Sunday, June 3, 2007

First Adventure Outside for the Arabian Mare and her new Foal

The weather here has been beautiful for western Washington in the spring. I've been waiting for the opportunity to put Aana and the newest addition to my herd outside into the sun.Normally I like to wait until the foals are at least five days old.

Baby horses are born with mediocre sight seeing only shadows at best in the beginning. Because of this changing them from the safe environment of the stall to outside before the foal sees clearly can be riddled with difficulties.

Beginning about the fifth day, baby horses see much more clearly. If you watch them closely you can see them reacting to things like they are seeing them for the first time. That's a good clue that their sight has improved. Normally, they will look at the humans who have been around them since birth a little differently as well. Some newborns will suddenly be overwhelmed by the size of their human handles and retreat for safety behind their moms.

Ffor the first time turning out a mare with her new foal you never know for sure whether the mare or the foal and possibly both are going to be stressed and run around frantically. Many horse farms have not been built with baby horses in mind. Wire fencing and even some rail fencing can be difficult for a new foal to see. That and the smoothness of the terrain, large rocks, bushes, anything a foal can run into can suddenly become a hazard with a terrified newborn and rattled broodmare.

Newborn foals may weigh close to 100 pounds but they are quite fragile. Vets when asked can share many horror stories of newborn foals bouncing off of fences, barn walls, bushes or rocks, falling on concrete or stumbling in holes that have ended in the final outing of that newborn's life. Newborns every year break their necks, legs, fracture their pelvis and drown just to name a few of the hazards they face.

So here we are very cautious with our newborns. They go outside when they see well. My wire fences have all had streamers tied to them at foal's eye level. I have a particular paddock that I use for my first turnouts because I have lots of water here and I don't want to be rescuing anymore foals from the pond or creek. And I begin before the mare has even foaled, pairing her up with a pasture buddy so the transition can be made before the foal is added to the mix.

Yesterday was supposed to be the big day, but it was just too hot. My pastures have little shade and newborns are susceptible to heat. It's very easy for a foal to go outside feeling great only to come in a few hours later over heated and fighting for it's life. The pnemonia that results from being over heated normally kills a foal. If they do survive, their lungs are usually scarred life.

To be continued.....

Watch Bey Aana and her colt on our Mare Stare Webcam Bey Aana. If this link doesn't work for you, try going to the Mare Stare live cams page and then click on the Rising Rainbow Arabians link. I know from the chatroom that sometimes that will work when a direct link like this doesn't.

You can see some of her previous foals on our website, Rising Rainbow Arabians .


  1. What sweet lookin' little baby!

  2. Very nice story and interesting to me. I also liked the photograph a lot.

    Abraham Lincoln's kidney stone attack...
    I rolled on the floor, puked, screamed, and passed out. When I woke up the neighbor was gone.
    Brookville Daily Photo

  3. omg, your foal is precious!!!

    is that mama getting a roll in? lol

  4. yes, barngoddess, that is mom getting a very good roll in. The poor colt didn't know what to think! lol