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View Full Version : Do you turn mares/foals out with other horses?



FairWeather
Jul. 24, 2009, 11:53 AM
I'm curious to know if people do this--I have my very first baby and I'm feeling super protective, but I'd REALLY like for him to be able to go out with mom and another docile mare (who does not have a foal), it would make my life SO much easier.

Do people do this?

Brandi OHS
Jul. 24, 2009, 11:56 AM
I'm curious to know if people do this--I have my very first baby and I'm feeling super protective, but I'd REALLY like for him to be able to go out with mom and another docile mare (who does not have a foal), it would make my life SO much easier.

Do people do this?

Absolutely!
Make sure you have a large enough area so no one can get easily cornered if they get stupid the first time out. You may try having help and everyone hang onto a horse for the first few minutes of nose to nose talking just to make sure they aren't going to get super silly. I would let momma and baby go first then turn loose of the other mare.

EventingChase
Jul. 24, 2009, 12:05 PM
Yup!

My filly and her mom are out with her older 1/2 brother (an 8 year old gelding). The filly adores him! She follows him around, hands out with him, and only visits mom to go to the milk bar! She is totally fine when mom leaves for a short ride with brother to baby sit but when Chase goes... it is like her whole world is ending!

amdfarm
Jul. 24, 2009, 12:17 PM
Definitely. All of mine live in herds and I expect the same for mares and foals. It's great for them to be able to socialize w/ someone other than mom and to sorta give mom a break now and then. I had four foals this year and two of the pairs are w/ a 2yo gelding and two older geldings. They get along great. The other two pairs are w/ two 2yo's and a 3yo gelding. All of them were together before they foaled so they know each other well and get along.

If the mares already know each other and get along, they should be fine together.

shakeytails
Jul. 24, 2009, 12:17 PM
Generally, no, because I don't have a reason to. I usually have at least 2 mares with foals- I don't like to raise a baby without a playmate. But if I needed to put another mare without a foal in with a mama and baby, I probably would. Nearly all of my mares have had at least one foal and are wonderful with babies. I would probably wait until the foal was a couple of weeks old or better so it was well bonded with it's own mother and the mare is not quite as protective of her baby (a couple of my mares can be evil for a week or so after the foal is born). I only have one gelding, and while he's great with yearlings, I'm not so sure I'd want him out with a mama and baby.

okggo
Jul. 24, 2009, 01:04 PM
Yup :)

This years and her mom have been out with the 2 geldings and they are currently out with our 2 yearling fillies.

The yearlings ADORE her and the baby rules the roost, she steals everyones food, etc - she has that "my mom will beat you up if you don't let me do xyz (rear on you, pull your tail, eat your food, etc)" fearlessness going, lol.

It totally depends on your mare - if she is super protective, expect some scuffling at first, but they come to really appreciate the company (mare and foal!)

Equilibrium
Jul. 24, 2009, 01:15 PM
You guys are so lucky to have nice herds. I had 2 mares of my own that foaled this year and a client's mare that foaled. They all live separetly. One of the mares is the foal killer from last year, and the client's mare is nasty to the mares in my herd unless out with my Alpha who doesn't have a foal. So I refused to take a chance this year.

Yes, you can all tell me I won't have social foals and I've done them harm, but when you watch a foal have it's leg broke clean in half, the sound and memories NEVER go away. Last year's colt, who was raised by himself, took the weaning better than anyone and had no problems what so ever living in a group.

Terri

DoubleClick
Jul. 24, 2009, 01:25 PM
My mare and her filly eventually went out with my gelding and my mom's two minis. We waited until she was old enough and sure enough on her feet to get out of the way if needed. We were mainly worried about the gelding (my mare's best friend, but he's a drama queen and can be a crank), so we let them have weeks of sharing a fenceline. Everything went great, and they were a very strange happy family. My filly's BFF was my mom's two year old mini colt. They would wrestle like no other, and the mini eventually began nursing off of my mare. The filly would grab one side and Bosley would grab the other. My mare didn't care! He definitely didn't need the extra food, but the filly needed her buddy in there with her. They all really enjoyed themselves. My mare was one of those "my baby can do no wrong" mamas, so it was nice to have her uncle OTTB and aunt mini-mare teach her a few manners because her mama sure wasn't going to!!

FLIPPED HER HALO
Jul. 24, 2009, 02:44 PM
I kept my mare and youngster on their own for a while until he went to inspection last year then my 20 year old gelding joined them. I swear he things Aiden is his kid! I got a weanling playmate for my boy so then it was 2 weaners and 2 grown ups in pasture and they've been like that ever since. I think the grown ups help teach them manners pretty well too.

Donella
Jul. 24, 2009, 03:18 PM
Honestly, I am sure it works out fine for some people, but the risk is significantly higher. Every horse is different with foals and I have heard of numerous situations both on this board and in my life where one of the herdmates (usually another mare) decides they will not tolerate the foal. In most cases, the foal was fatally injured.

I really wouldn't do it.

Sugarbrook
Jul. 24, 2009, 03:24 PM
After the adjustment period of mare and foal bonding, and mare getting her strength back, mine are all turned out in a group.

These mares know each other well as some were born and raised here at sugarbrook. I even have first time moms (obviously watched very closely) turned out with the other mares and foals. I always have a BOSS mare in every pasture and since the mares are together before foaling, they know the rules. Babies need other babies to play with. Just my way of doing things over the many years.

Home Again Farm
Jul. 24, 2009, 03:35 PM
After the adjustment period of mare and foal bonding, and mare getting her strength back, mine are all turned out in a group.

These mares know each other well as some were born and raised here at sugarbrook. I even have first time moms (obviously watched very closely) turned out with the other mares and foals. I always have a BOSS mare in every pasture and since the mares are together before foaling, they know the rules. Babies need other babies to play with. Just my way of doing things over the many years.

That pretty well describes what I do with mine. I do not turn out mares and foals with geldings, but that is just because I have plenty of girls and practically no boys.

Donella
Jul. 24, 2009, 03:43 PM
I also meant to say that I do of course turn our broodies out together with their foals. These mares stay together all winter and then after the foal is born they spend a week or so with only their mother before they rejoin the momma mare group as it is wonderful for the foals to grow up together. Then by weaning time they have each other for comfort as well.

I just don't put them in with other open mares or geldings ect.

StarflowerStables
Jul. 24, 2009, 04:02 PM
Yupp

That way they learn how to socialize and how to live in a herd.
After a period of just the mare and foal together when the foal is stronger and more active I introduce other horse(s).

If is a risk of course (as with anything) just monitor them closely until everything settles down. Knock on wood but I haven't had a problem yet!

Good luck with your baby!! = )

Bravestrom
Jul. 24, 2009, 04:26 PM
After about a month or two I usually add the most docile mare I have to the mix with a mare and foal - this year it was a pony mare who has become the buddy of the filly. Then I added two preggos and a very docile mare.

I do not put my performance mares (with back shoes and both are alphas) with this group nor does the gelding go with them - the gelding goes with our 2 yr old stud colt or with the alpha mares.

Next year I have two foals coming but I am not sure if the mares will be together because the mares don't get along.

clint
Jul. 24, 2009, 04:57 PM
I only have one or two foals a year, and yes, I selectively turn mares and foals out with another horse or two, but I have rules. One, the other horse can't have shoes. Two, no geldings with mares and foals. I have a wonderful old TB babysitter mare, and before I wean I always have her with the mares and foals, as she will live with the foals once mom is gone.

Nes
Jul. 24, 2009, 05:02 PM
I actually really don't understand why people turn out their foals in mixed herds, it makes me so nervous! Foals are so expensive and fragile; until they are old enough to defend themselves, I don't understand turning them out with adult horses (except if they are mares with foals).

Now clearly there are exceptions when you have an beyond-tolerant adult horse, but they have to be completely submissive to the foal.

Now these are wild horses, but just to show you how much power horses possess:
Wild Stallion meets Newborn Foal (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uwOnFrfPRdE)
(I'm sorry, it's a little graphic).

Foals should certainly never be turned out with stallions, even if they are their "daddys".

Daventry
Jul. 24, 2009, 05:16 PM
Foals should certainly never be turned out with stallions, even if they are their "daddys".

It completely depends on the stallion and the situation. Our mare had a gorgeous little smoky black sabino filly born three weeks early tis year. They share a pasture with our stallion, Alvesta Picasso (he is the sire of the filly). Mom can often be found in the middle of the pasture grazing while baby sleeps in the shelter. Our stallion stays with the filly in the shelter and looks after her. Often, she spends more time with him than her mom. He is a gentle sole and looks after her with his life!! :yes: We had two colts born two years ago and another one last year, and we used Picasso to wean the foals. You would often see them hang off of Picasso or trying to bite his cheek or lower legs and he would be extremely patient until he had finally had enough. It was extremely cute to watch. Wherever they laid down, Picasso would either stand over them or lay down beside them. I would much prefer to wean our foals with him than taking the chance with a hormonal mare. :yes:

Picasso was raised in a herd situation for more than twelve years, so he is well versed in regards to dealing with mares and foals. This definitely may not be the recommendation for a domesticated stallion, who has been raised to live a solitary life and may not have the same social skills that develop in a horse who has been raised in a herd or group situation. As I said, it really does depend on the stallion and the situation.

ElegantExpressionsFarm
Jul. 24, 2009, 05:33 PM
I do turn my mares & foals out with other mares and foals (who normally live together and get along). But if I only have one like last year, I put my pony gelding out with them after a month or so to 'baby sit' and 'entertain' the foal. He is SO perfect with them!! He will take EVERYTHING they dish out and he just warns them he 'may bite/kick' if they get too full of themselves!! Then when it comes time to wean they already have a good friend!! It makes the process SO easy!! My colt from last year was more attached to the pony then his dam!! If they were in the barn he would call for him!! (The pony never answered!) As he got older, then the pony would adjust the discipline level as needed, he never went too far! He is the PERFECT babysitter and that is why I still have him!!

If the horses didn't get along/know eachother I might be a little cautious about putting them out together...wouldn't want to chance anything!!

Tornado Run Farm
Jul. 24, 2009, 05:34 PM
After about a month or two I usually add the most docile mare I have to the mix with a mare and foal - this year it was a pony mare who has become the buddy of the filly. Then I added two preggos and a very docile mare.

I do not put my performance mares (with back shoes and both are alphas) with this group nor does the gelding go with them - the gelding goes with our 2 yr old stud colt or with the alpha mares.

Next year I have two foals coming but I am not sure if the mares will be together because the mares don't get along.

I do exactly like this, too. All are herdmates before the "big event," so they all know their place. I add my old retired broodie first after 2-3 weeks, then a few weeks later (at this point foal is 6-8 wks), I bring the others in. I don't put my gelding or performance mare in with them - ever.

But like others have said, it depends on your experience with the individuals and how they get along.

shakeytails
Jul. 24, 2009, 06:39 PM
Now these are wild horses, but just to show you how much power horses possess:
Wild Stallion meets Newborn Foal (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uwOnFrfPRdE)
(I'm sorry, it's a little graphic).

I guessed it wasn't going to be pretty, but that was brutal.

pcwertb
Jul. 24, 2009, 07:41 PM
I'm fairly certain that video was taken from Cloud (PBS documentary) and the foal couldn't get up for hours and the stallion realized the mare would not leave until the foal was dead. They don't do that to foals that do not have a problem (and least not routinely in the wild, that is for sure).

Daventry
Jul. 24, 2009, 07:51 PM
I actually really don't understand why people turn out their foals in mixed herds, it makes me so nervous! Foals are so expensive and fragile; until they are old enough to defend themselves, I don't understand turning them out with adult horses (except if they are mares with foals).

Now clearly there are exceptions when you have an beyond-tolerant adult horse, but they have to be completely submissive to the foal.

Now these are wild horses, but just to show you how much power horses possess:
Wild Stallion meets Newborn Foal (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uwOnFrfPRdE)
(I'm sorry, it's a little graphic).

Foals should certainly never be turned out with stallions, even if they are their "daddys".

It's too bad the other thousand times it is successfully done, no one posts a video showing that! :no: We have been joking for weeks that we need to run out and take a video of our little month old filly being baby sat by our stallion and put it on YouTube. While I agree there are some horses that shouldn't be doing this or that, or put in with that horse or this horse....there are many out there that are perfectly well adjusted animals and are capable of living amongst their friends very peacefully! :yes:

E D
Jul. 24, 2009, 08:05 PM
I have only one foal this year. A second pregnant mare aborted at five months. The colt is mixed in a herd of open or bred mares. He seems to have a testosterone overload at two months old, sniffing the rear ends of his "aunties" already. They usually just pin their ears to make their point for him to stay away. This morning his momma let him go out to pasture with the others and she stayed behind in the arena, actually closing the gate herself twice with him in the pasture and her staying behind. I was laughing as she purposely walked over the second time to close the gate. She is a maiden mare and has been a great mother. She is not rejecting him - just wanted a break! It took her about six weeks to completely trust the aunties to watch for him and she now employs one halftime babysitter mare who will not go out to pasture without him.

Daydream Believer
Jul. 24, 2009, 08:16 PM
It depends on the situation, the mare, the foal, etc... Some of my mares and foals live with stallions. These are real family groups similar to a wild herd. I have mares and foals live with other mares/foals or occasionally an open or bred mare. A few times I've had geldings out with them but usually I don't mix genders unless it is a stallion's pasture.

sid
Jul. 24, 2009, 08:32 PM
Socializing with other herd members (beyond "Mom") is so critical to their development, particulary in understanding the pecking order. That will make your job easier when it is time to train.

The key is to set up the physically safest environment to do so. If you give the mare/foal to socialize across a fence with the intended pasture mate(s), then combining is not such a big deal. There may be some posturing at first. That's normal, so don't freak out...let it work itself out.

When I had multiple mares/foals it wasn't a problem. That herd situation provided the correct socialization. But when you have a "singleton" foal, it can be a bit more challenging.

In my my single mare/foal years, I pastured them next to one of my older alpha type broodies (who loved babies and had yearlings with her -- that was her job, to eventually be the weaning buddy. Before you knew it the foal was spending more time near the fence with this "auntie", than its dam. Then turning all in together went without a hitch.

OTOH, I had a little hellion of a colt who completely dominated his maiden dam and every horse across the fence line. In that case, I turned them in with 3 yearlings and a gigantic pasture. That effort 'fixed" his little attitude real quick and no one was hurt. His little "ego" was mighty bruised though...:lol:. When it was time for weaning him, I just removed her from the "herd" as he was socialized and buddies with the yearling band. BTW, That baby is now 19 and is still with the remaining member of that yearling group that is now 20.

The key is acclimate over in adjoining pastures, then turn out in a big, safe field with no obstacles. At least that worked for me over the years. Being overprotective and denying a foal socialization in a herd environment can be a real downside when it comes to training, IME.

Good luck!

camohn
Jul. 24, 2009, 08:54 PM
I'm curious to know if people do this--I have my very first baby and I'm feeling super protective, but I'd REALLY like for him to be able to go out with mom and another docile mare (who does not have a foal), it would make my life SO much easier.

Do people do this?

Yup. What the situation is varies a bit.....but the solo turnout thing does not last more than a couple months. Usually it is a couple weeks, but I have one mare that is mega protective of her foal for about the first 2 months and then she chills out and can go out with others. Both of my stallions have been used as weaner sitters and love the job. (They were also both raised in a herd environment and have the social skills to do so).

EiRide
Jul. 24, 2009, 10:59 PM
I tend to breed one at a time, and I've bred a '95, '99, '05, and '09. If I don't turn out in my herd, then they only get socialization from mama and I don't think it's good for their development.

Typically, I wait until the baby is about a month old and then turn out with my most docile horse (currently I have 100% mares). Then, once I am sure all is well and they've worked it out, I turn out one I know is good with foals--maybe an older mare who has had a baby, or one I used for babysitting in the past. Then I add in the mama's best friend if she is not one of the above. I always give it a few days, make sure they have plenty of space, and that the foal is healthy and active and mama is in good fettle.

My seven week old is out with the entire herd now, and it took me about 2 weeks to work up to it (I have six adults on the property including her mother). Zero problems. I've never had one of my adults hurt a foal to date. When I turn one out that I don't know will be good with a baby, like my 4 yr old Irish Draught Sport Horse, I hang out in the field for a good long time, whip in hand, in case I need to break up a developing rumble. Not needed to do it yet! Also, they are over the fence from the first turn out. I think that helps.

Cloverbarley
Jul. 24, 2009, 11:13 PM
Yes I do turn out mares with foals with a herd. It works very well for all involved on my stable.

My own mares who have been bred and foaled to my stallion live with my stallion and he has always been fantastic with his offspring. I cannot turn my stallion out with foals who are not his as he knows they are not his and tries to keep his own foals away from the others so it is counterproductive. Foals by other sires are still turned out in herds after a few days, but never with him just incase.

I, personally, would never wish for any foals of mine to not be turned out with a good mixed herd. I have done this malarky for too long to not be aware of the huge benefits to both mare and foal, therefore herds are my thing. I realise some may be rather prissy about what they do with, and how they deal with their mares and foals, and that is fine by me, but my own, yes absolutely herds make perfect sense and teach the youngster everything s/he needs to learn about herd politics. I would never restrict this from them as I see it as a totally natural manner of raising good equine citizens.

Big thumbs up from me! :)

Cloverbarley
Jul. 24, 2009, 11:29 PM
Now these are wild horses, but just to show you how much power horses possess:
Wild Stallion meets Newborn Foal (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uwOnFrfPRdE)
(I'm sorry, it's a little graphic).

Foals should certainly never be turned out with stallions, even if they are their "daddys".

Disagree, sorry. My experience is that stallions *know* who their offspring are and are just as doting parents as the mares are. In the video you have highlighted, there was something wrong with this foal. It is animal nature to be done with the animal who is disabled/non-conformist - sad if you don't understand animal behaviour, totally normal if you do. In the animal kingdom, it is survival of the fittest and this foal could not have survived within the herd hence the quickest way of dealing with the problem was for the stallion to be done with the foal.

My stallion has had his daughters live with him without any incidents whatsoever. This is a totally natural environment to him so he knows no different, and I have not unnaturally fabricated the environment so everything remained natural for him. He bred my mares, he was there when they foaled and he helped raise them ... admirably I must say. It all depends though on your outlook on raising horses within herds. If you are on the ball and understand your herds mentalities then there shouldn't be any hiccups, if you don't then yes there may be trials and tribulations along the way. Knowing your horses is paramount. I know mine very well and we have never had any problems with Daddy living with his offspring. I wouldn't have other foals in with him though as he was very protective of his own foals, and he certainly knew which where his and which weren't. Obviously a modicum of common sense is involved here and lessen the risks, but if you know your horses then accidents shouldn't happen, regardless of whether it is mares and foals or geldings and mares within the herds.

Equilibrium
Jul. 25, 2009, 01:25 AM
Yes I do turn out mares with foals with a herd. It works very well for all involved on my stable.

My own mares who have been bred and foaled to my stallion live with my stallion and he has always been fantastic with his offspring. I cannot turn my stallion out with foals who are not his as he knows they are not his and tries to keep his own foals away from the others so it is counterproductive. Foals by other sires are still turned out in herds after a few days, but never with him just incase.

I, personally, would never wish for any foals of mine to not be turned out with a good mixed herd. I have done this malarky for too long to not be aware of the huge benefits to both mare and foal, therefore herds are my thing. I realise some may be rather prissy about what they do with, and how they deal with their mares and foals, and that is fine by me, but my own, yes absolutely herds make perfect sense and teach the youngster everything s/he needs to learn about herd politics. I would never restrict this from them as I see it as a totally natural manner of raising good equine citizens.

Big thumbs up from me! :)

I don't think it's being "prissy". Those of you with mixed herds are lucky because you don't know the other side of the coin. Obviously, you don't or you would never do it again.

I think those with experiences such as mine would prefer to be a bit prissy and could care less about the wonderful experiences of a mixed herd. I know how beneficial it is, I really do. But at the same time, it's just not worth the risk in my situation. Weaning for me is next week depending on weather ect. Then the 3 babies will all be out playing together and they won't give a crap. They hang out with each other all ready over the fence anyways.

I would love to have a mixed herd or even mares back with foals, but that wasn't possible this year. Next year, I will have 3 mares with foals out together. I don't think it makes me prissy not to gamble. And to be honest, I almost put the foal killing mare out with my other mare and foal because she was scratching him over the fence and really acting like she liked him. But since I know she can turn in an instant without warning, I thought better of it. I couldn't live with myself if I made the same mistake twice.

Terri

SilverSpringFarm
Jul. 25, 2009, 08:19 AM
I'm fairly certain that video was taken from Cloud (PBS documentary) and the foal couldn't get up for hours and the stallion realized the mare would not leave until the foal was dead. They don't do that to foals that do not have a problem (and least not routinely in the wild, that is for sure).

You are correct. There are several things to consider when viewing the video:

1. The foal was not sired by the stallion that killed it. The dam was part of another wild horse band.

2. The foal was obviously suffering from some type of birth defect and was going to either end up being torn apart by predators or experience a long lingering death as the result of starvation. It's not easy to watch but the foal died quickly and I think this was the lesser of three evils.

3. That was the first (and only) time such behavior had ever been documented in a wild herd - considering the fact that wild horse herds have been studied for generations it seems strange to label such occurrences as "the norm."

FairWeather
Jul. 25, 2009, 09:13 AM
thanks so much for the feedback--I think what I'll end up doing is turning mom and baby out next to the horse(s) I'd like to eventually put them with. Mom is getting to the point of saying "BEAT IT KID!" and I think she'd like the adult company. Just don't get near her alfalfa hay!

Waterwitch
Jul. 25, 2009, 09:16 AM
That pretty well describes what I do with mine. I do not turn out mares and foals with geldings, but that is just because I have plenty of girls and practically no boys.


Ditto except I do have a gelding in the group who is eventually the weaning buddy.

Waterwitch
Jul. 25, 2009, 09:25 AM
Foals should certainly never be turned out with stallions, even if they are their "daddys".

I disagree. I've had two stallions that made fabulous weaning companions. One of them lived with his mare and foal before weaning and with his baby, another weanling colt, and a miniature donkey after weaning, and he was fantastic with them. The other had none of his own foals on the place and still was a great weaning buddy to a filly who was his niece.

So the answer here is - it depends entirely on the stallion.

Tornado Run Farm
Jul. 25, 2009, 01:55 PM
I don't think it's being "prissy". Those of you with mixed herds are lucky because you don't know the other side of the coin. Obviously, you don't or you would never do it again... I couldn't live with myself if I made the same mistake twice.

Terri

No, Terri, I don't think you're prissy. It doesn't matter what people think anyway - you've gotta do what's right for you. What you experienced was horrendous! I didn't watch the video - stuff like that really upsets me. I can't imagine living it!!!

okggo
Jul. 25, 2009, 02:05 PM
Allie - I think that sounds like a good idea, and that is what we do. We have the mare foal in a lot sharing a fence with the others first.

Re people who have had horrible things happen - it really does depend on the horses. I would NEVER NEVER NEVER put an alpha type mare out with a more submissive mare and her foal. Ever. My mare and foal have been out with everyone on our property EXCEPT that alpha bit** mare. Our geldings are completely docile. The one is in his 20s and can barely walk, and has been babysitting weaners for many many years. Hardly poses a threat. The other gelding is alpha but completely non aggressive. He just gives looks and everyone obeys. He was out with babies when he was still in tact and took the job of herd guardian VERY seriously. In fact I've seen him put himself between a yearling and our bit** mare and take a hell of a whallop of a kick from the mare trying to keep the yearling from getting hurt. There is no doubt he put himself between them to protect the youngster - and this is the mare (after that incident) I will not put anyone but him out with her, as he is the only one that seems to keep her in line. I think that mare likely WOULD hurt another mares foal if given the opportunity. The yearlings....are completely submissive and frankly are like big weanlings. They play like foals do, and thoroughly enjoy each other. They tolerate pretty much anything the filly does to them exceedingly well, and when I take the mom out to ride they console the filly and keep her quiet.

okggo
Jul. 25, 2009, 02:18 PM
http://s264.photobucket.com/albums/ii170/okgottago/Horses/Jenibelle/?action=view&current=IMG_1593.jpg This is the old man gelding and our 2009 filly

http://s264.photobucket.com/albums/ii170/okgottago/Horses/Jenibelle/?action=view&current=IMG_2793.jpg and with the 2 yearlings (she is standing with them, not her mom - as usual)

http://s264.photobucket.com/albums/ii170/okgottago/Horses/Jenibelle/?action=view&current=IMG_2493.jpg This yearling is her 1/2 sister and they quite literally stick together like glue.

http://s264.photobucket.com/albums/ii170/okgottago/Horses/Dawn/?action=view&current=IMG_6401.jpg This is mom, dad, and foal

Cindy's Warmbloods
Jul. 25, 2009, 03:13 PM
I had one foal this year and turned mom and him out with the herd at just a couple of days old and they get along fabulously. However, said "mom" was alpha mare that nobody messes with and nobody messes with the kid either. The "kid" does terrorize the other mares now though and plays with them (the other mares are 2yrs old, 3yrs old, 4yrs old and 12yrs old) I would NEVER put a mare lower in the pecking order out right away with her foal. I would slowly introduce one at a time (starting with someone lower than her in the pecking order) until I knew there wasn't going to be any problems.

not again
Jul. 25, 2009, 06:41 PM
No. Mares with foals are one group. Colts and underage geldings are another with an older gelding baby sitter. Fillies are out with the retiree mares and pregnant mares without foals at foot. Things stay relatively peaceful that way, and the older ones keep the youngsters in line. Competition mares and geldings with shoes are turned out separately alone or in small same-gender groups, and hopefully keep their shoes on. Anything with hind shoes goes out alone.

This seems to keep the vet bills down......knock wood!

chestnutwithchrome
Jul. 25, 2009, 07:44 PM
I only had one foal this year, and he and momma got turned out with a mixed herd of riding mares and geldings once the foal was confidant, (he was 3 weeks old) The entire herd loves him, and a yearling is his best buddy :-) I think it definitely depends on the dynamics of your herd and horses, but I am thrilled with the upbringing my colt is getting from interacting with his elders.

Donella
Jul. 25, 2009, 08:53 PM
I realise some may be rather prissy about what they do with

Well, it may be prissy, but when herd dynamics go south or things change and a foal ends up being mauled or severly injured/killed ect one realizes that you really can never be careful enough and that it really has nothing to do with being "prissy".

I am not saying that there aren't situations that work fabulously, especially with real babysitter type horses in a very large space ect but to throw them all out in a big mixed herd is definately creating a greater risk factor. More horses equals more chances of a conflict/ agression. It's kind of like pasture breeding, yes they learn good manners ect ect and when it all works out, it's the easiest option. But when it doesn't, it really doesn't.

I know of a few foals who were killed in situations like this. Very preventable IMHO.

Equilibrium
Jul. 26, 2009, 02:09 AM
Very well said Donella.

Also, and this is what freaks me out still, saying won't put out with Alpha or be careful with lowest pecking order mare, sometimes it doesn't really matter.

The mare who's foal was killed, Stella, she's the leader and they all know it, but yet she is very good to her "herd". The mare that did the killing, she was the lowest pecking order mare and never was bothered as in nobody was overly mean to her, she was just last. And as a matter of fact, Stella buddied up with her and protected her from the others. Stella also delt with all our first time mothers and showed them the ropes so to speak. So that's why it was all the more shocking. And even more so since we had mare from a foal and she was always socialized.

So my rule of thumb now is, Don't think you know what will happen in any herd situation. Trust me, I'm fet up this year with 3 mares and 3 foals in 3 (4) acre paddocks because all the others are sorta smashed in together. But that's just the way it is.

Terri

okggo
Jul. 26, 2009, 08:06 AM
The mare who's foal was killed, Stella, she's the leader and they all know it, but yet she is very good to her "herd". The mare that did the killing, she was the lowest pecking order mare and never was bothered as in nobody was overly mean to her, she was just last. And as a matter of fact, Stella buddied up with her and protected her from the others. Stella also delt with all our first time mothers and showed them the ropes so to speak. So that's why it was all the more shocking. And even more so since we had mare from a foal and she was always socialized.



Yikes!! I just saw this - I'm so sorry for your loss, what a terrible tragedy :( Wow :(

Cloverbarley
Jul. 26, 2009, 09:56 AM
The mare who's foal was killed, Stella, she's the leader and they all know it, but yet she is very good to her "herd". The mare that did the killing, she was the lowest pecking order mare and never was bothered as in nobody was overly mean to her, she was just last. And as a matter of fact, Stella buddied up with her and protected her from the others. Stella also delt with all our first time mothers and showed them the ropes so to speak. So that's why it was all the more shocking. And even more so since we had mare from a foal and she was always socialized.



I'm very sorry to hear that Equilibrium, that is tragic. You're right, sometimes accidents just happen. I don't know what happened or why your mare killed the foal but if it was on purpose then that is very worrying. I am always cautious of the bottom of the herd as in my experience these are the ones who have to be watched closely. I rarely have to bother about my herd leaders as they are constant and all very good at their job, in a calm way, but those bottom of the pilers can sometimes be a bit of an unknown quantity.

Daventry
Jul. 26, 2009, 01:10 PM
I am always cautious of the bottom of the herd as in my experience these are the ones who have to be watched closely.

Exactly! While some make great companions and are respectful and protective of another mare's foal, some can be dangerous around foals and try and instill their dominance on the newbie in the herd so they are no longer at the bottom themselves!

When I put a new horse out in our pasture, I am not at all worried about the alpha horse, I am most worried about the lowest on the pecking order. If anyone has spent time watching equine behavior out in a pasture, when a new horse is introduced, it normally isn't the dominant horse who goes and runs off the new horse. It is always the lowest ones on the pecking order. Almost like a king ordering his minions to attack while they sit atop their thrown!

camohn
Jul. 26, 2009, 01:15 PM
No. Mares with foals are one group. Colts and underage geldings are another with an older gelding baby sitter. Fillies are out with the retiree mares and pregnant mares without foals at foot. Things stay relatively peaceful that way, and the older ones keep the youngsters in line. Competition mares and geldings with shoes are turned out separately alone or in small same-gender groups, and hopefully keep their shoes on. Anything with hind shoes goes out alone.

This seems to keep the vet bills down......knock wood!

It depends on what the OP means by "other horses" too. I took it to mean any other equine critters....so yes they do. They are out with other mares and foals and maybe yearlings too. Do they go out with other adult horses before they are at least a yearling? no.