Weaning our 2009 foals.

As I mentioned yesterday we are beginning the process of weaning our 2009 foals. Process is the idea, because the simple act of separating a mare and foal is often the cause of so much stress for both. Here at Tranquility Farm we have the luxury of time. The mares are never bred back, and due to the surplus of horses everywhere, this is probably the last foal they will ever have. We can let them savor their days together and we allow our foals to stay a bit longer with their mothers as nature intends so that they become very well-socialized in the ways of the herd.

The wisdom of their mothers, and the way they relate to the world, is something that each foal carries with them for their entire life. As humans, we can surely relate to the value of early education. Before weaning, we also want to be sure that our foals have every confidence that humans are their friends.

Earlier in the year the mares and foals were put in the barn every night because of cold weather and the possibility of a passing mountain lion. Later in the summer, when the foals are strong and the weather is warm, we let them stay outside in the pasture at night. Now it is late summer, and soon it will be fall at our altitude. Before we separate the foals from their mothers we once again accustom them to being indoors. Prior to weaning we bring them in for a few evenings with their mothers, so they once again see the barn as place of comfort and security.
Today went very well, all the mares settled in perfectly and we gave lots of carrots and individual attention to them and their foals to make the barn a good experience. Weaning is less about separating the foals from their mothers than it is about bonding them with humans as their source of affection and guidance. This is how we make the transition with the least stress. The mares and foals will be in this pattern for a couple of days, and we will update their progress.