Blogs

From foal to maturity.

As foal mature they change of course, but how much? How can you tell what the foal you are looking at might look like at maturity? How do you train your eye to see into the future? One way is to look at a lot of foals as they mature and train your eye to see what changes and what stays the same. Here is some examples to practice on. Those are some of the foals we raised and we were able to get conformation pictures of later in life. The old adage 3 days, 3 months and 3yrs might be a fun one to remember but frankly,...

How do we breed for the amateur market?

With so many breeders focusing on breeding for the amateur market, I thought it would be an interesting exercise to define what WE mean by the term: “breeding for the dedicated amateur.” After all, here at Formosus, we breed for them, for you, we do not breed for ourselves, other breeders, breed associations, or for the judges. I think it is important to articulate this core value of our breeding program as it makes it clear to us and to others. So first of all: what are “amateurs riders”? If we look at what they have in common we can then find where we need to focus our...

Why are we making this so hard? (and so expensive!)

I read a discussion thread online the other day that made me sad on three levels. Someone (a somewhat experienced breeder and trainer) was asking how to best price her young warmblood gelding. By all indications, this was a good-minded young horse that was easily learning his A-B-Cs. Uncomplicated, willing, same horse at home than away: you know the type we would all like in our barn? I will add that he was also well-bred with proven, known bloodlines. Definitely not a shot in the dark here. The advice started pouring in and yes; I know that this is the internet and that the advice one can get...

Halter training for the new foal-Part1

How do I halter train the new foal?   Foals start out well: feral. They are leggy bundles of instinct that know nothing of the cushy captivity they are born into. The instincts that have served them well for millions of years of evolution will be constantly clashing with the world they will live in and the demand that will be put on them for most of their lives. For that reason, it is important that we ease them into our world as sensibly and as compassionately as we can. Just like young children and dogs, the first period of their lives is the most formatives. Brain plasticity...

Halter training for the new foal- part 2

Part 2- the catch and release phase Once mom and foal are settled, are healthy and comfortable in their environment there is no reason to wait any longer. Every time we feed the mare her supplement (2 -3 times a day) we take the opportunity to catch the foal. We work in a fenced-off area or in a shelter so that there is some limit to how far the foal can go. With her nose in the bucket, the mare is generally a nice passive helper. The young little horse is usually afraid of us tall bi-pedal creatures and being afraid of new weird things is the default...

Halter training for the new foal-part 3

Part 3-Introduction to the halter You might have noticed that until now no halter has been involved. Why is that? The main reason is you are only human: the moment you have a handle on something you will want to use it. Why is that a bad thing? Our tendency when handling any horses is to grab the halter and tell the horse where to go. It might sound redundant or pedantic but babies are not born halter broke. They are not even born with an understanding of giving to pressure. Fun fact: it’s actually the opposite: you cannot push (or pull) a foal’s first reaction,  because its...

Expected 2021 foals

The breeding season for 2020 is now over.   Some years, all goes well. This year was one of them: the timing was perfect and both mares caught on their first cycle. Somehow, just like last year, they ended up being bred just 3 days apart. This year they foaled about 2 weeks apart, we shall see what happens next summer! We have some interesting foals coming up next year if all goes well. It’s a long 11 months between now and then but it won’t change what we have coming up so we might as well let you know!   Kreation had a very nice foal by...

August News from the Farm

The summer has been amazing here in Alberta, we had tons of rain and the pastures are so thick; the haying was hampered by how tangled and moist the grass grew. The mare and foals are out on pasture about 16 hours a day. Our pasture this year has everything: alfalfa, brome, timothy, and some wild grass I don’t know but that the horses love to graze. The foals are surprisingly not engaging with each other yet. It will take a bit longer. The black colt Pavarotti is certainly mischievous enough but the palomino Marcello seems lower energy and not as motivated to engage. He is cheeky however...

Halter training for the new foal- part 4

Part 4- Leading in hand. For a few weeks now, the foals have been haltered regularly. They can be caught anywhere (in the paddock, by their dam, away from their dam, or even in the middle of the field) and have zero issues with the halter, the leadshank, or being touched anywhere including the ears the nose, and the legs. At this stage, I prefer to continue to loop a soft leadshank around their butt, and over the back, when I lead them around,  but now I often just let it draped there or across their back and rely more and more on the halter to control the...

Halter training for the new foal -Part 5

Part 5: The final touches A foal that stands to be haltered, that leads well, that accepts grooming, and picking up his feet has a good solid base for further education down the road. For many, that will be enough and they will be left alone until it is time for some more formal education. For others, it will be the bare minimum as they will also need to learn how to be bathed, sprayed, clipped, loaded into a trailer, trot in hand and stand on the line for shows. We go beyond in our handling of foals but not for any particular utilitarian reasons (we do not...