Things to know before getting a foal?

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As the title suggests, for over a year now I have been contemplating buying a foal/yearling! Which is very exciting however like most people I am a worrier and like to know the ins and outs of everything!
Which leads me to ask what do I need to know before getting a youngster? And when is the right time to do so!

Please no rude comments
 

Shay

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Hard to know how to respond.... don't?

Bringing on young stock is quite complex. You need the right set up and ideally considerable experience. If you buy a foal (are you thinking a 5m weanling?) you'll need a young stock herd for it to run with. It needs to recover from separation and learn to be a horse around other older mares and/or contemporaries.

You're not going to be able to do more than basic handling until 3 /4 so you'll need grass space, a suitable herd and the time to ensure the early handling stages are set in place - for 3 to 4 years. Thats quite a commitment.

If you want to back something yourself (and I wouldn't necessarily recommend it) you might be better off buying at 2 / 3 years?
 

DirectorFury

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Hard to know how to respond.... don't?

Bringing on young stock is quite complex. You need the right set up and ideally considerable experience. If you buy a foal (are you thinking a 5m weanling?) you'll need a young stock herd for it to run with. It needs to recover from separation and learn to be a horse around other older mares and/or contemporaries.

You're not going to be able to do more than basic handling until 3 /4 so you'll need grass space, a suitable herd and the time to ensure the early handling stages are set in place - for 3 to 4 years. Thats quite a commitment.

If you want to back something yourself (and I wouldn't necessarily recommend it) you might be better off buying at 2 / 3 years?
I agree fully with this. Basically, if you have to ask then you shouldn't be buying one.

I'm aware that 'Please no rude comments' generally means 'no one is allowed to disagree with me or be anything other than 100% supportive' but please take Shay's advice on board.
 

Spottyappy

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As above. Or, if you don’t have other youngstock to hand, you will need to buy a companion foal. We did this. I have been involved with studs in the past, but when we wanted a 6 month old welsh section D, we simply brought another one to keep him company. Not planning on keeping the companion, he was sold on but we deliberately brought one that we knew we would be able to sell.
 
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No not at all, I don’t mind people disagreeing. I have dealt with many youngstock in the past however every one of them was different
(As in the circumstances)meaning I was wondering about the things people find essential. I appreciate every comment and am taking everything on board. I wouldn’t have asked otherwise :) x
 

Inda

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I bought a yearling last year. Wasn't what I was looking for, heart won over head. Thankfully the stud she came from is also a livery yard, so she's stayed in the yearling herd until very recently when the colts were moved in and she was moved to the livery herd.

I love her to bits, only doing very basic work for short periods. We mainly are developing a relationship based on trust and respect.

I have a lot if support from the breeder/yard owner and a visiting classical trainer who is helping put the groundwork in place. I've really loved being able to decide how she is brought up, we're trying bitless, barefoot and possibly treeless.
 

Dave's Mam

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For a weanling or similar, I'd hope you have a herd for it to run with to get over separation from mum & to teach Horsey manners. Handle gently & instill the beginnings of manners. But you'll get better advice from others.
 

DabDab

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As others have said, the most important thing is the herd that you can bring them up in. I tend to buy 2.5-3yo horses (as by then you have a bit more of an idea what you're getting), and it's amazing to see what a difference different herd set ups as a youngster have on a horse's temperament and outlook on life. My current 4yo for example was kept in a field of quite angsty mares (when I viewed her 4 or 5 substantial fights broke out just in the time I was there), who were also kept with a pig and a large sheep, had a lot of human interaction and had very little respect for fencing (one dividing fence was completely flattened and they were all just clambering over it). And so as you would expect 2 years on, she's a little over friendly and in your face, is scared of nothing, is very quick to pull out teeth and hooves when interacting with other horses and still has zero respect for fencing (or doors, or hay mangers or anything else she thinks needs dismantling).

So be really honest with yourself whether you can genuinely guarantee to provide an environment for a foal/yearling that will develop it into the sort of horse that you want.
 

Farma

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Hi OP - very exciting, I have had a few and really enjoyed it, the main thing I would say is to find somewhere for them with other youngsters, let them learn from a herd.
Find the best place you can even if it means its not really close with experienced people that run it, ideally a stud that can help you with the little hurdles on the way. I would not have a youngster if I didn't have somewhere to put them with other babies.
Obviously when it comes to training methods a stud will have the set up for babies, even things like loading training, farrier areas, they will have tried and tested methods that means you don't have to find things out the hard way ;)
Wishing you good luck!
 

pennyturner

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My experience has been that they learn from their field-mates much more than anything you do. I was in the fortunate position of having a settled herd who get along well with each other, catch easily, tie up quietly, and accept everything that comes at them. This attitude was passed on to the youngsters without my lifting a finger.
 

matt_m

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It's an exciting experience if you are prepared to put in the hard work, tears, sweat and blood and if you are very patient! I pretty much mimic what everyone else has said, but I'd like to add into the mix, bare in mind it may not turn out to be what you want! Even if you know family history, parentage, size of parents, breeding, etc....this is not a guarantee as to how the foal will look when it matures or how big it will make etc.
 

TheMule

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It really is imperative that you can provide the right environment for a weanling- 24/7 herd turnout with at least one other weanling, barn housing in the winter if necessary to.
So many people expect them to fit into a routine the same as a ridden horse and it's just a bad idea for both the physical and mental well being of the youngert.
Beyond that, there's no reason why having a weanling should be difficult, assuming they've been handled well and had their feet trimmed properly from the start.
 

sport horse

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As others have said it will need to live with a herd of other youngsters.

If you are thinking of keeping at a normal livery yard - please do not. I have advised someone personally about this, they disregarded me and turned a yearling out with a new zealand rug on in a group of adult horses. I was then called to rescue to help vet take it back to vet clinic to have major surgery to repair the damage. It was in horspital for weeks and had two ops.

Poor baby and all because someone would not take advice.
 

eggs

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I have bred a few foals and also bought a few. The biggest note of caution I would add is that there is no guarantee it will get to adulthood. A very experienced breeder once told me that if you get 75% of your foals to four years old you are doing well. I have certainly found that to be the bitter truth.

For me large, secure fields which companions of their own age plus some older horses to keep them in check is my number one priority. I am lucky that I have my horses at home and have some large barns that open directly onto a 20 acre fields that I used for my youngsters. In winter they came into the barns together overnight and were out in the field the rest of the time.
 

Asha

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Loads of sensible advice on here. If you are having a weanling id recommend having an old broodmare / nanny as a companion to start off with. They can provide the best of company. Helping to reassure a youngster, as well as putting in the manners when the time is right. My yearling had his nanny in with him before his mum was sold, she then looked after him when he was put in with the herd. She would always step in if things got a little rough, and gradually one at a time would allow the others near him. Hes now outgrown her, and just goes off with the others. Hes being brought up by a group of irish draughts, so im hoping some of their wonderful natures will rub off on him. So far so good, as he is a gem with all things new.
But do consider what eggs said, getting up to the age of 4 alive and in good health isn't as easy as you would think. Good luck, as hard as it can be, as you never really know how they are going to turn out, it can also be a wonderful experience.
 

irishdraft

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I wanted to buy a purebred ID foal some years ago but bought a part bred as well to keep company. I am very lucky as I have horsrs at home with plenty of grazing . In the end I sold the purebred as he got too big for me but ended up keeping the part bred who is now 11. I have done everything myself and it has been a long journey but I'm pleased I did it.
 
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Yes, I have many options with the herd, the Stud yard has livery and turnout with the youngstockso I could keep her there or as I also have another 13 year old, the yard I am on already also has a youngstock herd
 

Gloi

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Yes, I have many options with the herd, the Stud yard has livery and turnout with the youngstockso I could keep her there or as I also have another 13 year old, the yard I am on already also has a youngstock herd
That's good. Have a real good look round at the breeders you like and check out the temperament and abilities of the parents and other youngstock. If it will be your first youngster be realistic about the sort of animal you can cope with. I love going round looking at stock on studs. Good luck, I love having babies around.
 
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