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A foal is an equine up to one year old; this term is used mainly for horses. More specific terms are colt for a male foal and filly for a female foal, and are used until the horse is three or four. When the foal is nursing from its great (mother), it may also be called a "suckling". After it has been weaned from its dam, it may be called a "weanling". When a mare is pregnant, she is said to be "in foal". When the mare gives birth, she is "foaling", and the impending birth is usually stated as "to foal". A newborn horse is "foaled".
After a horse is one year old, it is no longer a foal, and is a "yearling". There are no special age-related terms for young horses older than yearlings. When young horses reach breeding maturity, the terms change: a filly over three (four in horse racing) is called a mare, and a colt over three is called a stallion. A castrated male horse is called a gelding regardless of age; however, colloquially, the term "gelding colt" is sometimes used until a young gelding is three or four.[ citation needed ] (There is no specific term for a spayed mare other than a "spayed mare".)
Horses that mature at a small stature are called ponies and occasionally confused with foals. However, body proportions are very different. An adult pony can be ridden and put to work, but a foal, regardless of stature, is too young to be ridden or used as a working animal. Foals, whether they grow up to be horse or pony-sized, can be distinguished from adult horses by their extremely long legs and small, slim bodies. Their heads and eyes also exhibit juvenile characteristics. Although ponies exhibit some neoteny with the wide foreheads and small stature, their body proportions are similar to that of an adult horse. Pony foals are proportionally smaller than adults, but like horse foals, they are slimmer and have proportionally longer legs than their adult parents.
Foals are born after a gestation period of approximately 11 months with birth taking place quickly, consistent with the status of a horse as a prey animal, and more often at night than during the day. Labor lasting over twenty-four hours may be a sign of medical complications. Unlike most predators which are altricial (born helpless), horses are precocial, meaning they come into the world relatively mature and mobile. Healthy foals can typically keep up with the rest of the herd only a few hours after birth. If a foal has not eaten within twelve hours, it may require assistance.
Healthy foals grow quickly and can put on up to three pounds or over a kilo a day. A sound diet improves growth and leads to a healthier adult animal, although genetics also plays a part. In the first weeks of life the foal gets everything it needs from the mare's milk. Like a human infant, it receives nourishment and antibodies from the colostrum in milk that is produced within the first few hours or days following parturition. The mare needs additional water to help her produce milk for the foal and may benefit from supplementary nutrition.
A foal may start to eat solids from ten days of age, after eight to ten weeks it will need more nutrition than the mare's milk can supply; supplementary feeding is required by then. It is important when adding solid food to the foal's diet to not feed the foal excessively or feed an improperly balanced diet. This can trigger one of several possible growth disorders that can cause lifelong soundness problems. On the other hand, insufficient nutrition to mare or foal can cause stunted growth and other health problems for the foal as it gets older.
It is typical for foals under human management to be weaned between four and six months of age, though under natural conditions, they may nurse for longer, occasionally until the following year when the mare foals again. Some foals can nurse for up to three years in domesticity because the mare is less likely to conceive another foetus. A foal that has been weaned but is less than one year old is called a weanling.
Mare's milk is not a significant source of nutrients for the foal after about four months, though it does no harm to a healthy mare for a foal to nurse longer and may be of some psychological benefit to the foal. A mare that is both nursing and pregnant will have increased nutritional demands made upon her in the last months of pregnancy, and therefore most domesticated foals are weaned sometime in the autumn in the Northern Hemisphere if the mare is to be bred again the next season.
Weanlings are not capable of reproduction. Puberty occurs in most horses during their yearling year. Therefore, some young horses are capable of reproduction prior to full physical maturity, though it is not common. Two-year-olds sometimes are deliberately bred, though doing so, particularly with fillies, puts undesirable stress on their still-growing bodies. As a general rule, breeding young horses prior to the age of three is considered undesirable.
In spite of rapid growth, a foal is too young to be ridden or driven. However, foals usually receive very basic horse training in the form of being taught to accept being led by humans, called halter-breaking. They may also learn to accept horse grooming, hoof trimming by a farrier, having hair trimmed with electric clippers, and to become familiar with things it will have to do throughout life, such as loading into a horse trailer or wearing a horse blanket. Horses in general have excellent memories, so a foal must not be taught anything as a young horse that would be undesirable for it to do as a full-grown animal.
There is tremendous debate over the proper age to begin training a foal. Some advocate beginning to accustom a foal to human handling from the moment of birth, using a process termed imprinting or "imprint training". Others feel that imprint training of a foal interferes with the mare and foal bond and prefer to wait until the foal is a few days old, but do begin training within the first week to month of life. Yet other horse breeding operations wait until weaning, theorizing that a foal is more willing to bond to a human as a companion at the time it is separated from its mother. Regardless of theory, most modern horse breeding operations consider it wise to give a foal basic training while it is still young, and consider it far safer than trying to tame a semi-feral adult-sized horse.
In either case, foals that have not bonded to their mothers will have difficulty in pasture. The mare will find it more difficult to teach the foal to follow her. Other horses can have difficulty communicating with the foal and may ostracise it due to speaking a different "language". It can be difficult to lead a foal that has never even been led by its dam.
Horses are not fully mature until the age of four or five, but most are started as working animals much younger, though care must be taken not to over-stress the "soft" bones of younger animals. Yearlings are generally too young to be ridden at all, though many race horses are put under saddle as "long" yearlings, in autumn. Physiologically young horses are still not truly mature as two-year olds, though some breeders and most race horse trainers do start young horses in a cart or under saddle at that age. The most common age for young horses to begin training under saddle is the age of three. A few breeds and disciplines wait until the animal is four.
A calf is a young domestic cattle. Calves are reared to become adult cattle or are slaughtered for their meat, called veal, and hide.
The horse is one of two extant subspecies of Equus ferus. It is an odd-toed ungulate mammal belonging to the taxonomic family Equidae. The horse has evolved over the past 45 to 55 million years from a small multi-toed creature, Eohippus, into the large, single-toed animal of today. Humans began domesticating horses around 4000 BC, and their domestication is believed to have been widespread by 3000 BC. Horses in the subspecies caballus are domesticated, although some domesticated populations live in the wild as feral horses. These feral populations are not true wild horses, as this term is used to describe horses that have never been domesticated, such as the endangered Przewalski's horse, a separate subspecies, and the only remaining true wild horse. There is an extensive, specialized vocabulary used to describe equine-related concepts, covering everything from anatomy to life stages, size, colors, markings, breeds, locomotion, and behavior.
Horse breeding is reproduction in horses, and particularly the human-directed process of selective breeding of animals, particularly purebred horses of a given breed. Planned matings can be used to produce specifically desired characteristics in domesticated horses. Furthermore, modern breeding management and technologies can increase the rate of conception, a healthy pregnancy, and successful foaling.
Weaning is the process of gradually introducing an infant human or another mammal to what will be its adult diet while withdrawing the supply of its mother's milk.
A filly is a female horse that is too young to be called a mare. There are two specific definitions in use:
The New Forest pony is one of the recognised mountain and moorland or native pony breeds of the British Isles. Height varies from around 12 to 14.2 hands ; ponies of all heights should be strong, workmanlike, and of a good riding type. They are valued for hardiness, strength, and sure-footedness.
A weanling is an animal that has just been weaned. The term is usually used to refer to a type of young horse, a foal that has been weaned, usually between six months and a year. Once it is a year old, the horse is referred to as a yearling.
Horse training refers to a variety of practices that teach horses to perform certain behaviors when commanded to do so by humans. Horses are trained to be manageable by humans for everyday care as well as for equestrian activities from horse racing to therapeutic horseback riding for people with disabilities.
A colt is a male horse, usually below the age of four years.
A stallion is a male horse that has not been gelded (castrated). Stallions follow the conformation and phenotype of their breed, but within that standard, the presence of hormones such as testosterone may give stallions a thicker, "cresty" neck, as well as a somewhat more muscular physique as compared to female horses, known as mares, and castrated males, called geldings.
A mare is an adult female horse or other equine.
Sky Beauty was a thoroughbred horse who won the 1993 Triple Tiara of Thoroughbred Racing. As of 2018, she was the last filly to win this title.
Horse behavior is best understood from the view that horses are prey animals with a well-developed fight-or-flight response. Their first reaction to a threat is often to flee, although sometimes they stand their ground and defend themselves or their offspring in cases where flight is untenable, such as when a foal would be threatened.
A yearling is a young horse either male or female that is between one and two years old. Yearlings are comparable in development to a very early adolescent and are not fully mature physically. While they may be in the earliest stages of sexual maturity, they are considered too young to be breeding stock.
Mountain and moorland ponies form a group of several breeds of ponies and small horses native to the British Isles. Many of these breeds are derived from semiferal ponies kept on moorland or heathland, and some of them still live in this way, as well as being kept as fully domesticated horses for riding, driving, and other draught work, or for horse showing.
Studbook selection is a process used in certain breeds of horses to select breeding stock. It allows a breed registry to direct the evolution of the breed towards the ideal by eliminating unhealthy or undesirable animals from the population. The removal of individuals from a population is called culling, and does not suggest killing the animal in question. Typically, culls are castrated or they and their offspring are unable to be registered.
Keeneland Sales is an American Thoroughbred auction house in Lexington, Kentucky founded in 1935 as a nonprofit racing/auction entity on 147 acres of farmland west of Lexington, which had been owned by Jack O. Keene. A division of Keeneland Association, Inc., it holds three annual horse auctions that attract buyers from around the globe:
A pony is a small horse. Depending on the context, a pony may be a horse that is under an approximate or exact height at the withers or a small horse with a specific conformation and temperament. A pony is typically under the height of 14.2 hands high. There are many different breeds. Compared to other horses, ponies often exhibit thick manes, tails and overall coat, as well as proportionally shorter legs, wider barrels, heavier bone, thicker necks, and shorter heads with broader foreheads. The word pony derives from the old French poulenet, meaning foal, a young, immature horse, but this is not the modern meaning; unlike a horse foal, a pony remains small when fully grown. On occasion, people who are unfamiliar with horses may confuse an adult pony with a foal.
This is a basic glossary of equestrian terms that includes both technical terminology and jargon developed over the centuries for horses and other equidae, as well as various horse-related concepts. Where noted, some terms are used only in American English (US), only in British English (UK), or are regional to a particular part of the world, such as Australia (AU).
Littleprincessemma is a Thoroughbred mare who raced twice but is notable as the dam of the American Triple Crown-winning racehorse American Pharoah. Bred by Brereton C. Jones, she sold in 2006 as a weanling filly for $135,000 and then the following year, as a yearling, she was purchased by Zayat Stables for $250,000. She was named after Ahmed Zayat's daughter, Emma. She is a chestnut with a blaze on her face, a stocking on her left hind leg and a sock on her right hind leg.
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