Playing with a Weanling


As I start to feel better I find myself feeling playful when I am out doing my chores. Last night that resulted in a little ground play session with Oliver!


One thing I like to do with my babies is play with them at liberty, no halter, no ropes. This sets the stage for later, playing with a halter and lead rope!


We play with mirroring, stick to me, exploring things with our feet, going over rails on the ground, etc. It's a great way to begin obstacle training. Babies are naturally curious and playful. If you can tap into that and then reward them for some of their great ideas, they catch onto the game very quickly.


Oliver loves hay pellets. I will reward him with a handful of pellets as well as scratches in all his itchy spots. For these two things he will follow me all over. So last night I decided it was time to ask him to step on the bridge. He did so without hesitation with his front feet. There was a slight hesitation with his hinds, but it was just for a split second. Then he had all four up and was happily standing on the bridge! We did this a few times.


That expanded into me running down the side of the track with the rails and the rocks and him cantering along behind me jumping the rails. He would race around bucking and leaping then run straight to me where he got a handful of grass pellets. I'm happy to report that he would buck AWAY from me and didn't crowd my space at all. Amazing for a weanling!


Sometimes, you'll find you need to help them manage their space a little bit at first. Especially if they live with adult ponies that don't have very good boundaries. Sky has GREAT boundaries with Oliver which is actually helping me. He knows he should not bounce around close to my personal bubble.


He does come in close and rub up against me like a cat when he is seeking comfort. When we are playing he is seeking play and those are two separate things. So he is happy to bounce around, buck and leap well away from me. I wasn't fast enough to get that on video, however, so you'll have to enjoy this short video of a little bit of our play last night!


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© 2023 by The Essential Horse. Mindy Schroder.