We wean anywhere from 4-6 months -- depending on the mares condition, preference of buyer and other environmental factors. We haul the pairs home and let them settle in a day or two before we pull mamas out and haul them back out to pasture. We have found that taking the mares completely out of the picture where they can't hear each other nickering makes it easier and less stressful for all parties involved! The mares dry up much easier as well being out on the pasture and getting plenty of exercise.
After the colts are weaned we put them in the round pen and Calvin teaches them a ton in a short period of time -- he always asks them to turn to the inside and never turn their butt to you when asking them to change directions. They learn hand signals, how to read body language and move away from pressure on the ground.
We have an exceptionally trained donkey, Tony, that we use for halter breaking. We have halter broke a lot of colts by hand but I can not explain how much faster they learn and so many more experiences they learn when we use the donkey. We leave them hooked anywhere from 2-7 days - depending on the colt- but most of them stay on around 4 days.
One of the things we have learned about using the donkey that we love is that they will get a leg over the rope and learn to problem solve - not get chlostrophobic and panic. Picture your horse getting a leg hung in a fence 5 years from now -- these colts have already learned not to fight it and wait for help. Another thing they learn is trust - when you come out there and get their leg undone - they all instantly lick and chew, take a deep breath and realize that YOU are the one who helped them. They also learn patience -- they drink when Tony drinks and they eat when Tony eats. If Tony wants to lay out and take a 2 hour nap ... they will wait until Tony is ready to do something else.
After the donkey they go up in their own 12 x 10 stall and 16 x 12 attached run. They are fed high quality free choice alfalfa and a cracked corn/crimped oats mix for grain. They learn to be independent. That is the biggest issue we have found with weanlings in the general population. They are very buddy sour and dependent on other horses. We have had exceptional luck by doing it this way and the colts really want to please and bond with you while you are working with them.
At this point we spend a lot of time leading them around the farm, loading/unloading, standing tied, spraying them with the hose, fly spraying, etc. Any and all things that you do to your big horses - we try very hard to get them used to all of those things their new owners will want to do to them in the future. By the time the colts leave to their new homes they will have already been dewormed at least twice - if not three times (depending on their age).