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Stud colt questions!

My mare has just had a stud colt. He will be 3 weeks old tomorrow and has only been turned out 4 times. We are too afraid because we have wire electric fencing up and the first two times we let him out with momma, he ran through it. Luckily he did not get hurt. Then, we decided last Sunday to take him and momma out to our riding arena and let them run out there. They did just fine except he did not know how to stop fast enough and ran into the fencing. It is like plastic cord fencing so it did not hurt him. We have 3 other horses. A mare and her 1 year old filly and a gelding. They are turned out together all of the time, but we have not let them all out together with the mom and baby yet because we are not sure of how we should do it. Everyone we talk to said we should've had them all out together way before now. So, we decided to take them all out to the arena today and let them all go together. Everything was going good besides the normal kicking and and the momma trying to protect her baby, until our other mare kind of stole the colt from its momma. The colt seemed to be a little confused, but tried to start nursing on our other mare and she did not try to turn him away. The colt's momma ran around our other mare and called for her baby, but he would not come to her and the momma was freaking out, but did not try to fight the other mare for the baby back. The only way we got them apart was we put the lead on our other mare and led her out of the arena. The colt instantly went back to his momma and started nursing. This has confused me. I have no idea of why this happened. The other mare is the lead mare and the colt's momma is not, but she is older than the other mare. I am so confused. I don't know what I should do and I am afraid of this happening again. The mare and foal have been locked up in the barn for 3 weeks now and by now I would think that they have bonded enough. Plus, they need to get out and be out of the barn and around our other horses. The baby needs to learn our pasture too, but I don't know the best way to do it. I am afraid of him getting all cut up. We have a bunch of neon strips tied to our fencing so that they can see it, so I don't think that is the problem. I have led him around the fencing in our pasture with a halter on and let him get curious a couple of times and he got bit by the electric fence a couple of times, so I thought that as soon as we let him off the halter, he would know to stay away from the fence because of it shocking him, but I was wrong. He went right through it. If you have any suggestions on what I should do it would be greatly appreciated. Also, if you know anything about why my mares did that with the baby today and how I should handle that, i would appreciate that too. I do not want to let them all out together again until I know. Thank you very much.


Hello Tashia,

First off, I think your colt is too young to be having to deal with any sort of 'wire' (electric or otherwise). The visual perception of very young foals does not allow them to spot any sort of wire easily. So I would not continue to risk the foal's well being. Also, the colt getting shocked by the wire creates anxiety. Even if it means the colt and mare only get turn out in a very safe paddock, so be it for a 3 or 4 more weeks. The behavior of the lead/older mare is not so unusual. She has had good experiences with a foal and is experienced as a momma. It is quite understandable that if she can adopt that colt and keep the actual mom away, she will do so. You will not stop her. You need to keep the mare and colt on their own for a good while yet. The lead mare would have attempted to do this no matter when you turned them out together until the colt is much older (and she may still try to keep the actual mom away for a long time if they are turned out together at anytime before the colt is fully weaned). If you did not fully wean the yearling off the mare, this is contributing to the older mare's behavior too, as she is so used to a foal around and desires that. Generally, I will not put a foal back in with a mare for at least a full year after weaning. This does vary with the set up of different facilities, but for my breeding programs that is how I handle it. Please do not put this colt at risk for the sake of some exercise or possibile socialization. These things are very important, but require your set up be as fool-proof and ideal as possible. Figure out a way to take mare and foal out togther for exercise without risking anything or, at least, keeping the risk vary minimal. Good Luck.

Best regards, Franklin

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