Mare taking a long time to dry up

I have a mare who is taking what seems like a long while to totally dry up. She isn’t swollen or engorged and is back in work, but that little bit of milk is still there. I intentionally don’t milk her, but I’ve been very lightly checking every couple of weeks.

Her colt is 9 months old. We weaned gradually because I was hoping to keep everyone on site (and because everyone seemed so calm and steady about all of it). He’s been very independent from Day 1 and there’s been no drama about his weaning process from him or the mare at any point.

We started by separating them at night at around 5 months and they’ve been totally separated since 7.5 months. They each spend pasture time with the 2 other adult horses at separate times. He’s doing great in every way so far.

Is 6 weeks outside of normal for her still have milk? Is the problem that she can still see him? They can even be led past each other without any nursing behaviors and I’ve seen her defend her hay pile from him recently (they were on two sides of the same fence — which has been fortified so he cannot reach through it). He is her only foal and she is 15 and in great weight and health. She eats grass mix hay, a ration balancer, and joint supplements only, no grain (didn’t need grain at any point).

Do you think I’m going to need more than time to get through the last 5% of weaning?

My older (16) broodmare never fully dries up; she’s had 5 foals. Yours may also be like that, although it’s less common in mares that have only had one foal than in those that have had multiples. It’s not something I worry about.

Thanks - I am not worried from a health perspective, but I need to figure out a way for everyone to live together again eventually since that is our setup. I should add that the colt has already been gelded, and I have no plans for the mare to be bred again.

I lost my oldest broodmare last year. She had a full bag for 9 years after her last foal. :woman_shrugging:

ETA after reading your post above: I weaned my current weanling/yearling back in October. She was separated from mom for 2 months, then I started putting them back together. Mom has not totally dried up, but when they were reunited and baby tried to nurse, mom said, “NOPE!!!” They live together now with the rest of my herd and there is no nursing, no attempts at nursing. So you may be able to put them back together without issue even if she still has milk. My mare’s bag has slooooowly been drying up and is still getting smaller even after baby was reintroduced.

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I hope that can be us! I’m not totally convinced she wouldn’t let him nurse if he was persistent (he’s a pretty persistent fellow) but maybe after a little more time…

Sorry for the loss of your old broodmare.

Update: mare is still not dry, but this week I let everyone be together while I could be close by. I started with a small amount of hay out, hoping she would run off the colt like any other gelding. And she did! He has not been trying to nurse much, but occasionally has thought to ask her and so far the answer has been nope! Still not quite ready to let them be together unsupervised in case he wears her down, but I think we are headed solidly in the right direction!

Thanks for the advice here.