This weaning stuff is why you hear stories of horses that are 5 years old and have never been separated from their dams. It's also the reason you here of horses that are shut in a stall their whole lives. I admit it's pretty tempting. Just shut him in a stall and when he's 2 years old, call a trainer to come pick him up.
Today we started by turning Ace out in the indoor with Hairy our "babysitter" horse. Ace was so excited to meet a new hors! He ran and ran and reared up and walked on his hind legs, and showed Hairy all his best cutting horse moves. This lasted about 10 minutes. Hairy was unimpressed. mainly Hairy just didn't want to get bitten or kicked, and he escaped unscathed. When Hairy failed to play back, Ace lost interest. He then decided he really missed his Mom and maybe he ought to see about getting back to her. My mother stood at the gates with a whip to shoosh him away and dissuade him from trying to jump. He continued to run and fuss for another 10 minutes. He was already wet from being out in the rain this morning, and 20 minutes of running had him steaming pretty good. He was also starting to get tired, so we put him back in his stall where I hoped he might settle in and actuallt eat something.
I left him there for 45 minutes. He screamed and fussed, but was at least calm enough to cool off and dry out. The screaming was getting on every one's nerves. We discussed leaving him the rest of the afternoon or putting them back together. Maybe tomorrow we will cut Copy's grain and begin to help dry up her milk supply. She had already been fed quite heavily today, so we put them back together. Ace hasn't had much lunch this week, but he is still fat and slick and can stand to miss a few meals.
Ace is fairly respectful to handle. You have to handle him like an unruly stallion (which at this point he is) but we have been enforcing manners and he has been pretty good with his greatest infraction being rearing. Of course I don't tolerate that. He is learning to respect the chain shank if not humans in general. I remember one of my sister's summer jobs during high school was with a local Standardbred farm. She was one of the staff members charged with bringing the yearling stallions to the barn, halter breaking them, getting them groomed up and ready to go to the sales in the fall. I don't know what I would do if I had to handle 60 untrained yearling stallions every day. Ughh!
Ace was happy to get back to his Mom and get something to drink. I don't blame him. After dealing with that for an hour and a half, I wouldn't mind a drink myself. I'm glad we didn't breed back. I don't think I could do this every year.