The viral video captured a nervous colt, capering around in a typical ranch scene in Texas. The young Paso Fino must have been learning new things all the time, and it appeared that everywhere he looked presented a new challenge. But apparently the foal simply could not fathom how he was supposed to negotiate one particular obstacle in his path. He is shown making a very big thing over a very small wall. The seemingly insurmountable hurdle had given the young horse the heebie jeebies until he felt a familiar presence at his side.
Indeed, it turned out that it was a very familiar presence; the dominant figure in the little colt’s life – his mom. And she had been there from the start. Any human mother will tell you that pregnancy floods the body with hormones. Well, the same is true of equines. When horses come to term, a complicated series of chemical reactions begins. These serve various different purposes to help with the birthing and bonding process.
To begin with, the mare’s level of progesterone – which the expectant mom’s body creates during pregnancy – decreases to induce labor. Oxytocin is also an important part of this process. This hormone spurs the placenta on, causing the horse’s water to break. One theory suggests that the mother-to-be can even control the release of oxytocin. This way, the mare is able to choose when and where to give birth.
Part of the reasoning behind this assumption is formed by the fact that horses mostly deliver at night. Nevertheless, hormonal change in the mom does not end after her foal is delivered. Indeed, chemically based behavioral cues coupled with sights and smells dictate her demeanor towards her newborn going forward.
When the foal emerges, it is covered in fluids from mommy, and this draws her to the baby. It is in these initial moments when the special bond between parent and child is first formed. Furthermore, the mare’s actions towards the birth fluids actually helps shape the development of her newborn.
Mother mare, lured in by the scent of the fluids, frequently nudges and nibbles at her baby. Mom’s constant attention is thought to come as a source of great annoyance to the newborn. Her bothersome behavior encourages the foal to first stand and then attempt to escape the unwelcome sensation.
But, the faster a baby horse can stand, the quicker it can learn to walk and then run, so it can flee from potential predators. Naturally, the mother-baby bond continues to develop as the foal matures. They stay close by each other’s side, especially in the first few weeks of the baby’s life.
Initially, a newborn horse may follow any large mobile object that they believe to be their mother. However, a foal will very quickly learn to identify their mom, and she will guide them through their early learning. These special moments are precious and heart-warming to witness, as one viral video goes to show.
The clip in question was uploaded in June 2013 by YouTube user Mary Berg, a 60-year-old animal lover who lives in the small city of Taylor, TX. The undoubted star of the video show is a young Paso Fino colt who is just starting to find his way in the world. And Berg’s footage displays the foal’s inexperience perfectly.
The video opens with the gangly fellow trotting around in a field in front of a farmstead. However, an unexpected obstacle appears to be hampering the little horse’s explorations. Unbelievably, a small ridge of a wall, no more than a few inches high, seems to present an insurmountable problem to the foal.
Indeed, to the viewer, the hurdle seems small and insignificant, but nevertheless, from the young colt’s point of view, it must appear massive. So what is the baby supposed to do in the face of such a huge challenge? Well, initially, it looks like the foal is not too sure himself.
We watch as the young Paso Fino wheels away from the little wall, and then cautiously approaches it again – a little slower this time. Even on this return encounter, the brick-wall ridge seems just as impassable as it did the first time around. The foal next appears to decide that if he is to be successful, he needs to try a different tactic.
It looks like the colt is coming at the problem from all angles, and he tries to examine the wall from another perspective by wandering further along it. Unfortunately, the foal does not find any other way around his man-made nemesis. The conundrum is evidently quite perplexing to him.
The poor baby Paso Fino just cannot work out what to do about the ridge, and seems at a loss about how to traverse it. You can almost see the confusion on his face as the foal turns away from the little wall deflated. Then Berg’s video shows the infant do something totally instinctual.
Unable to fight and overcome this problem, the colt decides to flee. The young equine seems to give up on trying to pass the ridge, and heads off in the opposite direction instead. The foal still appears to be a little hesitant to admit defeat, but it looks like there is no other option. The whole situation seems hopeless.
At least, it appears that way until he sees a familiar figure nearby. The little colt’s mommy has been patiently watching her baby try and solve the problem by himself. But when she sees her son give it up as impossible, the maternal mare does not hesitate to run to his side.
Realizing that her foal needs her help, mommy steps in to give him some guidance. She trots off across the field, and the colt seems to immediately understand that school is now in session. The young learner dutifully makes the move to trot along at her side, and then follows his mom as she trots.
At a far enough distance away, mommy loops around in the direction of the wall. The video shows her starting to trot faster into something of a gallop. And junior is following right beside her. The mare picks up more speed, and the colt falls back just a little to let mom take the lead.
When the adult horse approaches the ridge, it shows just how much larger she is to it compared with the colt. The little Paso Fino had such trouble negotiating the low wall, but mom could easily step over it. Instead, she shows her offspring exactly how such obstacles should be hurdled – literally. The mare leaps over the wall with the greatest of ease. With this, she is showing the young horse that there is nothing to worry about.
A few seconds later, and the video shows junior follows his mom’s example, and he jumps straight over his arch enemy. The clip comes to a close with the pair running triumphantly across the field together. And more than five million YouTube viewers have subsequently shared in this triumph by watching Berg’s upload. The viral video is a lovely example of the beautiful bond between a mare and her foal.