Advice for a first time horse owner?
A friend’s horse is having twins in March, she is letting me keep one. We have spent the last month clearing out an old shed and making it a home for Rachel (what I will be naming the horse). Our garden is quite large so there will be plenty of room to practice riding, etc.
As this is my first time owning a horse and especially raising one from birth, what advice do you have for me? Any help will be appreciated, thanks.
- Anonymous2 months ago
The first thing you have to worry about is whether or not you're emotionally strong enough to withstand the shock of "Rachel" possibly not living long enough to even get to your place. It's extremely RARE that mares manage to carry twin foals to term, and it's even more rare that twin foals survive past infancy, even when they DO manage to get born alive. Zephania is correct. Twin foals almost never survive, and even when they do, they often have serious health issues that prevent them from living very long.
Another thing you need to be aware of is that even if by some chance "Rachel" is born alive ( and right now, you have no real way of knowing what either of the foals' genders are, even with an ultrasound) neither she nor her twin will be able to leave their mother until they are AT LEAST 6 months of age. And in the interim, both foals will need daily handling and care- they have to be taught to accept human handling, to lead, to stand tied, and to stand for grooming, vet, and hoof care. It's also imperative that they be fed a diet that is appropriate for nursing and growing foals. Foals need to receive their first series of vaccinations at the age of 3 months. And both they and the mare will need to be wormed regularly. You also need to have a professional come and help you with the foals' early training, so that they don't develop bad habits. And if it should turn out that the foals are colts and not fillies (males, not females) then you will have some decisions to make about when and whether or not to geld said colt(s). There are two times in a colt's life when castration surgery should be done, if the plan is to do that. One of them is right after birth, and the second is when the colt is two years old.
An old, decrepit, falling down shed is no place for a foal to live. Foals need large stalls and safe, well fenced pastures with plenty of space. A garden is NOT a good place for a foal either. And for the safety of both mare and babies, the mare needs to be in a clean and well maintained environment. She must foal on STRAW, NOT shavings or sawdust. This is for her safety as well as that of her babies. Foaling on shavings raises the risk of the foals developing a disease called joint or navel ill-which is a type of septicemia that is often fatal. The reason this is the case has to do with the fact that all foals are born with slightly underdeveloped immune systems. If the foal is born on shavings, they will cling to the baby's wet coat, and sawdust particles can work their way into the baby's body through the navel stump. That is an open channel right after birth- for most foals it doesn't dry up and fall off until the baby is about 3 days old or so. That's right around the time that the foal's immune system becomes strong enough to ward off most infections, assuming, that is, that baby got his or her full compliment of colostrum from the mare within the first 12 hours after birth. If that happened on schedule, the baby will be fine. If it didn't, HOWEVER- the baby is in serious TROUBLE. The single biggest cause of death in newborn foals is the failure of the passive immune transfer from the mare via the colostrum. Joint or navel ill is a close second, followed by birth injuries and pneumonia from aspiration of the meconium.
In the mare's case, it's vital to her health that she pass the placenta, or afterbirth, in ONE COMPLETE PIECE after foaling. Mares that don't do this are at risk of developing serious infections and foaling founder (laminitis) due to the presence of the retained tissue. Foaling founder can kill mares. Many mares will not pass the placenta until after the foal has nursed a few times- they need the hormonal stimulation that nursing induces in order to get things moving. This in itself is not normally a problem unless the nursing is delayed.
I think you can probably see by now that there is a lot more to raising a foal than just cleaning out an old garden shed and hoping for the best. It will be at LEAST 3 years before you can even think about riding the foal, assuming he or she survives that long. Don't make the mistakes that they make with young racehorses and start the foal too early. Being asked to do hard work before physical maturity is reached RUINS horses. I know, because the horse I have right now is suffering the after effects of having spent 5 years on the track. He raced from the time he was 2 until he was 7, and now has arthritis and a suspected case of navicular as a result. He would have been ridden for the first time when he was barely 15 months old- which is WAY TOO YOUNG to start any horse in training.
- zephania666Lv 72 months ago
If the foals arrive in March and survive (rare with twin foals) then it won't be weaned for another 4 - 7 months... meaning you have until July-October to figure things out.
You don't have the experience to even consider bottle feeding a twin foal separated from its mother. They're fragile. Once they're a little bigger, they need knowledgeable handling and discipline because without it they can become dangerous - kicking, rearing, striking, and so on.
You don't need to think about riding until the horse is 3 years old.
Picking out a name (even if you knew the gender) is the least of your worries at this point.
I'd be really worried for this foal... except I suspect this is a dream and not a possibility.
Enjoy your fantasy.
- 2 months ago
I wouldn’t take it honestly it’s a lot of work and knowledge that takes years of experience to gain. If I was you I would just take lessons with a trainer that’s nearby instead if you want to be around horses because it cheaper and your not stuck with a commitment. If your dead set on it and you do bring it home it can’t just live in a shed. It will need lots of space since it’s not being ridden since it’s young and a companion since they are herd animals. If it’s young you can’t ride it and are gonna pay lots of money for it to sit in your yard for a while between vet bills, farrier and food. If you wanted to ride it eventually you would have to pay for it to be broken and trained which costs A LOT. Also Many horses are bought and sit in yards neglected because people lose interest and you have to wait years before you can even ride it. If your gonna spend that much money in the long run for a foal it won’t matter that it’s free now. If I was you I would just take lessons with a trainer, take on a lease and then eventually own but buy an already broken horse who can take care of you as a rider. A foal just sounds like more work, pain and money than it’s worth for someone who’s never owned a horse as well as possibly being unsafe or you running the risk of ruining your horse.
- Anonymous2 months ago
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Kosher (K) or Union of Orthodox Synagogues (U) = sprinkled with blood like Mosis did. Underneath the entrance of synagogue lies New Testament...
Orthodoxy = the only true faith; Roman Catholics tried one cup - one spoon ritual and got sick with Bubonic plague; if heresy enters Orthodox monastery then monks/nuns will get sick with flu/tuberculosis (for instance); Orthodox churches who closed for COVID or had disposable cups/spoons or dipped spoon into alcohol are no longer brides of Christ (now they serve Satan and honor Satan's new COVID religion).
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- *****Lv 72 months ago
Don't. A foal is NOT an appropriate first horse experience, and a shed in a garden is NOT an appropriate place to keep a horse. Additionally, twin horses rarely survive, and can often have health issues if they do. A horse carrying twins usually has one "pinched off" by a vet to increase chances of producing a live and healthy foal.
- Anonymous2 months ago
You’re a first time horse owner and you’re going to take on a foal? Not only that, but a twin foal, which in a horse is more likely to have severe medical issues?
The only thing you’re going to need is a good vet and a large bank account.