Procedures that you should be able to competently and safely perform on a horse.


Handle or Restrain Young Foal


At times, it may be helpful for you to handle a young foal because of illness, injury or other good reasons. However, do not handle young foals unless you know what you are doing and why. Improper handling can lead to disaster.

Foals can be injured or cause injury, overprotective mares can injure handlers or the foal, and the bonding between a mare and foal can be disrupted by improper or excessive handling.


Before you handle a foal, know why you are handling them and what you seek to accomplish. The first step is handling the mare, which is an art unto itself. The mare can either be a help or hindrance, depending on the handling technique. The mare can be used to help catch the foal initially. Once the foal is caught, keep the mare’s face close to the foal during handling. Be careful not to get bitten by the mare.

To have real control over the foal, you must have one hand under the tail at all times, ready to restrain with it, but apply little to no pressure. Your other hand should be in front of the foal, again with no pressure. Rather than exerting constant or firm physical contact, you can "contain" a foal in an invisible cage that you create with your arms.
Always be aware of the mare, noting her attitude as you enter the stall and begin to handle the foal. If she is overly protective or becomes aggressive, you may want to call your vet or another assistant, who can halter and hold the mare.

Do not struggle to handle your newborn foal if it appears to cause them (or your mare) excess stress, especially if it appears to unduly interfere with your mare's focus on her foal. If this is the case, leave your mare and foal alone and let your vet conduct an exam.

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP