The beginning is everything. The first three hours after the foal’s birth are crucial. The information it receives is easily absorbed and permanently retained. Astonishing, right? Horses are highly intelligent animals.
We must use those first hours to talk to it, touch it and caress its entire body. By doing this, above all during the first three days, we will be able to establish a trusting and respectful relationship with the foal and, at the same time, take away its fears.
Mares tend to foal at night, even when the stall is artificially lit. The bonding between the mare and its foal occurs in the first twenty-four hours. In the first month of life, foals show their highest dependence on their mothers. They have minimum contact with other horses and pass most of the time resting close by their mother.
Only one hour after being born, a foal can stand up on its legs. After 2 hours, it can run. It takes two or three months to socialize. The easiest time to handle and train it is before it is weaned from the mare. The foal begins to play with other foals and explore its surroundings.
Lots of love
It is important to treat the foal very gently during its first month and a half of life. After four months, it starts relating to others independently. It employs more time partaking of adult activities such as grazing and rests standing up.
Bear in mind that a foal is not born knowing things. You are responsible for its education. And you will be its mirror. You must be friendly but, at the same time, be very firm when you tell it what to do. If it gets the impression it can do whatever it pleases (and that happens), we can guarantee you that you won’t be doing it any good.