When we think of majestic animals roaming the plains of the Earth, horses typically come to mind. Horses are strong and muscle-bound creatures who are capable of being useful for work, as well as for fun and companionship.
Adult horses are known as “stallions”, while baby horses are called “foals”. Foals are young horses that tend to stick with their parents until they are of age to be on their own. The word “foal” has its roots in old English, and is still used to this day.
We may know a lot about mature horses, but in this article, we’ll be discussing baby horses, or foals.
What is a Baby Horse Called?
A baby horse is called a foal. Specifically, the word foal means “ a young animal of the horse family; especially under one year”. “Under one year” is the operative phrase in this definition, considering that the name of the horse changes once it reaches puberty, or becomes more ages past one year.
Even when the mother horse is giving birth, the name remains the same. The process of a pregnant horse giving birth is known as “foaling” meaning “to foal”, or simply put, to give birth to a baby horse.
The word has been used since the days of old English centuries ago; and although the term may seem out of date, it is still the correct term to use for a baby horse during modern times.
What is the Difference Between a Foal and a Colt?
A foal is simply a baby horse; and so is a colt. The difference between a foal and a colt comes down to what’s between their hind legs. The term foal is a baby horse under one year whos sex has still gone undetermined.
Meaning, that if the baby horse is under one year and its sexual organs haven’t matured or appeared yet, it is known as a foal. On the other hand, a colt is a baby horse under one year that turns out to be a male.
Although these two names are often confused, mixing them up could be a sticky situation if you’re selling or taking care of them, because the right resources for care are necessary depending the sex of the horse.
How Much Does a Baby Horse Cost?
The cost of a baby horse can be inexpensive or expensive depending on the size of your wallet. On average the cost of a baby horse can be between 1,500 and 3,000 dollars. This number is based on many factors.
If the baby horse is a foal, then the coset of it may be a bit more expensive – between 2,000 and 3,000 dollars – because the sex of it has yet to be determined, and different parts require different treatment.
If the baby horse is a determined colt, the price drops back to 1,500 to 3,000 dollars because colts are typically easier to care for than foals. Another factor that determines the cost of a baby horse is where you get it from, and the quality of the breeder that sells it.
How Much Does a Baby Horse Weigh?
A rule of thumb is that the initial weight of a baby horse is 10 percent of the average weight of its adult parent. Therefore, if the average stallion weighs approximately half a ton – or 1,000 pounds – then the foal will weigh just about 100 pounds at birth.
This may seem like a heavy weight for a newborn animal, but we’re talking about a horse! And as time goes on, what will determine its healthy weight gain is based on the diet that the foal eats.
From this point, it will most likely reach its full stallion weight of 1,000 pounds if they have quality and nutritious vegetation to eat, along with a lot of exercise.
How Big is a Baby Horse?
Horses are sized in the manner of “hands”; therefore, the size of a baby horse, or foal, at birth to about three months can range between 15 to 22 inches tall, and approximately 120 to 260 pounds depending on the size of their parents and the quality of the mother’s pregnancy.
Interestingly enough, some foals will grow to be about 90 percent to 100 percent the same size as their parent horse if the foal is born with the appropriate weight and height. It is possible for a foal to be born under-sized and underweight.
If this happens, then the chances of the baby horse growing into a full-length stallion may become less. However, a foal born smaller than the average still has a great chance of living a healthy life and becoming a strong horse.
Foal Growth Chart
Check out this foal growth chart, which showcases the growing process of a foal into a stallion.
|Birth - 1 month||0 - 100 pounds||10 to 14 inches|
|1 month - 3 months||200 pounds||14 to 22 inches|
|4 months - 7 months||300 pounds||22 to 25 inches|
|7 months - 10 months||450 pounds - 600 pounds||26 to 32 inches|
|10 months - 12 months||550 pounds - 750 pounds||32 to 36 inches|
After a year, the growth of a foal – or a stallion at this point – balances out and steadily continues to grow as it ages.
The horse will continue to grow properly if it has proper food to eat, and it doesn’t have any medical ailments that may slow down its development.
How Long Should a Foal Stay With its Mother?
The age of the foal is not the point that determines whether or not the foal stays with its mother; the foal’s physical development and ability to fend for itself does. While in captivity, foals may stay with their mother for an average of three months.
This is typically due to the breeder wanting to ready the foal to be strong so it can be sold. On the other hand, in nature, foals tend to stay with their mother for much longer; on average for about three to six months.
At six months, the foal is naturally ready – and big and strong enough – to leave its mother’s side, find its own food, and defend itself from predators.
Can You Wean a Horse at Two Months?
Weaning a horse from its mother at two months old is typically not the prime age to do so. At two months, the foal is still learning the ropes of what it’s like to be a horse, and how to operate within nature.
At two months, foals are still taking direction from their mother and learning the basics of life from them such as how to feed, how to run, and how to defend itself from any other animal that may want to engage with it.
Horses are typically weaned at two months because the breeder most likely has a buyer, but the process of weaning a foal from their mother is both biologically and naturally a challenge.
Are Foals Born Head First?
Foals are typically born with their head and front feet born first; this position is technically known as anterior or cranial presentation.
This position is the norm when foals are being born because of the position that they are naturally in while they are in the mare’s – mother horse – womb. This is considered the standard method of delivery for most horses.
Some foals are born with their hind legs first, once again because of their positioning in their mother’s womb, but it isn’t as likely. Since the foal is typically born head first, it is important that the placenta is out of the foals airway so that it can breathe air properly for the first time, without any clogging of their nostrils or mouth.
Why Do Mares Foal at Night?
For clarity, a “mare” is an adult female horse, or a horse that is about to give birth. Also, to “foal” additionally means to give birth to a baby horse.
So, why do mares foal at night? For protection. The mother horse is aware that they are other animals that may want to take advantage of their newborn. Therefore, it’s their natural instinct to foal, or give birth, at night to reduce the chance of a predator finding them and taking her young away from her and becoming their next meal.
When it comes to giving birth, night time is preferred; it can either be late in the evening towards dusk, or at dawn early in the morning. As long as there is darkness to protect the mare and foal, then there is a better chance for both of their survival.
Why Are Foals Called “Foals”?
Foals are called “foals” based on etymology, or the study of words, their definitions and meanings. The word “foal” is an old English noun that is derived from the word foal or “colt”.
The word foal is also a verb which was used to describe “an animal giving birth”. Overall, the word foal typically represents a small animal, more specifically a small horse. The baby horse is only called a foal from the point of it being birthed up to its first year out of the womb; after that, the baby horse is called a “yearling”.
The word has been used for over two centuries to describe equines, or horses, and still has dominance over newborn horses.
How Can You Tell What Color a Foal Will Be?
The easiest way of determining what color your foal will be is to base it on the biological foundation color of its parents. Most foals and horses are of the typical colors of horses including chestnut, white, bay, palomino, gray, black, or sorrel.
If both the female and male horses are the same color, then the likelihood of the foal coming out to be the same color as its parents is very high. If the mare and the stallion are of different colors, then you’ll need to know which color is more dominant to determine which color the foal will be.
Darker tones like brown, gray, and black tend to be more dominant than colors of white and palomino. However, there is always the possibility of colors mixing, and therefore, creating a new bay.
Is a Pony a Baby Horse?
Contrary to popular belief, a pony is not a baby horse.
Ponies are a different breed of horse that is commonly mistaken for a “baby horse”, or as genetic mutations larger horses, because of their short stature.
The Pony breed of horse is typically much smaller than other big breeds of horses. Based on history, their size is connected to the shelter that they used to live in, which wouldn’t allow them to grow very big.
However, a pony under a year old is still considered a foal. So, although a pony is not a baby horse, it is still a part of the equine family.
What is Lethal White Foal Syndrome?
Lethal White Foal Syndrome is an inherited condition that causes many damaging effects to a horse’s internal organs. The syndrome is typically found in Paint horses – mares, stallions, and foals alike – and has the ability to cause severe issues within their intestinal tract.
The effect of this syndrome can go on to cause their colon to stop functioning properly, causing internal infections for the horse. The disease is recessive, and can lie dormant until triggered, or it can express itself at birth.
Baby Horse Names
There are some cool names that you can name a horse, and here are some typical ones:
- Champion (or Champ)
Some names are even based on the color of the horse such as:
Although these are typical names that you can find most horses with, feel free to name your baby horse whatever you’d like!