What a Should a Weanling Know?
Friday 20 January 2012
When you wean your foal, he should already know how to lead. He should have the basics of being groomed in his stall, and should have been introduced to the vet and farrier. But what more can you do with him once his mother has been taken away?
While a foal learns to lead with his mother, he may not yet be comfortable leading on his own. You will need to work with him to teach him to move forward when asked without having another horse to lead the way. By spending a few minutes a day leading him by himself, you can quickly help him to understand that he must go where you want him to, and not necessarily where the other horses are going.
Because he learned to lead with his dam, it is very easy to teach a foal to lead with another horse. It is generally best to start with a mature horse as it is hard to manage two silly babies at once, while a mature horse is likely to remain calm and stabilize your weanling should he become spooked by something.
Take the time to work with your weaning by taking him on walks around the property. Start out with another horse, so that he does not become afraid by himself, but then progress to leading him on his own. Keep the sessions short. Weanlings have no attention span. Always end on a good note.
While it is still too early to tie your horse, take the time to teach him to stand still in the aisle. When grooming him in his stall, ask him to remain in one place, instead of allowing him to wander. This way, he will already be used to staying put, and will accept being tied more easily.
If you can, take your weanling on a trip or two in the trailer. Borrow a calm older horse who trailers well, and take them for s short jaunt around the block. The trip does not need to be long, but it should be pleasant.
It is also a good idea to introduce your weanling to blankets and bandages. Use a no-chew spray to teach him that it isn’t fun to eat them. Bandage him or blanket him, then let him hang out in his stall for a while. Keep an eye on him at first, to make sure that he does not panic.
Continue grooming him regularly, and introduce the clippers. Work on getting him to hold his feet up longer, and try gently pulling his mane. It will take a few sessions to do a good job. It is better to keep the sessions short and sweet than to rush them.
While handling your weanling is important, make sure that he gets tons of turn-out and does not become frustrated with overlong sessions. He is still a baby and needs to enjoy himself. He has lots to learn about being a horse, and spending time outside with his buddies is an essential part of his training.