Our customers love to share their unique anecdotes when it comes to caring for their horses. One of our all-time favourite stories has to be that which concerns the bond between two newly born foals.
A friendship between two foals can support and help them grow up to be happy horses, and this tale certainly proves that.
Separating the foal from the mare
There’s never an easy time to separate mother and baby but it is something that must be done. Just as our children must learn to fend for themselves when starting nursery, foals must also learn to leave their mother’s sides.
Our customer came to us searching for the best horse toys to help her two foals through the weaning process. After years spent raising horses, she finds “group pasture” weaning to be the least traumatic method available.
Thankfully our customer owned more than the one horse and by a stroke of luck, both mares had foals at the same time. The foals, now much older, have formed a strong bond and still remain playmates today.
“Whenever I’m talking to fellow horse fanatics, especially those with mares expecting foals, I always suggest this method of weaning – even if it means moving the foals into nearby pastures with other new-borns. It makes the entire separation process a great deal easier. My two foals have grown to be the best of friends, proving a companion can make all the difference to the weaning process.’’
Tips for weaning
After determining which foals are ready to be weaned, you’ll need to remove the mares from the pasture and place them in another paddock where they’re unable to see or hear their foals.
Placing the foals in familiar surroundings with other foals of a similar age group helps to reduce their stress but there are two variations to choose from when it comes to the weaning process: gradual and abrupt.
Prior to choosing a method, it’s important to invest in a variety of horse supplies, especially as both horse and foal will now be occupying separate fields.
You will also need to buy extra food as you’ll have several extra mouths to feed.
The importance of striking up a friendship between foals
Although the abrupt method may sound a little harsh, if done right, it’s usually the least stressful method for everyone involved, including the mare, foal and handlers.
This is especially the case if you’re dealing with more than one foal. In a sense, horses are a lot more like humans than we think. Just like us, they find it easier to deal with hard times when they have others to lean on.
“It’s always stressful to wean a horse, although I find it much easier for all parties involved if there’s more than the one foal to wean. For me personally, the abrupt method is my preferred choice, especially if it means I’m able to encourage a friendship between two of my foals. There’s going to be stress no matter how you do this, so you want to minimise this as much as possible.”