One more thing CASTRATE, there is NO reason for any colt to be uncut once he's weaned. You and him will have a much better time if the hormones are halted before they even start percolating. I've worked with horses worth hundreds of thousands of dollars and almost none were stallion material. My vet says as soon as he can get his hands on them, they're off! Raise that foal right and both his and your life will be better for it.
Edited by mary bluepony on 3/6/2016, 9:23 am
I want to say 2 things before the specifics start. The foal heat or 9 day heat. Mom's milk gets flooded with hormones at this time and most foals will get nasty, runny diarrhea. I cut ALL grain or supplements, nothing but hay from about the 6th day for a week. Mare or foal gain nothing from being fed anything but hay during this time. The other side of the coin is peak milk production is the 3rd month. You can't imagine the amount of feed a mare needs to produce milk for a growing foal. As much or more than a high competion horse. I've had endurance horses that didn't eat as much a nursing mare, but pouring grain to them isn't the answer, start by keeping hay in front of that mare 24/7. Build up slowly from the first month, after the 30 day heat, feed her all the hay she'll eat. And water . . . for whatever the reason, "experts" are now saying horses only drink 10-15 gallons of water a day. This isn't even close to true. Here in So Cal I've seen plenty of horses go through 1/2 a 55 gallon drum of water in 24 hours, sometimes more.
I don't keep my foals in stalls and I don't put mama & baby out with other horses. Weaning time is the time to find a foal or two the same age so they can be kids together but be sure the other foals are as sweet as yours or he will be victimized. It's become popular to wean foals at 3-4 months, I consider this child abuse. You don't take a baby away from milk when Nature has programmed that to be the highest yield, therefore the highest consumption.
Colts and fillys are different. If you get a filly life's going to be pretty easy. A colt can be a whole 'nother ball game. Right here is where I say I sooooooo love stallions, in my world you ride stallions and breed mares but uncut colts have no business in the backyard or a public stable. Cut your colt before he's 8-9 months old.
Now we're back to the first few days of life. You're are making friends, touching and teaching are fun; this is not a contest, a show of strength or a haul out all the 'gimmicky' gear. No sticks and strings, no hula hoops, no roping, no 'capturing', no flags. This is a domestic horse raised in a human environment. Detrimental to treat the foal as if he were wild or born on the range. I don't do that stuff to my wild mustangs either as babies. Once they're weaned we go through brief flagging as part of 'hey look at this' things in life but sadly most people are way too ignorant of how to flag properly and are better off leaving it for a clinic.
So mess with that foal the first couple of days and don't try to 'train'. You're on the right track if the foal meets you at the gate when you go in the pen. Do not fall into the chasing dilemma, predators chase. You do not ever want you horse to view you as a predator. Act like a horse, not a wolf. Sometimes the best approach is indirect and distance is a wonderful thing. Most people crowd any age horse; you actually have more control at a distance. I bring this up because most foal's go through a stage of playing 'keep away'. Whichever side of mama they're standing on they go to the other side when you walk up to them. If you make the mistake of following them around the mare you are mentally chasing them and teaching them they can evade you. Big mistake. Experiment until you've figured out how to cut off the escape route. Usually maneuvering them into a corner where they can't hide behind mama let's you get that 'cradle hold' described for vet work and baby's caught. Humans have all the advantage at this stage.
Now the other side of this and actually the most common: not disciplining the foal: 'it's just a baby', 'it's so cute', 'it's too little to hurt anyone'. Allow no kicking, no striking, no biting, no nibbling/gumming, no rearing, no charging . . . ever for any reason! Nothing that you wouldn't tolerate in a grown horse. If the thought ever crosses your mind that "it's just a baby" you will fail in raising a equine good citizen. Expect the same appropriate behavior you would out of a grown horse
We've all seen the video of that cremello horse that was ruined beyond repair by someone who had a list of excuses for why he wasn't taught any manners . . . the horse paid the ultimate price. I've dealt with those kind of horses, they are horrible examples of what happens when people refuse to take responsibility for mannering a horse whenever they interact with it. It isn't the horses fault but he pays the price for human stupidity and usually someone is seriously hurt or dies before an end is put to it.
Well on that terrible subject I'll close and continue in a few days. See this is the problem when you ask someone with too much experience, we've seen the really ugly stuff and we don't want any horse, let alone any person to go through those kinds of situations.
One more thing CASTRATE, there is NO reason for any colt to be uncut once he's weaned. You and him will have a much better time if the hormones are halted before they even start percolating. I've worked with horses worth hundreds of thousands of dollars and almost none were stallion material. My vet says as soon as he can get his hands on them, they're off!
Raise that foal right and both his and your life will be better for it.
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