Thursday, September 29, 2011

Stills From Video Posted Yesterday

Here are the stills from the video I posted yesterday. Since I'm taking the snapshots from a video they aren't great quality, but he's handsome in them anyway hehe.

Chasing the Tiger (trot)

The goal with having him trot with his head down is for long and low work at liberty. It's the beginning work done for dressage to teach them to lift and use their backs while stretching the topline. This is especially important with breeds that have a naturally high set like the Friesian (imagine that) and the Arabian (double dose for Chrome). Eventually this will be taught on a longe line as well, but since he's young I'm trying to keep him off of repetitive circles.

This one he's almost in dressage frame. He needs a little more impulsion to finish rounding his back and bringing up his shoulders. At least I know he can do it. :D I can't wait to start dressage lessons! I probably won't put him into formal lessons until he's four though since arena work can sour them if they aren't mature enough.

Chasing the Tiger (canter)

Look how high he brought his rear leg up to kick/stomp the Tiger.
This is where he stepped on it, accidentally ripping it from my hands in the video.

Beginnings of Spanish Walk (or stomp lol)

I love this shot. You can't see the whip or "Tiger" so it looks like he's about to charge me lol.

Playing with the whip & Lateral Flexion

Shoulder Yields

I love when he steps across so well. :)

Goofing Off


He dropped the treat so I reached down to grab it. I LOVE that neck!

A hug. In the video you'll see he tried a lateral flex to his left and then tried a shoulder yield.
He wasn't ready to stop training hehe.

I love my pretty boy.

Chrome checking out the camera.

One last smile. I hope all of you who can't view videos enjoyed the pictures. :D

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Chrome Unedited Training Video - Fun!

We had a short training session on the twenty sixth, but Chrome was being a bit of a butt so we ended just playing around on the pedestal.

Today however went fantastic! And I got it all on video! We had so much fun playing Chase the Tiger, messing around with the beginnings of the Spanish Walk and working on our shoulder yields. Check it out (completely unedited).

For those of you who can't watch videos, or if you just want to know more about what's happening in the video, read on. :) I started out playing Chase the Tiger because we haven't messed with it outside of the round pen and it's been a while. It's fun to play the game to help me relax and not worry so much about being perfect (yep I'm a perfectionist sigh).

We had fun and he looks so gorgeous when he's trying to kill the "Tiger". The video is well worth watching if you can just to watch him prance around. I'll try to get snapshots off of it later and post them tomorrow for everyone who can't watch.

While playing Chase the Tiger I started swinging the Tiger left and right in front of Chrome and he was striking at it with alternating front hooves. It actually looked a little like a Spanish Walk (well the beginnings of one). The only problem is he's stomping pretty hard so I don't really want to teach the real Spanish Walk using this method, but it's fun to mess around with. I'm excited to try it out someday.

After he got tired of the game I worked on shoulder yields. He did a perfect three step yield moving left which is the direction he learned first. He doesn't know how to twist on his rear legs without stepping forward and I'm worried about him putting too much torque on his young joints so I probably won't do more than three steps for now.

On his new side he's consistently getting one step and I'm now only using the shoulder cue. I do still have to hold my left hand up by his neck to keep him from turning his head to me, but I'm not touching him with it. I got two steps once, but it wasn't very good. We'll keep working on it.

Funny that my original intention for the session was to work on whoa . . . hehe. I want him to have a really solid whoa and right now it's about 50% so I'm going to focus on that tomorrow, but I'll have him on a halter and lead. He needs the support right now. Once he's listening to the voice cue I'll work on it again at liberty (just not in the same session as Tiger because he gets too excited lol).

Well, that's all for now. I was just super excited and had to share.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Chrome is awesome! More clicker.

Chrome is awesome! It was getting dark when I fed the horses, but I wanted to do a short session anyway. Thank you Julie (Grayson's Mom) for encouraging me to get back out there. You were right, it took one session to get me hooked again. I've missed training.

Since it was going to be a short session I decided to just work on shoulder yields. First I reviewed the side he already knows and I got full quarter turns on the haunches! It won't be long before he's doing full reining type spins lol. I did it again after the session just to make sure it wasn't a fluke and he did it perfectly. :)

So on the new side I'm still using the pressure behind his shoulder and on his neck because he needs the support. I was on a hill (because his pasture mates wouldn't leave us alone) and that was making things more difficult, but he was figuring it out. I started to get frustrated because he kept moving his rear legs too, but then I realized it was poor timing on my part with the clicker causing the problem. I just need to get back into practice.

I definitely enjoy working at liberty better than in a halter because it forces me to give up control and to allow him to figure it out on his own. If I push him around and physically maneuver him into doing what I want he won't learn it like he will if he does it himself. It also teaches him to use his body himself.

He kept wanting to walk off again, but I just reminded myself to ignore it and let him figure it out. He only walked three steps before he stopped and stepped over. He's so smart. I have a feeling we're going to get confused when we get to the sidepass lol. He does a beautiful sidepass already (offering it himself, it's not on cue), but I'm worried he'll confuse the cues when I start teaching it. A good example is that I use cues in the exact same spot when asking for the shoulder yield and the lateral flex, but the yield is solid pressure and the flex is more of a tickle. I'm also facing his shoulder on the yield and facing forward on the flex. It will be okay though because forgetting cues and having to backtrack is just part of filling in the gaps. Similar cues will force him (and me!) to pay more attention to the cue and my body language. I love clicker training!

P.S. I almost forgot to mention at one point I was trying to get him positioned better on the hill and I did his 'come here' hand signal and he stepped his shoulders toward me!! He's so awesome! I can already see him getting more supple and maneuverable. The mare I grew up with only knew how to back and yield her hindquarters. She couldn't yield her shoulder or sidepass. She also felt very stiff and difficult to maneuver in small areas. :)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Finally! We did some clicker training.

Sorry for two posts in one day, but I had to tell you all that I finally had a clicker session with Chrome. After looking in his training journal I keep I realized it's been two months since I got the clicker out with him!!! Sheesh.

I brushed him, then put on his surcingle and cavesson. I attached a pair of bright blue braided barrel reins to his cavesson that a friend gave me. They were a bit too short and aren't adjustable like English reins (no buckle). It worked okay though once I got coordinated. First I worked on lateral flexion with just the rein aids. I think this is the first time I've done it in the cavesson. Previously I've only done it in the rope halter. This was also the first time with reins. It took a minute of circling before he got it, but once he did he was going crazy with it. When he started anticipating me I started alternating both directions. I can't wait to work on this from his back. He's tall enough that it's very difficult from the ground lol.

Next I decided to work on shoulder yielding again. He remembered the right side that we've worked on before so I switched to the left side. This was our first time on that side. I was out in the open and at first he was either offering yielding toward me (the direction he knows) or walking off, so I moved him to the gate so he was blocked from forward motion. Again he offered yielding toward me, but I just kept my feet away from his hooves and kept the pressure consistent. He finally stepped to the right. He was crossing behind at first, but he did finally start crossing to the front. For right now I'm using the pressure where my knee will be eventually and also on his neck, just like I trained the other side. Eventually I'll drop the neck pressure. :)

My plan is to eventually have him moving his shoulders from pressure where my knee will be and move his hindquarters from pressure where my heel will be. Then it should transfer easily to the saddle. And I can do both to get a sidepass.

After that I took him to the road to work on rein cues to hopefully get him back to ground driving. When we last worked on ground driving he was bracing and wouldn't follow the rein so that's what we worked on, zigzagging across the road. It's very difficult to coordinate the aids from the ground, but he did eventually get it. I also had him turning a small circle to go the other direction without swinging his hindquarters into or away from me. He's so smart! It definitely needs some finesse work, but he's slowly getting it. After he gets the hang of that I'll put the driving reins through the surcingle and do it that way while walking next to him, then I'll drop back behind him. I'm optimistic that it will go better after this work.

Well, I have to go, just wanted to share what we're working on.

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Chrome's Monthly Progress Report

He's standing on a hill, but I still think this picture is better than the ones I got below lol.

Date: 9-20-11 (a day late oops)
Age: 28 Months
Height: 15.1hh
Height Gain: He's just a smidge over 15.1hh so he's still not growing much. Will he really grow another hand between two and three years? I sure hope so!! Oh and I measured his hips too and they are only slightly higher than his withers.
Weight: The weight tape says 900-910lbs.
Weight Gain: His weight is staying around the same too.

Progress: Sigh. I still haven't done anything. I just can't seem to get motivated. I'm reading the Art of Natural Dressage forum and watching YouTube videos so hopefully I can get motivated to go back to work. :) This is slightly horse related, we've spread grass seed on the lease land and it's sprouting. Yay!

Goals: I want to start clicker training again!! I miss our interaction together. :) That's it. No complicated goals.

More pictures below. I tried using the target to see if I could get him to stop walking forward. I really need to teach him to ground tie. My husband was taking the pictures and didn't get square with him, but they turned out cute because Chrome was playing with the target.

This is probably the best side shot I got. :)

I guess since his growth has slowed down it's up to me to get in gear so these progress reports are interesting lol!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Oops. Chrome's Monthly Progress Report Delayed.

We have inventory at work so I've been super busy, working extra hours and to top it all off I've been sick and it's been raining, so I didn't get Chrome's pictures/measurements today. I'll do it tomorrow. I'm feeling better and I'm off the next two days so hopefully I can get caught up on things. :)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

I love my horses . . .

I guess I'm in a sappy mood hehe. :) I'm feeling better by the way. I woke up with almost no congestion although I've still had a headache all day. Maybe this is just my fall allergies hitting me hard. Not sure. One of my employees is very sick though, so I guess it's still possible that I could be getting sick. I sure hope not. I'm an obsessive handwasher/user of germ x and I've been using lysol or bleach on everything at work. We shall see if my efforts are in vain. I'll try to start posting more soon.

Oh and I almost forgot, we have finished spreading the grass seed and it rained just in time. Keep your fingers crossed it all sprouts and takes off. This should save us a lot in hay money over the winter. I just hope they can all tolerate the rich new growth because I don't have any hay to pull them off the pasture right now. Being broke is tough lol.

Friday, September 16, 2011

How I Spend My Sick Time

I'm sick so there won't be a whole lot going on right now. Tomorrow Chrome is getting his teeth done so I'll try to take pictures of that. For now I'm passing my time looking are videos of Friesian/Arabian crosses on YouTube and I found one of Chrome's half siblings. She's living in Missouri now. Check out the video.

She's pretty isn't she?

And here is one of his half brothers. I think his mom was a Morgan though.

Anyway I'm going to watch more videos until it's time to go to work and hope that I can breathe soon. I haven't had a cold in so many years I forgot how miserable it was lol.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

An Escape!

Just had a fright. All three brats got out. My husband has been spreading grass seed and he got a flat so he drove the four wheeler up to the barn to fix it. He had to go to the store to get some supplies and apparently had only leaned the panel we use for a gate up and didn't fasten it thinking it wouldn't take long. Apparently one of them decided to go for a joy ride and knocked the panel down.

When the neighbors alerted us the horses were nowhere in sight. We walked all over, calling and whistling, then we drove all over. Our neighbors decided to try whistling again and Chrome came trotted up the very steep thickly wooded hill across the road from our house. He trotted up to her and stopped less than an arm's length away, then he turned to look back where Faran and Zeppelin were hiding. My neighbor used her dog's leash to catch Chrome and her friend tried to catch the others. Zeppelin let her touch his nose and then turned and galloped off. The brat donkey started biting and chasing Faran back into the trees, so the neighbor with Chrome led him to the pasture. Luckily the other two came back and followed them in. I'm so thankful traffic wasn't heavy because people speed down our road all of the time.

So they are all safe and sound, hot and tired, but fine. This has only made me even more determined to get Zep halter broke though. Even if we do though I don't think he'll ever let a stranger halter him . . . I think I'm going to pen him up by the house so I can work with him frequently throughout the day. He's going to be pissed being separated from his buddies, but maybe he'll seek comfort in me. I hope. I just hope he doesn't keep the whole neighborhood awake with his braying. We'll see. Maybe I can keep him up in the day and let him go at night. I'll figure something out, but I need a way to work with him without traipsing all over thirty acres.

Anyway I'm just glad they are okay. I was having horrible thoughts of Chrome going through a fence to get to a mare or a car hitting him. It was horrible. Every time they've gotten loose before they just grazed in our yard or our neighbor's yard. Eeek! I'll definitely be making sure my husband secures the gate from now on.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Hoof Trims

The horses got their hooves trimmed today and she was able to do all four of Faran's hooves!!! Such an amazing improvement over last time when she could barely pick up his rear hooves. He still has a bunch of cracks, but his toes are shorter and his hooves are balanced so I'm happy. Now hopefully the soreness and random swelling in his leg will go away. Our farrier said the swelling was from the really long toe putting strain on his joints. I'm so happy with how he did.

Unfortunately I didn't get picture or anything. Chrome was sort of a brat even though I took him for a walk and did some light lunging beforehand. I can't wait to get him gelded lol.

Faran was still nervous and had to be coaxed and bribed (treats lol), but we got it done without having to resort to harsh methods so I'm thrilled. I love clicker training. Even though we've only done a handful of clicker session on his hooves it made a huge difference. :) Next month it will go even better. :)

Now if only I could get the darn donkey tamed down. ;D

Sunday, September 11, 2011

10th Anniversary of 9-11

Remembering 9-11.

Tribute in Light

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Scare & Fellow Bloggers

I just wanted to take a moment to post about Andrea and Gogo from Eventing-a-Gogo ( They are such an amazing team facing a tragedy. Gogo sustained an injury two years ago that refused to heal despite Andrea's never ending meticulous care and now she's injured herself again. This time the damage is more than likely permanent and progressive. :( So now Andrea is facing one of the most difficult decisions that horsewomen face. I just want to lend my support and to let her know that I'm praying hard for a miracle right now because I can't even begin to imagine the pain she is in right now. Gogo is a really amazing, beautiful mare and neither one of them deserves to be going through this right now. If you could keep her in your thoughts/prayers or even make a donation (click here for more information) I would very much appreciate it.

I also wanted to mention Kelly, Lex and Hennessy from Princess Diva Diaries ( Lex is Kelly's daughter and Hennessy is Lex's best equine friend. She's also having to deal with an injury and the difficult decision that comes of it. And Lex is only seventeen years old. It isn't right she should have to go through this or make this kind of decision at that age. So if you could offer your support and prayers for her too that would be really great. I feel like we are all part of a big equine blogging family and supporting each other during that kind of pain is what families do. Thanks guys.


My new favorite picture of Faran! He looks like a Friesian in this picture lol.

Now for a scare of my own. Having read about Gogo and Hennessy and having them almost constantly on my mind I realized I haven't been spending much time with Chrome. I couldn't for a while because of the heat rash, but it's past time to get out there and spend time with him because life is fragile and we have no guarantee of how long it lasts.

I wanted to work on his hooves a little because they were chipping, but mainly I just wanted to spend some time with him. However when I went out there I noticed Faran stretching out to pee . . . only he didn't pee. I watched him do it two more times before some urine finally dribbled out. Then he tried one more time before he got distracted and gave up. He ate his breakfast fine and was happily grazing on grass. He didn't appear to be in pain. He wasn't straining or grunting. So I got my husband and we took his temperature, which was fine. I also checked his gums and pinched his skin to check hydration. All was fine. The only other simple thing I could think of was that maybe he had a bean in his urethra. I have no idea if anyone who has had him before ever cleaned his sheath or removed the bean, so it was definitely a possibility.

Unfortunately Faran is still wary of certain things and I didn't quite trust him to just reach in there and check. It puts me in too venerable of a position. So we decided to take them up to the house to groom them in hopes that he would relax and drop on his own. I beveled Chrome's hooves to take care of the chipping (he was sort of a brat, but then he always is lately, really need to get him gelded). We brushed both of them and detangled Faran's mane and tail. Maybe I'm glad Chrome didn't get the Friesian hair gene lol. What a lot of work. :) We need to work with Faran on water because he really needs a bath.

I love the shadows. :D

So when Faran relaxed I donned a glove and some lubricant and checked. I didn't feel anything, but he sucked up as soon as I got too personal, so I could have missed something. I figure though that if it was big enough to prevent him from peeing that I would have felt it. So that basically rules out a bean.

We took them for a short walk and I got some pictures, but it was getting warm and I hadn't eaten anything all day so we went home. As soon as we turned them out in the pasture Faran walked a short distance and peed enough to fill one of the Great Lakes. :D So maybe he was stretching? I'm just relieved he's okay. I'm still going to be watching him closely though.

Below are the rest of the pictures.

Chrome was bored hehe.

Until he caught the scent of horses who passed through yesterday.

After smelling the road he did the flehman, too cute! The picture is crap though lol.

Stopped to talk to some guys and Chrome had to check out the huge tractor.

I forget how big Faran is until I see pictures like this.

I love his shadow. It looks like a really fat mini lol!

My boys. :D

Gave hubby the camera.
I look weird though because I'm leaning back so Chrome's mane would be in the picture.
The wind was blowing it around. Too cute. :)

Check out the reflection in my sunglasses! Too cool!

Checking out the neighbor's dogs.

Gorgeous boy.

Cute ass!

Their tails look so nice all brushed out and blowing in the breeze. :)
I wish Faran had been completely in the picture.

Faran makes Zeppelin look tiny!

That's all for today!