So my mare has really bonded with the baby, and it's hard to work with him because she keeps pushing him away from me and she gets really anxious if he is not at her side all the time. She doesn't get vicious with me or anything, just really nervous. Does anyone have any ideas on what to do??
How old is her baby now? it's very difficult to work with the mare OR foal when they're very young. I typically touch my foals just a little each time I see them(when the mare upsets, I go away)...after about a week and a half, the babys come to me, (instead of listening to mommy) and mommy says, "ok, I give up, you can pet her"...Also, you might try at feeding time when mommy is preoccupied a little bit. That mare is busy teaching your baby how to be a horse...It is so funny watching my mare circle the baby, then leave...then go back and circle her again, then leave....and the baby just doesn't understand that mommy is trying to teach her to come with. She just stands there looking all confused. It makes me wonder what would happen to that foal in the wild...if it didn't follow or listen.
Emily: I agree with Diana. One of my mares was very nervous with humans being around her baby for several weeks (they are 4 weeks old now and she has finally relaxed much more). I would halter/lead rope her and brush/pet fool with her and mess with baby off and on while still working with your mare. She'll figure out that you're no threat. I think my mare even got a little jealous as she was the center of attention prior to foaling and then the attention shifted. Just be careful and observant of the behavior around you so you don't get yourself caught in a predicament should everyone come unglued. Tying mom up is a great idea while working with baby. Keeps the risk down for human injury
Thanks guys! He is only 48 hours old and he's already coming up to me and letting me pet him sometimes! My mare is being a little better today about letting me pet him and mess with him a bit. I am gonna put them in our round pen for a bit today and try and put the halter on him for a few minutes. It is a bit easier to work with him when Berra is eating, and when it's just me and them, because my mare trusts me more than anyone, which is good! Thanks for the help guys!
I think there is something to what Bobbi said about a mare getting a bit jealous. I have seen that in a few of our mares over the years. All our horses are horribly spoiled and the center of attention, especially my mares before they foal, I'm such a ninny about foaling mares that I would try to practically live with them. Then the foal comes along and all of a sudden the main focus shifts and the mama is like "Hey, remember me!?"
Catherine: Hahaha...you are right. Echo was extremely protective of her baby the first week. Not grouchy with me but would "move" him away. Now, at 4 weeks of age, she gets grouchy with baby when she's getting her petting/brushing/spoiling. She's a great mom but she will pin her ears back, bite at him and hold up a back foot if she feels that baby is interferring with her attention time. When its his time, she welcomes the time away from this annoying little guy...hehehe. When baby has his fill of attention, he winnys at mom who alerts her attention and they go off to enjoy some time without humans. Funny creatures these mares are!
I think I have the opposite problem--my 13 day old colt is TOO friendly. You open the stall door and he's right there with you. I put him and his mama out in the field, and when I came back to get them they both came cantering up to me(which is cute but a tad scary!! I know she knows whoa, but he sure doesn't yet!). I think alot depends on the mare's disposition...
Teaching a horse personal space is the equivilant of teaching a dog to "heel"...it's a little difficult to do, especially when they're determined to be in your lap, and some of them just don't get it. I always work with my horses at arms length to teach this. knowing "whoa" and "back" is important from day one. Ground training is a great way to introduce your horse baby to many commands that he'll need to know one day under saddle. And the more familiar he is with commands now, the easier it'll be when he's ready for saddle. CJ...and all having a hard time getting close to baby....google "Herd Dynamics"...and start thinking like a horse! haha~ Think about it...and watch your horses respond to other horses. If horse #1 rushes up to horse #2 too quickly, then horse #2 is scared and trys to get away. If you've ever seen 2 horses scratch each other on the withers, this is the process you need to use. In a stall, with mommy, move towards your foal quietly, keep your hands behind you! and move slowly...in a low soothing voice "whoa....whoa..." Everytime he moves away, you stop. When he is still, you move. He'll be scared at first...but as you get closer , and he calms, he'll outstretch his neck, and "breathe" your way....gently blow towards his nose. Sounds strange, I know...but horses do it to each other, and it is very calming to them. After he's relaxed some, slowly bring one hand from behind you...not to his head or face, but to the shoulder or front of the neck above the chest...and BARELY (with one finger) give him a little scratch, just for a second. He might jump, run away, whatever. Regardless of how he responds, ignore him now...put the hands behind your back again, but STAY where you are, He'll approach you again (he likes the prospect of having a scratcher)...but you have to let him do it on his time. If he doesn't come back up within a few minutes, do it all again...each time scratching just tiny bit, then ignoring him (I pet mommy). I have bought MANY horses that people hated because they were hard to catch,and hard to bond with. Several of them are now my best horses, they don't fear me, and what's best is, they don't teach their babies to run from me. I recently bought a 5 year old WILD MARE who'd NEVER been handled , and it worked on her in about 5 days. If you use your patience, it won't take long before he meets you at the stall door, wanting to be scratched. It usually takes my babies a couple of days....and I dont' even try it on them until about day 5, at which point, I walk into the stall, approach them only briefly (1 minute or so) give a scratch, and leave....they get it pretty quickly. Good luck!
I agree with Diana on the blowing into the nose. People look at me funny when I walk up to a horse and gently blow in their nose. I do it with all my horses. I do it to my foals when they are born and they remember me. I think it is equivalent to dogs sniffing behinds. I also try and make a point of walking away from my foals before they can walk/run away from me.
Ok...girls...I have the exact opposite...my little filly is too friendly..she loves the blowing in the nose..raises her little lip and does the funny little face..but..she is all over me..she is kinda head butting me, want to be so close to me that she is steping on me, she sniffs me all over and then tries to lip me..she acts like I am her 2nd mommy...I have been pushing her away but it does not seem to be working.. I have lightly flipped her lip and that did seem to work a little..this morning I actually tried to ignore her and focus on my mare (she is feeling a little neglected) and I wanted to see how my filly would react..she was still all over me..as I am brushing her Mommy she was poking me in the backside, lipping me, sniffing all this in a matter of seconds..I would move away and push her head away from me and she just kept coming back..how long should it take for her to get it...is there something else I can do..I love that she is not scared of any of us and that I can let the kids go in with me but I can see this being a problem later if she thinks she can push me with her head now what will she do in just a few weeks..she is growing fast and she is only 1 wk(6 days) she is doing great with everything else..not scared of leads..we have the halter on..I brush her...she is just being demanding..
Wanda, if my filly was doing that, it'd be time for halter/tying training. While you're trying to play with mommy, tie her up. She'll learn to stand in her own space when you don't want her around. Typically, just a cupped hand on the front of the chest (to make somewhat of a noise, but not hard) while saying "back" (in a somewhat stern voice) is enough. If you do it enough times...and only entertain her when it's YOUR IDEA, she should do ok.
Hi Wanda. I would like to share my experiences and advice with you about my girl Jetta, because she is exactly the same way your filly is. Very friendly, but I don't let her get in my space. I think this is one of the worst things you can let them do. This overly friendly, head butting, and stepping on you bull...., is a sure sign that she is trying to dominate you. She is not respecting you, and this is not a good thing. I know all about this because my mare was the same way when I got her as a yearling. My mare is an ALPHA horse, and it looks like Jetta will be to. I think in a way, it is better than having a timid horse. You just have to teach them to respect you, and that you are the ALPHA leader not her. I think that when they get in your space, what they are actually doing is trying to herd you and manipulate you into doing what they want you to do. When Jetta gets to close, and I don't want her to, then I'll cluck to her to make her move away. If she doesn't move away then I'll tap her with my finger tips on her shoulder. If that doesn't work then I'll stomp my foot and yell at her GET!!!!! My little Jetta was a little sweetie pie, but now she is getting older ( 2 months ), and a little cockier. She is getting brave enough to test me to see what I will let her get away with. Sometimes she will approach me with her ears laid back when I go to put her grain in her feed tub,(like she did this morning). I immediately put my hand out in front of her face so she is an arms length away and said whoa, and made her stay there till I poured her grain in her tub. Then I walked away so she could eat her grain. My mare used to do the same thing, until I chased her out of her shelter with a broom, and wouldn't let her back in to eat until she approached me with a better attitude. You may think this was a little extreme, but I know that if I didn't have that broom with me to chase her out of there, and therfore just tried to get out of her way like she wanted, then I guarentee you that she would have either tried to kick me and/or bite me on my way out, and that would have proven to her that she was the ALPHA horse. So, having said all that, I hope you will take my advice, and teach your filly to respect your space now while she is still little. Let me know how it goes, Charlene
OHhh... I 100% agree..I will not allow her to run the show,..but I wasn't sure what kind of punishement to give a foal...I want her to want to come to me but be respectfull...I went out with her again today and she did the same thing...when I pushed her away she got upset and started to walk away and came running back and ran into me...I was watching her to see what she would do to determine her mind set...and I definitely know she was being dominant..amazing at 6 days old....when she came back and tried to get pushy I pushed back and told her back....she continued to bump and push so I turned her away and smacked her butt(not hard but enough she could feel it) she darted off a little ways and then after circling Momma she came back and was not pushy at all..just sniffed and stood there..so I scratched her and rubbed her for the good behavior!! ;0) Maybe we have a new beginning..I know she has a definite attitude..last night when I kept pushing her away she was getting irritated by it and then she went to her Mommy and Momma wasn't having anything to do with her attitude so she got mad took off running and then circled her Momma and threw and actual kick..Just like a mare giveing a warning kick...she did it so quick my mare didn;t have time to react...needless to say when she circled around to eat..Momma didn;t let her..she nudged her butt...These are really amazing animals to watch...I learn everyday...hopefully I start getting the horses sense I seem to lack!!
It's interesting, reading about the different foal personalities. Right now, my guy has never tried to turn his butt at me, or lay ears back, but he doesn't come up to me either. He often stands and watches me though, so I guess there is some respect there. DON'T KNOW HOW THAT HAPPENED! LOL!
My daughter put a halter on yesterday and he had quite a workout. By the end he was tired and we had petted him all over and he began to just stand still. Today he moves away still, but I was able to pet him a few times on the back for a few seconds.
I tied a white cloth that I use to put on fly spray, onto the rail of the corral. I want him to get used to things flapping in the breeze. I also draped it over his back every chance I got. Eventually he stood for it a second or two, twice. So I stopped at that point. Wanted to leave on a good note.
Maybe I'm lucky to have a dummy foal. He hasn't figured out that he is supposed to try to dominate me, or mamma. And he is really good about letting me pick up his feet. Catching him is the only trick.
I need to order a smaller halter. Any good places to do that? I've looked online, but haven't found one for under 100 lbs.
CJ-I think you're totally correct in handling your little one. when you approach your baby are you hunched over or on your knee's?. I get a calmer approach to Summer when I hunch over a bit, although I call her my pocket pony, she isn't scared, when I try to halter her, pick her feet up or any of your basic training. I like that you put that cloth on the pipe corral. Yesterday was the first time I let Summer in the round pen, talk about moving I kinda got a little scared she took off full throttle running round and round the pen, I had momma on a lead rope, Spring isnt totally herself yet! It will take some time although most of her idema is gone... Well Cj I think you have everything covered raising this baby! Is this your first home bred?
Thanks Laurie for those tips. I've started squatting down and he doesn't move when I do that. Just looks at me. He doesn't act scared, just doesn't come forward. He is cautious about being caught. My neighbor told me that is the thing to do, but I'm not so sure now (holding onto them until they accept you). I'm trying another approach now, from all the suggestions I've gotten.
I hear that about your little Summer! I felt the same way about my guy, when he went out to pasture. I'm still scared to death about squirrel holes-but found a place that will deal with them for me, since I can't get control. I hope to get them out ASAP! Have no idea what they charge.
Anyway, I understand Spring's reaction. I guess these mammas are just like humans when it comes to their babies. We might even love some of the people who want to hold our babies, yet still feel apprehensive for those early weeks. Mother's instinct! LOL
I'm glad you have a pocket pony. That's great! I think Poco will be eventually too. Yes, this is my first "home grown." HaHa! Like the way you put that. My daughter had a foal when she was a teen. I had little contact as it was, HER baby, if you know what I mean! LOL. This one is mine, but I appreciate her help. She is just so determined with both my mare and colt to get what she wants and she usually does!
Diana, thanks bunches for the website. I'll order one tomorrow. Appreciate it!
Cj-With Spring it's more that I see she has no energy like she did before BBC,(Before Baby Came) she is so CALM when her baby was running full throttle around the pen she just stood in the middle with me? Never tried to pull to go to her baby?? I'm just a little scared I've had her for over 20 years and I know when something is just not right, No Temp, still eating somewhat, or at least totally eating all her grain! Don't know if you read my other post but her eating during the day has changed to eating during the night.
CJ-You probably have a pocket pony by now if he comes up to you, he's curious make sure at least a few times when your out there with him that "YOU" walk away without training so that he realizes that everything is not always about training (SHHH, we know that's just another method of training. Hee Hee)
Well CJ, You seem to really enjoying your time with your baby, ENJOY! Babies grow so darn fast.
Yes they do, Laurie. Thanks for all the info. He isn't a pocket pony yet, but I think he will be.
I hope your mare is okay. I can 'hear' your concern for her. Has she foaled before? Is it hot where you are? I'm sorry, I have a hard time keeping details straight. It has been 103 here (record breaker for May). My mare is eating more at night as well. Just a thought.
Do you know how old she is? You've had her for over 20 years? That's awesome! I know you are experienced with horses, so not much I can add. I just hope she is okay. Please keep us posted. I'm sending good thoughts your way.
Cj, Thanks for your concern. I've had Spring 20 years she's 22 I'm glad your mare is eating more at night too! Yes the temps are hot up here, it goes from 100+ dips all the way down into the 30-40's at night! I just love it when the weather does that it gives the horses a break! unlike some area's that can get extremly hot and stay that way at night also! Spring has had 3 other babies last one being 9-10 years ago!
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