Floating mares and foals

Foaling season is an exciting time. A healthy foal is often the result of intense foaling management and preparation. When it's time for a foal's first trip from home, plan carefully and prepare your float for a safe and stress-free journey for your precious cargo.

Arrange your float to make a room for mother and baby. It is ideal to remove the centre partition to create a box stall effect. Place some hay bales ahead of the front stall bars so the foal can't scoot under it.

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If you prefer to put boots on the mare don't bother with wrapping baby. Cumbersome bandages on tiny legs pose more of a hazard than a help, and mares are amazingly aware of where they can put their feet without harming their foals.

When it's time to load up, park the float in a quiet, enclosed area, such as a paddock, and lead the mare in. Younger foals almost always follow along without the slightest hesitation, but older ones may be harder to convince. The closer they are to weaning age, the more suspicious they're likely to be. It is better to have older foals already halter trained and under the control of well-established leading habits, so you can help him through the rite of passage with dispatch and minimal upset.

Once the pair is in the float, the foal should be left loose. Foals in transit usually carry on with their routines of nursing and resting, and will do so safely if given enough room. Tie the mare with enough rope to let her balance and eat her hay comfortably, but not so much that the baby can get entangled.

Close your hard flap so the foal doesn't try and jump out of the float. If you only have a canvas above the ramp, we recommend to have a foal guard for protection.

Six hours in a conventional float is about as long as a foal should go at a stretch. After that, give the travelers a two-to three-hour break to prevent fatigue from taking its toll on the tiny body. As for your driving technique, make all your turns, accelerations, decelerations and stops slow and steady, for the sake of your precious cargo.