Weanlings ~ A Day In My Life

A day in the life of a DeGraff Stables weanling is full of learning opportunities.  Jenna McGrath, works dilegently with each foal to teach it that people are good and instills the will to learn to try hard to please their handlers. 

Each foal, starting from the first day, is haltered and led alongside their dam to aTaking Halters On and Off Safely is Importantnd from their stall daily for turn outs.  Once they are about a month old, and the weather cooperates in the spring, they are turned out to live in the healthy outdoors. Most of our paddocks have three-sided shelters and mares with the youngest foals are given preference for these pens.  Foals are able to have play mates which we believe is so important for development, yet with the layout of Liberty Farm, each paddock is easily monitored daily.

Weaning really is not a stressful ordeal at DeGraff Stables.  As we are supplementing the foals food through creep feePatience Is Required to Teach Foals How To Set Their Feet Squarelyding, we leave the foals on the mares aroung 5-6 months of age.  By this time, the foals have learned some independence.  We remove a mare or two at a time, starting with the oldest foals.  The mares are moved to a different area of the farm and the foals still have their ‘buddies” and the rest of the herd for company.  This is continued until all the mares are removed.   

Once the foals have been weaned, we bring them into the barn and their training begins in earnest.  Jenna works her magic with them.  They already know how to lead, but now they learn how to set up square when stopped.  They are taught to tie.  They already have experience with the blacksmith, but are now trained to pick up their feet.  They are groomed, they get their manes and tails combed and get their manes banded.  They are exposed to clippers and to bathing and hosing.

Next, the weanlings go to school with one of our headmasters “Little Robin”Hooking Up Foal to "Todd" the Necking Donkey or “Todd” the donkeys.  These lessons are invaluable.  We LOVE our necking donkeys.  The donkeys teach the foals respect without the involvement or a reprimand from a human.  Jenna starts hooking them in their stalls and then they graduate to outdoors.  Soon they are ready for their trailer rides around the farm and are taught to load and unload.  Our goal is to lay the groundwork for a solid future.  We make them familiar with all aspects of being handled so that they be great partners for their new owners.   Whew! I’m tired just thinking of how much they do at such a young age!