Have a rope dragging off Baby
for half hour regularly.
THE FOAL TIMETABLE
Almost weekly, I get letters asking for help when people
catch or have many other problems, with their older Foals or
weanlings. I have been asked to write a time table as to when and
what would I do if I had a Foal. Here it is, but first, a little
about the Mare.
It is the responsibility of the Mare, as set by nature, to quickly
train the Foal to flee from danger and she starts imprinting that on
the night of birth. By the second day, she has the Foal running on
command and she is teaching it that pretty much everything in the
World is a 'predator' and that they are 'prey animals.
This 'flight from fear' was and still is the mechanism by which
the Horse protects itself from all things dangerous but the only
trouble these days is that there are few 'predators' in our Society
and that propensity to run, can be the very thing that causes them
the most danger throughout their lives and in an ironic way, the
The deeper the Mare instills this distrust in the Foal, the more
difficult the Foal is to domesticate and train for us Humans. This
distrust also causes the young Horse more grief during the breaking
in process and above all, the most potential danger of injury. Such
injuries include ripping their legs to the bone in fences or
whatever they may get caught up in because their natural imprinted
instinct is to rip and pull away to run, no matter what part of
their Body is left behind and that is exactly what many of them do.
Different Mares have differing levels of imprinting of the Foal.
Some are over the top and have the Foals absolutely feral in no time
and impossible to catch going forward. If I see a Mare behaving like
that after day one, I do something about it. I pen the Mare and Foal
for a while until I get a complete handle on the Foal and over ride
the Mares training to where the Foal won't run away any more and
will disregard Mother :) They really love that hehehe.
For in this day and age, in the domesticated Horse World, the
more Human friendly the Foal is, the easier it's life is going to
be. The 'flight from fear' can be their biggest danger and I have
seen many a case of serious injury and death caused by it. I reflect
upon some as I write. Broken legs, cracked vertebrae, fractured
skulls and so on.
- Day two is the day that I start training them and on that
day, I get hold of Mum and take her into a shed or stable where
I can easily get a hand on the Foal without either of them
running off. I then grab the Foal with my left hand around the
chest and my right arm around the rump above the hocks and
simply stop the Foal from moving away. It may struggle to it's
heart is content and then, when it ceases, I begin the 'friendly
game' and the 'pleasurable game'. Talking to the Foal softly and
stroking it. Then I start dragging it about the place, pushing
it where I want it to go, stopping it, changing direction and so
on. I want it to learn to 'give to pressure. Training starts
- It is important to remember to only work on a young Foal no
more than 3 minutes or so. (depending on temperament of Foal and
Mother) but roughly that time frame. You can repeat it more than
once a day if you like of course but watch for mental fatigue
and stress in the Babies. From day 2 until Halter Breaking, I
repeat the same daily and from about day 3, I start handling the
legs. All 4 of them. Lifting them up and holding them against
the will of the Foal, just for 30 seconds each and playing with
their hooves. Gently tapping them with the hand. Here the Foal
learns some valuable lessons. That there is no point attempting
escape, that it is easier to give in, that handling can be nice
and that there is no point about thinking of kicking.
- Repeat all of the above daily, until it becomes 'old
hat'. Remember, Foals grow up fast and get basically too strong
for a Female by day 10 so be quick. The other thing is that the
best lessons for them are the one's where they fight and lose.
They are like 'gold dust' but the worst lessons are those where
the Foal fights and starts to win. A win is identified as any
moving of the handler off their feet, any snatch of a leg from
the hand and so on. Right there commences the road to resistance
so take full advantage of the first week. They turn out the best
- Somewhere between day 7 and 10, it is time to 'Halter Break
the Foal' and here you have two options. Do it with my system or
do it with a 'Bum Rope' You choose but I can tell you that
Halter Breaking Foals with a rope around their rump pales into
insignificance when it comes to putting the foundations stones
onto a Horse and the huge benefits of using the alternative
method will pay you handsomely throughout the life of the young
Horse. Use a webbing Halter
HANDLING OUR FOALS WITH RESPONSIBILITY
- Let's say Halter Breaking started on day 8, then by day 12,
the Foal should be tied up solidly alongside it's Mother. During
this time, the style with which you handle the Foal should be
such that you basically treat it as it's Mother would. If I want
it to move over, I will hip and shoulder it as a footballer
would, teaching it to respect means us, the boss of the Herd and
that I am number one in the pecking order. Therefore, the Foal
or young Horse, will rarely ever think of kicking you or another
Human being, Just the same as they would never kick a Horse that
stood above them in the pecking order in the paddock. Not only
for this reason will they not kick but they are then well used
to being touched on the rump, legs, hipped over or whatever and
will never kick out of surprise again. The natural reaction of
the young Horse to kick will be gone. The benefits of this
handling are too extensive to write here.
- At this first tying up and
then subsequently, (using my system of Halter Breaking a Foal
only) it is a complete non issue and if they pull back a little,
good. The more the merrier but I can tell you it will basically
not happen. Until front leg lifting farrier style.
- No matter how well a young one
ties up, the day you go to lift the front legs, whether that be
up between the legs of the farrier or out the front even more
so, the foal WILL PULL BACK and this day is called 'end game
day' Just persevere, don't drop the leg, let them hang back on
three legs and regain their balance or if you did drop the front
leg, pick it up immediately and ignore them. They will get over
it and this is the 'icing on the cake' that cements the true tie
up horse forever.
- When it comes to the back
legs, they rarely pull back but if they do, just hang onto them
farrier style, even lift them off the ground if you want but
just 'Man Handle' them like you own them. This is where they
learn never to fight with a farrier and that the farrier is all
powerful. Game over if you do. Act exactly like the farrier and
go through all the moves and positions that the farrier does.
Out the back, beneath their belly and on your leg, tapping,
slapping, everything designed to upset them. Finish them off
here and now. WHILE THEY HAVE NO STRENGTH. They will never kick
later, they will always give.!!!!
- On about day 14, or if you
feel resistance rising where you may not be able to keep them
light, change to the rope Halter and stay with it for the rest
of their career.
- By day 14, the Foal should be
rasped up balanced and square as THEY ARE ALL BORN CROOKED and
grow crooked from day one. Crooked legs on Horses is caused by
Owners who do not have attention to detail where trimming is
concerned. You can send the legs of a Foal in any direction you
like, just like that.
- From day 14 onwards, I hobble
train my Foals (all of them) and this protects them from
Thousands of Dollars Vet Bills throughout their life and from
often horrendous injuries going forward or death in a lot of
cases. I get this every week.
Just thought I'd tell you that the hobble training
you recommended has saved my young horses life or at
the very least some nasty wounds.
She is a bit of a pawer, and very nosey! Anyway she
got her front foot caught in the ring lock (sheep
fence) of the fence. When I came up to feed, no Tess!
Strange I thought, I called her a she whinnied back
but did not come! I investigated and there she was
standing in the fence, perfectly still, not a
scratch! She had been there for awhile, and I was
relieved that the hobble training she had as a foal
So thank you for some really good advice on training
Here is one of ours, thinking she
is restricted but it is only a 19mm dripper hose :)
or perhaps you would rather this.....
- Commence the worming programme by worming the Mare
when the Foal is one week old. and ...
- at 6 weeks worm the Foal and continue it for the rest of
- First shot of Tetanus/Strangles injection at the age of 3
- The Booster 4 weeks later.
- Then every 12 months.
- Cut back and trim minimum every 6 weeks but I do them at 3-4
weeks and if crooked legs are involved, every 2-3 weeks.
- Treated for Sand once a year with the O'Leary Remedy.
- The Mare must have been fed the prescribed range of Pellets
at least two months before they are due to Foal and then all the
way through whilst carrying the Foal. With a careful watch on
the condition of the Mare (frailty etc) give the Mare whatever
it is to keep her looking pretty reasonable. Spare no expense.
We Bred it, we look after them properly.!
- When the Foal is weaned, it must be on the prescribed Pellet
for it's age and maturity and normally 2kg morning and night
plus Lucerne Hay etc. The Manufacturer will have the feeding
rates on the Bag. The Pellets are different than fed to other
Horses. The Young Horse should be then fed this pellet right
through until they stop growing but adjustments may be made due
to work load later.
- Weaning should take place anywhere from 3 Months to 6
Months, depending on the condition and age of the Mare or in our
case, earlier if the Mare is a particularly anti social type
that is teaching the Foal too many bad habits. I will wean these
at 3 Months and put the Foal with a nice Gelding.
- The system of weaning that I use, due to the systems of
Halter Breaking and the above, allows me to simply tie the Foal
up, take Mother away, introduce a friend for a while and then
keep them yarded together for a day before putting them into a
paddock. Weaning over fence lines or even yard lines is fraught
with much danger and you can never guarantee what will happen.
This is 5 x 2 inch Hardwood with electrics attached.
The Weanling went through all to the next yard.
ON GOING TRAINING
- Tied up and groomed with
Go on with your training in any way that you like to dream
Get them used to wearing rugs, just for the experience.
Float train them with their Mother and take them for rides.
Take them to shows and tie them up at the float with Mother .
THE COMPLETE CEMENTING
AND IN MY CASE
3 year old
and it all comes down to properly Halter Breaking your Foals and not
using the 'Bum Rope' system.
Go here for the DVD.
Mail: horseproblem at horseproblems.com.au