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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Rescued our first foal this past week. Inquisitive boy, but he's completely unhandled not super wild though. He's starting to get used to us floating through the corral, and will sniff our hands. However, I don't want to push him or stress him more than needed. Any suggestions on the process to gentle him down, we would really appreciate it! We were told he is 4 or 5 months by the kill lot, but I really doubt it.

Our vet comes out Wednesday, any guesses on age?


Horse Blue Working animal Liver Terrestrial animal
 

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He looks more like 2 to 2 1/2 months.
If you have him in a corral, you can start by just asking him to move. Then, turn him. This gets him to watching you, and paying attention to what you are doing. Get him to where he will face up to you, and give you both eyes.
Once you can move him easily, turn him either direction, get a rope on him. You are NOT going to tighten it down and choke him, it's merely a connection between you and him. Once you have that, You can start working your way up to him. At first, just rub between his eyes. Then back off, and do it again.
Keep at this until you can handle his head fairly easily. Then it's time for a halter.
I always left a drag rope on my colts. They were by themselves in corrals, and in all the years I raised colts, I never had one get hurt by this. That rope has a lot of lessons in it for them to learn that are valuable later in life. They learn that if they step on it, it's not a big deal, just step off. Saves reins later on. Once you have that on him, he's done for the day.

He's not going to know what grain is. Put a pan in there, and just a bit. He's going to tip it over and its going on the ground, so don't over do it. It will take him a few days to figure out it's ok to eat. This is normal. Put all the hay he can eat in there, he's on the thin side. Get him wormed soon as you can as well.

Ok, now time for the work. You will only be spending around 10 minutes on each lesson. He does not have a long attention span right now, and he's going to tire easily. The important thing at this stage is to let him win. ALWAYS finish on a good note. Don't grind on something until he does it wrong. He gets frustrated, and you've set yourself back a bit.

Start by asking for just one step sideways. Pull his head to the side, and just a firm continual pull. No yanking. Once he moves that foot, ease up. Its the ease up that's his reward at this point. Then, ask again. Soon you'll be having him go in a circle, he's leading and he's not even aware of it. Always be liberal with the praise when he does it right. Get him to going both ways, and you're done for that day. Leave the halter and drag rope on him. Makes him easier to catch until he figures it out.

I did a lot of Clinton Anderson methods with my colts with the lead ropes. I never left my longer ropes on my colts, I had shorter ones for that. By swinging the longer lead all over the colt, around his legs, between then, over his back, under his belly, it gets them used to being touched and things moving around them. The more you do, the better he's going to get.

Every day, 10 minutes, let him win. Soon he'll be leading and looking forward to your coming. The day you go out to him, and you see/hear him nicker, thats your reward for a job well done. He's halter broke, broke to tie, and it's been so easy!
 

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Looks to be somewhere around 4 months, but just didn't get the best/not very good nutrition, I bet mama didn't get fed very well and could not product the best milk for this little fella. Super cute, just put him in a smaller pen so when you go in to feed he'll see you and see that you are not out to hurt him then his curiosity will kick in and want to start checking you out and let him.. Good luck to this little guy, he looks like hes going to be a pretty Chestnut once all that baby hair is gone. :)
 

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IMHO, he was too young to be weaned but, as @My Salty Pony commented, mom likely barely had enough to sustain her, much less feed a baby😡

My grandfather’s philosophy regarding his foals was “git to handling those foals before they git to handling you”. With that in mind his First Rule Of Thumb for my cousin and I was”treat those horses the way you want to be treated or find yourselves sitting on the porch all summer”.

Since I am not capable of explaining anything in a few sentences, this article is pretty good. Were that little doll face mine, I would treat him as if he were a newborn and doesn’t know anything; in other words go back to ground zero:)


Dont forget, he’s going to need gelded sooner than later (When both testicles drop) no matter how pretty he is. He does not have papers. The last thing you want to do is put another baby on the ground that may end up at a kill lot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
IMHO, he was too young to be weaned but, as @My Salty Pony commented, mom likely barely had enough to sustain her, much less feed a baby😡

My grandfather’s philosophy regarding his foals was “git to handling those foals before they git to handling you”. With that in mind his First Rule Of Thumb for my cousin and I was”treat those horses the way you want to be treated or find yourselves sitting on the porch all summer”.

Since I am not capable of explaining anything in a few sentences, this article is pretty good. Were that little doll face mine, I would treat him as if he were a newborn and doesn’t know anything; in other words go back to ground zero:)


Dont forget, he’s going to need gelded sooner than later (When both testicles drop) no matter how pretty he is. He does not have papers. The last thing you want to do is put another baby on the ground that may end up at a kill lot.
Thank you for the article, I'll look over the material. 🙂 We will definitely be getting him gelded. Thank you for posting that, I know it takes someone that understands the reality to do so. We have two rescues from kill lots, and completely understand!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
He looks more like 2 to 2 1/2 months.
If you have him in a corral, you can start by just asking him to move. Then, turn him. This gets him to watching you, and paying attention to what you are doing. Get him to where he will face up to you, and give you both eyes.
Once you can move him easily, turn him either direction, get a rope on him. You are NOT going to tighten it down and choke him, it's merely a connection between you and him. Once you have that, You can start working your way up to him. At first, just rub between his eyes. Then back off, and do it again.
Keep at this until you can handle his head fairly easily. Then it's time for a halter.
I always left a drag rope on my colts. They were by themselves in corrals, and in all the years I raised colts, I never had one get hurt by this. That rope has a lot of lessons in it for them to learn that are valuable later in life. They learn that if they step on it, it's not a big deal, just step off. Saves reins later on. Once you have that on him, he's done for the day.

He's not going to know what grain is. Put a pan in there, and just a bit. He's going to tip it over and its going on the ground, so don't over do it. It will take him a few days to figure out it's ok to eat. This is normal. Put all the hay he can eat in there, he's on the thin side. Get him wormed soon as you can as well.

Ok, now time for the work. You will only be spending around 10 minutes on each lesson. He does not have a long attention span right now, and he's going to tire easily. The important thing at this stage is to let him win. ALWAYS finish on a good note. Don't grind on something until he does it wrong. He gets frustrated, and you've set yourself back a bit.

Start by asking for just one step sideways. Pull his head to the side, and just a firm continual pull. No yanking. Once he moves that foot, ease up. Its the ease up that's his reward at this point. Then, ask again. Soon you'll be having him go in a circle, he's leading and he's not even aware of it. Always be liberal with the praise when he does it right. Get him to going both ways, and you're done for that day. Leave the halter and drag rope on him. Makes him easier to catch until he figures it out.

I did a lot of Clinton Anderson methods with my colts with the lead ropes. I never left my longer ropes on my colts, I had shorter ones for that. By swinging the longer lead all over the colt, around his legs, between then, over his back, under his belly, it gets them used to being touched and things moving around them. The more you do, the better he's going to get.

Every day, 10 minutes, let him win. Soon he'll be leading and looking forward to your coming. The day you go out to him, and you see/hear him nicker, thats your reward for a job well done. He's halter broke, broke to tie, and it's been so easy!
Thank you for all the information. We really appreciate the advice and I'll look into Clinton Anderson methods! Luckily my others have all come to me started or finished. So, this will be a learning experience, but one worth moving through with our little guy. That is what our vet was guessing 2.5 to 3 months based off photos. Though, I know it's hard to know based off lacking nourishment.
 

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Thank you for all the information. We really appreciate the advice and I'll look into Clinton Anderson methods! Luckily my others have all come to me started or finished. So, this will be a learning experience, but one worth moving through with our little guy. That is what our vet was guessing 2.5 to 3 months based off photos. Though, I know it's hard to know based off lacking nourishment.
Its really not that hard. Your colt will already look at you with both eyes, while it may seem small, that's really huge. Its the curious ones that are fun and easy. He's curious.
Since he's not been fed very well, you can use that to your advantage. Once he figures out you are the "bringer of food", he's going to be looking for you.
Getting them to lead is both fun and easy. You can do this! The easy ones are fun, but its the tough ones that make you a better horseman.
The earliest I weaned one was 3 months. He turned out just fine. When you can, get this lil guy wormed. He will grow much better once he's not hosting an entire worm population in his belly.

Have fun and enjoy your colt!
 

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Rescued our first foal this past week. Inquisitive boy, but he's completely unhandled not super wild though. He's starting to get used to us floating through the corral, and will sniff our hands. However, I don't want to push him or stress him more than needed. Any suggestions on the process to gentle him down, we would really appreciate it! We were told he is 4 or 5 months by the kill lot, but I really doubt it.

Our vet comes out Wednesday, any guesses on age?


View attachment 1133052
I’d say 2-3 months as well. So cute! I handled a foal at my former barn and did lots of scratches and also just standing peacefully with him in the pasture (and would sometimes bring him in for grain and grooming in the barn if the timing was right). I only saw him once a week and even then he would run over when he saw me.

Along with the other handling tips others have posted, find his favourite/most itchy spots and scratch. Foals make the cutest faces when you get it and it really helped with the bonding.
 

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Whatever his actual age, he's just a baby and being unhandled at this point isn't a huge deal as a lot of weanlings are pretty much unhandled at this age.

I've raised a few babies, and honestly I start touching and scratching and just hanging out with them from day one. You don't have that advantage, but you can still do that now. Just go in and hang with him. Let him be curious. Be slow and gentle with him if he's shy. If he's bolder and more secure around you, go ahead and find a safe halter for him. No big hurry, no set time line, just mess around with getting it on him. Some of them, if they trust you and enjoy your company and are used to you brushing them and touching them all over will just stand there while you put the halter on. They might then act silly (or not...my first foal was laying down when I went to put his first little baby leather halter on...he rolled up onto his chest long enough for me to get it on him, then flapped back out and went back to sleep, lol).

I have to say I don't really agree with the whole Clinton Anderson approach for one this little/young. Right now he just needs to trust that people are good company. Worry about "moving his feet" and "getting two eyes" after he's grown up more. The horses I raised learned to work in a round pen and the on the lunge line and they willingly moved their feet when asked and always stopped and looked right at me when asked as well. That wasn't until they were yearlings (or older) though. By then, they already trusted and respected me on the ground and that tranferred to the round pen and lunge work.
 

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The Clinton Anderson thing on foals is NOT about moving their feet. Its a process where you get the colt used to being touched, and not flipping out over little things. It's a VERY good process.
I have raised a lot more than a few colts. I used his method on all my colts and very successfully. There is a LOT more to just "moving the feet". With foals, it's about getting them used to having things touch them, being around their feet and legs, getting them used to things that move and make a noise.
I never had any complaints with how my foals were started with it. Its easy to do, and it works. One cannot compare how he handles older horses, to how he handles foals and new borns. Totally different.
 

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I used it on Queen after making a few mistakes in the beginning @Zimalia22. I knew I was messing up, but didn’t know where. So, I knew he had a system and decided to watch what I could on YouTube. I saw where I was messing up; I was treating her like a two year old and not a foal. I had never messed with a foal besides Zeus, who is so different he probably doesn’t count. I made huge progress fast when I stoped trying to expect two year old reactions.

I recommend watching it too. It made a big difference for me.
 

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My apologies. I didn't mean to insinuate that what you did with your foals didn't work. I'm more familiar with CA's work with older horses (and I still find him a bit too aggressive for my own taste). I didn't want someone who may not realize that he has different methods for working with young foals (like me) to try to make the same mistake Knave mentions and use the methods for older horses on a baby. That could really be disastrous.
 

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@Milton'sMama I wasn’t using Clinton’s methods specifically when I was making my mistakes. It was my own method, for two year olds, if you would say method… more like style? Anyways, it was leading to a really touchy horse right off the bat, and I didn’t know why. I never had to discipline her at all, she just was naturally so sensitive and took things to an extreme.

So, it was Clinton’s videos that opened my eyes to the mistakes I was making. I had never been allowed to mess with babies as a child. The rule was the colts stayed untouched until two, when we started them. Everything excepting Zeus that we bought after I was a grown up was two. So, it was just a complete lack of knowledge on my part.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thank you for the suggestions! He is really coming around, and allowing his to scratch on him. We are able to get a rope around jis neck, but have not done anything with a halter yet. He is getting to be a pester at feeding time. He always has free range of brome, alfafa, foal/mare grain, and sweet feed (seing what he will take) I've tried milk replacement to no avail. He's currently on uniprim for yucky eyes, and nose. It's doing a great job of clearing everything up. We are having to mix it in a bit if chopped alfafa. When I came into the corral last night to give the nightly medicine. He decided to bite me, while I was mixing the medicine in. Maybe, being pushy with wanting the feed? He has alfafa available at all times, but for some reason he likes the uniprim mixed with it. He was pushy again this morning for his feeding and pinned his ears back, and look around while eating liking he was waiting on it to be taken. Once he was finished, I removed the bin from the corral and he would approach me, with his ears back again.

My husband went out an hour or do after we gave the medicine and he was acting fine with no ear pinning. Feeling silly, but he definitely tries to test me more so than my husband. Could this because I'm a softer female, and he's definitely not?
 

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I know it’s hard to discipline a youngster, but biting is always a no. It doesn’t have to take much, just raising your hand up and telling him no might spook him back. We get into a struggle in our minds with something unhandled, like if I discipline him he may be hard to be around again. This might even be true for a moment, but in the long run will make life much easier.

My husband has a foal the same age. Now, she is a dream to handle 99% of the time. Yet, yesterday I saw him kick her. He was doctoring her mother’s foot, and the filly walked up, turned around, and hopped her butt up at him. He in turn kicked her in the butt while keeping doctoring the foot. I don’t think he kicked her hard by any means, but she got the hint.

Like another horse, you do have to teach them to mind their manners. Yet, like another horse, you don’t do it very dramatically with a baby. You are more patient and tolerant, but you have a line they cannot cross. When the colt bites you, you discipline to whatever means the colt requires. If that is simply telling him no and waving your hand up, that’s all that is needed. If that doesn’t make him get back maybe you need to slap his neck with that hand.

He can be your friend and respect you. I think it will get lots easier once you start halter breaking him and working with him a little. Leppies are the hardest colts to deal with in a way, because you are their mom, and now you have to teach them manners like their mother would. A horse with a mare learns most of these things from her.
 
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