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Have you had a mare be horrible to a first foal and better to the next?

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  • Have you had a mare be horrible to a first foal and better to the next?

    I have a friend with a mare who was so nasty to her first foal that they just weaned it and got a nursemare..then she sold her..........She is now injured and being offered for sale again........as a broodmare! I"d love for this mare to find a nice job and good home now that she's not able to be a riding horse... But I am concerned because she rejected her first foal.
    Has anyone known of a mare who rejected the first foal, but got a little older, and had another she was a good mother to????
    www.flyingcolorsfarm.comHome of pinto stallion Claim to Fame and his homozygous son, Counterclaim. Friend us on Facebook!https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Fl...04678589573428

  • #2
    Yes. There are many reasons why a mare may reject a foal. We have a mare who rejected her first foal and is still "weird" right after foaling. But with some work, and not much human interference, at foaling time, she has become a good mother. We did not raise this mare. She was imprinted as a foal and has always had an "identity crisis" like she really doesn't quite believe she is a horse.
    Follow us on facebook - https://www.facebook.com/pages/River...ref=ts&fref=ts


    • #3
      I will try not to make this long................but.................here goes.
      I took a fancy warmblood (Donnerhall breeding) to lease as a broodmare. I knew she had another foal the year before in Va. After she was in foal (going to be my foal), i called the farm she was at with her first foal.

      They told me she tried to kill them in the stall after the foal was born and they had their hands more than full with her. YIKES...... not good. They told me to really really be careful.

      So, then i found out the rest of the story. This show mare was turned out with, i believe, 40 other mares, and brought in to foal. She did not know them. The foal had some problems and they had to keep moving the foal outside the stall (dont know why) to treat it. Of course the mare was ballistic. That was normal. Then she started pushing the foal around and just was not a happy camper. That was at their farm.

      So, we made sure to bring her in about 6 weeks before foaling, groom her, pet her, feed her carrots and make her comfortable for a few hours in the stall. A happy time. When time came to foal her I was ( sigh.....alone with her) and worried, but kept her halter on and the door unlatched. She was just wonderful. No problems at all. A great mom, and also a great mom with her next foal here.

      Bottom line is (and i didn't really answer your question about a mare not being good with her first foal) things change. What was not good at one farm may be just the ticket at another. So, dont judge her on a one time thing. Be prepared, and alert and watchful for anything that seems wrong. I am sure you will do just fine and I would not hesitate to take that mare on in my breeding program.
      hunter/jumper ponies


      • #4
        I probably don't have much helpful to add except that some mares, like mentioned above, have to REALLY trust their humans when there is a newborn around. We have a mare who is a wonderful mother but is VERY protective of her new baby. If it's not me or her true "mom" (my bf/biz partner), you'd better run like hell. But with either of us she is still anxious but tolerates us doing the minimal stuff needed. The newborn foal checkup with the vet is always an adventure! We found it's actually better to take the foal out into the yard or paddock and not do it in a stall, as she seems to feel "trapped". Then, in 3-4 days she's fine. We've had her for 7 years and she gets better every year, but initially it was scary when I first met Jessica days before the mare foaled and the she did not know/trust me.
        Signature Sporthorses


        • #5
          I had a young maiden who almost rejected her first. She had very, very long stage 1 labor, the longest I've ever seen, and I think that does something to the 'maternal instinct.' She was also quite fit, and--as I already said--young.

          After she finally accepted him, she was an 'ok' Mom--so not as bad as the one you're describing... but she wouldn't call to him if he wandered off or anything. Luckily he had a FABULOUS Gramma who filled in any 'nurturing' gaps. (he ended up being a really self-confident, wonderful guy anyway...)

          She was really, really good with her subsequent two foals.

          So in her case, combo of young & inexperienced, and hormones/pain reaction... I can understand the cause, and I think I was reasonable in expecting it to be better with the next one--I was PREPARED for it to go poorly early on--but was very glad it didn't.
          InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs

          Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)


          • Original Poster

            Thanks........this is a mare I bred and sold. She did have trouble with her first foaling.....a foot through the rectal wall. Guess I'd be mad at the kid too haha..
            I'm just trying to help them place her, but want to be sure to make it the right match.
            As with all my foals, I try to always be of help. I feel I owe the horse at least that (shades of Black Beauty still linger within me, haha) I hope she can find a new job as a broodmare, because she has apparently pulled a deep digital flexor tendon and has a poor soundness prognosis.......She was an orphan when at my farm, but got a "new mom" right away.....
            www.flyingcolorsfarm.comHome of pinto stallion Claim to Fame and his homozygous son, Counterclaim. Friend us on Facebook!https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Fl...04678589573428


            • #7
              Since oxytocin is a big part of the bonding/maternal hormone response as well as contractions and uterine clearing, has anyone ever had a vet recommend using an oxytoxin protocol to promote nuturing?
              "Where knowledge ends violence begins." B. Ljundquist


              • #8
                A mare I had like that was "soemwhat better" with the second foal. SHe still was not momma of the year but ignored the kid instead of running away from it. The first foal she was OK with when it was first born. And then it started to get up and chase her! She kept runing around trying to get away from The Thing that appeared in her stall and was chasing her. When kiddo finally caught up to her and tried to nurse she did try to kick. FOr the first 3 days she had to be backed into a corner with a nose chain and then she got over it and let the foal nurse. The next foal she "tolerated" but was sure happy to see him go at weaning! Like some people, she did not like being a mother to a little rug rat.
                Providence Farm


                • #9
                  I'm curious -- Has anyone ever seen it go the other way around? Have they seen a mare who, with her first foal, was a loving and doting mother, and then have her be nasty to her second foal? My mare was a loving and doting mother to her first, and is now in foal with her second. Should I always worry about the reaction of a mare to her newborn?

                  Dedicated to breeding Friesian Sporthorses
                  with world class pedigrees and sport suitability


                  • #10
                    I recently had an encounter with a mare who rejected her foal. (I hope this is not the mare I knew).

                    Anyway - our experience with a mare who rejected her foal led us to consult with no less than 8 repro vets, 6 foaling farms in KY, 10 breeders of WB's and even went so far as to consult with surrogate mare programs.

                    We attempted everything under the sun for about 4 days. Sedation, rubbing the placenta on the mare and foal, reassuring the mare, etc.

                    The mare was violent beyond measure. She was a show mare prior to us breeding her - but she was on our farm and exposed to broodmares and foals for a year prior to foaling. We spent tons of time getting her comfortable with being touched on her underside and nipples prior to weaning and of course she had been palpated numerous times during breeding season to conduct exams, cultures and ultrasounds.

                    The night the mare foaled out she had an uncomplicated delivery. She labored normally and delivered without difficulty.
                    Once the foal was out the mare went into a catatonic state. She didn't nicker or look back at the foal and had a blank look on her face. After a few minutes she stood and delivered her placenta and still no interaction with the foal.

                    A few minutes later when the foal was making good efforts to stand the mare dodged across the stall and ran throwing her knees to the ground and went after the foal. We were there the entire time and jumped in to help reassure the new mom and protect the foal. We rubbed scents of the foal on the mare and helped hold her still - but she only became more aggressive and kicked and bit at the foal.

                    Our vets were there to do a frozen semen breeding on another mare the evening this mare foaled out. So we had professionals involved right away.

                    I wound up having to collect colostrum from the mare to administer to the foal myself. Two people were needed to restrain the mare so that the foal could get first nursings in. Even then the mare attacked the foal and on more than one occasion the mare threw the foal across the stall like a rag doll.

                    The mare was not colicy - she had normal bowel movements etc, was given the customary doses of bannamine, etc. Vet was there.

                    She didn't want to be a momma. Hubby and I worked in shifts round the clock to help protect the foal and to try and foster some type of bond between the two.

                    We were eventually able to get to the point where one person could stand holding the mare and asking her to allow the foal to nurse. If you let your guard down for a moment she was quick to go after the foal again.

                    At the recommendation of several breeders and vets we separated the mare from the foal for brief periods to allow her to 'chill' out. And would walk her to back to the foaling stall and get her to nurse once an hour.

                    She still never nickered to the foal and resented all interaction with the foal.

                    One of the foaling farms I talked to warned me about symptoms of a true foal rejection that included continued rage toward the foal and a halt in the production of milk within a few days despite nursing.

                    On day 3 going into day 4 this occurred. Despite nursing sessions every 45min to 1hr the mare stopped producing milk. (And yes - she was being fed plenty of high protein feed and alfalfa hay).

                    On delivery her placenta was normal and colostrum was good. So no indications of fescue toxicity or placentitis. As I do with all mares - the mare's temp and vital signs were taken every few hours.

                    The mare never required hormone supplements and was in very good health.

                    Once we made the was guided decision to wean the mare completely from her foal and succumb to raising an orphan - the mare was relieved. She still after several days never nickered to the foal or attempted to touch it. She continued to show extreme aggression to the foal.

                    About a week later we were able to secure a surrogate broodmare for the foal. Unfortunately the surrogate wasn't producing enough milk so we had to continue feeding the foal ourselves round the clock.

                    We discussed the possibility of breeding this mare again with the professionals listed above. The resounding answer was 'no' or do so and be prepared for a repeat experience. Most advised that she would likely do it again but if lucky she wouldn't be as dangerous the next time around.

                    Had this mare been of extremely valuable bloodlines - I might be the maverick to give it one more go with very diligent measures in place to give it a good shot - however this was a very average breeding mare and certainly not worth the efforts and heartache.

                    A few of the breeders we spoke to breed Arabians. Evidently Arabian's have a high percentage of mares who reject foals and this breeding community is quite adept at dealing with such issues. From the Arabian breeders we spoke with and had out to our farm - this mare's level of aggression gave no indication that subsequent pregnancies might be any different.

                    I even went so far as to do what research I could on the mare's family. I found a full sibling sister who was a full time broodmare. So I don't think this behavior was taught to her from her own mother. But one will never know.

                    So I guess in short - for the mare you are talking about in your post - I would suggest you get all details about this mare's history. I personally think that it would be a disservice to the mare and be a very unprofessional and disrespectful move to advertise a mare who previously rejected her foal for breeding purposes simply because you can't think of another job for her.

                    There are far too many sub-par mare's being bred these days and to encourage such a mare to relive this experience at the monetary and emotional expense of a another breeder would be unscrupulous.

                    Many mares who reject their foals create foals who then go on to reject their foals down the line.

                    If you search you will find the optimistic stories you are seeking. That doesn't make it a good idea or even a sound decision.

                    If this is your mare and you're willing to take the chance yourself - then more power to you - but I cannot begin to express how disturbing it would be to see a mare advertised for breeding purposes with such a history.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by jdeboer01 View Post
                      I'm curious -- Has anyone ever seen it go the other way around? Have they seen a mare who, with her first foal, was a loving and doting mother, and then have her be nasty to her second foal? My mare was a loving and doting mother to her first, and is now in foal with her second. Should I always worry about the reaction of a mare to her newborn?

                      Providence Farm


                      • #12
                        We purchased a bred TB mare at the local TB mixed sale one fall. Great pedigree, stakes producing family. The mare had one offspring at the races as a three year old that year, next foal "died" on record. The one racing was notoriously a hard keeper, ribby in training. On respective, this along with the dead sibling, were clues.

                        The mare was in foal when we bought her. She foaled out normally, no problems, and we noticed no huge problems with her mothering skills, but she was not really very interested in the foal, although she did allow the foal to suck to relieve bag pressure for her. On pasture turn out a few months later, this foal developed gut ulcers, and later died due to this despite veterinary attention and the drug therapy that was available for this at the time. The mare was back in foal by this point. She had not been easy to breed for the stallion manager (live cover). The next year, behaviour with the foal was the same, nonchalant. That foal also developed ulcers, but the newer medication was available and the situation being watched closely for any developing problems, and this one lived. This filly was "mothered" by my own mother (human), and sucked at the milk bar (her equine mother) until weaning. She became a successful show hunter under the name "Capital Hill". We did not breed the mare again, the stallion manager was not keen as the mare was trying to kill the stallion, even when in heat. We sold the mare unbred at the next TB sale, the meat buyer bought her. Which was sad, because she was a nice enough mare with humans, and could have been an acceptable riding horse, but she had proven herself to be a poor broodmare, no matter what her pedigree/family connections. But looking back at her produce record from before we bought her, I suspect that her surviving first foal probably had had ulcer problems as well, resulting in scarring/long term damage in his digestive system, thus his "hard keeper" status. And the next one had died. There is sometimes a reason why a breeder is getting rid of a mare at auction.

                        Another TB breeding farm had a mare that stepped on EVERY foal she produced. Killed all of them, usually within a few days of birth. Just didn't bother to watch out for them, even given a huge run in shelter (60' X 20') to foal in and raise the foal in.

                        Some mares are simply NOT broodmare prospects, and prove themselves as such if humans care to notice. After the first failure, if the human wants to try again and hope for better results, taking better precautions, this can be a valid decision. But there is no guarantee that the resulting behaviour from the mare will improve in her performance. Mothering skills, fertility and reproductive soundness are just as important as other aspects of broodmare selection... conformation, pedigree, female family, performance and production. The mare can be international class in terms of her own talent and performance, and family, but if she can't successfully conceive, produce and raise a foal, she is not a broodmare. And I do think that mares who are poor mothers raise daughters who are also poor mothers. Substantial veterinary and other human assistance helps poor equine mothers reproduce themselves, because human owners do not want to lose the foal and take the emotional and financial loss.


                        • #13
                          Just a question as I really am curious...
                          Can you bred a mare that had a rectal tear like menioned. I think that would scare me just as much as her mothering skills. Which I must be honest I don't quite blame her giving her last experience. That just sounds painful.
                          Also would the seller be oblogated to disclose this information seeing how she will more than likely be advertised as a broodmare prospect?
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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by alliekat View Post
                            Just a question as I really am curious...
                            Can you bred a mare that had a rectal tear like menioned. I think that would scare me just as much as her mothering skills. Which I must be honest I don't quite blame her giving her last experience. That just sounds painful.
                            Also would the seller be oblogated to disclose this information seeing how she will more than likely be advertised as a broodmare prospect?
                            I think a previous tearing needs to be at a vet's recommendation as to whether the mare would have difficulties in the future with foaling. In most cases tearing is normal and even significant tearing from a maiden will not end her potential career as a broodmare. But this is best left to thorough exam from a vet who can give sound advice.

                            I think that it certainly is the obligation of the seller to disclose all known details of a mare's shady past with foaling. Unfortunately, this is not always done. Not disclosing the past is putting the mare in a bad position. The new owners might not be ready to face the challenges of assisting a mare who doesn't agree with motherhood. It also places the potential that the mare could find very a unfavorable life ahead of her if forced to be a broodmare or more likely sold at undesirable auction or humanly destroyed.

                            'Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned' - after watching a mare viciously attack her newborn foal - you have no idea the anger one can feel toward that animal. Thank god I was granted patience and restraint when I dealt with this. Otherwise I wouldn't have batted an eye at dropping the mare off at auction to fulfill a destiny becoming of her behavior.

                            But I love animals and actually felt sorry for the mare. She was in her own hell every minute she was asked to tolerate the foal, which she did only out of respect for us - not for any natural inkling.


                            • #15
                              Some people I know who used to raise Saddlebreds ended up caring for an orphan foal because the mother (a maiden) rejected it. They felt the mare was confused and frightened by the new experience and all the the people around.

                              She went on to be a good mother and broodmare in the future.
                              "Uh, if you're going to try that, shouldn't you unplug it first?"


                              • #16
                                I had a mare that was a show mare and had led a solitary turnout life right up until she gave birth to her first baby (normally I would have introduced her to the herd before foaling, but she had injured herself and could only go out in a tiny paddock until she foaled). She didn't outright reject the foal, but was very hard on it and would kick it regularly. The mare was very alpha and would kick the foal if it didn't move out of her way fast enough (even if it was lying down!). I finally gave up and weaned the foal at about 6 weeks after she began inflicting damage with the kicks. I decided to give the mare one more try with motherhood to see if she was any better. In the interim between foals, she lived with the herd. She was a great mom from that point on and even adopted a second foal one year.


                                • #17
                                  Having helped raise an 'orphan' separated from his dam when she stepped on him and broke his leg, I'd be very hesitant to give a careless or unwilling mother a second chance. (He lived, but he's fairly aggressive himself.) Raising orphans is so much work!

                                  One thing that I don't think has been discussed here yet is the impact an unwilling dam can have on a foal. I've only met one horse who was truly rejected. (This is a different horse than the orphan described above, who had many medical issues at birth and was whisked off to an equine hospital, where his nervous maiden mother stepped on him). He was also a colt and I watched him grow up. He was raised in a herd but was always very nervous. He was unbelievably distrustful. His attitude was to strike out, then retreat. I've never met another horse like him. When it came time to break him, it took him about four times as long for him to progress in each step of training. He never really relaxed. Ever. And he nearly killed a friend of mine one day when she fed him. She leaned down to pick up a feed dish and he double-barrelled her with his hind legs. She had an 11cm laceration on her liver.

                                  So, if you decide to breed a mare who's rejected a foal in the past, just remember that the gamble doesn't necessarily end when the foal is healthy at weaning.
                                  Kendra -- Runningwater Warmbloods
                                  Home of EM Raleska (Rascalino/ Warkant) and Donatella M (Furstenball/ Jazz Time)
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                                  • #18
                                    Yes and that is common

                                    First I would like to say hi to all and wish a real good.safe foaling season to all. I would like to say that foaling mares should be watched, no matter what age or how many foals they have had. Anyway speeking from the experence I have had because of Sandys Nursemare Service. In talking to people that call,Its almost like a poll. You can make catagories of the problems,breeds,and causes for getting a Nursemare. Rejectors are one of the top 10 reasons people call for a Nursemare. When you put a large group together,you will find almost all are rejectors for dfferent reasons. Some are just first timers and are upset because they don't know whats going on. Some breeds will reject more than others. Some out of the TB,Standerbred and Arabians breeds, will be rejectors all their life. For instance, Sandy has put nursemares out to farms that have these rejectors every season, for years. These mares are great producers and they are kept in foal. Out of these every year type occasions there are mares that are over protective and humans are not allowed in the stalls, so the foal is taken out of the stall and put on a Nursemare befor the mare even gets up. Their treated just like the true rejector. The madien mare can reject her first foal and in most cases will be a great mother the next foal and the next etc. No matter what, the second has to be watched. If the mare was a dangerious rejector the first time, make darn sure you watch her with her second foal, very close. All these mares are going to be different in their actions tward the foal. Just like everyone here will have different opinions why a mare rejects in the first place. Madiens need quiet obsevation. From what I see, the TB, SB and the Arbian are the ones to watch for that second rejection and more. Not all of them,but if your mare is one of them , just keep a close eye on e'm Again everyone have a great foaling season Sandy and Len