Foal Imprinting! What’s it all about?
This is a neat story about the power of IMPRINTING foals. Even 11 years later after IMPRINTING and 7 years after the last human-animal contact, this horse still knew who this man was. As foaling season is just weeks or maybe days away, we wanted to share with you a little bit about “FOAL IMPRINTING”. IMPRINTING is done within the first hour a foal is born to bond with and be submissive to humans, as well as, desensitize to certain stimuli and sensitize to other stimuli.
If IMPRINTING is done properly, the foal will develop a special bond with that person, almost like the bond it has with the foal’s dam. Some people think IMPRINTING can be done days or weeks later, but that is just training. Don’t get me wrong, if you are unable to IMPRINT right at birth, you can still use the techniques of IMPRINTING to train your foal, but it is NOT actually IMPRINTING. It is still much easier to train and handle a younger horse, because it is harder to break bad habits as the horse gets older. A simple bad habit a foal can learn when it is young would be to raise up its head when you touch its ears. There will be many times over the life of the horse that you will need to touch its ears. When the horse is grown, you will not want it to raise its head while you are trying to put on its bridle.
Take the time to read this article published on the USTA’s website and here is one of the many articles on IMPRINTING that can be found on the web to explain it in more detail. Here is one we found interesting: http://www.thehorse.com/articles/10405/foal-imprinting