From Gawky to Grand

Raising a foal isn’t rocket science, but it does require some forethought and planning.

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Has anyone else been nearly bowled over by the speed at which a foal or young horse grows (Figuratively speaking, but if you’re raising a foal of a larger breed, it could also mean literally!)?

As a newborn, he is wide-eyed and whiskery and spindly and delicate, perhaps with exception of disproportionately large knee and hock joints that make you wonder just how tall he will be as an adult. Then, within a month or two, his body appears balanced–he seems to have caught up with the growth of his legs a bit–and he floats across the ground with ease, making you eager to see what kind of athlete he’ll become.

Weeks pass, and he greets you happily at the fence one day with a partially shed coat of sun-bleached winter fuzz, a gawky head with long ears, and a set of hindquarters that seem a few inches higher than they were yesterday. His front end clearly does not match his hind. “Wow, I’m raising a monster,” you say aloud, and a panicked automatic thought follows: “So much can go wrong in his joints. Am I feeding him too much/not enough? And is he getting the right amount/kind of exercise?

These are valid questions you should be mulling over in your head if you’re a responsible owner

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Written by:

Stephanie L. Church, Editorial Director, grew up riding and caring for her family’s horses in Central Virginia and received a B.A. in journalism and equestrian studies from Averett University. She joined The Horse in 1999 and has led the editorial team since 2010. A 4-H and Pony Club graduate, she enjoys dressage, eventing, and trail riding with her former graded-stakes-winning Thoroughbred gelding, It Happened Again (“Happy”). Stephanie and Happy are based in Lexington, Kentucky.

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