Run, Mocha, Run! Or Why It’s Not a Good Idea to Get Between a Mare and Her Foal

Neela is a wonderful brood mare, although a bit too indulgent. No matter how Wilhelmina tests her by chewing on her mane or ramming her with her head or backing into her like a little Mack truck, Neela will not get cross.

It was time to introduce someone else into the mix, someone mellow enough to not be mean to the foal and and yet confident enough to clock her one if she deserved it.

Enter Mocha, the super-chill Quarter Horse filly who had become a firm but gentle boss of “the boys,” otherwise known as the geldings. I led her inside the playpen, as we call the mare and foal paddock, took off her halter and whispered, “Good luck, Mocha!” While Neela had spent lots of time with Mocha, that was all before the baby arrived. I was counting on Neela being too lumbering and Mocha being nimble enough to avoid injuries.

mares and foal

With her foal carefully tucked behind her, Neela studies the new addition.

I hovered…but all was quiet. Everyone ambled into the pasture to graze. I was surprised, and went about my day.

I was on the upper deck of the barn when the drama erupted, hence the aerial view of the photos.

mare and filly

Who are you? Wilhelmina decides to greet her new Auntie Mocha.

fillies in pasture

Aw, such a sweet moment! The two fillies say hello for the first time. But where’s Neela?

mare and fillies

There she is! Neela moves in with amazing speed to break it up, and Mocha wisely decides to exit while Wilhelmina just tries to get out of the way of her mother’s wrath.

mare and filly

With Wilhelmina now obediently velcroed to her dam’s side, Neela watches to makes sure Mocha remains a respectable distance away from her baby.

mares and filly

My, how things change. A few weeks later, Neela is now happy to have Mocha babysit.

filly at gate

The object of her affection: Wilhelmina pines for Mocha when the two are separated at feeding time (which is necessary because Mocha can fit under the creep-feeding bar and will eat the filly’s food).

filly fit

Like a frustrated toddler, Wilhelmina throws a tantrum because she can’t reach Mocha.

fillies

Reunited! Wilhelmina happily meets Mocha at the gate in the morning.

foal nursing

She’s still her mom, though: Neela and Wilhelmina share dinner.

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