Horsing around - Owena's animal report from Baulcombes

There are five farm animals that have been highly domesticated from the wild; horses, pigs, sheep, goats and cows. All these animals could be domesticated because they have a clear social pattern of behaviour. This can be transferred to humans, with the result that an animal may learn to follow the person rather than the lead animal.




Horses are flight animals, fear is their dominant emotion.

Horses depend a lot on vision and sound, they can be easily startled by sudden, unfamiliar movement or sound. They can learn to accept unusual sounds and movements.

Horses have survived by flight rather than by attacking. A new born foal can get up and run within a few hours of birth.

white horse

Foals will learn from their mother or an older horse,  and so when you brush the mother, the foal will see that she is ok to be brushed.

Foals need to be habituated to new situations and sensations. They should be introduced to new things slowly. These include grooming, picking feet up, putting head collar on, bridle, saddle, fly spray, rugs, being tied up, being led, traffic, cycles, balloons, flags etc.

Work with the foals ‘seeking’ nature, let the foal smell and look at things, let him follow if appropriate. Foals should be introduced to new things in short bursts of time. If he shows agitation, stop and give him a thirty minute break.

When something new is introduced to the foal, and he responds adversely, identify if the foal is fearful from the sight, sound or smell.


Horses may startle when they see a familiar object from a different angle to which they are usually accustomed.

A horse can show fear by switching the tail; holding his head high; sweating when there is no physical exertion; quivering; showing whites of the eye;

If the horse behaves in a difficult way, identify if it is fear or pain that is causing the problem.

Owena Lewis, farmer and therapist, Baulcombes Barn

Information about our animals from Baulcombes Barn

sheep baulcombes Sheep facts                                                                             

  • Female sheep are called ewes
  • Male sheep are called rams
  • Young female sheep are called tegs
  • Rams are also known as tups
  • Sheep are most fertile in October and  November
  • Sheep have a rumen stomach
  • Sheep are herd animals
  • They like to be in a group, if one sheep gets separated it will panic
  • Sheep can be rounded up by walking slowly
  • You can tell the age of sheep by their teeth
  • You assess a sheep’s condition by feeling the amount of fat around the back bone at the shoulder

pigs at baulcombes

Pig facts 

  • Pigs can live outdoors
  • Pigs are omnivores
  • Pigs can’t sweat, in summer they get hot
  • Pigs have sharp teeth
  • Pigs go in water to wallow and cool down
  • Pigs make lots of identifiable noises


Hen facts                                                                                           

  • Hens are omnivores.
  • Hens lay about 200 eggs a year
  • Hens like to scratch the ground for bugs
  • Hens like to live with other hens. and grow a thick winter coat
  • Hens have a pecking order
  • Foxes like to kill and eat chicken
  • Hens can take three weeks to hatch a chick
  • Hens moult for about 9 weeks and stop laying eggs
  • Groups of hens only need one cockerel


Pony facts 

  • Ponies can be groomed and led
  • Ponies loose their summer coat in autumn
  • Ponies like to live in a herd
  • Some ponies will try to dominate and need to be clearly handled
  • You can tell how old a pony is by its teeth
  • Ponies can easily be frightened by sudden noise
  • Ponies can sense sounds through their hooves
  • Ponies have worked with humans for hundreds of years