Hi, I have a pregnant broodmare carrying my own mare's foal (successful ET with frozen embryo). I understand that many people feel that the mare is responsible for about 60% of the foal's traits.
I am most interested in opinions about behavior development. The mare in question is an experienced dam, has lovely, friendly babies. Is it possible to guess if the recip mare will have siginificant influence on the foal's behavior?
I ask because the next breeding project may involve another ET dam who is a very bossy type and rules the mare band. And I'm not sure if I should consider using another mare. Any input appreciated.
I do believe that the mare raising the foal has a huge impact on the foals disposition. An alfa mare will raise and Alfa foal while the foal is present..After weening and beign placed in a new enviroment that foal may not be the Alfa but will still be a more dominant foal. I have seen this with my own mares and foals. All babies learn from their enviroment butthey do have distinct personalities( at least I believe so). so to answer your question..if the serogate mare is an Alfa then the foal she raises stand a good chance of having a dominate personality while in that enviroment but can and does often change when the envirment changes. The foal may always have a bit of a dominant type personality but I think much depend on the type of enviroment before and after weening!
i don't think that is always the case as we have two mares (both with foals at foot) in a paddock together. The Alfa mares foal is definatley not the boss when it comes to the foals and does not display any dominate behavouirs at all. The other mare in the paddock, who is bossed by the alfa really easily, her foal is very bossy and pushy and even bosses her mother around, I saw her pinning her ears to her head and pushing her mum around in circles the other day. So i would also say the environment they are kept in would also have a big role. I probably would think the bigger the herd the more correct Gynna is.
Generally things work out much as Gynna described. But in the case of a really submissive mare, you often get a really bossy foal. If they learn young that they can tell their dams what to do, I have found that you get a little monster...until you sort them out. But always very bossy with the other horses.
And often a mare that is bossy....even to the extent of chasing her foal away from her at feed time, will make a very submissive horse.
These examples are at th extreme ends, though. If you have a well adjusted mare, you have a good chance of a well adjusted foal of similar nature.
Thanks for all the input. The scenario is an experienced mom, has had 4 foals previously. Not top in the mare band, but protective of her foals. All the mares (six or so) are together until near the due date. They've been together for years, so there is generally no overt aggression---usually a "look" or ears pinned works.
Then they each have a "maternity paddock" where mare and foal are together for the first few weeks. (After foaling in the barn's foaling stall, unless they are sneaky!!)
After mares have all foaled and foals are stable, the moms and kids all share a paddock. There have been no problems with foal-stealing or such. Then, for weaning, the kids are all together while mares go back to the mare band.
For the spring coming up, there will be two foals expected, including my own. Based on the recip mare, I would expect a foal with a nice attitude. I think I would avoid the bossy mare as a recip in the future, since I had to deal with her 4 year old gelding with basic handling, and he was NOT cooperative!! Thanks again!
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