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12 Tips for Safe Foal Handling

Soo Olafsen of S.L.O. Acres is a third-generation horse breeder on her 70-acre boarding and breeding facility in Claremont, ON, which was established by her grandfather in 1919. She was recently elected national president of the Canadian Sport Horse Association (CSHA) and stands Flippin Hot Tobasco, a Bronze Premium CSHA stallion by Flipper, Jay Hayes’ former grand prix mount. Olafsen estimates that over the years she has helped usher nearly 500 foals into the world. While handling foals during their early days may not seem like “training” in itself, in reality every interaction you have with a horse can be considered a training opportunity, no matter how minor. Olafsen employs simple and practical methods to handle the newborns, unlike more extreme “imprinting” practices that have fallen into question in recent years (see sidebar). Here she shares some tips for making the first few weeks of the foal's life a positive…

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