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Titouan Amorin

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What goes on behind the St Eloy scene Part 1. Our foals education from birth to pre-breaking

 

 

Total immersion in the life of Saint Eloy Lusitanos’foal!

 Let’s follow some of our foals during their classic day!

 

 

   It is our voluntary choice to have our mares give birth to our foals late during the year, respecting their biological cycle, between May and July, which correspond to spring time in the North West of France. The majority of births occur in the stables under our close supervision, although it’s rare, mares can give birth in the field during the day, like Diva (picture above).
In all cases, the foal is in contact with humans from his early hours and receives the first care in a calm and relaxed way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

   Rapidely the foal has the headcollar in order to make easier
the handling for the care needed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   Fortunately, despite our choice of constant closeness with human, our foals spend most of their 3 first years of life leaping about in the particularly green fields in Normandy, playing together, except during the behavior work sessions which become study times that shape the future horse.
Playing times and studying times alternate, in stages, with evolutions regarding ages and seasons.

 

 

 

   From the first month, we pay special attention to trimming in order to prevent poor limb conformation. In collaboration with our farriers Stéphanie and Florian Beaurin, both withe BTM diploma, we focus our observation on the quality and the correction of the limb.
Each foal has its own follow-up with pictures and video of the limbs.
The limbs quality has been for a long time the weak point of the breed, that is why it constitutes an essential point of work for us. These trimming sessions occur almost every two months, they are an excellent behaviour exercise for the foal as he learns to give his feet with calm.
Worming is also inescapable and we apply an excellent process validated by our equine clinic, involved in equine research.

This process covers a large range of worms.

The mare is wormed at the end of the gestation (Eraquell or Equest) to eliminate, among others, threadworms, only worm that contaminates the foal through milk.
The first wormer is given at 2 months to eliminate the adult large roundworms (Strongid or Panacure paste 1/3 seringe), then at 3 months, we give Panacur 10ml/100kgs during 5 days.
At 6 months, the foal receives his first Equest Pramox that eliminates tapeworm, larvae of the bots, and large redworm.
There are other worming processes but this one fits us.
 

 

 


It is during this time that we clip the mane and the tail, specific to Iberian breeds. When this is done properly, it desensitizes the foal for life

 

 


Around 2/3 months, on top of mare’s milk and rich grass, we complement the foals with hay and minerals following the foal’s growth as well as some foal’s concentrates, even though they often find the mare’s concentrates appetizing. From a behavioural point of view, the feed time is the right moment for a good grooming. The idea is to early desensitize the foal in a relation based on mutual respect. In no way we want to be trotted on by foals that are too intrusive, this often constitutes the shelf of this kind of education. Everyone’s position is firmly determined and must be acquired for life in order to enable a peaceful cohabitation.

 

   Early autumn, when temperatures drop, foals are brought in the satble at night, lead with a headcollar learning to walk behind us with the right distance and not on our heels. We also teach them to saty a few minutes away from their mother.

 

 


 

 

   In the stable as well as in the field, the foal gets used to the water trough.

 

We proceed to a late weaning, around 8 months. It always occurs without problems and with calm, foals at this age have acquired a solid autonomy towards their mother and the mares are pleased to find calm and peace at last.

 

This is when the serious work with the human starts!

The following days after weaning, we focus our work around the handling of the foal, concentrating on the respect for the distances that the foal needs to accept with the handler in order to have communication based on mutual trust.

Several work sessions will be dedicated to being tied up, so that in the long run the foal is used to being tied up for a more or less long period of time without panicking, pulling back or run away for nothing. That is the moment when the foal needed to start obeying to the voice commands.

 

 

   Follow the exercices of loading in the trailer (with and without the ramp) and the lorry. Some simple exercices such as staying still in the insemination box are perfect to prepare the foal fro this sometimes stressful situation.

 

 

   In addition to the vet and vaccination follow-up, the essential that can be asked to a yearling is now accomplished.

The foal now can enjoy life with the other foals, under the close supervision of older wise horses limiting the outbursts (such as Vulcain, 28 yeras old, more than 40 foals education, above with yearling Corleone, trying to jump on him)

 

 

 

   See you for the second part!

Isabel & Titouan Amorin

 

Article mis en ligne le 18/12/2013.



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