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May 24, 2018: The Great Equine Weigh In

Pete is the Vice President of the local BCHA (Back Country Horseman of Alaska) chapter – he recently had this idea that the organization should have a fundraiser and suggested that there be a weigh off. Most horse owners use a weigh tape that goes around the horse’s girth to figure out how much it weighs – it isn’t very accurate, nor is eyeballing one’s horse.

So Pete thought about it and decided that it would be a good idea to have an evening in which horseback owners came in and weighed their horses on a gravel pit scale, which is one that is used to weigh truckloads of gravel.

Horse exiting the scale

The organization backed him and got the word out. Build it and they will come. After teaching, Pete returned home and we loaded up the three mares and headed to T & J’s Gravel Pit. There were about a half-dozen trailers there when we arrived. Humans and horses were also milling around.

I watched my friend Heather walk her horse Rio onto the scale platform, a sheet of corrugated metal. Heather then had to stand on a concrete platform, so that the guy in the scale house could read the weight. Rio didn’t like the shifting surface and hopped over the ledge, onto the lawn. Heather kept in hand and didn’t seem at all phased by this. This isn’t the sort of thing my horse would do, and so this was why I was surprised.

So, horse owners could attempt to guess the weight of their animal prior to weighing. They could also use a weight tape, and compare this to the guessed weight and the scale weight. Additionally, a measuring stick was used to determine height. The horses really didn’t like this.

Dr. Susan Dent also did equine infectious anemia testing and vacinations. She is going to donate ten percent of her profits to the BCHA.

All total, there were about a dozen and a half horse owners present – most had multiple horses. Pete, who was in the thick of it (I hung back because I rightly foresaw that there were more than enough people weighing and measuring), discovered that the horses were less fractious when he held them and the owners did the weight tape and the measuring.

Horse owners came and went until about 9 p.m. I was a bit nervous about my horses – I knew that if they didn’t behave that they and I would be in the limelight. Of course they did behave. Raudi had shoes, which made her nervous when on the scale floor – this is because the metal on metal, which was slippery, affected her balance. Tyra and Hrimmi were much more calm. Tyra repeatedly asked me if what we were doing was okay.

Of course, at such events there are always some horses that simply will not go back into the trailer. And there are always people hovering around who look for people to assist. Poor Heather – she got waylaid by a really big fellow. They got that horse in the trailer, but as Heather and I agreed, to what end?

In the end, my horses all had the same weight, 720 pounds. Something was wrong with the scale. Next year, they will have to do this event elsewhere.

Next: 145. 5/25/18: A Conversation with Tyra: Whatcha Thinking?

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