It’s an undisputed fact that baby animals are absolutely adorable. They also have different terms to refer to them so that it makes it easier to differentiate between the babies and the adult animals.
Horses are majestic animals that have different names to refer to them depending on their age, and this doesn’t just refer to when they’re babies!
So What Is A Baby Horse Called?
A baby horse is known as a foal. They are often referred to as foals up until they are 1 year of age. After this, the terms used to describe the horse will differ depending on their gender.
Females are usually referred to as a yearling filly up until they are 4 years of age, then they are known as mares. Males are referred to as yearling colts until they are 4 years old, and then they are typically known as stallions. If the males have been castrated, they are known as geldings.
Foals can also be differentiated by their gender so that their owners and potential buyers can know which gender they are purchasing. Females are known as fillies, whereas the males are known as colts.
You may also hear foals referred to as weanlings. This basically means that the foal has recently been weaned from their mother, meaning that they have stopped drinking her milk as they mature.
This usually happens around 6 months of age. After this time, all horses are usually referred to as yearlings. This basically means that they are older than 1 year, but haven’t quite reached 2 years of age.
How Long Does It Take A Foal To Stand After They Have Been Born?
Surprisingly, foals have to learn quickly on their feet once they have been born. It is imperative that they stand as quickly as possible.
The general rule of thumb is that it will take no more than an hour after they have been born for a foal to stand up. This is a sign that you have a healthy foal. They will then start to suckle from their mother’s teat as soon as they are encouraged to do so by the broodmare.
If you notice that your new foal is having difficulty with these first steps – particularly standing on their own two feet and nursing from their mother’s milk – it may be worth consulting with your equine vet to ensure that nothing is wrong.
Make sure to keep a note of how long it took your new foal to stand up shortly after they were born. You will need to keep an eye on how often they are drinking from their mother’s milk, too.
The general rule of thumb is that a foal will need to do this roughly every 30 minutes so that they can stay fit and healthy.
To ensure that your foal has actually drank milk from its mother, you can take a look to see whether the broodmare’s udders have reduced in size at all.
Keep an eye on the muzzle of your foal, too. If they have been drinking milk, you should notice signs of this around their face and nostrils.
Lastly, you will need to ensure that your new baby foal has been able to pass their first bowel movement without difficulty. If you notice that they have struggled with this, then you may wish to call your equine vet to check over your foal.
How Long Before A Foal Needs To Be Weaned?
There will come a time when your foal needs to be weaned from their mother. There is a debate as to when the best time to do this is. It is safe to wean your foal once they have reached 3 months of age.
By this time, your foal is likely eating a decent amount of grass to supplement their diet sufficiently.
However, the results from some studies display that horses who are weaned at 3 months of age are more likely to develop behavioral problems, or are more at risk from certain orthopedic diseases.
For this reason, some owners tend to leave it until their foal is between 3 to 6 months of age before they are weaned.
You will find that it will be easier to wean your foal if you expose them to other horses in your yard or in the pasture.
This is because it can reduce any separation anxiety that they may suffer from when they are first removed from their mother’s side. It will be best to place them with other foals or barren mares so that they can have some company.
It will be important to wean your foal so that the broodmare can recover some of her strength that has been devoted to feeding her young baby.
How Old Does A Horse Need To Be Before You Can Break Them In?
It will be important to wait for your horse to reach at least 4 years of age before you attempt to back them. This is because their bones need the time to properly form into their adult frame. If you were to try and back your horse as a yearling, this could damage their spinal cord, making them unrideable.
The only exception to this rule is with racing horses. These are usually backed at 2 years of age. However, the important distinction to note is that jockeys are much lighter than the average adult human.
They need to be in order to get around the racecourse faster. It will also be worth noting that this lighter weight will be easier on the horse’s back.
So there you have it! You now know that baby horses are always referred to as foals, regardless of their gender. If you wanted to differentiate between the two genders, you may hear the terms filly and colt used to refer to females and males.
Once the horses have reached a year in age, they are typically referred to as yearlings. This continues until they are 4 years of age, when they will be referred to in terms of their gender, such as mares and stallions. If a male horse has been castrated, he is often called a gelding.
To ensure that your foal is healthy, you will need to make sure that they have been able to stand up on their own four feet within the first hour of their birth.
They will then need to be encouraged by their mother to feed straight away. If you notice that your foal is struggling to cope with these first moments, it may be best to contact your equine vet so that they can come and examine your foal.
Why not impress all your friends and family with your newfound horsey knowledge?