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Filly won't be handled

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  • Filly won't be handled

    I have a 2+ week old filly who was my absolute best friend the night she was born. My maiden mare was frightened of her and I also had to bottle feed her some colostrum as the mare had leaked so much milk so I spent quite a bit of time in there with mom and baby. However, once she and the mare bonded, I lost any control of her and I can't get near her.
    In hindsight, I should have gotten a halter on her right away and led her to and from the paddock with the mare but, because I'm on my own most of the time and have a small farm, I just allowed her to follow my mare. I've started sitting in the stall when I grain the mare and have spent as much time as possible grooming and loving on the mare (who is very people-oriented so I don't believe the filly picked this behavior from her). I've been making a point of spending extra time in the stall on a daily basis for a week and a half now. Yes, she'll start to act a little curious instead of running immediately to hide behind mom but, even when I'm sitting quietly, she won't come closer than 2 feet to me. There haven't been any bad moments that would have scared her so I'm not sure why she has such mistrust. She does seem quite skittish about certain things but also seems extremely bold when she's turned out - from the first day she wasn't afraid to head off to the other end of the pasture w/out mom.
    Any suggestions? I really want to be spending time with her on a daily basis but am feeling like my current plan isn't working. Should I try to corner her and hold her in place while she's still small enough or hope she'll come around with the patient way I'm going about it? I certainly don't want to scare her but feel like we're not making much progress and know she'll only continue to get bigger!

  • #2
    I wouldn't worry too much about it. We don't handle most of ours a whole lot and once they start to develop some boldness and independence, they wander willingly up to us. Once they figure out that you dole out amazing scritches around the rump, they won't go away.
    Erin
    Dodon Farm Training Center - on Facebook

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    • Original Poster

      #3
      Thanks Erin. She's actually one of Willy's babies. I'm super excited about her but want to make sure I'm doing everything just right as this is my first time breeding one of my own. I deal with lots of 3 year olds but not too many babies.

      Comment


      • #4
        I have done the tackle in the corner and halter tactic and have had great success if the foals are not handled much if at all and something needs to be done with them (ie, feet or shots) but I prefer to do the halter on/off of trun in/out from day one. It does require work (and another person for the first week or so). But my last batch of foals came after I had my son and he was in the hospital for 5 weeks...so I didn't have much time (or help) if any to work with the foals at all from when they were born. But as Erin said they cannot resist a good scratch so it helps Now they come right up to you to have their halters put on and you can do pretty much anything with them with out and ear flick. I find that consistant handling ( no matter how much or little) is what makes a difference. Best of luck with your little one
        Elegant Expressions Farm

        Visit us on Facebook too !!

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        • #5
          Ignore and handle the mom

          Spend your quality time with mom. Groom her thoroughly, fuss over her, give her treats. Don't try to touch the foal. If you are unfortunate enought to have to catch her then be quick about it...use a stall and don't try to calm and lure her...just catch her and BE calm but not fussy. Release her after a good butt scratch and then don't try to get your hands on her until you have to again. She will come to you. She may bite your butt, chew on your clothes behind your back, and pick up your pant legs but let this be for now, if she is determined to kick you...not kick at you, but paste you, then shag her off and go back to fussing over mom. If she persists in trying to hurt you then you have to be dominant and kick and squeal and get her butt. Then ignore her. Some can play this for a long time and some will be over it as soon as they discover humans have fingers. Be patient. Fuss over mom. Lead mom around. Show the foal that you are in charge of mom and mom goes with you. Baby is watching your relationship with mom. PatO

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          • Original Poster

            #6
            Thanks everyone. I feel better after the feedback and realize I just needed to trust my gut. She was a little more interested in me tonight and, funny enough, I took my son out to the barn for a few minutes and she came right over to investigate. Unfortunately, he's only a week older than her so probably not the best person to help me with her! A fairly good excuse for not handling her more from the start though.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Frwndoh View Post
              Thanks Erin. She's actually one of Willy's babies. I'm super excited about her but want to make sure I'm doing everything just right as this is my first time breeding one of my own. I deal with lots of 3 year olds but not too many babies.


              Some babies are in your pocket from day one, but others need to get to know you on their own terms. They will eventually come around - we had one mare where every single one was a royal pita to catch for the first 2-3 MONTHS but they all turned out fine. Congrats on BOTH of your babies!!
              Erin
              Dodon Farm Training Center - on Facebook

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              • #8
                Relax! Contrary to popular opinion, babies do NOT need to be haltered right away. Their necks are much too fragile to be doing any type of leading/pulling anyways. We have never haltered in the "wrestle" type way, even with the sketchy foals.

                It is okay to take your time. Spend a few minutes each day with momma, baby will come around especially when molting. Once they discover the scratching, you won't be able to get them to leave you alone!

                Less is more! If she looks at you or comes toward you, then WALK AWAY! Seriously! It works. Enjoy your baby and let them learn when they are ready, never "man-handle" them!

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by columbus View Post
                  Spend your quality time with mom. Groom her thoroughly, fuss over her, give her treats. Don't try to touch the foal. If you are unfortunate enought to have to catch her then be quick about it...use a stall and don't try to calm and lure her...just catch her and BE calm but not fussy. Release her after a good butt scratch and then don't try to get your hands on her until you have to again. She will come to you. She may bite your butt, chew on your clothes behind your back, and pick up your pant legs but let this be for now, if she is determined to kick you...not kick at you, but paste you, then shag her off and go back to fussing over mom. If she persists in trying to hurt you then you have to be dominant and kick and squeal and get her butt. Then ignore her. Some can play this for a long time and some will be over it as soon as they discover humans have fingers. Be patient. Fuss over mom. Lead mom around. Show the foal that you are in charge of mom and mom goes with you. Baby is watching your relationship with mom. PatO
                  ditto

                  Tim
                  Sparling Rock Holsteiners
                  www.sparlingrock.com

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                  • #10
                    I had one who may be like yours I ended up having to rugby tackle her a several times, halter and then do scratches once caught. I only did it approx 5 times spread out over 2 weeks and on the final catch and release she was all mine and everyone else’s. I might add that I spent the first 4 weeks just trying to get her to be interested in me (as did the BO) if you managed a sneaky pat she was “off” the little darling. It is just as well I did this as a few weeks later she had an issue and needed treatment.

                    Edit: I caught her gave her scratches for approx 5 mins and let her go no extended anything just tried to gain her trust which seems odd when coupled with rugby tackling but ... I had tried the other way. Also get down to their eye level (not when rugby tackling) but after that or even before you present a much less threatening size which makes them interested rather than frightened/intimidated. I still do this if I really need to catch her quickly.
                    Last edited by lolita1; May. 16, 2012, 03:59 AM.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by lolita1 View Post
                      Also get down to their eye level (not when rugby tackling) but after that or even before you present a much less threatening size which makes them interested rather than frightened/intimidated. I still do this if I really need to catch her quickly.
                      Yeah, I find with the young ones, this really helps. I'll take a feed tub and turn it over and just sit - now I'm their height, and much less threatening. If you are young and have good knees, you can just squat, but I find the feed tub chair helps make it more comfortable. Be patient, they will come explore at some point, then just scritch - neck, legs, butt, whatever they allow. I like to get a halter on the babies early on - but I like to do it once they are happy w/ all the scratching. Then I'll slip it on and off their nose several times, and eventually buckle it, then scratch, scratch, scratch. And take it off. All the time, I'm sitting, so less threatening. Pretty soon, they are fine w/ haltering. Some babies are pocket ponies from day 1, others need a few weeks to develop a little independence.

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                      • #12
                        She is only two weeks which is not long in baby terms. She will grow into her confidence.
                        Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

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                        • #13
                          A friend of mine lost a skittish filly while trying to halter her. She had her positioned in a corner of the stall and was in the process of trying to get the halter on when the foal broke free, ran into a wall and broke her neck.

                          I never thought this was possible until the same thing almost happened to me. We ended up having to wait about 3 months before we were able to get a halter on our skittish filly.

                          I've found fillies often to be more timid than colts, and it seems that the ones who grow up to be quite dominant in the herd were the ones who were the most timid as foals. The easy-going ones always seem to be lower down in the pecking order.

                          Just give it some time. Just like kids, each foal is an individual and what works with one doesn't always work with another.
                          Sentinel Hill Farm
                          Home of VDL Windsor H

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                          • #14
                            My colt wouldn't let me touch him for 3 months. The mare is an excellent mother and takes excellent care of her foals. The colt was healthy, nursing fine. Once he let me scratch his neck and from that point on I couldn't keep him away. He is a very friendly 3 year old now.
                            Some horses have their own timeline.

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                            • #15
                              My filly was timid as a weanling. It was just her and mom, and I wonder if that had something to do with it too. She was foaled out away from home and her mom was hyperprotective for about two weeks, and long story short I just didn't get the halter on like I should have. At a month she would let you pet her, scratch her, but not halter her. Or I should say, I got the halter on her, but the next time she was like "um no thanks, that sucked" and wouldn't let me put it back on.

                              Then it got to the point where she HAD to be lead trained because she was no longer willing to follow obediently behind mom to the barn (plus we had inspections in the fall). Nothing worse than an independent baby who proudly decides to take herself for a stroll and then loses sight of mom and freaks out.

                              She was used to being stalled apart, but next to mom for 15 minute intervals at that point (best way to work with her one-on-one and the stalls were not big enough for all three of us). Mom could care less by then (amazing how quickly the mares chill out--particularly if there is alfalfa available). Anyway, I enlisted two burly fellows to restrain her in the corner (she would stop fighting as soon as she knew she was caught) and haltered her with a break away.

                              I'm probably going to COTH hell for admitting this, but I left the breakaway on her for a couple weeks until she would let me halter over it, and I knew the haltering wasn't going to be an issue anymore. It seemed the lesser of two evils...

                              I can't believe she will be two tomorrow! I have to stop calling her "the baby."
                              DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/

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                              • #16
                                Get a book, sit on the ground and stay put for half an hour. Don't hardly look at her -she will be all over you before you know it.
                                Luistano Stallion standing for 2013: Wolverine UVF
                                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8IZPHDzgX3s

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                                • #17
                                  I hate to sound like damned if you do damned if you don't but do not forget these foals are dangerous too. If you sit on the ground you can have them whip by and kick at you. I only do that if I have a place to get out of the way...roll under the fence etc. If in a stall I leave the door cracked or have someone doing door duty. Dont' make it have to be a big rush so you put pressure on yourself. This will be fine.PatO

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Definitely agree with IGNORE her! I don't push it, at all, with the babies. During the first couple days, I'll grab them, dip their navel, etc. Sometimes I'll put a halter on, sometimes I won't. One of mine this year was okay when she was born, once she knew I had her, she stood. Pretty shy the first couple weeks. Now she's a month old, and I just spend time out in the pasture at feeding time. Scratch, pick up a foot, scratch some more, touch her ears, scratch, etc.. I do not teach them to lead early on. Necks are way to fragile. I've seen a baby go extremely neurological due to mishandling as a baby. All mine have turned out wonderfully and they weren't taught to led at a week old.

                                    I personally really enjoy sitting in the pasture at feeding time... it's not long before I'm getting mauled by babies begging for attention
                                    Making Your Ambitions a Reality at Secret Ambition Stables.
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                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      I've been sitting on an overturned muck tub just inside the stall door that I have slightly opened while the mare eats her grain next to me. That way, I'm down at her level but also able to make an escape easily if needed. Plus, I've been spending as much time grooming the mare as possible. The filly is definitely starting to come around. When I was currying the mare yesterday, she started grooming the filly so I'm sure that helped my cause too!

                                      I really appreciate everyone's input. Basically, I'll keep at what I'm doing but also RELAX! She doesn't leap to her feet everytime I come in the stall now and she's started to be more curious about me but I haven't pushed it.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        How is she doing now, Frwndoh? Our Salute the Truth filly turned a week old on Sunday. The first few days we had to approach her, but now she boldly comes up to anyone in her pasture or stall. She figured out that we give good scratches quickly! We get our hands on ours everyday but don't usually halter them until they're at least a week old, sometimes later if they're still timid about having their head handled. Mine has been pretty easy so we put a halter on her for the first time yesterday. Fortunately she's been very quiet about it.

                                        Do you have any pics of yours?

                                        Mine can be seen on our website, www.fadetogreyfarm.com, or our facebook page, Fade to Grey Farm: Eventing, Foxhunting and Connemaras. She finally has a name, Brambleridge Truth or Dare, aka 'Trudy'.
                                        Fade to Grey Farm
                                        Eventing, Foxhunting & Connemaras
                                        *NEW* website:www.fadetogreyfarm.com

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