Someone said they don't allow any petting and others sound like if you handle the
foals at all, they'll turn into dangerous spoiled brats!
The idea of leaving foals alone until they are ready to train for riding
makes no sense! If some emergency happens and the young horse has to be
caught, trailered to a vet, medicated, bandaged, etc., as Janice mentioned,
it could turn into quite a traumatic experience.
A horse can learn a lot of things before they're ready to ride. They should
be haltered, have their feet handled, learn to stand quietly for medical
procedures, and learn to go into a trailer. They can be gently taught to
move away from pressure and stay out of you space.
I pony my youngsters or take them for hikes to introduce them to all the
things they'll see when we trail ride. My yearling comes when I call,
halters easily, can stand tied, is pretty good about hoof trimming, follows
a light feel when being led, is fine with having a saddle blanket tossed on
her back, will hike with me through mud, water, steps over logs, etc. and
will be that much more comfortable with these things when we begin riding.
You can handle a young foal and still teach it manners! There's a huge
difference between handling a foal and creating a spoiled brat. To say they
will turn into a dangerous animal, just because they are handled young is not
giving the horse much credit!
That said, I do think it is important for a foal to grow up with a group of
horses that can teach it horse social skills, will we are teaching the
skills it needs to interact well with people.