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Prepare your baby foal for haltering with these how-to suggestions

Meet Mosa - a sweet, eight week-old foal who now lives in Argyle, Texas.

She is wearing her halter for the first time in this photo.  In order to have a happy foal and give her a pleasant experience with wearing a halter, there were several sessions of handling and grooming Mosa that helped her understand that humans are her friends and that she can trust them.

Mosa was always approached by the handler in a calm, reassuring manner.  The handler would frequently encouraqe Mosa's curiosity by sitting on a low step stool in the stall and just wait for Mosa to come and check out why a human was just hanging out.  Mosa even nuzzled the handler's hair, just like the Mother Mare and the foal do to each other. 

The handler introduced Mosa to the halter by allowing her to look at it and sniff it; then the handler would rub the halter on the Mother Mare to get her scent on it.  Mosa was encouraged to sniff the halter as often as she wished and the handler would also rub the halter all over Mosa to get her used to feeling different types of sensations.

After a couple of sessions like this, the handler gently slipped the halter over Mosa's nose, but just for a moment, so as not to frighten Mosa.  When Mosa was quietly accepting of the halter, then, and only then, did the handler engage the buckle.  The handler made sure that Mosa was relaxed and not bothered by the halter.  If the foal gets upset, then probably the process of halter-training the foal had been done too quickly and had caused a lot of concern in the foal.  Generally, slow and gentle handling at this stage in a horse's life will go a long way in contibuting to a very cooperative, willing and responsive adult horse.

Comments

  • Pat 5 years ago

    This is very helpful info for dealing with a foal...

  • Janis 5 years ago

    This is very helpful and thoughtful advice!

  • Jeanne 5 years ago

    Kathy...great article. Useful in lots of ways, for older horses, too.

  • Marcia 5 years ago

    Kathy, this young horse is lucky his handler is so gentle and patient, kind and loving.

  • Katie 5 years ago

    Nice to encourage people to use a slow approach! Starting a foal with positive experiences sets the stage for a cooperative and trustworthy horse. You can never un-do a bad first experience! Great job, Kathy!

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