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Baby Horses

Picture of a filly

A sleepy filly

The birth of baby horses is one of the chief joys of owning and raising horses, and the newborn horse is one of the most miraculous of creatures. The newborn foal is able to stand up almost at once, and he or she is up and running along with the mare in no time.




It is obvious why nature favors the fast rising and fast moving foals. Horses are after all prey animals, and the wild horses who lacked the ability to stand quickly and keep up with the herd were unlikely to survive for very long. Even today, our pampered mares and foals retain their essential nature, and act accordingly.


When talking about mares and baby horses, it helps to understand a few basic terms.

Filly: female horse who is four years of age or younger is referred to as a filly
Mare: female horse that is five years or older

Both mares and fillies can have babies, but most responsible horse owners will wait until a horse is older before breeding her.

Foals: All baby horses, regardless of their gender
Colt: a male foal
Pony: is not a baby horse, but a horse that is under 14.2 hands of height.

Horses have one baby at a time and the baby horse stays 11 months in the mother's womb.


Perhaps the most important thing the mare owner can do to get the baby horses off to a good start is to have the veterinarian come out and check the foal and mare as soon as possible. It is important for the vet to make sure the new addition is healthy, and that the mare is healthy enough to care for the new foal. It is essential that all baby horses drink the mares milk as soon as possible, since the first mares milk contains nutrients vital to the formation of a healthy immune system in the foal.


If the baby horses are born during cold weather, it is also a good idea to put foal blankets on all the foals. Baby horses can be quite susceptible to chill, and a good blanket will help keep them from getting sick. Of course it is important for the horse owner to keep an eye on the foals when they are wearing their blankets, since baby horses can be remarkably good at wriggling free of their clothing.

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