Dynamics within the herd

Do you always let your mares foal outside within the herd and do you ever have any problems with other mares being jealous of the foal? My TB mare is very much the dominant mare and she foaled last year outside with no problems and the foal integrated into the herd quite happily. However, my Arab who is about to foal is not dominant and I am worried about her being either frightened off her foal or being bullied by the dominant mare. My second question is, do you wean your foals? ******* Do you have any thoughts on the best way to keep a stallion naturally? He would obviously need to be separated from the herd in some way but I’m wondering whether it would be better to split the herd male/female, or to have him and a gelding companion separately and the leave the rest of the herd mixed in a more natural way.

The herd is remarkable at maintaining its pecking order and relationships. I have personally never had any problems with foaling my mares within the herd. However, although I do not tend to wean my foals, when the next year’s foal arrives, last year’s foal tend to go from the top of the pecking order to the bottom. If this happens it can be fairer to remove the yearling, and with minimum stress if you split the herd. As far as stallions are concerned, if he is not running with the mares to breed, why not either vasectomise or geld him? Otherwise, run him with geldings, as you suggest yourself. Marthe Kylie-Worthington’s books give good advice on this. She has been breeding with herds for several decades and has enormous experience.

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