I was wondering how Lane’s End handles the care of weanlings and yearlings. I know a number of larger operations more or less turn the kids out and only bring them in when it’s time for veterinary care or hoof trimming, with the idea that they’re just letting the babies be babies until the time they need to be prepared for yearling sales or training. I was just wondering if Lane’s End does this or if you guys do give more personal care to the little guys even before they need sales prepping or training!
Toms River, NJ
A: At Lane’s End we try to find the right balance between letting horses be horses and that extra bit of professional and personal care.
Our weanlings make the transition from the broodmare side of the farm to the yearling division in the month of December. At this point, we will separate the colts and fillies so the boys have their fields and the girls have theirs. This is a stressful time for these young horses so we keep their routine as similar as possible to what it was like at the broodmare division. This will reduce any additional stress and make their transition that little bit easier.
This routine consists of the weanlings/yearlings coming in from the fields at 7am. We lead them into the barn and run our hands down each horse’s leg. We can then feel if any has a cut, bump, swelling or heat in their legs. This also desensitizes them, so they are easier to touch and handle. They then go into their stalls and eat their breakfast. Feeding them inside allows us to monitor how much each horse eats, and alter their feeds accordingly seen as every horse is different and therefore has different nutritional needs.
Once they are finished eating, we will check their temperatures, pick their feet and administer any medication that is needed. We check temperatures daily. Normally you can tell if a horse is sick simply by observing their demeanor or by the fact that they have not eaten up, but sometimes they will not show any of the obvious signs. This is when taking their temperatures is essential. While we are in their stall taking their temperatures we will also pick their feet. As well as being good hoof care and horsemanship it also makes life much easier when the farrier comes !
After these essential daily chores are completed we have time for the vet or farrier to come if needed. Otherwise we will start grooming the horses lightly so they become used to what is in store during sales prep. As we get closer to prep time, we will start to break the yearlings to plastic bits. We leave the bits in their mouths as we groom them. Using the plastic bits create an easy transition to the metal bits that we use later on during sales prep. We also start to introduce them to the hose so that they are used to getting baths when we start our prep.
These additional tasks take us up until lunch time. At 1pm we will feed them their lunch and turn them out at 2pm. This lengthy turn out time of seventeen hours from 2pm until 7am the following morning is more than adequate time to allow horses be horses. They have that time to run, play and frolic. The concussion on their bones that they create from running and playing mixed with the nutrients that they ingest from our limestone enriched soils helps them to produce strong, healthy bones.
Therefore, I believe that we have the right balance here at Lane’s End between letting horses be horses with their lengthy turn out time and their extra bit of personal care and handling.
Assistant Yearling Manager, Lane’s End
Peter, originally from Co. Kildare, Ireland started his career in the thoroughbred industry at Derrinstown Stud while he completed his education at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth. After graduating with a degree in geography and math he then completed a post graduate study in statistics. Peter arrived at Lane’s End in 2008 and is currently the Assistant Yearling Manager.