Don’t watch this video if you don’t have four minutes and 16 seconds to devote right now! Trust me, you’ll want to keep watching it.
Trainer/clinician Stacy Westfall recently adopted two foals from Last Chance Corral, a group in Ohio that specializes in rehoming nurse mare foals. These are foals that are “byproducts” of an industry that provides lactating mares to raise the foals of valuable Thoroughbred mares. You can read more about it over on Last Chance Corral’s website.
Raising an orphaned foal is challenging, even for experienced horsekeepers, and even those who, like Stacy, have raised foals before. But it’s also very rewarding to watch how the babies are growing and maturing. Without having had much of a chance to learn normal equine social skills from their mothers, they’re learning in their own way.
In this video, foals Justice and Presto are turned out in their run adjacent to adult horses’ turnout areas. As Stacy explains in her blog, Justice had more than two weeks with his mom while Presto, the one with the Appy spots, only had three days. Justice seems to have learned more about horse behavior than his companion. Justice displays the “champing” or “snapping” behavior, a show of submission foals do in response to adult horses and Presto doesn’t. Presto also doesn’t react to a mare’s pinned ears the way a more socialized foal would. But in the short span of this video, you can actually see the foals learning from the horses around them.
And, because they’re curious foals, there’s also some adorable chicken discovery at the end.