Education Blog

Welcome to the Foal Patrol Education Blog! Please check back regularly as we will be constantly posting new content. Thank you to veterinarians Dr. Ted Hill and Dr. Stuart Brown for help with this project. Questions or comments? Contact us at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame:

Herd animals

Horse Behavior
June 11th, 2019

Thoroughbred horses are herd animals. At 6 months of age, foals are placed in a herd of horses their age. This provides some important opportunities to socialize and learn. It is an introduction to their peers and their pre-training will begin in a group setting.

Horses are strongly social and are at a higher comfort level when they can make visual contact with other horses. During their time training and racing, horses are around other horses and interact in various ways. This can be to calm their nerves as well as to increase their endurance and stamina on the racetrack. In terms of grouping them into herds, different personalities warrant different results. Some horses are not comfortable in a large group and others prefer a large group over small ones. Trainers and farm mangers spend time observing the horses to implement best practices for each horse.

Herd animals 1 - Kathy Landman.jpg

Photo courtesy of Kathy Landman

Foal Socialization

Horse Behavior
May 14th, 2019

In the second and third months of a foal’s life, they are interested in socializing. This is an important step in ensuring the foals interact well with other horses. Foals will start to leave their dam’s (mother’s) side a bit more, exploring other foals. This is a time for play and both fillies and colts will engage in equal amounts.

Fillies will play by running, jumping and even bucking; whereas colts will play in a way that mimics combat. Sometimes colts will also bite and push to assert dominance. This is appropriate as it is male behavior that is inborn, and colts start to build their combat skills when they are young. They may play with their dam if they do not have other companions that are their age.

Foal Socialization 1 - Kathy Landman.jpg

Photo courtesy of Kathy Landman

Foal Socialization 3 - Kathy Landman.jpg

Photo courtesy of Kathy Landman

Breeding and Pedigree

Anatomy / Pedigree
April 30th, 2019

The Thoroughbred horse has been bred over more than three centuries to produce an animal that can run with great endurance at incredible speeds.

Lineage and pedigree are important factors in breeding Thoroughbred race horses. Owners will do extensive research to decide which stallion they believe will produce a quality foal with their mare. Many factors go into this selection including size of the mare and stallion, the fees to breed, and race performance of the mare and stallion.

The pedigree of the mare and stallion are studied extensively to create the strongest, best suited horse for the type of racing it will train to do. Thoroughbred horses are bred for flat racing or jump racing. Stallion - An adult male horse used for breeding.  Foal – A baby horse in its first year.  Mare - A female horse, 5 years of age and older.

Here is a video of Vivien Malloy at Edition Farm sharing some background on the timeline followed to ensure the mare is in foal and the pregnancy is progressing.


Growth and Development Evaluation for Foals

Anatomy / Pedigree
April 17th, 2019

Foals are evaluated on a consistent basis to ensure they are healthy and in good conformation. Soon after birth, a veternarian will examine the foal to check if everything is going well and if not, get specialized care for the baby. Foals are evaluated on a weekly basis for the first month of life then, bi-weekly thereafter. Development and growth is ideal at a steady rate to ensure they are growing optimally. Chris Baker from Three Chimneys Farm takes us through a growth and development evaluation for Love and Pride19. Watch to learn more!

Timeline of Breeding Thoroughbreds

Anatomy / Pedigree
April 4th, 2019

The cycle of breeding, gestation and delivery follows a specific timeline for Thoroughbred horses. Chris Baker at Three Chimneys Farm shares some background on that timeline and how the farm ensures the broodmares are safe and healthy. It is an excellent and thorough video with a beautiful view of Love and Pride in the Kentucky.