All natural horse care in the west of Ireland

Its not about the Trailer
Monday, 23 June 2008

A neighbour of ours who is a cattle man has decided to start breeding horses and I volunteered to help him out if he needed any help. Well anyway, he needed help to trailer load his mare and foal on Sunday.

I have been helping this man with his horse mainly for the horses benefit. I used to visit her every morning to give her a feed and handle her a little whilst she was in foal. She is a 16HH draft mare who is very sweet.

She had a colt foal on 22nd May and on the same afternoon a friend of mine was passing their field and could see no sign of the foal. He had fallen into a deep ditch!! He is a dark bay and all she could see was his little pink tongue throught the briars, popping in and out. It looked like he had been there a couple of hours.

Anyway my friend and her daughter managed to get the foal out of the ditch while my son was holding onto the mare. It must have been adrenalin that gave them the strenght to get him out of the ditch as we has pretty heavy. He was pretty cold and shaken. After a visit from the Vet and the obligatory shot of antibiotics the mare and foal spent the night in my arena.

They were transferred to a field without ditches the next day. 

We went off on holiday for 2 weeks on 26th May so I didn't see them for a couple of weeks. Whilst we were away on holiday my neighbour had to bring the mare to stud to be covered again.

He tried to load the mare into the trailer on his own and she went in fine but the foal didn't and took off down the field. The mare reared in trailer, broke the head collar and reversed out of the trailer.

He went to get help from a friend of mine (the same one that rescued the foal) and they managed to sit on the foal and man-handled him into the trailer where they put a head collar on him. The mare went in after the foal, no problem.

They went again 2 days later to the stud again and my friend advised the owner that he would need to handle the foal every day so that he would be more manageable. 

Anyway, last week I went to see how the foal was getting on only to find that at 4 weeks old he still had the same head collar on and it was cutting into his face. He is a very friendly foal and would come up for a scratch so after a few attempts I managed to release the head collar and get it off.

Such a shame you could see the imprint of the head collar on his little face and even some marks where it was cutting into him.

On Saturday, my neighbour came around to ask if we could help him on Sunday as he was to bring the mare to a teaser and then hopefully on for a scan to see if she was in foal.

He told me he was visiting the mare and foal every day and handling the foal but the foal would only let him touch the head collar for a minute and he would then run off. So I asked if he had noticed that the foal did not have his head collar on. He said he hadn't noticed!! 

He said he wished I would have left the head collar on until after the mare had been for her scan but I told him it was too tight and was cutting into his face.

On Sunday we went round to help this fella and the foal came up to us, no problem, but would soon run off if you tried to hold onto him.

I put a rope around his neck but as he felt it tighten slightly he made off at a gallop!! He came back each time and would let you scratch him but you couldn't put any pressure on the rope. Eventually we got the rope off his neck and just left him loose. Each time he came back for a scratch my son would put the head collar on so far but as soon as he tried to do up the buckle he shot off again.

All this time the mare is on alead rope and was very good. She would get excited when the foal run off but she didn't attempt to pull away too hard.

We hung about for a while with the mare at the entrance to the trailer. We tried a couple of times to bring her in but she wasn't having any of it without her foal.

Eventually, after petting the foal and just hanging about the entrance to the trailer the foal got curious and approached the trailer, then he stepped onthe ramp, licking and sniffing around. Eventually he walked into the trailer and the mare followed him in!!

Ramp closed, went round to the front gave the mare, who was still very calm, a feed and a pet.

Closed the door and off they went!!

The whole exercise took 1 hour which I didn't think was too bad. It takes as long as it takes!!

The man had only allowed himself half an hour from arrving at the field to getting to the stud so he was a little late.

The mare did not come into season for the Teaser and was taken to VET who confirmed by scan that she is in foal again.




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