Weanling Training Plan: Opinions/Suggestions Please!

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Weanling Training Plan: Opinions/Suggestions Please!

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  • 2 Post By MustangGirl

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    06-25-2013, 01:37 PM
Weanling Training Plan: Opinions/Suggestions Please!

Hi, I'm planning on purchasing a weanling for the beginning of September (looking at one this week to put a deposit down). I'm not planning to show or breed, just a lifelong riding partner. She'll be staying at my parents' farm (free board, yay!, just pay for hay in winter) with my 21 yr old mare (used to be an excellent broodmare) who can teach her herd manners.

This is my basic plan and please let me know if you see errors/flaws or omissions.

I'll be getting her at a little over 5 months old and she will be halter broke and have her feet worked with. My plan is to let her "wean" for a week or so, and let her get used to the new surroundings. I'm planning to keep her separate from my mare for the first week or so and then have them together. I'd only be there to work with her on weekends (so a couple short sessions Saturday and Sunday, then she has the rest of the week off). I'm planning on working with her on leading, picking up her feet, and being touched all over (especially head). I'm planning on working with her for 10-15 mins at a time, always ending on a good note. I was planning on working with her on this for probably a month or so (or until the snow falls).

Next, I was planning to get her used to blankets, tarps, and a bareback pad (its fleece and maybe weighs 3 lbs, and has a fleece girth. I was not planning on doing up the girth, just touching her belly with it/getting her used to me reaching under for it. I would plan to do this for another month or two (until Xmas time).

I was then planning to leave her until spring maybe (which occasional weekend refreshers, but not introducing anything new). As a yearling, more desensitizing (clipping, bathing, etc.) and maybe cues to walk, light trot, stop and turn (in round pen), but I'm not sure if that's too young.

That's as far as I've planned so far, so if you see any flaws please let me know (in a nice way haha). Also, when should I teach to tie, is it too young to teach as a weanling? Also, how to do that? I have the blocker tie ring and was planning to use that.

Thanks in advance and sorry for the length of question!
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    06-25-2013, 01:42 PM

Sorry, one more thing I wanted to ask: I am interested in using Clicker Training, what age should I introduce it (targeting, etc.)?

Please no bashing Clicker Training, I'm only interested in hearing from you if you can answer my question on it, not try to convince me not to use it.

    06-26-2013, 12:49 AM
I don't pull my weanlings up from pasture until they are 2.5 to 3 years old, so I can't help you, but I'm also interested and researching clicker training. I know one member has a running clicker training thread somewhere.

If I were you, I would spend a lot of time just letting your baby be a horse.
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    06-26-2013, 01:18 AM
MustangGirl, So do not work with them at all until that age? What about leading, picking up feet for farrier, etc.? As for CT, jillybean19 has a great thread going.

Do most people leave their babies out that long? I was under the impression that they started working with them as yearlings or the latest as a two year old.

Welcoming more comments/suggestions.
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    06-26-2013, 02:33 AM
Subbing, as I am interested also. We have a 7 month old we just started halter breaking. We got her at 5 months old and she had no human contact before us.
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    06-26-2013, 11:19 AM
Originally Posted by klkavich    
MustangGirl, So do not work with them at all until that age? What about leading, picking up feet for farrier, etc.? As for CT, jillybean19 has a great thread going.

Do most people leave their babies out that long? I was under the impression that they started working with them as yearlings or the latest as a two year old.

Welcoming more comments/suggestions.
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I halter break them right after weaning and turn them out. After that I may pull them out once every two months just to mess with their feet and a tiny bit of groundwork. You'd be surprised how fast they learn... If I worked with a colt everyday I could have your training plan done in a week. But, that's a lot for a baby to take in. If I were you, I would spread your training plan out over two years.

I raise ranch horses, and it's different in different circles, but babies need to be just that....babies. That way when they are three and ready to break they have a lot more respect for the work, haven't learned what they can and can't get away with and respond really well to it.
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ridingadventures and MGTS like this.
    06-26-2013, 01:44 PM
Sounds like you have a good plan. Teaching them manners and safe handling is easier when they are young. Obviously you've got all the biggies in your plan- halter, leading, feet. We also teach our babies to tie when they are yearlings- easier to handle and then they won't have gone 5 years without tying later...

I do clicker training with the babies we have, just for fun. Most really enjoy the game. It's just because I want them handled but not worked, since IMO they should just enjoy being a baby for a few years. Just be careful they don't turn into treat muggers, so if you handle them first teach them to respect your space.

A few extra things that might be helpful if you have time- how to take a syringe, and how to have their temperature taken (rectal temp). With the syringe, I use apple juice and sometimes dip it in molasses, and by the time they've done it a few times they love the syringe! I find this is helpful later for deworming or if they ever need oral meds. With the rectal temperature, one person clicks and treats them or gives them a scratch if they stand nice and still while they are being measured.

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