What Is a Baby Horse Called?

Every baby animal has a name, and for most animals, there are only two names to differentiate their younger and older age. But horses are different, as they are given different names when they are younger and throughout the various stages of their development. And this may get many people wondering, What is a baby horse called?

As with many animal baby names, foal is generic and can be used to describe both the male and the female youngster. As the young equines continue to grow and their gender becomes obvious, you can start referring them by their gender-specific names.

Weaning is gradually introducing your baby horse to the adult equine diet while withdrawing its mothers milk. With this extra nutrition, the youngling no longer necessarily needs to suckle to stay healthy. Some experts, however, have argued that weaning baby horses at the age of three months puts them at a higher risk of developing behavior problems and makes them susceptible to orthopedic diseases.

A vet will examine the foal to identify the health conditions that are likely to pop up if weaned early. They may also suggest ideal weaning procedures like letting the foal interact with other horses to reduce the stress of being separated from the mother. Prior to this time, their bones are not fully developed, and riding them will only put them at risk of injuries.

How long your horse takes to fully develop physically and become ridable depends on many factors, the most common being its breed. These horses are often fully developed for riding as yearlings and will be ready to start heavy training as early as two years of age. Larger horse breeds like the Shire and Clydesdale , on the other hand, arent fully developed to ride until four years old.

If your equine has been sickly for the most part of its life, chances are it will take a little longer to develop fully, which means you will likely have to wait a few more years to ride or train. Also, an older mare that has recently reproduced has a higher chance of getting pregnant again than one of the same age that has remained barren over the last breeding seasons. Having sixteen babies, however, will require the horse to start breeding when she is four years old and stay fertile until at least the age of twenty.

Throughout the pregnancy period, the udders of your mare will occasionally fill but go back to their average size after some time. If it is the last month of pregnancy and the udders are staying full the entire day, then you should know the baby is almost coming, so dont leave your mares sight. If you are keen, you will also see the stomach starting to shrink as the baby gets into position to leave the mothers womb.

This foremilk is full of the vitamins, antibodies, and nutrients the foal needs to grow and stay healthy. Gelding is the process of castrating male horses to give them a more even temperament and make them easier to handle. They can concentrate on the exercise at hand without hormones running through their bloodstream, which leads to more successful races.

If you notice deformities in your baby horses limbs, contact a vet experienced in foals orthopedic problems. If your foal doesnt breathe right away, rub its nostrils with a towel or a bit of hay to get them to open.

What is the name of a baby horse called?

A foal is an equine up to one year old; this term is used mainly for horses, but can be used for donkeys. More specific terms are colt for a male foal and filly for a female foal, and are used until the horse is three or four. When the foal is nursing from its dam (mother), it may also be called a “suckling”.

Is a colt a baby horse?

The term ” colt” only describes young male horses and is not to be confused with foal, which is a horse of either sex less than one year of age. Similarly, a yearling is a horse of either sex between the ages of one and two. A young female horse is called a filly, and a mare once she is an adult animal.

Why is a pony not a baby horse?

ponies are not “baby horses”; they are equines under 14.2 hands. A “baby horse” is a foal that will grow into a full-sized horse, an equine over 14.2 hands tall. Typically ponies and baby horses also differ in their conformation, coat thickness, and dietary needs.

You can use the word foal for a horse that’s younger than one year old after turning one, a foal becomes a yearling. Foals can be either male, also called a colt, or female, also called a filly. When a mare, or adult female horse, has a baby, you can say she foals. The Old English root word, fola, means “foal” or “colt.”

A foal is an equine up to one year old; this term is used mainly for horses, but can be used for donkeys. More specific terms are colt for a male foal and filly for a female foal, and are used until the horse is three or four. When the foal is nursing from its dam (mother), it may also be called a “suckling”. After it has been weaned from its dam, it may be called a “weanling”. When a mare is pregnant, she is said to be “in foal”. When the mare gives birth, she is “foaling”, and the impending birth is usually stated as “to foal”. A newborn horse is “foaled”.

Unlike most predators which are altricial (born helpless), horses are precocial, meaning they come into the world relatively mature and mobile. A sound diet improves growth and leads to a healthier adult animal, although genetics also plays a part.

Like a human infant, it receives nourishment and antibodies from the colostrum in milk that is produced within the first few hours or days following parturition . However, foals usually receive very basic horse training in the form of being taught to accept being led by humans, called halter -breaking.

Can You Ride A Baby Horse?

As the young equines continue to grow and their gender becomes obvious, you can start referring them by their gender-specific names.

Can You Breed Young Horses?

Assuming your filly is healthy and in tip-top condition, you can breed her even when she is two years old. Some people will breed their horses at two years while others will wait until when the horse is about three years.Mares will continue producing foals well into their early twenties. The ability to reproduce, however, reduces each year as the horse gets older.Also, an older mare that has recently reproduced has a higher chance of getting pregnant again than one of the same age that has remained barren over the last breeding seasons.In addition, not letting your mare to mate until when she is older doesn’t necessarily mean she will be overly fertile when she eventually mates. It is not always easy for older mares to get pregnant.

Why Are My Mare’s Udders So Full?

Full udders are the first sign that your horse is about to give birth. Throughout the pregnancy period, the udders of your mare will occasionally fill but go back to their average size after some time.If it is the last month of pregnancy and the udders are staying full the entire day, then you should know the baby is almost coming, so don’t leave your mare’s sight.If you are keen, you will also see the stomach starting to shrink as the baby gets into position to leave the mother’s womb. You may see the muscles around the hips and buttocks relax and contract too.After the baby is born, your mare may start leaking colostrum from her nipples. Colostrum is the form of milk the horse produces immediately after giving birth.Help the baby horse to the teats so it can suckle. Don’t let the dam lose a huge amount of colostrum. This foremilk is full of the vitamins, antibodies, and nutrients the foal needs to grow and stay healthy.If you notice the horse is losing plenty of colostrum, try collecting storing it in a freezer for later use. Keep an eye on your mare to see if the leaking stops after some time. If it doesn’t, talk to the vet.

Common Problems in Baby Horses

There are several problems that can be identified in a foal during its early years of development. Here are the most common:

Refusing to Nurse

Newborn horses should nurse every one to two hours. If a foal is not suckling as often as it should or not suckling at all, that can be a problem.Consumption of nutrients is very important to any youngling, as it ensures the baby grows healthy. If a foal seems not interested in nursing, a plan must be devised to give it the necessary nutrition.

Failure of Passive Transfer (FTP)

Sometimes the foal may nurse properly but still not absorb the required nutrients. One of the major reasons this happens is low-quality colostrum.Have a veterinarian measure the Immunoglobulin Gene (IgG) levels of the foal’s serum. Levels lower than 400 mg/dl are considered dangerous and should be treated. You can prevent this problem by vaccinating the mare a month before giving birth.

Stomach Pains

Abdominal pains can be a sign that the baby horse has a digestive disorder. It could also indicate a ruptured bladder. Talk to a vet about it.

Constipation

Having trouble passing stool can be a sign of constipation. This can be as a result of impaction or due to serious problems requiring a vet’s intervention like colic.

Leg Deformities

Some foals are born with limb abnormalities that may prevent them from living their life as they should. Some of these include flexural contractures and flexural tendons and should be addressed as soon as possible to enable the foal’s limbs to grow strong and healthy.If you notice deformities in your baby horse’s limbs, contact a vet experienced in foals’ orthopedic problems.

Foal

AAfter a horse is one year old, it is no longer a foal, and is a “yearling”. There are no special age-related terms for young horses older than yearlings. When young horses reach breeding maturity, the terms change: a filly over three (four in horse racing) is called a mare, and a colt over three is called a stallion. A castrated male horse is called a gelding regardless of age; however, colloquially, the term “gelding colt” is sometimes used until a young gelding is three or four. (There is no specific term for a spayed mare other than a “spayed mare”.)Horses that mature at a small stature are called ponies and occasionally confused with foals. However, body proportions are very different. An adult pony can be ridden and put to work, but a foal, regardless of stature, is too young to be ridden or used as a working animal. Foals, whether they grow up to be horse or pony-sized, can be distinguished from adult horses by their extremely long legs and small, slim bodies. Their heads and eyes also exhibit juvenile characteristics. Although ponies exhibit some neoteny with the wide foreheads and small stature, their body proportions are similar to that of an adult horse. Pony foals are proportionally smaller than adults, but like horse foals, they are slimmer and have proportionally longer legs

Early development[edit]

Foals are born after a gestation period of approximately 11 months. Birth takes place quickly, consistent with the status of a horse as a prey animal, and more often at night than during the day. Labor lasting over twenty-four hours may be a sign of medical complications. Unlike most predators which are altricial (born helpless), horses are precocial, meaning they come into the world relatively mature and mobile. Healthy foals can typically keep up with the rest of the herd only a few hours after birth. If a foal has not eaten within twelve hours, it may require assistance.Healthy foals grow quickly and can put on up to three pounds or over a kilo a day. A sound diet improves growth and leads to a healthier adult animal, although genetics also plays a part. In the first weeks of life the foal gets everything it needs from the mare’s milk. Like a human infant, it receives nourishment and antibodies from the colostrum in milk that is produced within the first few hours or days following parturition. The mare needs additional water to help her produce milk for the foal and may benefit from supplementary nutrition.A foal may start to eat solids from ten days of age, after eight to ten weeks it will need more nutrition than the mare’s milk can supply; supplementary feeding is required by then. It is important when adding solid food to the foal’s diet to not feed the foal excessively or feed an improperly balanced diet. This can trigger one of several possible growth disorders that can cause lifelong soundness problems. On the other hand, insufficient nutrition to mare or foal can cause stunted growth and other health problems for the foal as it gets older.

Weaning and maturity[edit]

It is typical for foals under human management to be weaned between four and six months of age, though under natural conditions, they may nurse for longer, occasionally until the following year when the mare foals again. Some foals can nurse for up to three years in domesticity because the mare is less likely to conceive another foetus. A foal that has been weaned but is less than one year old is called a weanling.Mare’s milk is not a significant source of nutrients for the foal after about four months, though it does no harm to a healthy mare for a foal to nurse longer and may be of some psychological benefit to the foal. A mare that is both nursing and pregnant will have increased nutritional demands made upon her in the last months of pregnancy, and therefore most domesticated foals are weaned sometime in the autumn in the Northern Hemisphere if the mare is to be bred again the next season.Weanlings are not capable of reproduction. Puberty occurs in most horses during their yearling year. Therefore, some young horses are capable of reproduction prior to full physical maturity, though it is not common. Two-year-olds sometimes are deliberately bred, though doing so, particularly with fillies, puts undesirable stress on their still-growing bodies. As a general rule, breeding young horses prior to the age of three is considered undesirable.

Early training[edit]

In spite of rapid growth, a foal is too young to be ridden or driven. However, foals usually receive very basic horse training in the form of being taught to accept being led by humans, called halter-breaking. They may also learn to accept horse grooming, hoof trimming by a farrier, having hair trimmed with electric clippers, and to become familiar with things it will have to do throughout life, such as loading into a horse trailer or wearing a horse blanket. Horses in general have excellent memories, so a foal must not be taught anything as a young horse that would be undesirable for it to do as a full-grown animal.There is tremendous debate over the proper age to begin training a foal. Some advocate beginning to accustom a foal to human handling from the moment of birth, using a process termed imprinting or “imprint training”. Others feel that imprint training of a foal interferes with the mare and foal bond and prefer to wait until the foal is a few days old, but do begin training within the first week to month of life. Yet other horse breeding operations wait until weaning, theorizing that a foal is more willing to bond to a human as a companion at the time it is separated from its mother. Regardless of theory, most modern horse breeding operations consider it wise to give a foal basic training while it is still young, and consider it far safer than trying to tame a semi-feral adult-sized horse.In either case, foals that have not bonded to their mothers will have difficulty in pasture. The mare will find it more difficult to teach the foal to follow her. Other horses can have difficulty communicating with the foal and may ostracise it due to speaking a different “language”. It can be difficult to lead a foal that has never even been led by its dam.Horses are not fully mature until the age of four or five, but most are started as working animals much younger, though care must be taken not to over-stress the “soft” bones of younger animals. Yearlings are generally too young to be ridden at all, though many race horses are put under saddle as “long” yearlings, in autumn. Physiologically young horses are still not truly mature as two-year-olds, though some breeders and most race horse trainers do start young horses in a cart or under saddle at that age. The most common age for young horses to begin training under saddle is the age of three. A few breeds and disciplines wait until the animal is four.