Sometimes don’t you wish you could just catch up? You know, read that book that would help you understand what horse whisperers actually do; digest that article on foal imprinting before the first one hits the ground next year; watch a video on first aid to pick up some pointers on being prepared; sort of “sit at the feet” of some of the greats and listen to what their experience has taught them so you can learn from their victories and mistakes?

Winter is the usual time for horse people (and gardeners) to sit back and soak up learning about what they are too busy doing the rest of the year. While we try to seek out these professionals and bring their findings to you in every issue of The Horse, the horn of plenty will be overflowing in the next few issues. This month, go into the laboratories and into the field with some of the top researchers and practitioners in the world and see what they are learning, courtesy of gatherings of the World Equine Veterinary Association and the British Equine Veterinary Association.

Did you know that there is a significant correlation found between mare rank and the rank of foals both prior to and after weaning? Where foals stand in the pecking order seems to hinge on how bossy mom is in the herd. Jennifer Weeks of the University of Georgia also found that before weaning, the rank of the foal was significantly correlated with birth order; however, there was no significant correlation between birth order and foal rank after weaning. Also, she discovered an animal’s gender had no significant effect on foal rank or the choice of a preferred associate foal. Both prior to and after weaning, foals associated with the foals of their dam’s most preferred associate. It looks like mom has a lot to do with the kid’s attitude, and acceptance, in the herd.

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