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Alpha Mares = ?? foals

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  • Alpha Mares = ?? foals

    Just wondering if there is a trend with alpha mares having foals that tend to have alpha or submissive dispositions... Would momma be so dominant that her foal would automatically take on a "low man" status, or would her disposition rub off on him/her and influence the foal's behavior? What has your experience been?
    \"For all those men who say, \"Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free,\" here\'s an update for you: Nowadays 80% of women are against marriage. Why? Because women realize it\'s not worth buying an entire pig just to get a little sausage.\"-

  • #2
    With my Alpha's fillies, they have all been the dominanat personalities in any group. And mind you not out right "I'm the boss and that's it", they just naturally lead. Actually mom is finding it tough now as her 2 "bandmates" have gone off to stud leaving her with her 2 daughters for company. She seems to have zilch tolerance for the youngest one and tells her as much every morning when I take her out, then spends the day away from her. Apparently, she doesn't see the funny side of "like mother, like daughter"!

    COTH, keeping popcorn growers in business for years.

    "I need your grace to remind me to find my own." Snow Patrol-Chasing Cars. This line reminds me why I have horses.


    • #3
      In my experience of breeding over 30 years now, I have found the alpha mare has alpha foals.
      http://www.talloaksfarm.net ---"Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts." --- Winston Churchill


      • #4
        Pretty standard animal behavior that offspring inherit the dominance status of mother.


        • #5
          Our alpha mare is so alpha that if she ever carries her own foal, she will be bred LATE in the season so that the other -and thus- earlier foals will have a chance!
          Sakura Hill Farm
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          • #6
            Dora's mom was very alpha and bitchy around dinner time, etc.

            Dora is the SAME way. I often laugh at how similar they are.
            In loving memory of my precious Gwendolyn; you will always be with me, in my heart. I love you.


            • #7
              alpha=alpha in my experience

              I have a mare that will eat your lunch if she thinks she can, she is ALL bluff to start with but if you flinch she will go ahead with plan A. All her fillies have been alpha when they grow up, thankfully not quite to her extent but they ALL have an attitude. Of course she puts a performance baby (with that look at me attitude) on the ground every time, so I put up with it. Also she knows I carry the big stick around here so she and I get along just fine, I don't bluff!
              She is even worse with a newborn, she will charge the fence at my husband and kids when they come up to see the new foal but I step right in ( I use foalert and have been at every birth) and give the baby colostrum straight from her udder and she lets me do that. Before I bought her (actually the reason they were willing to sell) she ran her male owner through the cracks of a 4 board rail fence with her first foal (and he is no little man so that was a feat in of itself!). I love her, even her colts (all gelded because I can only imagine a stud with her attitide!) are alpha in their brother herd.
              Last edited by paintjumper; May. 7, 2009, 07:14 PM.


              • #8
                Our 2 mares had foals and literally had brain transplants. Our top-dog mare became Ms Scaredy Pants and the low-man b/c VERY alpha. That role has not reversed.

                While the foals were with the moms, alpha's foal was very brave/fearless and independant, and the timid mares foal was complete chicken-sh**. However, since weaning them, they have taken on their own personalities and the chicken is now 100% the alpha Ms Fearless.

                The Scaredy mare's foal this year is VERY brave, bold, and fearless.

                I think while they are with the dam they will certainly be privvy to mom's herd status, however they can still be individuals, and after weaning I think anything is fair game (herd dynamics can certainly change not having "mama" to protect them any more).

                Edited to add, my '05 colts dam was also low-man and he was VERY bold and fearless and is #1 man in any field he has ever been in (he can go out with 20 new horses and in 5 seconds they all know he is boss).
                Celtic Pride Farm
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                • Original Poster

                  Originally posted by risingstarfarm View Post
                  Pretty standard animal behavior that offspring inherit the dominance status of mother.
                  See, I find that interesting... and know that there are exceptions to the rule... I had a very alpha/dominant mare, her filly was the most docile, tolerant pasture pushover ever. Just baffled as to why she didn't get her dam's tough as nails attitude... .
                  \"For all those men who say, \"Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free,\" here\'s an update for you: Nowadays 80% of women are against marriage. Why? Because women realize it\'s not worth buying an entire pig just to get a little sausage.\"-


                  • #10
                    The alpha broodie that I had produced two foals for me - first was a filly who is also an alpha, second was a colt who is gentle, submissive and fairly low on the totem pole so far (he's 11 months old). I don't see him ever being an alpha. He stays out of everyone's way and I don't think I've ever seen him pin his ears except when he went through a possessive phase (few weeks) with his grain in the stall, but that got nipped in the bud fast and he hasn't done it since.


                    • #11
                      With mine, I've seen no correlation. My foals were raised in groups with the mothers and seemed to develop their own heirarchy unrelated to their dam's status in the group.

                      In fact, my stallion King's Camelot's dam was about the most alpha mare I've ever encountered. He turned out to be the wimp among the two others (fillies) born that year.

                      To date, if a mare looks at him sideways he thinks he's done something wrong....
                      www.littlebullrun@aol.com See Little Bull Run's stallions at:
                      "Argosy" - YouTube and "Boleem" - YouTube
                      Boleem @ 1993 National Dressage Symposium - YouTube


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by risingstarfarm View Post
                        Pretty standard animal behavior that offspring inherit the dominance status of mother.
                        Ditto that.


                        • #13
                          My alpha broodmare has 3 daughters. All are alphas but will never out-alpha their mother. My mare is extremely standoffish and has a giant force field around her. She's actually very kind but you do not cross her and she prefers to be left alone.

                          Daughter #1 was an ET foal. Was and is extremely gregarious but completely dominant over her weanling and yearling groups. Then I moved her and her biological mom to the same pasture. Daughter #1 was a mite surprised by bio mom's complete dominance of the world. She did, however, forge a very strong friendship with bio mom. Could even do social grooming with her.

                          Daughter #2 is natural-born and is the most like her mom. She is very small (might be a pony), very social but very, very, very bossy. Mom has less patience with her than the other two and is very quick to put her in her place.

                          Daughter #3 is also natural-born and the least dominant of the fillies but then she's almost always lived with her mother and bossy sister. She is mom's favorite but I suspect this is because she presents the least challenge to her superiority. But if she were put in a new group on her own, I have no doubt she'd take her place at the top of the hierarchy.

                          But there's something to be said for having an alpha-mummy. My mare runs a tight ship with her foals and they learn to do what she says from the second they hit the ground. They've all been very sensible and easy to train and very self-confident.


                          • #14
                            I only have two foals out of very dominant alpha mares and their colts (now gelding) have never hown any desire to be an alpha. Both of the boys have been at the bottom of the heard. Maybe it trends more with sex so fillies will be more like the dam. My Alpha is "due" the end of the month, we'll see if its any different this year
                            Epona Farm
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                            • #15
                              My alpha mare's filly is definitely an alpha and is right behind mom in the herd. No one messes with either one. They are so similar it is scary