Thursday, June 11, 2009

Summer is Here

The heat has arrived in Texas with a vengeance! It is this time of year that I begin moaning to Casi about hell, and how close we must be living to it in order for it to be this hot. Fortunately Miss Halo is more heat tolerant than I am, because yesterday night it was her turn for a workout.

As usual, I cobbled together an odd assortment of tack for her to wear. I decided it was time for her to have something on her back, but I didn't want to use my english saddle since I'm still worried about it being a poor fit. All the synthetic western saddles were in use, so this was the solution. It actually worked out well. There's not much weight, but it does give her the feeling of the cinch. Also, it's a good thing for her to wear if I decide to get on. Strange as it seems to some people, I do like to get on babies bareback at first.

We did a brief longe workout - just enough to have her walk, trot, and canter on command both directions. She was very well behaved with only one or two bouncy canter strides. Of course neither of us counted on me being a moron and not checking the cinch one last time! As Halo made some lovely counter-clockwise canter circles, the bareback pad began to slide around her big round barrel. I said, "whoa!" and she stopped on a dime, the pad completing its slide over onto her right side. Poor confused filly! However, you can see from her reaction that it was not of any concern to her. I got her readjusted and snugged up between fits of laughter. I am SO glad to have such a mild-mannered baby horse!

After our brief longeing session, I got on for a few minutes. Casi led us a couple of times around the arena, and then we walked independently for a few more minutes near the gate. She's pretty good about steering and following her nose, but the go button doesn't work very well yet. I imagine I may get up on her 1 or 2x per month and do a little bit of walking. In those sessions, when I have an assistant, I'll have someone lead while I teach her the leg and voice cues for forward motion. When I don't have an assistant I probably won't ride, but from the ground I can do long reining to work on voice commands. In fact, I think that is what I will plan to do for our next session.

Halo got a warm water rinse and a mane and tail bath after her light workout, and then we took her height and weight. The baby is now a tiny bit shy of 14.2h at the withers and 14.3h at the hip. She weighs approximately 850lbs. At the end of July last year she was 13h at the withers, 13.3h at the hip, and weighed about 575lbs. I can't believe how much she's grown!

I've been using a height/weight tape to chart her progress, but at some point I plan to do a more accurate check with the following formula:
  • Measure girth in inches
  • Measure length in inches (point of hip to point of chest)
  • Multiply Girth X Girth X Length, Divide by 300, Add 50
  • Example 70" x 70" x 65" = 318,500 / 300 = 1061.67 + 50 = 1111.67 lbs.
This formula is accurate to +/- 3%.


Kate said...

You certainly do have a lovely baby horse - with a great disposition and attitude - but I expect a lot of that also comes from how you have handled her and the fact that you're not in a hurry!

spazfilly said...

Thank you! The barn owner said something similar last night - basically, if you do the groundwork and basics with them, the young horse has nothing to fear from you and will readily accept what you ask.

There's another two year old at the barn now, and she and Halo are a complete contrast. The other filly, an Arab, has barely been handled. She's about in the state Halo was last year. The filly and her dam go ballistic if they are separated from one another, and apparently the owner never works with her. They can barely get her feet trimmed! It makes me glad that Halo has had an entire year of basic training. I know that it is adding immensely to her value and helping ensure that she will always have a good home.