Environment is crucial in setting up a positive learning environment for your young equine.
You cannot be with the horse 24/7 nor do you want to be the only source of entertainment and learning for the youngster.
What is your equine learning when you aren’t with him?
What is mom going to teach baby?
Work with mom to understand the basics of R+ (and get mom to like having you around).
Prepare your environment for force free husbandry. Use aisles and extra holding pens to be able to move and separate baby from his mom or manny.
Give mom & baby space to be horses together (we don’t imprint foals, because we don’t want to promote learned helplessness).
Engage your foal’s curiosity and introduce yourself on their terms. Establish rules for interactions with your foal (no mouth on human, no head through fence/gate, 4 feet on ground, neither butt nor head turned toward human).
Begin exercises in Protected Contact (line up, target, follow, turn)
First experiences shape the brain’s future predictions, introduce new things with care for the stress level of mom & baby (baby takes cues from mom on how to react to each new thing).
Every moment with your equine is a learning experience for both of you. Be aware of what you are teaching.
Direct every person in your young horse’s life to follow your Rules for Interactions.
You want your horses to enjoy new experiences and exhibit curiosity rather than fear. Therefore it’s important not to over face your horse.
Babies are naturally curious and explore their surroundings. If they are not spending time touching things with their mouth/nose, check to see if they are either dealing with fear or pain or both. Structure in interactions and free choice is imperative to help fearful youngsters overcome their early experiences of discomfort.