A young foal, born two weeks early, found himself motherless in a world he had just been born into moments ago. Because of the complications of his birth, his mother’s uterus had ruptured, and she died. Humans could have raised the little foal, but horses raised in this manner are at risk for developing behavioral issues and other health problems. Dr. Patrick Brogan, a veterinarian specializing in horse reproduction, had a solution in the form of another mare, but that itself was full of its own risks.
Zindita, the mare in question, had also given birth to her foal too early. It was stillborn. Brogan reported that Zindita was devastated and spent her time afterwards mourning the death of her baby. The doctor speculated that, in theory, Zindita would still be a suitable nurse mare for the orphaned foal. The timing was even perfect, given the circumstances. However, there was the chance that Zindita could reject the foal. Brogan realized that oftentimes mares can be aggressive toward young that are not their own.
It would endanger the orphan putting them together in close quarters. On the other hand, raising a foal without a horse mother posed its own problems.
Without proper socialization from other horses, the orphan foal could miss out on learning good horse social cues. Foals play rough with their mothers, peers, and humans, but when raised alone, they do not pick up on how to behave in those situations.
Brogan decided to roll the dice anyway, and four days after Zindita’s ordeal, the pair was introduced. It went better than anyone could have hoped. “It’s quite uncommon for the mare to accept the foal with such enthusiasm and love,” Brogan said. “Zindita fell in love with the foal straight away.” A fact made very clear in the video below.
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