One of the absolute joys of horsemanship is purchasing a foal before it has even been born and being there for the big event. You first task as a new owner may be helping the vet or the owner of the mare getting the little fellow cleaned up. Many horse owners give the newborn foal vaccines during its first 24 hours of life.
The sooner you begin handling a foal, the better. Although at first you may need to exercise a little caution since the mare may have some reservations about your coming in between her and her foal. That will usually soon pass however. It’s typically best to wait for about three days. By that time the foal will begin to get its “sea legs” and the mare will have become used to your presence.
It may take the foal a couple of days to become comfortable with being touched or gently held. You can help the process along by allowing the foal to be by the side of its mother whenever you are touching or handling it. Within a week, you should be able to place a halter on it and gently lead it around, always staying close to the mare. Continue to rub and massage the foal occasionally as these actions are pleasant to the little animal and encourage it to bond more closely to humans.
Within a couple of weeks you should be able to lead the foal further and further away from its mother, but never too far. It will usually follow you wherever you want to take it as long as its mother is not too far away. As far as feeding is concerned, the mother’s milk should be supplemented by a daily feeding of grain for the first few months. Another requirement is to give the foal plenty of time to rest and sleep, just as you would for most any other baby.
Written by William Savage of Babbling Ink "Outsourcing Professionals United"
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