Anton Deckers: “Don’t wean the foal too early”


Anthony Deckers. Pictures of Wendy Scholten – Horse Auctions in Europe

Anyone buying a pony at one of the many pony auctions next summer will need a plan. Where will this foal grow? Do you have options in the house, will it be placed separately in a stable or in a meadow day and night? If you do not have space for this, you can turn to specialized horse breeding companies. Anton Deckers from Winterswijk-Miste has been raising ponies up to the age of three since 2003 and is busy all year round, seven days a week, caring for and watching young horses. Horse auction platform in Europe asked him a number of questions.

“The health of the foals is my number one priority. I set high standards for it. The foals must grow well and be in good condition. They get everything they need from us. The right nutrition and a safe environment. I divide the foals so that there is peace in the group. By watching them I make up my mind. I try to find friends together. I don’t throw new foals into an existing group. I let the couple get used to each other first and add to the rest later. You see they often visit each other again.”

Head after weaning

“There are breeders who want to wean their foals at 3.5 months, but you shouldn’t want to at all. The lactation period is essential for a foal to grow and in the last month there is still a lot of happening between mother and foal. You also don’t have to bring her to me if she is 4.5 months old. Only.At least 5.5 months in good shape and healthy.This is the responsibility of the breeder and I can go ahead with it.Make sure to prune them neatly,some people are easy on this too.Deworming is not necessary.I prefer to do it myself,so that all the ponies get in and the young horses in my deworming system. I deworm them all at the same time using the same product. I use compost samples to see what they do when they are all dewormed.”

Feeding young horses

”In winter, the amount of concentrates is adjusted according to age and condition. Foals feed on a lot of concentrates and always at the same time. When they grow a little, the amount of concentrate is reduced, so that I do not find them very fresh in the fold and have peace in the group. They can always take bran with me without any restrictions. As a result, they can eat all day, the chance of developing colic is very small and they are not bored. The group’s stables also dispersed every day and the horses also eat some of that. Young horses live in the pasture day and night from the end of April to the end of October. This period of course depends on the weather. Extremely barren pastures are disastrous. You don’t want them to eat a lot of sand. I also think a lot of space is important, they have to be able to move around a lot. I have some pastures at home, but most of the young horses go out to pastures in Friesland in the summer. There are fewer flies out there and they have more space. But whether they are in the group stable or on the pasture, I check the horses over and over again.”

Deworming and vaccinations

“Before the horses go into the meadow, they deworm. If this is not enough, the worms are dewormed again during the time they are in the meadow. Pasture management should also be good. The horses come to me in a clean, mowed meadow. Must Is the pasture not too empty due to drought or overgrazing, because there is a higher chance that horse manure will eat, swallow eggs and worms develop.As for vaccinations: When foals come here they are vaccinated twice against strangulation and every six months against rhinos and influenza.I think it is important That horses build up their own resistance, which is why I don’t do strangulation very often. All these vaccinations are an investment, but you reduce the stress of infection a lot. You get along with other people’s horses. I also talk to my colleagues about vaccinations and then ask what they do, because you can Always learning from each other. That way you keep the topic transparent.”

Education Developments

I have groups of ten, twelve, fourteen horses, chosen by age. So there are not very large groups, so that I keep an overview and have peace among them. I had larger groups of ponies, but I came back from that. I have also modified my vaccination schedule over the years. Initially the horses were given the strangulation and influenza vaccine at the same time, but in recent years I have given them strangulation first and a little later the flu. As a result, they take in less substances at once. I’ve been doing more fertilizer research recently.”

”It is important to keep the ponies in a group for socialization. Horses also make more antibodies when they are in a group, because they get less from each horse. It’s like a kindergarten. The order also arises in the group. Foals feed each other.”

Special Education Tips

“Always make sure you have a mate for your horse. If there is a problem, they look for it and cooperate together. Horses are like magnets. I always make sure there are an even number of foals in my group. An odd number of foals do not work in a small group, because then you will always have a foal He is a bully.”

Source: horse auctions

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