This is a bit out of order. I wanted to write it down since it is fresh. The weaning process is fairly new to me. Horses seemed to be weaned later, 8 months or so, in the Philippines which is also what happens more in a feral environment. I was never too involved in that process. Here it is usually 6 months. In general, horses are physically ready at 4 to 6 months but emotionally not so much. Depends on the horses.
What I do know for sure is it can be stressful so I am trying to make the process as smooth as possible but not guarding him too much...something something parenting 101. In the last week or so I have decided to start bringing Carbon and his mom out one at a time. The 3 of us don't fit well in the hallway anymore haha but mostly this is to get Carbon used to being on his own with just me ( I am way too small to hide behind he is finding out). I put him in the roundpen ( a familiar place for him) and leave him on his own still able to see other horses including his mother if she goes out of their stall and into the paddock. . He does well. Concerned or anxious at times and even frustrated but in general, he accepts it. His first time he ran in circles more frustrated than afraid because I was in there with him. Not panicked or frantic but not exactly thrilled. He kept looking at me and at the gate and standing by it hoping I would decide to let him go free. A kick or two at the gate itself. Made me chuckle. I started with a few mins and gradually increased it. I would also try to time it to when he is calm and in a good frame of mind, I would put a halter on and take him back to the stall.
Now he knows the drill and is starting to focus on me and be with me and relax. If I leave he does seem concerned but does well to entertain and keep himself calm.
His mom gets grain when I bring him out and is pretty quiet and calm about this new routine. She seems to be more concerned about being left out because if I leave him in the stable and she is out with me they barely even call to each other and both seem to think it is not a big deal whatsoever.
They seem to be in a good spot weaning-wise. They don't act like the world is ending if they can't see each other which is great and what I am trying to avoid.
Today he went with me to the arena on his own. There was some hesitancy. He was more alert and concerned than his usual self but present, with me. A little bit in my space but nothing horrible. He did pretty darn good for the first time. Bolted a few times as we had cats running around up above which is new for him. ( Carbon: How do they get up there? Wait what??!)
I am glad they are unknowingly helping me out as really made him face his own fear himself and rely on me a bit versus just noping out and wanting to be with his mom. He started to calm down and relax and we walked back to their stall. Had to remind him not to rush. I was setting the pace but being understanding and he did great staying with me despite his anticipation. When we got in the stall he wanted water and milk all the comforts at once. Just so excited he survived the big day and was rushing again. I kind of just held him unmoving til he calmed down a bit and then I took off the halter so he doesn't get in the habit of it."Oh we are in the stall now, free for all!" However, I understand why he is rushing so I don't take it personally. It's a milestone for him. Once I find out which stall will be his I'll probably introduce him to it and even feed him in it so when it comes time to truly separate it won't be such a huge event like what Frisky went through which wore her out for a week since it was done very suddenly. Even at about 10 months, it was very stressful for her. Still working out logistics but to clarify he is not going to be left in the stall alone all the time. This is mostly at night but I am sure it will be an adjustment for him.