How should you set out stables for a mare and foal?

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Foals stay with their mothers until they are weaned, generally after 6 months of age. For six months, both mare and foal therefore need to be accommodated in safe, spacious stables and paddocks. The average stable size for an individual horse is 3.5m x 3.5m, so ideally you want to have mom and baby in a bigger stables size where they can move around comfortably and safely. Breeding and stud farms will have custom-designed stables that are perfect for housing a mare and foal. Yards in the city sometimes take down the partioning wall between two stables to make one large ‘maternity wing’. The foaling box should be assessed for safety prior to the foal’s arrival. Useful tips for setting up the stable are as follows:

  • Ensure that water buckets are secured on the ground with a tyre around the base so that the foal can’t known them over or fall into them.
  • Ensure that hay is fed on the floor and not in a hay net as nets pose a huge risk to foals, as it is all too easy for them to get tangled in them.
  • Feed concentrates in a hook-over manger so that the foal can’t reach or eat any of the mare’s food.
  • Install rubber matting on the floor and around the sides of the stable so that the surfaces are smooth, safe and comfortable.
  • Create a deep bedding of straw and add height to the edges of the stable to make banks. This will help prevent the foal lying too close to the edge of the stable, where he may get cast.
  • Ensure the stable is well-ventilated, especially because you will be using more bedding than usual and this can create increased dust.
  • Install a surveillance camera in the stable for easy and regular monitoring, as well as reduced interference when watching mare and foal.