Summertime means that we get to meet many new foals. Pastures are full of happy moms with their newborn babies and their owners are even happier. Training a foal and a young horse can be very rewarding, thought at times it can be nerve wrecking and challenging.
In order for foals to grow up to be smart and sensible adult horses, they need to be taught certain things early on. Some things you can’t start too early! In this article, we’ll look at things you can start teaching your new baby foal as early as right now.
Halter and walking with you
When foals are tiny, they are super fun to watch while they are running behind their mom. However, when they grow up and start running around, they are not so much fun anymore. When foals are small and still with their moms, it is easier to teach them how to walk with you, and not over you.
Though it is alright to give your foal a chance to run around behind their mom, you should also start teaching them how to walk with you. You can do this when they are only a few weeks old – just remember to start small!
Standing in cross ties
Many of us tack up our horses while they are standing in cross ties. Though it looks very easy and we often take it for granted, a horse that has never learnt it before, can easily panic when put on cross ties.
Start teaching your baby horse how to stand still on cross ties when they are only a few weeks old. Remember, that before you can do this, your foal needs to understand the meaning of halter, walking with you and pressure and release.
Lifting their feet
Foals don’t yet have a very good balance, but you can start teaching them how to lift their feet for picking their hooves. Lift the baby’s foot one at a time and hold it up for a couple of seconds. This way, you’ll even make your farrier’s work a lot easier when it’s time to rasp their feet!
Loading in a trailer
You can even teach your baby foal that trailers are nothing to be afraid of. Load your mare first and let her foal follow her into the trailer. Make sure that the trailer is big enough and that there is nothing on the ground or walls that can hurt your little foal.
Important to remember
Remember, that when you are dealing with a foal or a young horse, they are still learning. Many things are new to them and they don’t always react the way you’d expect them to. So take care of your own safety and remember to wear gloves and a helmet. When it’s time to start riding, safety stirrups are essential.