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Don't "Baby" Your Baby

Most all of us have had the opportunity to visit with those cute little things we call foals, and some of us have even had the opportunity to raise one or more. At this age it is hard to imagine that these innocent little saints could possibly do anything wrong. Especially when everything they do is just so "cute". Unfortunately, it is easy to fall victim to their antics. We need to be sure this behavior is no different than an older horse. Just as we know that a little child is developing his or her tendencies at such a young age, so too is our foal. As with that child, our foal is going to grow and get bigger and become tougher to handle due to it's size. Habits formed at this age can be tough to break later. So what can we do?

First and most importantly, we need to look at our foal as though it were a full grown horse. By seeing him in this way we will begin to put his behavior in a different perspective. When a full grown horse attempts to nibble on us, it certainly isn't as cute, and we certainly don't tolerate it like we do with a young one. If we don't want an adult horse doing this, then why would we let our baby do this and expect him to simply stop at some point because he is now and adult.

Another behavior that can potentially lead to bigger problems (no pun intended), is that of leading. Sure, it's easy to hang on to our horses when they're little, but think about when that some horse weighs 1000 pounds or more. While they can sometimes knock us down when they're small, and very easily get us hurt, this only gets that much more difficult and dangerous as they reach full size. Of course, sometimes rearing and kicking can accompany this seemingly insignificant other behavior. While most of us realize that behavior is not good, we must also be sure to correct it as well.

Secondly, when correcting them for these mistakes they might make, we need to use the same correction we would on that adult horse. There, simply, can be no excuse for those behaviors we affectionately call playful while they're a youngster, but then is labeled as misbehavior as an adult. We also have to not be afraid to correct them. We're not going to break or ruin their spirit by treating them as though they were an adult.

So next time you're enjoying spending time with your foal and he does something other than what you want, ask yourself, "is this something I would allow or even want my fully grown adult horse doing?" It is perfectly acceptable to expect the same good behavior from our foal as we do from our grown horse. They all grow up, and quite quickly at that, so don't waste any time in instilling this good foundation and enjoy them while they're still "cute."

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