’m doing that now. Mama runs to me but baby stays out of reach. No touching allowed. If I reach for her gently or in a normal way, she turns her back and bucks. This is really hard:)). I feel really stupid right now.
 

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You're on the right track. Just keep doing what you're doing. It's easier when they're little, so if you can get her comfortable with being handled and realizing that bucking and kicking don't work, you'll be a lot farther ahead once she's bigger :) She's a cutie!
 
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