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Who has a stallion out in a herd WITH foals - experiences please?

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  • Who has a stallion out in a herd WITH foals - experiences please?

    I'd like to hear from folks who have had their breeding stallion out with mares for foaling and while the foals are at the dams' sides. This year was the first full season my lovely boy has lived with his "ladies". He came from a much different situation - in a stall all the time, no turnout, little work - it's remarkable he is still such a gentleman to be around. He has relaxed, gained weight and is all around so spectacularly happy he practically glows.

    So a few questions. I'd rather not rock his boat by taking the mares away to foal. One of the mares in question foaled out in the pasture last spring, taking us by surprise, and all was well even though it was her first!. The other mare has foaled twice before with no issues. But what is the relative safety of allowing them to foal out with him there, in the pasture, vs taking them to foal elsewhere and then reintroducing them with the new foal? My gut tells me there might be more unwanted excitement with taking them each away and then reintroducing them with the new small being.

    Experiences? TIA

  • #2
    personally I separate the mare and foal for a few days to a week - until the foal is coordinated enough to be able to get out of the way of the other horses if there is excitement. I do keep mare and foal in an adjacent field to the group so the foal is not quite so exciting when reintroduced as they have all already met at the fenceline. All my broodies are quite dominant so stud is pretty respectful of their space.


    • #3
      Presume you are fine with him breeding the mares right away on foal heat (a month after foaling).


      • #4
        Originally posted by Scribbler View Post
        Presume you are fine with him breeding the mares right away on foal heat (a month after foaling).​​​
        Foal heat is 9-12 days after foaling--but the same question applies. Do you want your mares bred back immediately?

        And are you concerned that the foals might be injured by the stallion in the process?


        • #5
          OP, It's called pasture breeding.


          • #6
            Originally posted by skydy View Post
            OP, It's called pasture breeding.
            Oh yes I know and I think it's just fine as long as you want it to happen! I stand corrected on the foal heat timeline. Seems to me I made that same error before and was corrected and didn't retain it.



            • #7
              Scribbler I didn't realize that you were the OP.


              • #8
                Originally posted by skydy View Post
                Scribbler I didn't realize that you were the OP.
                Sorry I didn't see that you directed that at the OP I got you conflated with the poster that corrected me in the field heat date.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Scribbler View Post

                  Sorry I didn't see that you directed that at the OP I got you conflated with the poster that corrected me in the field heat date.
                  No sweat.


                  • #10
                    A friend brought her Welsh stallion back in after being out all summer with his mares and foals. He had no mane left because the foals had chewed it off when playing with him.
                    "Good young horses are bred, but good advanced horses are trained" Sam Griffiths


                    • #11
                      LaurieB asked the most pertinent question. Assuming you don't mind your mares being bred during their foal heat, are you willing to risk possible injury to the foal at side?

                      Things can get rough if the stallion is unused to pasture breeding in that situation.


                      • #12
                        I had an older stallion who did well in a heard situation. He was great with the babies and ended up being most of my foals weaning buddy. With that being said I always pulled the mare out and let her foal alone. Then give her a week or two until the baby was stronger and they had bonded before putting them back out with the herd.
                        Member of the Standardbreds with Saddles Clique!


                        • #13
                          Horrible, horrible idea.

                          Way too much risk for the foal(s), mares, and stallion.

                          There’s a happy medium between 24/7 stall and roaming free with all the mares.

                          Show me your horse and I will tell you who you are.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Dressagelvr View Post
                            Horrible, horrible idea.

                            Way too much risk for the foal(s), mares, and stallion.

                            There’s a happy medium between 24/7 stall and roaming free with all the mares.
                            I think it entirely depends on the individual stallion. We have had two stallions over the years who lived with their mares and foals 24/7. It worked out wonderfully, and our stallions often protected and looked after the foals better than the dams. That being said, we had another stallion that I would have never considered putting in with mares and foals. As you mentioned, too much risk for everybody out in the pasture.

                            A lot depends on the temperament of the stallion, temperament of the mares, whether the stallion is used for competition or is simply a breeding stallion, whether you plan on using the stallion for private breeding only or you plan to ship semen.

                            As cripplecreekfrm mentioned, we also always separate a mare who was about to foal and let her have approximately 2 weeks alone with the foal. This is also what happens in the wild - mares about to foal will go off on their own, foal out and then join back up with the herd a few weeks later.
                            Home of Welsh Cob stallion Goldhills Brandysnap
                            Also home to Daventry Equine Appraisals & Equine Expert Witness


                            • #15
                              A few years back I was helping a friend with a pasture bred mare that was out on acerage with the stallion. A week before the mare foaled you couldn't catch or separate them. Mare foaled a bit earlier than expected, all good. She was definitely keeping foal away from the stallion, he was on guard. Mare went with us onto the trailer absolutely no problem, did not whinny or make a single noise when out of sight of the stallion, who was carrying on a bit.

                              Definitely she told us she was really happy to be getting taken out of there.

                              I just share this because pasture bred and born foals aren't that common at least around here.

                              One thing about pasture bred mares is you don't know when they were actually impregnated so you don't know the foal date as well.

                              Anyhow, this anecdote supports the idea that the new mom would enjoy some time away from the stallion. But I think mares and foals love being in the same pasture together and it's really good for foals to have a peer playmate and some herd socialization.


                              • #16
                                My stallions live with their mares and foals. Mare is put into adjacent paddock to foal though. They stay apart till the first foal heat is past then go back out with the group. By then the foal is strong enough to get out of the way and mare is ready to be bred again (I don’t breed on foal heats personally).
                                I am lucky my set up and stallions allow me to let them live as happily as possible for all.
                                Wonderful ponies for family or show!


                                • #17
                                  Would also assume not every situation for the herd, is what's best for the individual.
                                  If someone wishes to have a successful program, do you truly keep track of each member of the herd with regard to their health, their condition?
                                  What if someone is extremely stressed out by your plan?
                                  It's still your responsibiity to do the right thing for each horse.
                                  Not just make it the simplest.
                                  Even if nature's way of doing things seems successful, you're not a success if you let any individual be stressed or suffer.
                                  Last edited by CVPeg; Dec. 29, 2019, 12:48 PM.
                                  But he thought, "This procession has got to go on." So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the train that wasn't there at all. H.C.Anderson


                                  • #18
                                    My stallion does best running with some in foal mares. I take them out to foal. I did find that he was more aggressive towards the foals who were not his once they got to weaning age - that may have been because the dams were more aggressive and protective, not simply because they weren’t related.


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by skydy View Post
                                      OP, It's called pasture breeding.
                                      Newsflash. Done that before, thanks. What I've not done is had mares foal out with the stallion. But thanks.


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by cripplecreekfrm View Post
                                        I had an older stallion who did well in a heard situation. He was great with the babies and ended up being most of my foals weaning buddy. With that being said I always pulled the mare out and let her foal alone. Then give her a week or two until the baby was stronger and they had bonded before putting them back out with the herd.
                                        Thank you cripplecreekfrm, Daventry, MuskokaLakesConnemaras and CVPeg. I appreciate your thoughtful answers and your descriptions of what you do. I do have the ability to put them in an adjoining pasture, and thinking this through with the timeline, it should work out really well. The mares are due about 4-5 weeks apart, so he shouldn't have to be alone at any point.

                                        phoebetrainer that's interesting about the increased aggression towards foals not his own. Both expected this year are his, but this was something I was talking to my husband about out of curiosity. I thought this might be a concern if we bred a mare to to an outside stallion in the future. Definitely something to consider!