Possibly Protective Broodmare

Q. I am concerned that if my mare is so protective that she will not let me near her or the foal. How will I deal with that?

via e-mail

A. Some mares are very good mothers and this involves protecting their foals, but it does make it difficult to work with the foal if the mare is excessive in this behavior. You might need to desensitize the mare to your presence.

If her protection of the foal doesn’t mean attacking you I would recommend sitting in the stall or open doorway quietly for prolonged periods of time (30-60 minutes) several times a day. The mare will become comfortable with your being there, and the foal will be curious. Often the foals will approach you if you are quiet.

Always greet the mare first when entering a stall. Food distractions are also helpful.

About the Author

Mary Rose Paradis, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVIM

Mary Rose Paradis, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVIM, serves as section head at the Hospital for Large Animals at Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. Her specialty interests include both neonate foals and geriatrics. In 2006, she authored and edited the book Equine Neonatal Medicine: A Case-Based Approach.

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