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Mare violently attacking her own foal ... any ideas?

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  • #21
    I'd separate them immediately. Put a board up across the foaling stall, so they can still touch but not be in the same space. Every two hours, halter the mare (and further restrain if necessary) and allow the foal in to nurse. Obviously this is a very short term arrangement while you arrange a nurse mare or get set up for handling an orphan.


    • #22
      Totally off the wall idea, but is she trying to drive her filly to "safety" somewhere else, and being frustrated by the fence?
      You have to have experiences to gain experience.

      1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"


      • #23
        Originally posted by quietann View Post
        Totally off the wall idea, but is she trying to drive her filly to "safety" somewhere else, and being frustrated by the fence?
        I feel like you could absolutely be right. Just because she is such an attentive mother inside. I am going to move her home this week and see how she does in a 'safe place'. Thank you!


        • #24
          Genuine question, no snark intended: is it normal to breed a mare 3 weeks post-foaling?


          • #25
            Originally posted by longlanefarm View Post
            Genuine question, no snark intended: is it normal to breed a mare 3 weeks post-foaling?
            Yes. Otherwise, the delivery date each year creeps later and later, which is important if you're trying to make sure foals are born after it's too cold or before it's too hot. It's also important in case the mare doesn't get in foal on the first try and you need to try again.

            Mares come into heat every 3 weeks or so, and restart this cycling right after foaling. This first heat cycle after foaling is called "foal heat." Since gestation for mares roughly averages 340 days, there are 25 days left in the year to get her back in foal.

            It is also normal to give them a year off between foals to reset the timeline.
            Disclaimer: My mom told me that people might look at my name and think I had an addiction other than horses. I don't; his name was Bravado.


            • #26
              We had a friend's mare do this, she was a Standardbred off the track. She was perfect in the stall, but when they were turned out she kicked her and tried to kill her. They had to wean her early, and put the foal with an old pony. The vet they had mentioned something about the mindset while being loose, she thought the foal was a predator. It was the only foal the mare had, and the foal has grown up into a nice, sound horse. A little sassy, but not bad.




              • #27
                Foal heat is also the most easily predictable and often the most fertile heat. Unless the mare had a very hard time foaling and needs more time to recover; breeding on the foal heat is common.

                Another thought - with a grumpy mare that is thinking about rejecting a baby, but has not yet escalated to what's described here, reserpine can be helpful. Reserpine was the drug of choice in previous decades because it turned OTTBs into hunters without hours of lunging. It's a long acting, mild sedative.

                In the case I'm thinking of, we did eventually take the foal away from the mare, but the reserpine bought us some time.
                Last edited by McGurk; May. 12, 2019, 06:30 PM.
                The plural of anecdote is not data.


                • #28
                  One of my mares is very protective of "her" herd and aggressive to outsiders. She reacts to strange horses by driving the herd away from the stranger. She acts very aggressive and tells them to get away and puts herself between the herd and the interloper. I have no doubt, if in the wild, she would chase that interloper right off the property. Only she can't do that with the fence between them, so the herd gets moved instead.

                  If she had a foal, i imagine it might appear that she is attacking the foal. I actually took a video of the behavior, as i found it fascinating. The other strange thing is that some horses she "likes" and accepts, others she can't stand. I've noticed she doesn't like horses that are neurotic, act prancey, or act unpredictable.



                  • #29
                    I’d put her on GastroGuard too. She is in a new and stressful situation at the vets....and ulcers cause pain which could then cause her to lash out.
                    ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **


                    • #30
                      I once saw a documentary about a baby rhinoceros whose mother did something like this.
                      it was in Africa at a breeding facility to save rhinos.
                      The staff raised it, cute videos of it running and playing.all normal.
                      It died suddenly at 10 months.
                      Autopsy showed it had only a third of its brain.
                      The hypothesis was the mother sensed the defect.
                      Sometimes it happens in wild horse herds, and the stallion will shake it to death (see the "cloud" documentary).
                      Its not your foal, so take the above as an anecdote