Trivia Challenge: Foaling Around

Answer the questions, then check at bottom for the key. For more fun and educational information about horses and horsemanship, read H&R’s ‘The Ride’ newsletter. (Not getting it? Sign up below.)
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Two cartoon foals frolic in a spring pasture.

1. True or false: Your foal is born with antibodies already inside him to help ward off disease.

T / F

2. What is the ‘Madigan Squeeze’?

A) A surcingle to support the belly of overdue broodmares.

B) A play toy that teaches newborn foals to suckle.

C) A technique to help revive ‘dummy foals.’

3. The most recent thinking on when to wean a foal is

A) the earlier, the better.

B) at about 6 months of age.

C) at 1 year of age, as naturally in the wild.

4. The approximate cost to produce a foal and raise it to riding age is between

A) $5,000 and $10,000.

B) $10,000 and $15,000.

C) $15,000 and $20,000.

HOW’D YOU DO? (Answers below.)

1. F is correct. Your foal will get those important antibodies from his mother’s first milk, or colostrum. That’s why it’s critical your foal first suckle before he’s 6 hours old, while his digestive system is still able to absorb the colostrum. (Learn more about important foal milestones.)

2. C is correct. The Madigan Squeeze involves using a rope to gently compress a newborn foal in a way that mimics the pressures of the birth canal. This technique can revive foals that are unresponsive and lethargic after birth—so-called dummy foals. (Learn more about the Madigan Squeeze technique in this first-person story.)

3. B is correct. Though some breeders today may wean their foals as early as 4 months, the most recent thinking is that waiting until the foal is at least 6 months old may offer advantages to long-term health and wellbeing. In particular, research has shown that early-weaned foals are at greater risk of developing, later in their lives, stereotypic behaviors such as cribbing/wind-sucking, weaving, and stall-walking. (Learn more about low-stress weaning methods.)

4. B is correct. Estimates are that it costs between $10,000 and $15,000 to produce and raise a foal to the point where it's ready to ride. You may have to spend an additional $5,000 to determine if your prospect is the type of athlete you’re after. So if what you really want is a good trail horse or all-around pleasure riding mount, it will be much less expensive to buy a mature, already trained one. (Nowadays, adoption is also a readily available option.) (Click here for more advice on whether or not to breed your own foal.)

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