Saturday, July 30, 2011

Great News! New Treat.

I'm so excited I think we've found a winner. My husband went to Tractor Supply for something and was browsing the livestock feed aisle and found these . . .

Hay cubes for Miniature Horses and goats! They work perfectly. They are small, break easily (for the most part) into bite sized treats and they're healthy. The only thing that worries me is the high calcium in Alfalfa, but it's only half and it's only for training treats and Chrome's two, so surely it won't affect his growth. Here's a picture showing the size . . .

And Chrome, Faran and Zep all LOVE them. :D That's the best part. Chrome liked the green beans (which I'll still probably use when I can grow some just to mix things up), but the others didn't and the split green peas were too small. These cubes however appear to be perfect. :) Chrome gets a little gummed up (like eating peanut butter), but it only takes him a minute to work it out of his teeth. It didn't seem to distract him from training at all.

Also here is a video I took yesterday just for fun. It's a short one of Chrome playing on his pedestal.

I'm so happy we've finally found something for treats that is affordable, easy to store in large amounts, healthy and easy to prepare and use. :) Yay!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Figuring Out Faran Part II - Video

I added a video to yesterday's post so if you missed it you might want to watch it first.

I have to hurry because I need to leave for work, but I'll be busy this evening so I know if I don't post this now it won't get done today. I think the captions mostly explain what's going on, but basically we put Chrome and Zep in the round pen and worked Faran in the pasture where he doesn't feel so trapped. It was completely up to him if he wanted to stick around and work with us or leave. He had twenty plus acres to do so if he wanted. I'm happy that he decided to stick around. :)

He was very hesitant at first, but quickly remembered our recall game. My husband kept asking him to come until he was finally confident enough to follow him. Check out the video. Faran did awesome. And for fans of Chrome and Zep there is footage of them too, being silly boys.

I'm going to make sure my husband works with Faran everyday because he's going to be one of those horses who needs it. Let me know what you think!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Figuring Out Faran - Added Video!

The more we work with Faran the more I think he might be an even tougher cookie to figure out than Zeppelin was. In the whole scheme of things Zep isn't that difficult. He wasn't handled during his first two to three years so he was afraid of humans. That's one thing, but Faran I'm really starting to think was either abused or at the very least mishandled . . . this makes things more difficult in the long run because there are eleven years of experiences we know nothing about. We are only now starting to learn his triggers, such as he's deathly afraid of whips (if you reach down to pick it up off the ground he bolts, or even if you're sitting next to the whip and move it a quarter of an inch on the ground he's gone) and that he strongly dislikes round pens. If he feels trapped he's too anxious to concentrate and learn.

Therefore we have decided that from now on we'll put Chrome and Zep in the round pen and work with Faran outside of it. I really want him to learn to work and trust us at liberty so I think he will be more comfortable in the pasture where he knows he can get away if he's scared. In the round pen I think he spends the entire time waiting for someone to chase him with a whip. His whole demeanor makes me so sad.

We worked on him picking up his hooves and it went okay, but you could tell his heart wasn't in it. He was anxious the whole time. We'll try again tomorrow outside of the round pen and see how he does. :)

I wasn't going to post the video from tonight because it was getting late so it's dark and grainy and I'm tired so I sound . . . err not nice lol. However a new follower pointed out how helpful they can be and I think this one might have some helpful stuff in it. It also gives you a clearer idea of how skittish Faran is. He was worse today than he's been in a while and I'm wondering if something happened with a neighbor or something. We will just have to be patient and work through it. It's late and I'm half asleep so I hope everything is spelled right and looks good hehe. Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Chrome's New Pedestal

My husband made a pedestal for me out of an old tractor tire and a piece of plywood. Chrome makes it look tiny in the picture above, but it's actually pretty big. It has middle supports underneath too so it'll safely hold his weight. When we finished making it I called the horses up so I could see what Chrome did with it. He eyed it warily because it was something new, but quickly approached it to eat treats off of it. I wanted to see what he would do on his own, but it was really hot and dinnertime and he couldn't care less, so I started trying to lure him onto it with treats. I didn't bring my clicker because I was worried I'd be mobbed by the others.

I spent ten minutes (don't worry I didn't leave the full ten minutes in the video) trying to get him on it with just treats and it was going nowhere fast. We were both getting hot, tired and frustrated so I went to get the clicker. In less than two minutes he was pawing at it. I also included footage from our second session (which is where the picture came from) at the end. Here's the video.

I'm so proud of him. :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sad News

Sorry I haven't been posting. I took a break from training because it's been hot and I've been busy. I did work with Chrome on our new pedestal, but I'll post about that tomorrow. I wanted to post tonight to say I went riding with my friends and decided to try out my English saddle that I got last year (link here) that I tried on Chrome recently (link here). The sad news is that it's WAY too small for me. Check out this picture.

Sorry the picture isn't great. She was on a four year old Arabian mare who is very inexperienced and didn't want to stand still. I don't know if you can tell from the picture (you can click it to enlarge), but it was incredibly uncomfortable and I actually feel bruised where it was touching in the front. I had the stirrup leathers out as far as they go and they were still too short. So I won't be riding in it, but I can use it for training. Eventually I guess I'll sell it and use the money to buy a new saddle. So I'm sort of sad. The ride wasn't even very fun because of the uncomfortable saddle and I hate the bridle she uses on this horse. He's a good horse, but he belongs to her husband he likes for them to have 'no brakes' so other people can't ride him so he likes to run off with people. He's fine at the walk and trot though. I think he'd do so much better in a regular snaffle, but it's not my horse so I can't do anything about it.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Taming Led Zeppelin Breakthrough - Video!

There just aren't words to describe it! Just watch this!

Cute, right?? He just randomly let us start brushing him. He's always been too wary of brushes to let us get close, but I guess the itchiness finally won out. :) We've both brushed him several more times so it's not a fluke. We still can't walk to his right side although we can reach over him, so I'll use clicker training to work on that some more. I'm so excited! The phone ringing didn't even spook him. He just flinched a little. :)

He's looking good. Still not quite shed completely out, but getting close. The long hairs on his belly are kind of cute. He's filled out a lot over the last year too. He turned four sometime this year. :) I'm excited he's finally starting to trust us. I think it's because he's jealous that Chrome and Faran are getting all of the attention hehe.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Chrome's Monthly Progress Report

Date: 7-19-11
Age: 26 Months
Height: 15.1hh
Height Gain: He grew maybe a quarter of an inch at the withers, but look how butt high he is!
Weight: The weight tape says 895lbs . . .
Weight Gain: . . . which means he gained thirty five pounds! Wow! He must be doing some filling out. :) He still looks gangly at times though. I think he's about to go through a growth spurt. Check out the pictures below and you'll see what I mean.

Progress: I feel like I've done really well this past month. Now that my husband has a horse I feel more motivated to get out there and do something with Chrome. Company is amazing motivation . . . or maybe it's competition haha just kidding. :D I was worried about Chrome becoming buddy bound with Faran, but I'm pleased to report that so far he isn't. When we take Faran out he plays with Zep or grazes and when we take Chrome out he listens to Faran's neighs, but doesn't act up or get anxious. He very rarely calls back. I'm glad he's confident enough to go out on his own. :D

Goals: I want to continue working with him as consistently as I can. I want to continue to work on his shoulder yield and just moving his body and getting him more flexible and sensitive to me. I also want to practice some massage techniques on him because he's tense at times. I really think his odd way of moving and stiffness are growing pains because of the awkward stage of his growing body. I'm hoping it's something time, work, massage and chiropractor can work him out of. I'm sure his clubby feet will always affect him to a degree, but it shouldn't prevent him from being a trail horse/lower level dressage mount. :) So my goal this month is body awareness and massage. I think Chrome will like this . . . well for the most part.

Check out these cute pictures. He was being an impatient brat and didn't want to stand still so my husband did some trotting with him while I took pictures. He was running ahead of Chrome so he wouldn't be in the way of the pictures, but it also created more tension on the lead rope than I like. Oh well. Chrome is a tolerant boy.

I love his expression in this picture! He looks so sulky and petulant. If you enlarge the picture you can see his bottom lip is relaxed and droopy lol. He's so cute!

My husband asking him to smile. This one shows how tall he is (and butt high). My husband is 5'10" and Chrome comes up to his chin. :)

Chrome yawns whenever he's bored, impatient, anticipating food, etc. It's funny because my Appaloosa mare I grew up with did that too! :)

This picture shows that he actually does step under himself in the walk and that's even his stiff side. It's in the trot that he seems to short step. I think it's from being butt high or something in his back, hip, etc. He doesn't act like he's in pain though so it could just be that he's that one sided and stiff.

Dainty little trot. The giraffe neck I think is from the pressure on the lead rope, although he does trot high headed due to the Friesian in him (Arabs do it too actually).

Doesn't he look all gangly right now? All legs. His neck looks really short too right now.

So downhill. I can't wait for him to be fully grown and proportionate lol. :)

I think this is my favorite action shot. He's so cute!

Sorry I posted this a day late. The pictures and measurements were done yesterday though. :) I was just too sore last night to sit and edit pictures. I'll post Zeppelin's video tomorrow.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Faran's Day Out - Lot's of Pictures

We decided that today was Faran's day so we took him out of the pasture, leaving Chrome and Zeppelin in the round pen since we don't know if Chrome would try to go through a fence again. They didn't even pay any attention to us because they were so busy playing. I'll try to get the video of that edited and posted soon. :)

First my husband groomed Faran while I worked on his mane. We hadn't combed out his mane since he got home because he's still nervous about sprays and it needed some detangler to prevent breaking it. I started out spraying my fingers and combs, then started spraying detangler directly into his mane. He still isn't sure about it, but since it was on his mane he couldn't feel it and we were using the clicker to tell him we wanted calm. He did great.

Faran checking out the scene of a crime. Siberian Husky Torture Brushing!

After that we took him up to the house so my husband could do some work with the water filled spray bottle. When he was fine with that he used the fly spray on him. By that point he was totally chill with the process.

Checking to see if I'm paying attention I guess.

Isn't his mane gorgeous all brushed out?

He looks dashing in his red rope halter too.

Next it was time to go for a walk.

Quality sucks because I was using continuous shooting mode.

My husband asking Faran to walk up close to him instead of lagging behind.

And he listened so he got a click and treat.

More practice leading. Faran isn't used to someone walking on his right side, but he's getting better.

The sun makes his coat look like chocolate. Here he had to stop to look at the little girl running around at the neighbor's house.

This was right after he neighed for Chrome.

Faran only neighed once. Chrome responded with his loud, deep stallion neigh and ran bronco bucking across the round pen. I couldn't see it where I was standing but my husband could. We were about 1/10th of a mile from the house. Faran wanted to turn back, but we kept going and he settled right back into the walk. We turned back shortly after though because I was worried about Chrome since this was the second time they'd been separated since Faran came home (and Chrome's first time being the one left behind). He was fine, so we will go further next time.

Stopping to pose for a bit before turning back.

Getting some cuddles.

Looking back for Chrome.

Walking a bit further before turning back.

Headed back Faran fell back into his lagging behind habit.

When he lowered his head and relaxed he got a click and treat.

He is so gorgeous!

In some of the action shots you can see a rib or two, which means he's a healthy weight . . . but he still seems a bit fat to me. I don't know for sure how much he's lost so far but he looks better than when he first came home. Is it just a lack of muscles? Or because he's so cresty and drafty (he's my first draft horse)? What do you guys think about his weight? Right now he has 24/7 access to pasture (kind of weedy and dry, so it's not too rich) and two pounds of Enrich 32 a day. :)

So when we got home we checked on Chrome. He was fine, so we decided to work on Faran's hooves. My husband started with the right front. He's using a cue of a really light pull on his feathers because that's the first thing most farriers grab for. He started out clicking for him shifting his weight off of that foot, but Faran thought it was for turning his head away lol. So I held his head straight and put light pressure on his shoulder. I quickly realized I was interfering too much. What's the point of clicker training if I'm going to push him around? So I stepped back and put light pressure forward on the rope as if I were asking him to step forward. It only took doing that twice before he stretched his head forward and down, then picked up the hoof on his own. He did it three times and we gave him a jackpot and ended on a good note. I don't want to push him. If he were being a brat that would be one thing, but he's nervous so we;re taking it slow. :)

Walking back for his breakfast.

As soon as we put Faran back up Chrome had to come over and be a jealous brat. Faran quickly put him back in his place. :D Thanks Faran! If you're the observant type, unlike me, you might have noticed Faran is no longer wearing a halter. :) We're confident we can catch him now so we let him go without it. He has some scrapes around his nose either from the others grabbing his halter on top of his nose or from getting into something out in the pasture. Either way it's safer if he doesn't wear it. :)

We were rewarded with these gorgeous action shots. The quality isn't fantastic because I was using continuous shooting, but I still think they are beautiful.

Look at that trot!

Gorgeous canter transition.

Look at that power! Gorgeous!

I can't wait to go for a gallop on this guy!

Isn't he absolutely breathtaking?

And my favorite shot. Our Percheron looks like a Friesian!! :D

So we had a really great day. :) Tomorrow is Chrome's day. I also have some really great news about Led Zeppelin (with video), but it'll have to wait until Wednesday. :)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Faran's First Road Walk & Chrome's First Saddling

I'm excited because yesterday we took Chrome and Faran for a walk out on the roads. It was Faran's first time leaving the pasture since we brought him home and Chrome's first time wearing a saddle! They both did so well. Faran obviously is older, more mature and has been there done that more than Chrome so he was very well behaved and mostly calm about the whole ordeal. He was nervous at times, especially when we went down a neighbor's driveway for a visit, but all in all he did fantastic! Chrome obviously was calm about the walk because we've been doing that since he was five months old, but sheesh he was wanting to be a turd. I worked on Grownups Are Talking (no mugging for treats) before we left and that helped, but he was still being a little mouthy. He also wanted to "herd" and bite Faran. Overall he did well though.

Here's a video of the first saddling. It's probably a little boring. He was being wiggly, but I clicked when he was standing still and he got better. For some reason he really wanted to show off his tricks. He was trying everything lol. He did some perfect shoulder yields, but I ignored everything except standing still because when the saddle goes on I want four still hooves (and mouth!). :)

Please don't laugh at how awkward I was. I haven't saddled a horse in over four years and sheesh it shows. I've also never used shaped pads so I'm not used to how difficult they are to keep straight and wrinkle free. He did well overall and I think the dancing around will become less as the whole situation becomes more familiar. He was tense when I first tightened the girth because I could barely get it on the first hole, but after a second of moving around I was able to tighten it some more. At one point when I'm on the far side I accidentally tightened it too much and when I let it out a hole Chrome gave such a big sigh lol. Too cute.

Faran was watching the whole process. I hope he picked up good ideas and not wiggly ones lol.

Chrome looks so handsome in his saddle! I makes him look all grown up. :)

The flap on this saddle seems more forward than I'm use to . . . is it an all purpose or just an older dressage saddle?

He got bored waiting around. :)

Looking for my husband and Faran.

Come on guys! Hurry up!

Chrome was being a brat trying to "herd" Faran. I wish Faran's face was in this one. The reason I'm adding it to the post is to show the size difference between them.

Chrome walking in his saddle. I can't wait for him to adopt a lower, more relaxed head position.

Trying to sneak off for a bite of grass.

The hulk walking calmly down the road.

Faran was doing so well they ran off and left us. This is when I called them back and they were starting to turn around.

My sweaty boy worked hard (haha) and got a bath shortly after this picture. :D

I'm so proud of both of our boys. Since Chrome is being bratty I'll go for another walk soon with just my husband and Faran so I can get more pictures and video. And I'm sure he'll do the same for me and Chrome. I hope you guys enjoyed the pictures. It may not seem like much but for anyone who has started their own young horse you know how exciting the first time wearing a saddle is. :D