Though disturbing to us, infanticide is fairly commonplace across many species. Foals naturally stay very close to their dams during the first few weeks of life, so distance from others will be a form of protection. Reminiscent of running from a predator, a mare protecting her foal from a herdmate or human who gets too close might first chose to just move him away.
Foals are “followers” so the mare might give the foal a push, and then he will follow her as she leaves. A mare might maneuver herself between the foal and intruder but stay put, particularly in an enclosed environment like a stall or small paddock.
Mares have a behavior called “tending” or the “recumbency response” in which they simply stand over their sleeping foal. What you are going to watch in this video is a mare called Bella and her foal Jewel taking a stroll together in the pasture.
Bella wants to get close to Demon, Jewel’s dad, but as soon as they approach Bella starts kicking the stallion. As a matter of fact, it’s so funny as he was just standing there, minding his own business, when the foal walked under his head and then the mare acted. The mare was there giving a fair warning to the stallion and telling him that she would be there for her baby. Watch the video!
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