An infant pony or baby horse is known as a foal
By handling the foal, you will teach it good manners and it will develop into a horse or pony that respects you but is not afraid of you.
The foal ideally should be handled every day, spending as much time as you can with it.
Run your hands all over him, rubbing, scratching and stroking every part of his body. The more time you spend with him, the easier he will be to manage.
Handling foal’s legs
When you stroke the legs, start at the shoulder or hindquarters and work your way down. So in other words start from top to bottom.
Lifting the foot
When the foal is used to you touching his legs, try picking up his feet using your voice command saying “up!”
Lift the foot a few inches off the floor to begin with. Never rush things, just take your time and don't expect to much, to soon.
If the foal struggles with you, hold it gently but firmly until he accepts this. Waite for a second and slowly release the foot.
Each time you practise, try keeping the foot up for a longer period.
Never be rough, always handle with care. Foals are just like us, all having different personalities with some being bold and inquisitive and others wary or scared.
Either way any sudden movements in the early days could scare him.
Problems lifting a horse’s leg
Not all horses are handled from birth. Some are completely untouched until they are mature enough to be broken.
So for a four year old, who has not been handled, trying to pick up his feet could be quite an ordeal depending on his temperament, and also a horse finds it unnatural to stand on three legs.
Therefore it’s not uncommon for a horse to plant his legs firmly on the ground and refuse to allow them to be picked up.
In this situation you need help. Get someone to turn his head in the opposite direction, so shifting the weight and making it easier and lighter for you to lift the leg.
It’s important to remember that if a horse gets scared it is capable of rearing or kicking out at you, so watch out for the warning signs.
By the end of a foal’s first year it should be -
Stand tied up
Foal introductory page
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