French researchers have confirmed that a foal’s strongest influence - including its relationship with humans - comes from its mother. According to Séverine Henry, PhD, of the University of Rennes, a dam’s influence is particularly important in the first month of life, when a foal spends 90% of its timeless than five yards from her. “Not having a good relationship with the mare is certainly an obstacle to a human developing a good relationship with her foal,” Henry said.
What’s her advice? Don’t interfere with the mare-foal bond by touching the foal in the early days. But do spend lots of time petting, hand-feeding, and gently talking to the dam. When the foal sees Mum happy and well treated with humans, they will be much more likely to establish a good relationship with humans, too.