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Teaching a Foal Manners??

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  • Teaching a Foal Manners??

    First-time mom here (both me and my mare!) and I have a question about teaching a foal manners...

    Quick background: My mare was free leased to a friend who was teaching their daughter to ride, and somehow their $10 auction stud pony got into her field. Brought her home, baby was born at 320 days (on my birthday). We did not witness the birth as two days prior the vet said she still had weeks to go). Foal got >800 on the iG (sp?) test, but mare did not have any milk. The foal crashed at around 10 hours old and the vet was forced to put a stomach tube and IV in. Foal survived, Mom got milk in 3 days later, everyone is now healthy and doing fine.

    The foal is now 3 weeks old and very inquisitive, curious and playful. She will walk right up to you and let you pet her (for a few seconds anyway). Unfortunately, her new thing is to come up to be pet then wheel around and kick out at you with her hind end. She and my mare are the only horses on our farm other than the miniature, who the foal adores but also kicks at and I am afraid she is going to hurt him so they are separated. I suspect if she had other foals to play with or even a herd to be introduced to that she would learn very quickly what is acceptable and what is not.

    What can I do?? I do NOT want her to become dangerous. We've gotten a halter on her twice and handle her multiple times a day. She's managed to make contact with my thigh once and my God did it hurt worse than I thought it would and left a huge bruise.

    Any help (and even criticism) totally welcome - I have never done this before and don't want to end up with a monster.
    "No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle" - Winston Churchill

    Check out Central Virginia Horse Rescue

  • #2
    Remember, you are the lead mare in your little herd. A lead mare would correct her quickly and sharply, but not inflict damage. The filly needs to respect you, so you must let her know what is acceptable behavior. When she wheels, you smack her with your hand or give her a kick in the rear. If you don't want to get close, carry a crop and smack her one on the rear. You won't hurt her. As soon as she starts to behave correctly, give her lots of praise. It may take practice for you to react quickly, but keep trying. This is an important stage in her development. Good luck.
    Judy
    Sylvan Farm~Breeding for Performance
    Ramzes SF, approved GOV and Belgian http://sylvanfarm.com
    USEF National ID and Horse Recording Task Force; USHJA Jumper Breeding Ad Hoc Committee

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    • #3
      I had a filly who was double barreling anybody who came in sight as well. I fixed it by crouching on the other side of the mare and petting the foal with a crop underneath the mare's belly. When she accepted it, she got petted, when she kicked she got smacked. I think the key was she had no idea where the smack was coming from, she just knew that she got smacked if she kicked. It only took a few repetitions and she never tried it again. Once she started getting itchy she realized people were great scratches and she became a total love bug.
      McDowell Racing Stables

      Home Away From Home

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      • #4
        Originally posted by sylvan farm View Post
        Remember, you are the lead mare in your little herd. A lead mare would correct her quickly and sharply, but not inflict damage. The filly needs to respect you, so you must let her know what is acceptable behavior. When she wheels, you smack her with your hand or give her a kick in the rear. If you don't want to get close, carry a crop and smack her one on the rear. You won't hurt her. As soon as she starts to behave correctly, give her lots of praise. It may take practice for you to react quickly, but keep trying. This is an important stage in her development. Good luck.
        THIS!!! .....and right now before she gets one minute older, bigger and stronger!! And throughout her formative years!! Now "it" hurts...later it becomes dangerous!! I will answer an inappropriate behavior with any weapon available...a hand, a boot or a crop/whip and then reward good behavior. A few months ago, our doll baby sweet" and well handled ISH horse filly (18 mo. old growing toward 17 hands) developed an attitude. As DH fed her one evening she swiped a cow kick at him, just barely missing him. Several times when I fed her she'd wring her tail or shake a foot. I made a point to pet her neck and shoulder after I dumped her feed and as I left the stall. One night as I ran my hand down her side...she was well aware of my presence...she lashed out with a hind foot. I bellowed and reached around the corner of her stall door and grabbed a wooden handled fork. I cut loose on her butt with the fork handle (soft tissue only) and yelled enough to put the fear of God in her. I then walked up, took hold of her halter and patted her. Since that day she has NEVER once showed any smart a$$ attitude!! You must nip dangerous behavior in the bud...fellow herd mates would do the same!!
        www.crosscreeksporthorses.com
        Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Fantastic advice... I will start working with her TONIGHT. I cannot thank you all enough. I suspected I would need to make this type of behavior as unpleasant as possible!
          "No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle" - Winston Churchill

          Check out Central Virginia Horse Rescue

          Comment


          • #6
            I start with a sharp voice/reprimand but if that does not work or you have a confirmed kicker I carry a crop. I scritch, they wheel to kick and I clip the offending foot with the crop; not beating the horse...smacking the offending foot. I have gotten quite good with an accurate smack on a flying foot. Usually after 2 to 3 times with this with a confirmed kicker what happens is they tuck up to clobber, I lift the crop up, they put the foot down, I put the crop down. We understand each other. It is no different than if a foal goes to clobber a pasture mate, they lift a hind foot in warning and they get the message. I have never had a foal develop a fear of the crop as I also use the crop to run it over them....back, legs, etc....so it is not JUST that thing that whacks them. In fact running the crop over a kicker is an excellent way to start handling them as they are being touched but if they decide to spin and clobber you....you are out of range from the get go.
            Providence Farm
            http://providencefarmpintos.blogspot.com/

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Do you clip them with the crop when they spin around (tail wagging) and are about to kick or do you wait for their feet to actually leave the ground? She is a 110% confirmed kicker... and usually very close to you.
              "No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle" - Winston Churchill

              Check out Central Virginia Horse Rescue

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              • #8
                They get a smack the second they turn their butt to you. That is not polite behaviour.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Also remember you need to start handling those little hooves, especially back ones, on a daily basis. It's much easier to get through this problem while the legs and hooves are small. I know it's not pleasant if they're a confirmed kicker but daily discipline on the hooves also re-inforces manners.
                  "There is no fundamental difference between man and animals in their ability to feel pleasure and pain, happiness, and misery." - Charles Darwin

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                  • #10
                    I think a big thing would be for you to LEAVE the halter on her (a leather one so it can break if it gets caught) and any time you are around her use a lead rope so you can control her. She should be leading by now anyway. We bring ours in and out twice a day for feed time even though we could feed in the field just for this very reason - they learn manners and get used to being in a stall. It is MUCH harder later in life to get them to be comfortable in a stall if they were not in one as a foal. We have TBs, and beleive me, they can be energetic and test their boundaries, but we have never had to carry a crop - teach them to lead and do it daily for at least the first couple of months and you will have a well-behaved baby. If they regress at a few months old, back to going in twice a day.

                    Here is our new little girl - we lead her with the lead around her rump as she learns. Hubby takes both mare and foal in by himslef in the morning and the filly has learned to march right along with him and momma with that lead around her butt.

                    http://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphoto...29040476_n.jpg

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      We haven't been able to find a halter small enough to safely leave on her :-/ We have tried the miniature ones, weanling ones, everything but they are just too big on her tiny little head. We do lead her and mama into a stall every evening so that's not an issue. It's really just the kicking, which I know I need to nip in the butt right away I've been handling her front legs/hooves but admittedly have been too afraid to do the same with the hindend. Guess I'll suck it up and start! Thank you so much for the wonderful advice.

                      The little kicking squirt: http://i1277.photobucket.com/albums/...pse02d25bf.jpg
                      "No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle" - Winston Churchill

                      Check out Central Virginia Horse Rescue

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        It is the Internet Age, there is no such thing as "can't find" anymore! Google 'foal halter or foal slip and go nuts.

                        Jennifer
                        Third Charm Event Team

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Awww - she is cute! Yes, she is small enough now where you need to get in there and handle those back feet a lot. Can you get a helper? You should be able to rig up a halter for her if you can get a leather one - Quillin will make them to order - just measure her and give them a call. Had one made for my mini...

                          http://www.quillin.com/

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I agree with the above posters! Nip it in the bud!

                            When my mare was 4 months - she wanted to kick out anytime I touched her teats / sensitive hind areas - NOT OKAY.

                            She though she was around 13 hands at the time, I was strong enough to grab her hind leg - hold it up and tell her NO!!! Anytime she tried to kick me.

                            Took just a few sessions and she decided maybe kicking wasn't the greatest idea after all.

                            Now a 6 year old, a total love that I can poke and prod anywhere without any worry of her trying to kick.
                            APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Lots of good advice here, and I would also add that you don't want to overhandle the foal and make it a giant, pesky pet. I think that is one of the easiest mistakes to make, and does not give you good results later on.
                              Family Partners Welsh Ponies - Home of Section B Welsh stallion *Wedderlie Mardi Gras LOM/AOE http://www.welshponies.com
                              Click here to buy: A Guide To In Hand Showing of Your Welsh Pony

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by OTTBcooper View Post
                                We haven't been able to find a halter small enough to safely leave on her :-/ We have tried the miniature ones, weanling ones, everything but they are just too big on her tiny little head. We do lead her and mama into a stall every evening so that's not an issue. It's really just the kicking, which I know I need to nip in the butt right away I've been handling her front legs/hooves but admittedly have been too afraid to do the same with the hindend. Guess I'll suck it up and start! Thank you so much for the wonderful advice.

                                The little kicking squirt: http://i1277.photobucket.com/albums/...pse02d25bf.jpg
                                ******

                                I never leave a halter on the little ones either. The act of putting it on and off several times a day is also educational. As far as the hind feet...take your successes a bit at a time. Get her used to touching her butt, work to the hocks and on down until she is quietly standing for her ankles to be handled. When you actually pick the foot up...be satisfied with "seconds"...don't just grab, pick and hold...a sure recipe for disaster. It she is kicky when you start working down the leg you can use a surogate hand (a crop or a short stick with a rag on the end) just to keep out of harms way and teach her that you ARE going to touch her legs!! Another thing I do with a serious kicker is reach under the belly and touch the "off" leg. If they kick...it is away from where you are standing. Good luck.
                                www.crosscreeksporthorses.com
                                Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by crosscreeksh View Post
                                  ******

                                  I never leave a halter on the little ones either. The act of putting it on and off several times a day is also educational. As far as the hind feet...take your successes a bit at a time. Get her used to touching her butt, work to the hocks and on down until she is quietly standing for her ankles to be handled. When you actually pick the foot up...be satisfied with "seconds"...don't just grab, pick and hold...a sure recipe for disaster. It she is kicky when you start working down the leg you can use a surogate hand (a crop or a short stick with a rag on the end) just to keep out of harms way and teach her that you ARE going to touch her legs!! Another thing I do with a serious kicker is reach under the belly and touch the "off" leg. If they kick...it is away from where you are standing. Good luck.
                                  Ditto to all of this. I know of 2 foals/not mine that managed to catch a breakaway leather halter and broke their neck when it did not break. Very young foals have delicate necks. And with Kickers....there have been a couple over the years....I run a crop down the hind legs until de sensitized before I bend over to offer my head as a target.
                                  Providence Farm
                                  http://providencefarmpintos.blogspot.com/

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    A slightly related story...years ago when we had a TB training center in NC we broke and trained a LOT of TB's. Two, particularly big and unhandled colts came to us one fall. Rude, barely halter broken and certainly not handled. As the old saying goes...either one could "kick soda out of a biscuit". Foot handling was not on their "could do" list. We worked on the handling, but the hind legs/feet project wasn't going well...as in downright dangerous. DH came up with the idea of using a long handled broom to desensitize them. The broom provided the touching, but the groom was well out of kicking range!! Story is...both colts settled down and became good citizens. It became the joke in the barn that my DH could "broom break" even the worst kicker!! Something to remember...it DOES work!!!
                                    www.crosscreeksporthorses.com
                                    Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      =) I used a long cotton leadrope to teach my mare to accept touch on her legs and to also begin picking them up with myself safely out of range. I would carefully (and quickly) loop it around her leg and proceed to rub it up and down at all angles. When it would get around her fetlock, you could just catch it right to lift the leg up. It worked really well as she has to be the best one with her legs (touching, picking up, etc) and has never tried to kick once! She was also extremely head shy (still so but not to the same severity) so I took an old broom handle, filled a leather/cloth glove with sand/shavings/whatever and duct taped it on the end of the stick! Redneck I know, but it was very useful! I used it to reach around her poll/ears area and over her eyes whenever she would hold her head as high as possible. She didn't understand how my arm got so long, hehee! =) Worked super well with her ears and poll, I can now rub like crazy and flop her ears around all I want, though she is still slightly head shy when haltering (that will come). So yeah... there's another idea for you =) use it to touch her at a safe distance till she learns to be good.
                                      Visit MW Equine!
                                      Raven Beauty - '08 JC Thoroughbred mare
                                      Zeecandoit - '07 JC Thoroughbred gelding
                                      DBT My Dark Blue - '07 AHA Arabian Mare

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                                      • #20
                                        Try putting 2 halters on her with the lead attached to the bottom/underneath one. Do your petting and grooming and then slip off the 'dummy' halter. You will still have her by the second halter and lead so you can correct the wheeling before she can get her butt to you.

                                        When you take the first halter off and correct her, put the first halter back on. Brush her for a half a minute more and take it back off. Correct any attempt to wheel simply by holding the lead so she can't get around.

                                        It shouldn't take too long for her to think in terms of keeping her head to you. Once she is hesitant about turning away from you, remove the bottom halter.
                                        Ride like you mean it.

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