Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Dawn of the Terrible Twos

I can hardly believe it's almost 2009 and that I've owned my little filly for over six months now. We weighed and measured her again over the weekend, and she's now 834 lbs at about 14 hands. Unless she's a late bloomer, I think she may stay pony-sized. I'm not too tall, so I won't feel bad if that's the case. She might make a good kids horse someday if she has the training and the temperament.

Although Halo won't technically be two until April, she'll officially be two on January 1st for showing purposes. There's an open show at the end of January that I briefly considered taking her to, but I've decided against it for now. Firstly, I would feel bad making my fuzzy mutt filly compete against horses that may or may not have been blanketed and kept under heat lamps for the winter. I don't know how serious people down here are about that sort of thing, but given that it's a quarter horse show and they're serious about quarter horses here in Texas, I don't want to take the chance. In addition to that, I think Halo looks a bit underdeveloped for a two year old. I think by April she will have come into herself a bit more.

The next round of open shows starts in June, and I think that would be a good time to start taking her out. Hopefully some other people from the barn will want to go, and we can get a group together. It'll probably be me and a bunch of preteen girls, which would be funny more than anything else. In her own way, Halo is a preteen girl herself!

As Halo has gotten bigger and stronger, she's had a couple of minor bratty episodes. I think it will be time soon for a reminder groundwork session with the dressage whip. The other day there was a huge event at the barn, and it was also insanely windy. I walked Halo around in hand to take a look at all the goings-on. She was mostly good, if a little bit spooky about the wind. But then we tried to walk past a bus belonging to the sherriff's posse, and she decided it was a vicious horse-eating bus. Fortunately I held onto her, but it did take me a bit off guard. We then practiced walking back and forth in front of the bus. She got a bit better about it, but never completely relaxed. I would have spent more time with it, but there was a picnic table full of people that she would have plowed down if she got up to any more antics.

More recently, we had a nonverbal argument about her walking through a puddle. The princess doesn't like to get her feet wet! And when I led her out of the round pen this weekend she took off trotting down the hill (thankfully stopping before pulling all the rope out of my hands). I don't think she's doing any of these things maliciously, but as she gets older and stronger I think she's testing me to make sure I'm still boss. I noticed she no longer makes the baby face at other horses she talks to over the fence.

I'll keep records of problems and progress, but I'm not too worried. I'm not a timid woman, and I expect a mannerly filly!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Winter Slacking

As one of my readers pointed out, it has been long enough since I last posted that I can barely call myself a blogger anymore. It has been a crazy couple of months through the holidays. First we moved Halo to a new barn at the beginning of November (the nice boarding stable in Manor). She has adjusted very well and seems fat and happy. I know she will be even happier when they finally open up the bigger pastures for turnout. She's made friends with a huge, gorgeous bay mare, and they are often together in the field. She's the big mare's little blonde shadow.

Later in November we made a weeklong trip to Louisiana to visit Casi's family, and my mom also flew down from Portland. It was a great trip, and a pleasant holiday. Then, right after getting back, Casi and I moved to a new rental house in Austin. We love our new place, but it was a lot of work to get things moved over, and it definitely isn't completely unpacked yet.

Promptly following the house move, my office moved to a different building as well. So it's been a crazy season of moving for us! We are hoping it is done for now. Between the beginning of the chaos and now, Miss Halo has developed two things: a robust quarter horse rear end, and FUR.

Here's the somewhat bedraggled girl enjoying her dinner after some exercise in the outdoor arena. It was difficult to get her head out of the bucket. Typical mare.

This is the "Oh no, Mom took away my foodz!" face that she made when I took away the bucket she apparently hadn't finished licking clean.

In this last picture you can see how much her neck has devloped since I got her. It used to be so scrawny, but she's definitely filled out some. It does concern me that she's starting to look rather thick through the throatlatch. I am not sure if it is something she will grow out of with the next spurt or not. I think she may remain somewhat thick, but I think she still has some balancing out to do.

I know I have said it before, but I will say it again - it shocks me that people are riding their horses at her age. She still looks like a frankenfilly to me sometimes, which tells me that she is nowhere near mature. I will continue to do lots of ground work with her, and a bit of light longeing. In the meantime, her immaturity allows me to not feel too bad about only working with her three times each week. Right now the best thing for her is to spend most of her time just being a horse.