Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: middle of nowhere
Most weanlings you buy from quality sellers will be vaccinated, have had their hooves trimmed, and will be halter broke and stand tied. Some go the extra mile and haul their babies to a show or two, or a roping so they get out to see the world, and may have started a little bit of desensitization. Some people, particularly show folks, will have weanings and yearlings that are as broke as they can be-- they'll stand tied, stand for clipping and the farrier and grooming, they've been hauled, shown in halter and lunge line, exposed to dogs and atvs and lawnmowers and cattle and bicycles and tarps and bridges and have been ponied on trail rides, and nothing bothers them. Those youngsters are usually going to cost a pretty penny, too.
Weanlings off some large-scale breeders, western ranches, and BYB's can be wild as March hares and have had little or no handling. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but probably not what you want if you're just starting out. You can easily hurt a youngster teaching him to stand tied, for instance, so if he already knows that so much the better. If you don't have the facilities to safely teach him, then best get something with at least the basics.
I agree with finding someone experienced and learning from them. Sometimes you learn what not to do as much as what to do, but it's all learning. The bare minimum of equipment I want for working with young horses is a sturdy, safe place with good footing to tie where they won't get hurt if they freak out a bit, a round pen, and strong, solid pasture and corral fencing. A baby will go through or over fencing a lot more readily than an adult horse, and if you've only been around solid, broke adult horses, it's a whole 'nuther ball game. Things you wouldn't think a horse could get hurt on will get your youngster injured. Things an adult horse won't bat an eye at can scare a baby. Youngsters are not horses you can make mistakes with-- an older horse may stand tied to anything, a youngster may for a while, then test it and realize he can get away or pull back and scare himself. He may load one day and put up a fight the next. He'll stay nicely in the pasture fence for months, but if you take out his buddy, he may well go through or over it.
If you have a round pen or sturdy corral, gentling down a wild, snorty youngster is a pretty simple process, but it's easy to screw them up and make them untrusting if you do it wrong. If you absolutely cannot find someone to work with you and must go on your own, spend the money for a nice youngster who has had a lot of quality handling and is well-bred with a good temperament. Some bloodlines tend to be much more easily trained and forgiving of mistakes than others, and that's a big deal when you're starting out with young horses. If the horse has a good mind, good conformation, and a good pedigree with papers, he'll be marketable if you decide youngsters aren't for you, and chances are that even if you make some mistakes, you won't ruin him and he'll still turn out to be a solid citizen.