why do horses attack foals

Rare Phenomenon of Horse Aggression Toward Foals Revealed!

I’ll never forget the day I saw Trigger chase lil’ Spot around the corral.

Spot was brayin’ for help but his ma just stood there chompin’ on hay like nothing was wrong. What was goin’ on? Why didn’t she help her foal?

It turns out ma horses can act aggressive towards their babies sometimes, but there’s usually a good reason for it.

Wanna know what’s really up with Trigger and why she was bein’ so rough with lil’ Spot?

Stick with me and I’ll explain what was goin’ on and why ma horses sometimes act mean to their foals.

So why do horses attack foals? let’s go:

It’s All About Survival

why do horses attack foals

Now I know you’re probably thinkin’ Trigger was bein’ a bit too rough with lil’ Spot, but you gotta put yourself in her shoes for a sec.

She’s responsible for keepin’ that foal safe out on the range, and it’s a dangerous world for a young colt. Coyotes are always prowlin’ around, hopin’ to grab a quick meal. Foxes, bobcats, and even eagles are on the lookout for easy prey. So Trigger’s got her work cut out for her.

That mare’s got to train Spot to be alert and not let his guard down for a second. When you live out in the wilderness like they do, even one small mistake could be the difference between life and death.

So Trigger chases him around a bit to keep his blood pumpin’ and his senses sharp. She nips at his hind end to make him pick up the pace. Maybe she even lets out an angry whinny if he gets too close to the edge of the herd.

All those rowdy tactics are just Trigger’s way of getting Spot ready to outrun a coyote if he has to. Hell, she’s probably saved that colt’s hide more than once without him even realizing. Predators are crafty – they’ll lie in wait till the opportune moment to strike. With Trigger keeping him on his toes, Spot’s less likely to be caught off guard. It’s tough love, but it’s coming from a good place.

And it ain’t just coyotes Trigger’s worried about. You get too close to a mountain lion’s territory or a momma bear’s cubs, they’ll see a juicy foal like a nice ribeye steak. Eagles even try snatching foals sometimes! With so many dangers lurking, Trigger’s gotta do whatever it takes to give Spot the survival skills he needs. Even if that means she comes across as a bit mean sometimes.

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At the end of the day, she’s just doing what any good mom would do – protecting her baby at all costs. Getting him ready for the real world, even if it seems rough. Cause out on the prairie, nature can be downright ruthless. Her tough tactics are really coming from a place of love – she wants to make sure Spot has what it takes to make it on his own.

So next time you see a mare chasing around her foal, think of it like Trigger chasing Spot. She’s not doing it to be cruel, just preparing him for the big bad world outside the corral. With so many dangers lurking, you can’t blame her for being thorough in the foal’s training! It may look harsh, but it’s really just tough love from a mother who wants to see her baby survive.

Establishing the Pecking Order

why do horses attack foals

Horses are highly social creatures that instinctively form tight-knit family groups on the range. But like any social circle, there’s an intricate hierarchy that determines each individual’s role. And in the horse world, the mares are the ones in charge of keeping order.

Take Trigger for example. As the matriarch of her little band, she’s responsible for laying down the law and making sure everyone respects her authority. The herd has to know she’s the top horse, and nobody messes with her or her foal. So when young Spot goes wandering too close to the other mares and their babies, Trigger has to put him in his place.

She’ll chase after him with her ears back, eyes trained on the target. Maybe snap at his hindquarters or tail to get him moving. It’s all to show the other horses – and especially the other momma mares – that she means business. This is her foal, not theirs, and she won’t tolerate any funny business. She’s just reminding them whose baby Spot is and where he ranks in the pecking order.

Even a lowly newcomer like little Spot has to know his role too. He can’t go sniffing around the other horses’ babies thinking he’s hot stuff. So Trigger makes sure to correct him until he gets the message loud and clear. A few stern chases and nips is her way of schooling him on manners and etiquette out on the range. It may look harsh, but horse society is complex – and the mares know how to keep it running smoothly.

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At the end of the day, she’s just protecting what’s hers. Establishing dominance and authority is key for horses. So don’t judge Trigger too harshly the next time you see her chasing after Spot. She’s really just enforcing some good old fashioned equine etiquette!

Teaching Valuable Survival Skills

why do horses attack foals

Another important reason mares can get rough with their foals is to teach them vital skills they’ll need to survive on their own. When you think about it, foals have a lot to learn in their first few months of life. Trigger needs to prepare Spot for when weaning day comes and he’s on his own.

Part of that training involves chasing him around. This helps Spot build up muscle and stamina from a young age. It also teaches him to listen closely when Trigger whinnies and pays attention to her body language. Being able to quickly respond to Momma’s signals could save his butt one day. Trig also nips at his legs occasionally to toughen up his hooves so they don’t get tender.

She’ll frequently change direction and speed up suddenly during their play fights too. This keeps Spot on his toes and helps develop his agility, balance and reflexes. All skills that will serve him well when evading predators out alone on the prairie. Spot’s also learning persistence from their roughhousing; he can’t give up even when she pins him down!

Mares are also passing on foraging knowledge. Spot watches closely as Trigger grazes on different grasses and plants. He learns which ones are safe to eat and which to avoid. These lessons now will help him recognize native foods once he’s by himself. Really, Trigger’s just being thorough in equipping Spot with the survival strategies he’ll depend on as a wild horse. Her aggressive training may seem harsh, but it’s actually a labor of love to set her foal up for success later in life.

Practice Makes Perfect Parenting

why do horses attack foals

Just like any new parents, mares are still learning the ropes when it comes to motherhood – especially first-time moms. While horses have strong natural instincts, every foal is a whole new challenge to raise. So the more practice Trigger gets as a mom, the better she’ll get at the job.

Her interactions with Spot allow her to refine her mothering techniques over time. If a certain behavior doesn’t seem to be working, she can adjust her approach with the next foal. Maybe that’s why she comes across as rougher than some of the more experienced mares. It’s all a learning curve!

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You’ve gotta remember horses don’t read “What to Expect” books like we do. They’ve got to follow their gut and learn fromTrial and error. So cut Trigger some slack as the new mom on the scene. She’s bound to make a few mistakes along the way just like any first-time parent. But with more practice under her belt, she’ll soon have those perfected parenting instincts down pat.

The bottom line is she’s trying her best for Spot. So don’t judge – support her efforts to give that colt the guidance he needs. With time, experience and patience, Trigger will undoubtably become an amazing mom like the veteran mares. For now, she’s simply getting those critical parenting reps in to help her foal thrive.

Establishing the Family Bond

While Trigger’s aggressive behavior might seem harsh at times, it’s also how she strengthens her special bond with Spot. All that play fighting, chasing and sparring allows them to really get to know each other on a deeper level. The more time they spend roughhousing, the closer their relationship becomes.

Horses use body language and physical interaction as their primary form of communication. So all this quality time together helps Trigger better understand Spot’s emotions, behavior and individual needs. She learns his likes, dislikes, what makes him tick. In turn, Spot develops immense trust in his mother through their physical bond.

He knows without a doubt that no matter how rowdy things get, she’ll never seriously hurt him. Their play fights teach him he can be totally reliant on Trigger both physically and emotionally. So the next time a scary thunderstorm rolls in or an unfamiliar animal wanders by, he’ll run straight to her side for comfort.

Without that strong attachment, Spot may not feel as secure or willing to seek solace from his momma. But thanks to all their rough and tumble play time, their family bond will only continue to deepen. So while it may look a bit intense from the outside, their quality mother-foal interactions serve the vital purpose of keeping them emotionally close-knit for life.


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