Wendy O'Connor

The Orphan Foal


  • Spiral bound : 43 Pages
  • Publisher: Whorl Publishing
  • ISBN: 978-0-9957440-1-1
  • Dimensions: 240 × 175 × 12 mm

This book has been written as a practical guide to explain how a foal should be cared for if the dam is unable or unwilling to feed her foal.

Sections include: how to foster an orphan foal; how to hand-rear an orphan foal; how to integrate and educate an orphan foal with other horses; how a foal should be cared for if its dam is unable to feed it.

About the author

Wendy O’Connor has over 45 year’ experience of working with horses, 30 years spent on stud farms and the remaining within the racing industry. Wendy is renowned all over the United Kingdom for fostering and hand-rearing orphan foals and has given lectures on her methods. The skills Wendy has acquired are passed on in this book. Time is of the essence when things go wrong and this book will be a valuable guide to anyone involved in breeding horses, whether professionally or for pleasure.

This is a compact, spiral bound manual containing practical advice on the raising of orphan foals from birth to weaning, written by someone with over 30 years of equine stud farm experience. The language is simple and much of the information is presented in point form making it easy to read through and create a mental checklist of what is needed and how to get organised for each step and process. Being prepared is half of the battle and the author has carefully listed the equipment and facilities needed to undertake whichever rearing route is taken.

The author starts with why you might have to consider hand rearing or fostering and what to be on the look out for in a newborn or very young foal. The choice made will depend on many factors and the chapters on both fostering and handrearing outline the pros and cons of each option so that the reader acquires a good understanding of what will be involved. There is excellent advice on handling the foal and trying to ensure that it develops ‘normal’ horse behaviour if it is handreared – they can all too quickly become humanised and badly behaved.

There is no baffling science but reassuring reference to the need to take professional veterinary advice if needed.

This book covers all of the basics and more and would be an excellent addition to the reading material for stud managers and stud employees plus the amateur breeder who wants to ensure they have access to some sensible, practical advice on rearing a foal when things haven’t gone to plan. Vets and vet students will also find it useful if they are unfamiliar with these situations.

Deidre Carson BVSc MRCVS Rossdales LLP