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Hand Reared Foal

Discussion in 'Horse Breeding and Rearing Foals' started by Zayna, Aug 10, 2009.


  1. Zayna

    Zayna PetForums VIP

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    Hi,

    Im looking after a 9month old filly for a friend. She sadly was orphaned at birth and very nearly died but my friend hand reared her and shes doing really well now health wise. The only problem is her temperment. Shes fine with my friend and seems to have taken to me for some reason but if anyone else goes near her she will fly at them at attack them. She even got up on her hind legs and someone the other day and boxed at them with her front feet! she really means business! is this quite normal for a hand reared foal to behave this way, and will she grow out of it as she gets older. I feel safe around her but if she still acts this way way when she is a fully grown horse she will be really dangerous!

    any advice would be appreciated!

    Sarah
     
  2. toddy

    toddy PetForums Senior

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    Sadly this is a common problem with hand reared foals as they do not learn to respect humans as they have always relied on them for survival.
    If possible I would get her into a herd of horses where she can learn about pecking order and live like a horse for a while and back off the handling.
    It may be enough this way if she is still young to learn how to be a horse.
     
  3. Zayna

    Zayna PetForums VIP

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    my friend has 6 horses in total and has been introducing the filly to the other girls gradually as when they first went in together they used to pick on her. The other girls leave out atm and the filly normally goes in a paddock next to them for a few hours everyday so that they get used to eachother. my other concern is that the filly was a 'dummy foal' and even though she is much improved to what she was she sometimes doesnt seem 'quite right'. she seems happy in herself and loves her food but sometimes she doesnt seem to be all there. she will walk round her stable in a daze and is unsteady on her feet. (vet has been out to her and all is fine he says) i wonder if she has suffered any sort of mental damage which is why shes acting the way she is and why she reacts so violently to people she doesnt know??
     
  4. toddy

    toddy PetForums Senior

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    How bad were the symptoms at birth and how long did they last.
    My instinct without meeting her is to say it is purely from being hand reared as I have seen many hand reared foals exhibit the same behaviour as this before.
    When she was being fed was she kept alone or with any other animals?
    It is very interesting to hear your story as I did extensive research into hand reared foals after working with one many years ago and seeing the strange behaviour he showed made me want to look into it more.
     
  5. Cascara

    Cascara PetForums Member

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    I have had a hand reared foal and until I read this thread I thought I just had one of those difficult foals. Now looking back I can see she attacked other people because she was jealous of them being near me, and protective of me. She grew into a fantastic 16 hh mare, but over her life three vets said I should have her pts as a dangerous horse. She was well behaved with me or my son, but really violently lashed out at anyone else. We had hand fed her together, with my young son helping me. She also seemed to be very 'human' she had expressions, moved her ears and pulled faces more than any of my other horses lol. She really was a character.

    You need to stop her behaviour now. Do you use any natural horsemanship? I remember we tried join-up and the effect was catastrophic, she could not understand the change in me sending her away and the whole situation turned nasty, she threw a temper tantrum!, So be aware of that. Its one thing mimicking a herd or elder mare's posture and sending the foal out but if the foal does not know or hasn't experienced herd behavious then it is the wrong stance to take, and can confuse or do damge to your relationship rather than enforce it.

    (By the way in the end I very sadly lost her through copd complications not her behaviour)
     
  6. Zayna

    Zayna PetForums VIP

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    I wasnt there when she was born, i started helping out about 2 weeks after she was born. her symptoms were apparently very bad. She wasnt 'alive' when she was pulled out of the mare and it took two vets 30mins to bring her round. she was also barking like a dog my friend said and when they found a foster mare and tried to put the foal on her she refused to feed which is why they had to bottle feed her. my friend did have an older mare who became like a foster mum to the foal and she was with her up until a few months ago (she was on loan and had to go back to her owner).

    i havent tried any horseman ship stuff yet, my friend does a lot of it with her stallion and she is going to teach me. Im a bit concerned about it damaging our relationship as i would hate for us to fall out! How should i be acting around her exactly. i want to keep the bond that we have now.
     
  7. Thorne

    Thorne PetForums VIP

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    From what you've mentioned here it sounds as though she was oxygen starved at birth, which would probably account for the "barking" cough. I don't know much about it in horses but i know that oxygen starvation can lead to some degree of brain damage in humans and less commonly, dogs.
    I would assume the same could apply to foals but i'm afraid i don't think i can offer any more advice for you on the matter :(
     
  8. Zayna

    Zayna PetForums VIP

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    We were concerned for a while that she might have a bit of brain damage as she used to appear as though she wasn't 'all there'. she would shuffle round the stable rather then walk and hit her head on the walls. When we turned her out in the paddock she would just stay in one spot and turn in circles. Now she is much better. Although she is still a bit wobbly on her legs in the stable (especially when turning round) she will gallop round the field like a mad thing and she doesn't hit her head on the walls so much now.

    Generally she is much more alert and lively although she does have her down days. some morning i go in to her and she just looks depressed (you can see it in her face). the down days are becoming less frequent now though and hopefully she will have a companion coming soon which should cheer her up!!
     
  9. Cascara

    Cascara PetForums Member

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    Glad to hear things are improving :) Time is a great healer, well done to you for persevering, sounds like it's been a heartbreaking time xxxx
     
  10. Zayna

    Zayna PetForums VIP

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    she's doing fantastically well now... i have posted some pics on the gallery if you want to take a look!
     
  11. Lance

    Lance PetForums Newbie

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    Hi
    We have a similar problem. Although our foal is still on his mother, we have given him a lot of attention from birth and have handled him every day and sometimes twice a day. Now when he sees us coming, he gallops up to us and assumes a very threatening (playful maybe) pose almost demanding to be played with. He is just 4 weeks old today and very coltish already. In fact the other day when we didn't do what he wanted, he turned and kicked out. We are thinking that he needs to be put out with the other older foals and mares so that they may teach him some respect.
    Lance :thumbsup:
     
  12. Zayna

    Zayna PetForums VIP

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    yes i would do that... Rose is a year old now and getting big. She was ok with me and her owner but she is very agressive towards anyone she doesnt know. She has nearly done a few people a serious injury and it will be worse as she gets bigger. Sadly i dont have anything to do with her now as i fell out with her owner but i hope she is doing ok:(
     
  13. sasslex

    sasslex PetForums Newbie

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    My friend recently brought a 3 year old that was hand reared. I don't know how she behaved previously at the stud but in the last couple of months she has badly kicked two people and shown very jealous behaviour whilst we are in the stables next door with other horses (kicking out/teeth showing etc).
     
  14. Zayna

    Zayna PetForums VIP

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    where did she get her.. my Rosie would be a 3 year old now:)
     
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