Crossed Dorset from end to end today, with dramatic views of the Atlantic through sun, hail, sun and sleet. Fortunately it was sunny again by the time I met Millie and her new foal, Mollie. Millie's owner, Debbie, had no idea that Millie was pregnant until her previous owner contacted her about six weeks ago to warn her that she might be. Two weeks later and she arrived, the spit of her Mother!
I think the main purpose of my visit was to admire the foal and reassure the owner who fortunately came on our foal handling course earlier in the year.
Mollie already has lots on her C.V. She can be caught easily in the stable or the field, leads well, moves when asked, picks her feet up, and accepts, and likes, touch all over.
She has also had oral medication and was described by the vet as being the best mannered foal he had met for a very long time.
The hardest part of having a confident and friendly foal is not to over-handle them, and when you do handle them to set up a few rules early on.
Foals, like all young animals, have to find out what all of their muscles and bones are capable of, and will only learn what is acceptable and not acceptable to humans by experimentation. We worked on giving Mollie attention when she was standing still and being charming, rather than when she was pressing into us and demanding.
She certainly knows that humans can be useful!
Later in the afternoon we took her for her first walk out and encouraged her to walk behind, beside, and in front of her Dam.
We had frequent breaks...
...and did some work with Millie when Mollie was lying down.
In Millie's case it was a matter of pressing the reset button on her manners which have gone out of the window a little bit since she has been on maternity leave.
"Thanks so much for today - really enjoyed and learnt some good stuff. I am glad I am doing things right by Mollie. David and I put them away not long after you left as the weather turned and it was so smooth and relaxed! Mollie was very tired - settled down to sleep straight away!" DB