Raising an Orphan Foal

Question: We are unexpectedly raising an orphan foal. How do I teach him to be a horse? I don’t want him to be a brat like some tend to be. He is very quick to pick things up. I just don’t know how to teach him. – SpringValleyRun

Clinton’s answer: The best way to train your orphan foal to be a respectful citizen is to teach him the exercises on the Foal Training Series. The series covers everything from how to halter the foal and basic leading exercises to Fundamentals exercises adapted for a foal and teaching a foal how to pick up his feet. He’ll learn to respect your space, how to be soft and how to use the thinking side of his brain.

The biggest issue orphan foals have is they don’t respect human beings. Because they’re often bottle fed, they get treated like dogs, which isn’t an issue when they’re small foals. In fact, most people even think it’s cute when the little foal nips at them, rears up and strikes out at them, etc. As they get bigger, these foals become dangerous because they have no respect for humans. They’re used to pushing into you and running you over and have no concept of how easily they can seriously injure you.

I like that you’re being proactive about this. Most people wait until the foal is 3 or 4 and then wonder what went wrong. At that stage, it’s much more difficult to teach a horse to be respectful and willing. It’s so much easier when you get to them as babies.