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When to return polo pony mare to training after new foal

Hi, Franklin.

I have a mare named kyla, she is a 15 hand polo pony that i acquired while she was about 9 months pregnant. She had her foal 40 days ago. My question is when is the best time to put her back in training? She is getting quite heavy since the birth ( i keep her and the foal in a paddock) so i asked the groom to start walking her daily. She refuses to move without her foal, and the walking distance we use to train our horses is about 12 furlongs and i feel that is too much for the foal, also there are usually other horses on the track that may injure my foal.

So we stopped going around the track and just circle the polo pitch.

To avoid overweight i want to start light canter and stick and balling with her but i am afraid to cause any harm to her if it is too early. Kindly advise me on the timing and how best to serialise her training.

PS: my vet advised me to wean the foal at 4 months, is that ok?

Thanks a lot
Sani U.
Kano, Nigeria


Opinions vary on your question. I tend to give more to the horse than some who view the horse as only a riding machine. A new mother needs time off with her baby and more than 40 days after giving birth. Beside the domesticated foal is much to young to do much more than play a little bit with the mare. In the wild foals begin to run with the herd within a hour or two. But foals in the wild are often more sturdy and get into condition faster than foals from domesticated horses.

I always suggest weaning at 6 months. Although many do wean foals at 4 months. At 60 days (two months old) the baby could go along with the mare for easy canters, but not too fast, too far, or for too long. Gradually building the strength of mare and foal is always the best. If you exhaust the foal, that is certainly not good. Steady, consistent, light exercise is suggested much more than long, hard, fast movement.

You do not say if there are other foals around which would be really good. It is wonderful for foals to play together and to be around other mares with babies. I would be very cautions about stick and ball around the foal as if you accidently hit the foal, you may make it afraid of the ball and mallet. That would not be good at all. Also, you really need to avoid injury to mare or foal. Again, consistent, light, steady exercise is advisable. Not too much, but consistent with moderate movement. I had no idea polo was happening in Nigeria. Good Luck to you.

Sincerely, Franklin

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