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Franklin Levinson's

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Weaning Questions

Hi, I have a question for you. We have a four month old filly with her mother. We have begun working with the filly, she is halter broke and leads fairly well, what else can I do with her since she is still with mama and when is the best time to begin weaning her. We feed them their grain separately and keep them apart for an hour during that time; they can see and touch each other though. The mare will be with us for another four weeks before she is returned to her owner. I would really like to work more with the filly rather now rather than waiting until she is separated from the mare. Any suggestions?
Kevin and Wanda


Hi Kevin and Wanda,

Generally, 6 months old is the weaning time. Sounds like you'll be doing it at five months. That's OK. Are there companion horses for this filly? That would be really the best situation. I hope the baby is just not going to be on her own once the mare leaves. If there are other babies plus a few, calm mature horses around, that would be great.

You can get the baby used to quite a few things at this time. Tarps, blankets, jackets and things like that are all fine to get your filly used to. Get her so you can handle her feet, head (ears, mouth), and her whole body easily. Groom her all over. Was she imprinted? This is a wonderful process done at birth. Remember babies have less of an attention span than mature horses. You must be extremely sensitive that you don't scare the filly and be very, very patient. Reward every little 'try' the baby makes. If there are other horses there, has the mare and filly gone out with them? Ride the mare and have the filly run along side. That is great education for the youngster. Weaning is usually the easiest when there are other youngsters around to keep the weanling occupied. If the filly has no Equine companions, she will have quite a bit of separation anxiety. You will have to spend a lot of time with her to keep her feeling secure. Please let me know how it goes. I thank you for your question and hope I have offered some good suggestions for you.

Good Luck and Happy Horses.

Aloha, Franklin

Franklin, thank you so much for your quick reply.

We do have a pony that the filly is friends with. I don't mean to appear stupid but this is our first experience with a baby horse so how exactly to I expose her to tarps, blankets, etc. Do I do that with the mare there or should I separate them, she tends to run to mom if I don't have a fence between them. Do you have any suggestions for a book that I might read? The ones I have just deal with after weaning. Winter is coming up here and I need to try and get as much done as I can before it gets to be below zero again. LOL

Thanks again for your help, Wanda

Hi Wanda,

Your pony will be company for the filly but, probably, will not teach your filly much (maybe it will). Anyway, you can introduce the filly to new things with Mom there.

Suppose it is a trap you are trying to introduce, try this; Lead the mare over the tarp while the filly is haltered and have someone else steady the filly and lead her over it with the mare. After a few times and the filly has accepted going over the tarp, try leading her over it with the mare standing right by. This is basically the procedure for introducing the filly to all kinds of things. Do it with the mare and then without the mare. Once the baby is weaned you should reinforce the lesson again several times. Hopefully, that will handle it. These things are somewhat hard to get from books (or emails). Perhaps there is interest in your area for my kind of gentle, common sense horsemanship. If you have a few friends who would like to experience my work, please let me know. I am currently in Colorado and free to travel.

Good luck and keep me posted.

Aloha, Franklin

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