Hello. I'm a new blogger to Of Horse! so thank you for checking out my post! I'm opening with an article about getting it right from the beginning. So, here is Maverick, born on May 14, 2015.
Maverick had a rough start. He had a very low immunity factor (IgG) and required transfusions of immunity. The vet could not pin down why. But, because Maverick was imprinted at birth, he was super easy to work with. He was literally born into my lap, and as I rubbed him dry with help from his Mama's warm tongue, he was touched all over his tiny body. In addition to being gently handled, all the normal newborn tasks were taken care of. When he was ready to stand, he was happy to lean on a familiar human and be gently held up for that all important first drink of milk. When the vet came the next morning, he was easy to handle for her important exam and well baby procedures. The upshot of all this is, start them right and the rest is easy.
Maverick was introduced to a halter that first day. Partly by need, but it would have been the same with any foal born here.
All foals here are haltered right away. A leather foal halter is rubbed all over them until they are good with it. When it is put on for the first time, it is quickly removed. I always involve the mare in everything I do with their baby as well. This comforts both of them and lets the baby know that everything I do is okay with Mama. I put the halter on and off about 3 or 4 times and then drop the subject until later in the day. I go in, halter Mama in front of the foal, halter the foal a few times, and take off Mama's halter and leave. In 2 or 3 days, when the mare and foal are ready to go out to pasture for the first time, the foal is easy to catch and halter.
I always let Mama teach the foal how to lead. The trip to the first turn out can be a busy one, so I use a helper. One of us takes the mare, the other, the foal. The person with the foal does not pull or in any way impact the halter on the foal. They simply walk with them, allowing the foal to stay close to Mama. This person may have to be quick on their feet to do this. When we get to the gate, both are turned to face the gate and their halters taken off at the same time. The mare is released and allowed to go off. Have you video camera ready here folks, you are about to see true joy and freedom as your foal takes off into this wide, new, and wonderful world!
After a week of this routine everyday, your foal is ready to begin walking with Mama by being lead from the lead rope. And this leads me to the next post, Learning to Lead, Tie, and Groom.
About me: I have over 50 years of horse experience. I own a small, multi-discipline training facility. I ride and show in many areas; Dressage at all levels including Grand Prix, western events, including Reining, Cutting and rail trail and pattern classes; and Cowboy Dressage. Right now, I am moving my training facility from Southern California to Texas where I was born and raised.
About the photo: I am shown here with Maverick, who will be the subject of the first few articles. In this picture, he is 3 months old. I am improving his handling skills with regular handling of his feet. This photo was taken by my barn helper, Katherine Jeramiah.
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