Wednesday afternoons after work now officially belong to Daltrey. This works well, since I don't have much energy and he has an attention span to match. The one thing I like about the heat is that the horses have little inclination to be stupid and jumpy, not that he normally is.
I tied Daltrey, ostensibly to groom him, but in fact it was more to gauge his mood and attention span. He stood well (for a baby), even for brushing his mane and tail, which aren't his favorite things. He's still a little heavy and wobbly when you pick up his feet.
Daltrey was more concerned about being in the arena by himself than anything I asked him to do. I led him around from both sides. We stopped, started, turned, and backed. I led him through a narrow channel someone had built from ground poles. His turns were sloppy, but he wasn't bothered by it. I did the whole "carrot stick" thing all over. Didn't even flinch, no matter how wildly I flailed it over his head, wrapped it round his legs, etc. Tried terrorizing him with a plastic grocery bag, and although he gave me a few wide-eyed looks (his startling eye color makes all his looks seem wide-eyed), he didn't move his feet. Then I brought out a black trash bag and about wore myself out shaking it, filling it with air, etc. Nada. Laid it on the ground and he sniffed and pawed, then walked right over it. I guarantee Jazu the Wonder Pony would have had no part of that!
My now 17-month old baby has entered that stage in draft baby development where he is conformationally an unholy mess — a Frankenhorse. He shot up again, and the last time Heather sticked him, he measured 14.2, but that was a month ago, so no telling now. He's ribby, butt high, hollow hipped, cow-hocked, his neck's too short, and his head's too big. Regardless of how much food you pump into him, he'll likely be gangly and out of proportion until he's at least three. All that is easy to overlook because of that wonderful drafty temperament.
We've discovered that his hearing is not impaired to the degree we once thought it was. It seems to be only lower-range sounds he can't hear. Even if he's at the far end of the pasture, he comes a-running when I call him.
Daltrey still doesn't understand that every being is not a horse. He's a bit of a cookie monster, and he likes to get in your space. So far, this is the worst I have to deal with, so you'll get no complaints here.
Caught a few minutes of a show on RFD where some guy (prolly a BNT) was out in a large pasture with mares and near weanlings. He was talking about herd dynamics and casually mentioned that all the babies were born in the pasture and didn't get haltered for the first time until they were weaned. I don't know nuthin' about nuthin', but that sure seems to me like the hard way to do things for both owner and baby. When you're talking drafts and draft crosses, they're frikken' huge by the time they're weanlings! They're too darn big NOT to start working with them from Day One. Besides, I think that's a lot of stress on a baby to be taken away from its mama, a strange thing put on its face, and being yanked around by the two-leggeds.
How do you feel about it? Leave them be or stick a halter on them as soon as you can? When do you start messing with them, teaching them to lead, yield, etc.?