So, what is a baby horse called? A newborn baby horse that is under a year old is called a foal, which is a horse gender-neutral term. To be more specific, a male foal is a colt and a female foal is a filly.
When foals are still nursing they are called sucklings. At around 4 – 6 months, foals will be weaned off their mother’s milk and be known as weanlings. When foals reach their first birthday, they are yearlings
Male Baby Horses
A male baby horse is referred to as a colt. A colt can be used to describe a male horse until he is four years old.
Some people may use the term colt to describe all baby horses, but that is incorrect. Unlike the term foal which can be used to describe any baby horse, colt can only be used to describe male horses under the age of four.
You may hear the term stud colt, which is used to describe a colt that is used for breeding. Typically most people won’t breed a male horse until he is at least three or older. If a horse is standing at stud, that means they are available to be used for breeding.
Female Baby Horses
A baby female horse is called a filly. A female horse can be referred to as a filly until she is four, though some people will use the term filly until the age of five.
People will use the term filly to distinguish a foal as female. Fillies can become sexually mature by 18 months, but they are considered too young at that age and typically won’t be bred until at least age four.
What is the Difference Between a Foal and a Pony?
A foal is used to describe any baby horse under the age of one. Whereas a pony is a horse that measures under 14.2 hands when it is full-grown.
Since ponies are smaller than horses, people sometimes mistake them for baby horses. However, ponies are simply just smaller than horses, even when they are adults. A foal is a baby equine of any type, whether a horse, pony, zebra, mule, or donkey.
5 Facts About Foals & Baby Horses
- When a foal is born, they are able to stand up within minutes and run within hours.
- Foals have very long legs, as 80 – 90% of their leg length is already there at birth.
- Fillies tend to be more intelligent and outgoing, whereas colts are shyer.
- Colts tend to physically mature faster than fillies.
- When born, a foal will typically weigh 10% of the mother’s weight.
To learn more about foals (baby horses), see our guide on what is a foal.