Foal walking

I am keen to get my foals out for a longer walk this weekend, particularly as the weather has been appalling for the past week and the Costa Blanca has suffered an unusual period of continuous rain. The donkeys have therefore spent a full week now standing in mud and I am concerned that their hooves should have an opportunity to walk on terra firma and dry out for a while, as well as get some exercise.

I still have not found any reliable information or advice on the distances one can walk with foals who still have vulnerable hoof frog areas. Advice would be gratefully appreciated. I would like to do a longer walk, maybe three or four kilometres, as an intermediate stage after they have now become used to a one kilometre return trip up the hill and back. The adults need the natural hoof trim from a walk, but the foals must accompany them. Is it possible for the foals to do a walk of three or four km now?

I’ve searched everywhere for advice. It must be the same for horse foals, surely?


About Gareth Thomas

After a mixed career as an aircraft technician, London fringe theatre playwright, Franciscan friar, and secondary school teacher, I find myself looking after the needs of four donkeys in a remote location in the mountains in the Costa Blanca. I like to listen to BBC Radio 4 and the wind in the pine trees. I am writing a comedy about a school in Benidorm. My favourite film of all time is "Jean de Florette". If I had my time again I would not have spent the early 1970s working for Special Branch.
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4 Responses to Foal walking

  1. Rebrites says:

    Paco, the shepherd at Bercianos, has a donk who accompanies him out with the sheep, she always has a foal of some size or other. The gang of them walk every day to whatever pasture he is using, up to 4 km. away. The babies always go, and they never have foot troubles. He thinks this is an odd concern, as the babies are more duro than the adults!

  2. Frere Rabit says:

    Thank you, Reb. That is precisely the kind of practical advice I am looking for. The whole field of animal welfare in Spain is now highly bureaucratic and the vets are only going to err on the side of caution. I am looking to see what is practical and sensible for my donks, as opposed to what is the regulated advice on paper! If the foals do not walk a sensible distance soon, the mothers will not have the exercise they need, nor the natural hoof trim that walking provides!

    This news came too late for this weekend and we did our usual one kilometre walk, repeated for each mother and foal. I’ll go out for a longer walk with them next weekend. I have a teaching colleague from work who now joins me to help walk them, as the foals are a bit lively and bounce along, leaping and grunting, like a circus act!

  3. toadspittlle says:

    try to keep them off pavement though, much as you can. Keep to the senda!

  4. Frere Rabit says:

    You would love them, Paddy. They are real characters. Full of fun. i’m off to the stable to see them now. (10 pm!) Can’t keep away from the little critters. They will not be like this for ever, so I am savouring every minute of it. Cuddly fluffy donkeys. You can’t beat the cuteness! Reb was right.

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