Unhandled Yearling JUST separated from Mom

In a bizarre turn of events I got dumped with a Thoroughbred yearling who was not halter broke and the only separated from mom the day she was dropped off at my property.

My immediate plans is to keep her in the stall for the first two weeks (12x12) and just let her decompress. She is obviously very distraught and the only other horse on property is my 23 yo retired jumper. I put her in the stall next to him so she can feel some sort of companionship.

I am worried about her stress levels having NEVER been away from mom and from the original owner (not the woman I actually got her from) was still NURSING OFF MOM.

Looking for any advice on decompressing, helping with her stress levels, when to start trying to halter break/ work with her.


  • She came with a halter and in the barest form can kinda can walk on a lead line. It’s more of a redirection of attention and limiting her directional choices.

Try to find her turnout in a compatible herd. She will lose her mind alone in a stall.


The good news is my stalls have a 12x24 run attached that is cross fenced with a pasture. So she will still be able to be with my old man and see him without being in a position where I am u able to catch her again.

He’s the only other horse on the property but there will be a pipe fence between them.

Young horses need herd socialization. It really helps later when you start to train them. They need to have basic herd behaviour instilled by other horses.


I would keep her in the stall next to your other horse for at least 3-4 days… I have had new young horses arrive and try to jump the fence or escape. They just want to “go home” and aren’t particular about where they end up because they don’t even know where home is. The urge to search for their herdmates is strong.

Once the foal seems calm, and is quietly eating and dozing in a relaxed and comfortable manner, then it’s time to consider turnout. If the foal is still agitated, then I would consider stalling another day or two. But it shouldn’t take 2 weeks.

Now is a good time to introduce yourself and maybe start working on halter training.

Where are pictures? And have you decided on a name yet?


You sound like a person who is the best person for this project! Years ago I was given a pony mare with a 7 year old 1/2 Arab, 1/2 pony mare still nursing! The previous owner had moved and left them on the property suggesting that I sell them and keep the money for my trouble. I was young and had no idea it would be difficult to do so. The still-nursing 1/2 Arab was untouched! Like you I didn’t have options–those who say a herd turn out is best, are correct --but the logistics of finding a herd and getting your yearling to the herd (and honestly, I wouldn’t let you turn out a horse this untrained on my property with my horses) --are not understanding your situation. You have only what you have to work with --blessing to have your older horse. I think you are correct to keep the new horse where you have it —until it settles down --and that should be in a few days. @4horses is spot on with start halter training. If you don’t have a background in this, snap up some DVDs of ground work with young/untrained horses --but always keep yourself safe. My own project worked out well enough for the two horses left on my property. I almost immediately sold the pony --solved the problem on a 7 year old nursing --then spent about six weeks working (on the ground) with the 1/2 Arab. Eventually sold her too --it was to her advantage she had papers that proved the 1/2 Arab --it was a lot of work to get her halter trained and relatively safe to be around --and I wouldn’t do it again. She went to a home of experienced horse people who well-knew what they were buying.

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Though she was still nursing, it’s probable she was only grabbing a few sips of milk every so often. At her age, I doubt that her dam would have been able to provide all the nutrition she needed. She looks to be in pretty good shape so she must have also been eating grass (hay? grain?) at her former home. That will make weaning easier food wise.

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When you get ready to let her out in the pen, consider adding some visual enhancement to the end, so she doesn’t try to jump out if scared or wanting out.
Maybe add some flags or cloth strips to the bars there?

I would also not let the older horse out, keep him in the pen by her initially, so she doesn’t get frantic as he walks off away from her pen, until she knows well to stay calmly in the pen.

A friend was given a pregnant mare and her colt was weaned in November in a set-up like yours, perfect for that.
At some time in those first days, something may have scared colt, he ran at the gate on the end of his pen, that was plenty tall and safe for most horses, seem to have tried to jump it, had a rotational fall and broke his neck.
Have heard of something like that happening more than once, why the warning.

It is ok to wean her there, with the old gelding, but later at some time, once you have her well halter trained and used to being handled, there may be a time where finding a herd situation for her to grow up with for some months would really be best for her to grow up well adjusted as the horse she is by nature.
There is where young horses learn to live and work and respect others, invaluable to better understand working with humans for the rest of their lives.

Horses growing without proper horse socialization when young tend to later be less confident, quirky and have trouble adapting to any new happening in their lives, not nice to try to handle and live with.

Set her up for success by managing her so she can be a well adjusted adult eventually.
Bet you will figure what is best for her.

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I think your current set up / handling plan is perfect. I would want her in a safe enclosure while she settles in. Plenty of time for herd socialization later on when she is calm and feels at home. Good luck with her.

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Good update. She is cute and looks happy.


Well done! It looks as though all is moving in the right direction. Thanks for the update.

Glad things are going well. Sometimes getting one with a completely clean slate is better than one who has been screwed up by their previous handlers.

She is really pretty.