Saturday, June 19, 2010

Chrome's Monthly Progress Report

Sorry I didn't get a new picture. This is from yesterday.

Date: 6-19-10
Age: 13 months
Height: 14hh (4ft 8in/56in/142cm/1.4224m)
Height Gain: Half an inch.
Weight: Approx 620lbs (281.2kg)
Weight Gain: I'm beginning to think weight tapes just aren't very accurate for growing horses. I doubt very much that his weight hasn't changed. Weight tapes just don't really take into account the horse's height, bone size and growth. Chrome is in a narrow bodied, long legged stage so that's probably why it's saying he hasn't gained any weight. I don't care though because he looks good to me. :)
Progress: I'm now feeding Chrome beet pulp with his Safechoice and I saw a difference almost immediately. He's still getting a little over half a square bale of hay a day, but we've finally found a source of good quality round bales so soon he'll have free choice grass hay which will make him happy. He's gotten to where he's stretching his giraffe neck up to eat oak leaves out of the trees!! I know oak can be bad for horses so we're going to trim the lower limbs and I'm sure he'll stop when he has a round bale to munch on twenty four, seven. Other than that he's doing great. I didn't do anymore walking, clicker training or hoof work. Bad me. Between the heat index of 107F every day and my work schedule I just haven't felt like doing anything. I did hose him off though.
Goals: My goal for this month is to start walking him again and to keep working on hosing him off and fly spraying him. I forgot to mention that I fly sprayed him the other day while he was eating . . . without a halter!!! I'm not going to give myself anything else to work on for now until it cools off some. It's miserable. We haven't had rain in weeks and the tiny bit we got today just evaporated.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Okay, after suggestions from a couple of my followers I have finally decided to condense all of blogs into one. I have been considering this for a long time but was really hesitant to do it because I was afraid I wouldn't be able to keep it all organized and devote enough attention to each of the critters and my projects, but I realized I never post in them anyway (because I have so many and no time)!! If I put them all together in one blog at least it will get posted to regularly.

It will still be called Living A Farmer's Life like the old one, but click here for the link to the new one. It is still very much a work in progress, but each critter will have their own page for more information. I'll also be labeling each post so if you only want to read about Chrome or Jackal or whoever you can click their label and it will take you to any post that features that specific critter. Anyway, I won't be posting in the individual blogs anymore so go check it out and please follow!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Fly Spray Update

Picture taken 1-29-2010.

Yesterday the flies were bothering Chrome again so I decided to fly spray him while he ate breakfast. I put the halter on, but this time just put the rope over his neck so I could walk around behind him while he ate. He never stopped eating while I sprayed him all over. :D It won't be long before I'll be able to spray him without the halter on. Such a good Chrome!

A few days ago I had to get on to him because as I was walking across the pasture to the feed shed he walked directly behind me and put his muzzle on my upper back. I don't know if he was playing, acting dominant, or what, but it was uncomfortable and possibly dangerous so I swung around (startling him) and scolded him. I don't want that to become a habit. He hasn't done it since. He now walks in line on my left side (like we were doing in our clicker training) all the way up to the feed shed, or until I walk past Zeppelin. Donkey is king around here and Chrome knows not to crowd him by the feed shed lol. :)

Anyway that's all for now. Gotta run!!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Donkey Day - 6-12-2010

Sorry I'm posting this a day late. I got really busy and ran out of time. I haven't done much because I've been busy with work, but I did want to mention I'm now feeding Zep in his original bucket with me standing on the other side of the fence. I positioning my hand over his bucket so that it touches his forehead when he reaches in for a bite. The first day he jumped every time he came into contact with my hand, but now I'm actually able to scratch his forehead while he eats. :D So we're slowly making progress. Sorry I don't have any current pictures.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Horse/Donkey Play - New Video

I did a really quick edit on this video this morning so it's not the greatest, but here it is. A day late, but better late than never lol.

Oh and this video was taken June 4 2010. Sorry about the dirty window. I really need to wash the outsides of all my windows but I never think about it unless I'm trying to take video through it lol. :)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Beet Pulp Update

Chrome loves his beet pulp!

I love my macro camera setting lol!

Chrome munching on his Safechoice and shredded beet pulp.

He's looking really good since I added the beet pulp to his diet. I can't believe the difference it's made. He's finally put some weight back on without me having to feed entirely too much concentrate. We've had a bit cooler weather today so he and Zeppelin have been playing again. I'll post video tomorrow, but here are some pictures of Chrome playing with his rings. There are only two left because he must have dropped it over the fence into the dog pen and Jackal chewed one ring off lol.

"I love my rings!"

"It's so much fun dropping them over the fence so Mom has to fetch them for me."

"Oops! It's Mom!!"

"Hi Mom! I'm not doing anything. Just being cute!!"

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Fly Spray Update

I forgot to post about fly spraying Chrome this morning. I fed him in his stall and started to spray him loose but he went back to being a turd so I haltered him. As soon as he was haltered he stood perfectly still until I finished. I think he's going to be one of those horses that will grudgingly accept anything done to him while haltered, but when he's loose he will only do what he wants to do. I can't blame him lol. I don't mind since that's a trait that's good for clicker training. He's willing and confident enough to make his own decisions. Maybe someday I'll be able to break whatever association he's built up toward the halter. At least now he's accepting being fly sprayed and doesn't have to be miserable anymore.

Oh and be sure to read the previous post about my monthly goals update.

Goals Update - Some Serious Reevaluating

Note: If you read my other blogs, only a few things in this post are the same as the others, such as the first paragraph, but do please read through it so you don't miss something. :)

Well, we've made it to the halfway point. It's June already! Can you believe it? I've never had six months fly by so quickly in my life. I thought this was supposed to happen when you got older! I didn't realize it would start in my twenties! In fact the last six or seven years have gone by very quickly and I can only attribute that to joining the adult working world. I miss the simplicity of being a child. Sigh.

Anyway I've completely gone off course. I'm feeling kind of discouraged this month because I really didn't accomplish all that much in general. I didn't take him for any walks all month, didn't work on hauling at all, didn't give him a bath, etc. I did use clicker a little bit in desensitization with the fly spray, but really I should have been able to accomplish more.

I'm not trying to get down on myself, I'm just trying to be realistic. Between having a horse, a donkey, fifteen goats, a cat and over a hundred chickens (and now we're hatching turkeys!!) as well as having to deal with my continuing health problems I just don't have the time, drive or desire to accomplish all of these goals. Aside from those responsibilities I'm also working two part time jobs and spending my days off at the lake with friends or catching up on housework. We also found out we might possibly get to lease the forty acres behind our property in the fall so that will add to the workload. I'm just feeling stretched thin.

So I'm going to reevaluate my original goals.

My 2010 goals for Chrome were:

1. Use clicker training to desensitize Chrome to as much as possible.
2. Go for more walks on the roads. Use clicker training to make it a positive experience.
3. Teach Chrome some tricks specifically smile.
4. Write in Chrome’s blog more often.
5. Work on hauling to new places.

I don't think I'm going to make any specific goals. I want to continue to work on clicker training following the Alexandra Kurland book and I also want to do a lot more desensitization with him. I need to focus on practical things like the fly sprays and bathing instead of tricks like smile and kisses. I'll get to those eventually, but Chrome is a year old now and he really needs to be introducing to things like a saddle, long lines, etc. I'm not saying I'm going to start working him in them I just want to introduce him to the equipment. I also need to work on hoof care, hauling and bathing. I need to focus on practical things. I think if I concentrate on a few things I might be able to stick with it and make some progress. Now I understand why most people only make one New Year's Resolution.

So here are my new 2010 goals:

1. Work through the Alexandra Kurland book The Click That Teaches.
2. Work on desensitization. Chrome is going to mainly be a trail horse so he needs to learn how to deal with new and exciting/scary objects. This will include desensitizing to equipment, bathing, hoof care, new places and the trailer.
3. Get him gelded!! This will have to wait until the fall because of the flies but I do need to remember it.

I think these are reasonable goals that are practical and should be easy to accomplish as we progress through normal yearling training and prep. So what do you think? Did I miss anything? Any suggestions?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Fly Spray Success!

Poor Chrome has been miserable with these horrible flies. It's the regular house flies (don't think they bite, but they do tickle) that have been driving him insane, although the green headed ones are just now coming out and I know those have a painful bite. The poor colt has been standing out in the barn stomping, twitching, shaking and sweating. After a long day of torture I finally took my water bottle out and started spraying it in the air as I walked a slow circle around the paddock.

When Chrome started following me I would click, stop and wait for him to catch up and give him his carrot. After doing that a while I stood still and sprayed water, just waiting. He finally came up beside me where the water wouldn't touch him and I clicked/treat. Eventually I grew bored . . .

So I haltered him and let him to his stall. I tried spraying him with it while clicking at the same time, but again realized I was rewarding him jumping away. I decided to use the old method of desensitization because I just couldn't figure it out with the clicker (and was being impatient lol). So I positioned him but the fence and started spraying his chest, really close and softly so it wasn't hitting a big area. As soon as he stopped moving I gave him a carrot. After one more time of doing that I was able to spray him seven or eight times, give a carrot, spray seven or eight times in another spot, give carrot and he never moved!!

After soaking his chest, front legs and shoulders in water I went inside, got the fly spray and a pocket full of sugar cubes. Then I went out and fly sprayed him all over with not a single problem. I was able to do his entire neck and chest for a sugar cube, one shoulder and front leg for a sugar cube, the other shoulder and leg for a sugar cube, his back and rib cage on one side, then the other, then his haunches and one rear leg, then the other rear leg, so it only took seven sugar cubes and the whole process took about three minutes!

I was so proud of him (while secretly annoyed that he'd made such a big deal out of it before lol)! I swear the little turd was testing me because by the end he didn't act in the least bit scared of it. Chrome is going to be such a fun horse to work with because he likes to act like a spaz but I really don't think much scares him. :) Anyway I really need to go to bed, but just had to share. :)