Thursday, December 11, 2008

Part 4 of Starting Your Foal

After a few days, the foal and the mare will get used to you coming and removing the foal for a few minutes and seem to actually look forward to being with you and the mare seems to like the "baby sitting service". This is a step we also use in weaning our foals. Each day we remove the foal for longer periods of time letting them go back and nurse three times a day and spending the night with the moms but staying in a paddock or stall with other piers when they are not with the mom. When we finally decide to keep the foal away permanently then it is usually a piece of cake, they are used to being away, and used to eating on their own.

If we are going to show a foal, we continue their training through show season. We consentrate more on getting them to lead (staying in step) and standing still while people walk around them and even touch them. We enforce them to do this by asking them to do it for longer periods of time each day and rewarding them by moving on to something more "fun" when they do it until we ask them to move on. We always give the foal a seperate signal to move on from the "show stance" than we would by just pulling on them. Pulling on them would be to tell them to "park" so you would not want to use that signal or they would just keep parking further and further. I have had people try to lead our babies by standing in front of them and pulling and they will not respond, but just stand still. When I tell them to go the foal/horse's side and ask them to move forward then they step right off. Everyday, no matter what you are doing with your horse or foal you are training. Good or bad it is training.

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