Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Chrome's Bath & Tenth Ride

 Okay, after Chrome's mud bath yesterday I just HAD to give him a bath!!!  So here he is after his bath all clean and pretty.  :)

 Impatiently pawing, brat!  He doesn't do it often and stops when I tell him to, so I took a second to snap a picture.

 Rubbing his itchy throat on the gate.

 Trying to push the gate open with his nose.

Here he's giving me the stink eye for telling him not to push the gate open.

Just in case you can't tell he was absolutely full of himself! So I decided to take him for a walk while he dried, hoping to avoid the popular after bath roll.

 I LOVE this shot!  He looks so Arabian in it. :)

 That vinegar rinse leaves him so shiny!

 He kept wanting to trot around because he was feeling his oats, but he was too close for me to keep him in the frame for pictures.  :(

The only decent trot picture and he's still partly out of frame (not to mention in a weird stride).

 Watching me and Faran at the same time lol.

He's so gorgeous in my totally biased opinion!  He skinny little haunches need some hill work LOL!

After our walk we had our tenth ride.  I got video, but it turned out so bad I'm not going to post it.  I guess my husband had it zoomed in or something because we were out of frame most of the time (or it was staring at Chrome's legs).  I did manage to get a couple of still shots from the video though.  :D  He was doing well on his long and low work and responding to my cues fairly well (I'm still working on consistency of my cues; I MUST stop looking down at him and start thinking forward with my body!), so I worked on steering a little.  He was totally confused.  He can't walk and turn at the same time (if it's my idea, does it fine on his own lol) because he thinks the reins mean stop I guess, even when I use just one rein.  Weird.  So I'm going to backtrack a bit and work on flexions from the ground, then from his back.  We will get there.  This has been a good lesson for me on breaking things down into tiny steps for success!

So I have a question for my dressage readers (especially those of you who have started babies), is this a good place to be for his long and low work?  Does he need to be lower or higher with his head?  Is he stretching through his back?  I'm going to have to start carrying a whip because he's losing impulsion in the walk (when he starts thinking of something besides just forward, such as steering).  If I put my leg on him when he's already walking he gets really confused, which makes me wonder if he still has no clue what it means lol.  I've actually caught him walking off simply from a seat cue!!  Is it okay to teach him just the seat cue and leave my legs relaxed?

P.S. Please don't critique my position.  I'm in a bit of a chair seat (heels not lined up with hips and shoulders).  Any tips on fixing that bareback?  It's way easier to get the correct position in a saddle lol.  :)

In this last photo his head is a little higher (too high to be considered long and low?).  So how does he look?  What do I need to be encouraging him to do?  Do you think ground poles would be a good exercise for him (to stretch his back, improve impulsion and give him something to do; how far apart should the poles be for walking through them?)?  As far as my position goes I need to roll my thigh and get my calves/heels off of him (I may have been asking him to walk forward with leg pressure here).  I really need to strengthen my core so I can improve my position.  I forgot how difficult a dressage seat is while riding bareback.  :D

Also, does he still look too small for me?  I'm seriously considering taking a break from riding to give him more time to grow physically and mature mentally.  I've been enjoying working on our ground work (and it definitely needs more touching up and consistency), so it won't upset me to not ride him right now.  Knowing that I can makes it easier not to lol.  I just want to give him the best start possible in learning to use his back and I don't want to make it more difficult for him by riding him before he's ready.  I totally forgot to mention he trotted with me again today!!  We had just returned from our walk and I got on.  He got carried away and wanted to find Faran and Zep so he trotted off (right under low hanging branches lol), but he stopped when I asked him to and we were fine.  So I don't think it's "difficult" for him to carry me, I just don't want him to learn to drop his back under me.  I'm probably just over-analyzing everything!

Anyway thanks for any tips, hints or advice you can offer!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Mud Art & Fly Mask

 A good friend of mine gave me one of her old fly masks for Chrome so that he will have something to protect his eyes from debris when riding in the trailer.  I went out to see if it would fit and found this . . .

 Gross, muddy ponies playing in the pond!

Normally when they are in the pond and see me they come to me and stop playing.  This time they stayed in the pond and I got video!!  Something really cute happens and it's short so please watch!

If you can't watch YouTube videos you can see the video on Photobucket here:  http://s617.photobucket.com/albums/tt257/achieve1dream/?action=view&current=6-25-12-PondPlay.mp4

So after they'd had their fun I tried the fly mask on Chrome.

 It fit perfectly! And it has blue on it lol.

Notice how muddy he got?  That is important in just a second.  
How does the fly mask look?  I forgot to pull his forelock out of it lol.

 Chrome wasn't too sure about it, but he got over that quickly.
He was so good about letting me put it on and only tried to rub it off once.

Okay, now on to the mud art part I mentioned in the title.  Below is our "clean" canvas of mud . . .

And below is my mud art. He was so coated in it I was able to draw his name on his side!!


My mom said I should have written "wash me" lol.  I probably should have.  :D

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Driving Mr. Faran

 Some of you might have noticed something in the above picture from my post on the nineteenth (see here: http://rdxhorses.blogspot.com/2012/06/chromes-monthly-progress-report-ninth.html).  Faran is wearing a bit!!  Want to know why he's wearing a bit?

First off, check out this really cool, really old draft headstall we found last year . . . 

 Doesn't he look so handsome in it???  It just needs to be conditioned and oiled, but I sort of like the old weathered look against his black coat.  :)  We just need to find him a bigger bit.  It's too narrow by half an inch.  Anyone have a 6.5 inch bit they don't need anymore?  ;)

So anyway, here's what we were doing . .  .
 Ground driving!!!

 My husband borrowed Chrome's surcingle and used his homemade driving reins with his antique headstall and did some ground driving with Faran.  They look so cute together.  :D  

Faran definitely remembered how to drive, but he's still a little nervous about someone walking behind him.  It will just take some time and practice to get him used to it again.  I wish he'd never been mistreated.  Things would be so much easier.  However it is gratifying to be the one to teach him to trust again.  :) 

He looks so GOOD!!!!

 Look at how far under himself he steps.  :D

He did relax after a while.  

 So handsome!

 A little nervous again (but also listening really well).

 So powerful!

We kept the session short and positive.  In the above photo he is waiting for us to take his gear off.  Notice his relaxed leg?  Oh and he did a perfect ground tie while waiting for us to get his picture and "undress" him.  :D

I love this last picture.  It shows how big he actually is!!  I love that face!

We had so much fun and I can't wait to work on it again.  :D

P.S.  All of these photos were taken on the nineteenth of this month.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Chrome's Monthly Progress Report & Ninth Ride

Date: 6-19-12
Age: 3 Years 1 Month
Height: 15.2hh (technically he's 1/16th of an inch shy of 15.2hh but who's counting?)
Height Gain: Approx. 1/8th of an inch.
Weight: His heart girth measurement is 70 and his length measurement is 72, so according to the Equine Weight Calculator he weighs 1069lbs.
Weight Gain: He didn't gain any weight.  That's the same as last month.

Progress: Chrome has had nine rides!  All of them were fabulous.  We got confused and a little frustrated during a couple of them, but they still all went really well.  I know nine rides in a month isn't a lot, but he's still growing and he's still so narrow and gawky that I can't make myself ride him more.  I'm just going to continue to take it slow and let him figure things out and grow and build the muscles he needs to support his back under my weight.  :)  We also finally started cordeo training!!!  Read about it here (http://rdxhorses.blogspot.com/2012/06/exciting-chrome-cordeo-training-video.html).

 Goals: I'm still going to ride him approximately twice a week, but I'm also planning on borrowing a horse from a friend (that already knows how to trail ride) so that I can start ponying him on his days off.  He needs more exercise and experience.  Riding him twice a week at the walk isn't enough to build the muscles he needs and since I don't want to stress his back too much while he's growing, ponying him is the perfect solution.  Having my friend's horse here also means that my husband can ride some (if his back feels up to it) and means that my friend can ride with me and Chrome on our first trail ride!!  I don't know when that will be (I want more steering first), but it's a step in the right direction.  When we're not riding or ponying I also want to keep clicker training and working with the cordeo on the ground.  :D  Lot's of fun!!

Now for our yearly pictures:





 Trying to sneak into the house lol.

Now we have the video.  Keep in mind while shooting this video I was not using clicker training, we were just goofing off.  :D  I did some clicker work with him after I put the camera away (since I only have two hands lol).  He did fantastic.  He offered a long and low frame the entire time.  He was walking out really well and only got stuck once I think.  Almost as soon as I put my leg on him and said walk on he started walking again.  Good boy!  We also chased the donkey (at a walk of course), ran into Faran and ran into the round pen (didn't hurt my leg thank goodness lol).  We still have to work on steering eventually lol.  For now I'm focusing on forward, forward, forward!  Here's the video:

And here are some pictures from the ride!

 Getting a drink.

 Licking the salt block.  Notice it isn't in the tub it belongs in?  They won't leave it in there lol.

 Sniffing my foot.  And yeah I'm in pajama pants. 
 I figured it would be more comfortable for both of us because the seam on jeans can be painful lol.

 Now for a very serious question!  Here's a couple of pictures of Chrome's mane . . . notice anything?


We were in the shade so it's a little hard to see.  Here I'll help you out a little . . .

Look how uneven his mane is!!!  It's long and beautiful up front (several inches past his neck, kind of hard to see because it's so thin), but very short and uneven toward his withers because that's where they like to grab each other when playing.  So what do I do?  Try to grow it out or pull it so it's all the same length??  I LOVE a long mane (duh dream horse is the Friesian/his dad's mane is gorgeous!), but it looks so dumb and I don't know how to keep them from tearing it out.  I'm afraid to braid it because I would cry (not literally) if they tore a whole chunk out . . . so what to do?

Oh and you can click to enlarge the pictures.  Also his neck is a little twisted because he's playing with his rope, but you get the idea lol.