Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Video I Forgot About

I completely forgot to post this video from Christmas 2012.  Isn't he soooo cute??

Anyway, I'm about to take Chrome for his walk today.  I hope you all are having nice weather and lots of horse time.  :)

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Our First Road Walk In Our New Home

 I hand walked Chrome on the roads at our new home for the first time today.  He was great!!  He was very alert and eager, but totally sane and calm too.  :)  He was enjoying himself so much that he didn't even want to turn around and come home.  Check out the pictures.

First pictures of how dirty he was.  It has been so nasty and muddy lately.
 You might have to enlarge it to see the mud.  He's the perfect color right now because the mud blends in lol.

 Close up of his dirty hip.

 And his icky tail...

Now some of him cleaned up....

 First his beautiful tail!!  Looks much better huh?  
I didn't even finish it because I didn't have any detangler and it was tearing too much.

All cleaned up.  Lots of elbow grease!

The other side was fairly clean already.  He has a bare spot on his hip where he cut himself, but it's healed up.

 Even though I brushed his mane it still looked bad.  It was so windy.

 When I say windy I mean WINDY!

Now for some fun shots while he was still tied up.  Isn't he so photogenic and gorgeous?  Or am I just totally biased??  ;D

 Look at his beard!

Look at how faded out his star is getting.

See how neat and clean his star was when he was born?  Isn't he a cute baby??

 Standing so tall and handsome!

 Why does he always look so gorgeous when he's misbehaving (pawing)??  Luckily he only paws two times and then gives up.  I'm so happy it hasn't become an ingrained habit (because I never reward it I just take pictures lol).

"Momma?  Why are you all the way over there ignoring me??"

He finally cocked a leg and relaxed (instead of pawing and being antsy) so I untied him and took him for a walk down the road.

 It's very difficult to photograph him when we're both moving, but I got some decent ones.

We were walking so fast that not many of the pictures turned out.  This is the point where we turned around.  

 His neck looks so short lol!  He could smell the neighbor's horses, but couldn't see them, so he just stared.

And then we headed back home.  

 This one is blurry, but I wanted to post it to show how far under himself he was stepping.

Chrome is such a lazy (maybe stiff?) horse that normally his rear hoof print barely makes it into the front hoof print.  On this walk he was so forward that his rear hoof print was easily a whole hoof in front of his front hoof print.  I'm so happy to see he can move forward when he wants.  The cool thing is that he's landing heel first with his rear hooves.  I got a video that I'll post later.  :)

 Crappy photo, but I love his neck!

Dork was sniffing the driveway.

So I would call today a success!  I've been feeling very unmotivated (due to crappy weather and stressing over Faran), but today I just made myself go do something with him.  It was cold and windy, but so worth it!  Now maybe soon we will actually start doing some longeing, ground driving, clicker training and riding!  :D  I'm so ready for spring!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A New Name?

Okay... I need to take a break from worrying about Faran.  For right now he's safe and doesn't need to go anywhere.  Don't worry though, I'm taking all of your suggestions and sending emails and making phone calls, but I just need a break.  I can't handle thinking about it or crying anymore.

So, something else I've been thinking about is renaming my blog (especially if Faran does find a new home) because my title is waaaaaay too long!  I never really named this blog.  It used to be just about Chrome, but now it's about so much more.  I was thinking about all of the things this blog is about....  my horses, photography, barefoot trimming, clicker training, etc. and all of the things I want to do, such as, dressage, competitive trail riding, driving, etc.  So I thought of a million names, but there was no way to combine all of those things and I didn't want to focus on just one.  What if I named my blog after dressage and then discovered that Chrome or I didn't like it (well I do like it, but he may not)?

Then I realized this blog is about our journey, because we all know it's not the destination (or discipline) that matters, it's the journey.  Of course I have to make sure everyone knows it's a horse blog, so I thought of Equestrian Journey.  I Googled it and didn't see any other blogs using it, so what do you think?  Do you like the new blog title?

Monday, February 25, 2013

Faran's Fate?

I'm in tears as I write this so I hope it makes sense.  I finally got in touch with the draft rescue and they don't have room.  She said that since he is healthy and safe that they would require an evaluation from a professional trainer before they could take him in (once they have room)... they normally take in neglected horses.  I can't afford to send him to one of their trainers because I'm trying to build my house!  I haven't even sold my old house yet....  I love Faran, but having a place to live kind of takes priority.

The part that really breaks my heart is she confirmed my worst fear... she said that draft horses that have fear based problems are rarely ever safe due to their sheer size, whereas a "spoiled" draft is easy to rehab... I'm totally butchering her words.  Basically what she said is that he will always be a liability and if he ends up hurting someone, due to his size and good health that he will eventually end up in a slaughter house.... she suggested humanely euthanizing him.... it would probably be kinder for him in the long run.

So far I have been blessed that I've never had to have a horse euthanized, especially not a healthy horse..... making the decision to do that is so much harder than I could ever have guessed.  It's so hard to give up on a perfectly healthy twelve year old horse.....  I just wish I knew someone with a hundred acres that could put him out to pasture and just let him live out his life in peace....

Anyway I don't know what Faran's fate is right now.  I have to think about things a while.... and probably cry some more.  Thank you all for your kind comments.  I really appreciate them.  You guys are the best!!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Rehoming Faran

Okay, I have to write this before I change my mind or talk myself out of it..... I think it's time to find Faran a new home.  I don't like to write about negative stuff on the blog, so this probably feels like it's coming out of the blue for you guys, but I promise it isn't.  I feel uncomfortable even writing about this because I got slammed by someone for selling my goats (because I couldn't afford to take care of them anymore due to my husband's injury and job loss), but I have to tell you guys.

I mentioned that Faran and I do not get along recently, but I've been too busy to sit and write a post explaining why.  The main reason is because our personalities just don't mesh at all.  If you've been around horses long I'm sure you've met a horse before that you just didn't get along well with.  I'm a very unpredictable, fast moving, bouncing all over the place kind of person and Faran is a very reactive (more like downright explosive) and sensitive.  So just walking around him, reaching up to pull my hair out of my eyes, tripping over my own feet (happens more than you would believe lol) all sets him off.  And when I say sets him off I mean he EXPLODES!!!  I was going to get a video to show you, but the weather has been atrocious.  I can stand eight feet away from him and hop up and down (not even waving my arms) and he will spook and gallop away.  He moves so quickly we call it teleporting... I'm dead serious.

The other thing that I never mentioned is that Faran kicked me in the head.... it wasn't his fault.  I was medicating a sore and I should have been facing the other way.  He reached up to kick flies and when he brought his hoof back down he got me square in the head.  Yeah I know I should have been more careful, but I'm used to working with Chrome (yes I'm aware he's a horse and could hurt me too).  I didn't blame him for that happening (oh and I'm fine, didn't have to go to the ER or anything, just had some swelling), but it has caused me to not trust him anymore....  Faran is easily 1600lbs of complete and total scaredy cat and when something scares him he will run away even if you are between him and freedom.... he will just plow right over you. 

I thought we could make a difference and at first we did.  He responds beautifully to clicker training and was getting a lot more confident, but the explosiveness has never gone away no matter how much we worked with him.  I don't know if it's from when he was abused or if he's always had an explosive personality.  The problem is that he needs consistent work every single day and we just don't have the time.  I'm too afraid (and I hate to admit that) to work with him by myself and my husband is too busy with work and building our new home.  It's only been a few weeks since we've been too busy to mess with him and he has totally reverted back to his previous scaredy cat self......  I'm also afraid he's going to hurt my husband.....

We had our trimmer out on Saturday and we couldn't even catch Faran!!!  He followed Chrome into the round pen and my husband almost had the halter on him when Faran exploded past/through him and almost knocked him down.  I can't risk my husband hurting his back again....  it's not an option.  If he's not careful he will have to have surgery on his back.... as much as we love Faran we can't risk him hurting one of us.

So as much as I hate to admit it and as much of a failure as I feel right now because I honestly thought we could rehab him..... I really think rehoming him is the best and safest option.  He needs someone who has the time and patience to work with him every single day to win his confidence back.  I really hope you guys understand.... I know I don't need your permission, but I'd feel awful if you guys thought I was making the wrong decision....

Another thing I noticed as I've been thinking things over is that Faran is affecting the whole herd.... I had Zeppelin to where I could scratch him all over his face, side and back before we got Faran and now I can barely even touch his nose.  Part of that is not having the time to mess with him, but part of it is because Faran is so jumpy.  When Faran spooks (which is all the time) it scares Zep too.  When Chrome was Zep's role model he was a lot calmer and more inquisitive towards us, but now he doesn't want anything to do with us.  That makes me sad because I really like Zep.... his personality is more like Chrome's.  He's just skittish because he wasn't handled for the first three years of his life.

Anyway.... I'll definitely keep you guys up to date.  We're not doing anything rash.  We're looking around and researching everything.  I think we're going to go with a draft rescue.  They will work with him, evaluate him to see if he would ever be adoptable and if he's not they will retire him there and keep him for the rest of his life.  Anyway I'll let you know what we decide as soon as I know something.  Thanks for listening!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Chrome Turned Bay & Monthly Progress Report

Chrome turned a golden bay (see above)!!  Just kidding, the sun was just glowing off of his coat.  :D  I was losing daylight quick so I snapped the above picture while he was eating supper for my progress report conformation shot.

Date: 2-19-13
Age: 3 Years 9 Months (can you believe he turns four in three months???)
Height: 15.2hh
Height Gain: If there was any it's so tiny I can't tell.  I've admitted to myself that he will probably stay in the 15.2hh range forever and I'm perfectly happy with that.  I always wanted a tall horse because I'm 5'11", but realistically he's a good height for me (just keeping my fingers crossed he widens out enough to take up some of my leg so my feet don't always hang below his belly).  Shorter horses are cheaper to buy things for, to feed, etc. so that's good too. 
 Weight:  I didn't measure it, but I really need to.  He was looking lean so I increased his feed and he's looking good again.... I should have been recording it.  Sigh.
 Weight Gain: I don't know.

 Progress:  Um..... we moved to our new home!  That's big time progress lol.  Chrome was spookier than I expected, but I got to thinking about it and he's lived in the same place for most of his life (I doubt he remembers where he lived before turning five months old), so it isn't that weird for him to be fairly unsettled.  I think he has accepted that we are staying here and has calmed down a lot and settled into the new routine.  It was funny though during a recent storm he was spooking at thunder!  How bizarre is that??  It's probably all of the unusual noises our new neighbors make, but he will adjust to it in no time.  

Goals:  Since we have finally moved and things are settling down I need to start making goals each month again, especially if we're going to complete all of our goals for the year.  I finally got the round pen set up so I think my goal for now will be teaching him to longe and getting him in better shape.  I would make more plans, but the weather has been very unpredictable lately!!

Here is a picture from the other day showing his actual color hehe.  Isn't it crazy that he's almost four years old and he's still so dark!  I wish he would turn dappled gray, but I'm finally accepting that he's going to be one of those that just fades.  Oh well, all the changes in his color has been so fun to watch and he's always gorgeous in my eyes.  :)

That's all for now.  I'm still working on the Faran post.... wish the weather would cooperate.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Random Cute Pictures

 Sorry I got busy yesterday.  Here are the pictures I got a couple of days ago.  We're having crappy weather, but I promise I will get a post up about Faran soon.  I want to get video of the two of us interacting so you can see what I'm talking about.  Rest assured though I do like him.... I wasn't saying that we hate each other or anything, we just don't have a bond like I have with Chrome.  I'll explain more later.  Here are some fun pictures!

 I bet you can't guess what Chrome is chasing!

Here's a picture from a few second earlier.... yep he's chasing Stormy!!!
I'll have more pictures of the dogs on my other blog here:

 Trotting past me.... with his eyes still on the dog lol.

Playing with a piece of cardboard he found.

 His leg itched, but he didn't want to stop lol.  He did finally stop and scratch before coming to me, but I missed the picture.

 Cute Zep Zep.

 I had to play around with Zep's photo because the quality was horrible.  I think it turned out pretty cool.

 The boys love to play!

 This is why Chrome has a crappy mane.... scratching an itch.

I'm trying to grow his mane back out, but look how crappy it is.  He's still sexy though!
 King of the hill!

 Faran was sooooo boring.  He just wanted to walk around and graze lol.

 He has good camoflauge huh?


That's all for now.  I'll post Chrome's progress report tomorrow and then I'll get a post up about Faran as soon as the weather clears up!  Talk to you guys later!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

2013 Goals..... a little late haha!

Haha I totally forgot to post my goals for the year.... I have to go to bed so I'm just going to be real quick.  I have some pictures to post tomorrow though so make sure to check back.

Well last year was.... difficult and I didn't really meet any of my goals.  I rode Chrome and had fun with him and was safe.  Those were the two most important ones.  So I'm not even going to go into the old ones, but I will be carrying over some of them and adding some new ones for the new year.  Here they are!

2013 Goals

1. Start my Paddock Paradise 
Notice I say start... that's because it will probably be a long, ongoing process as I get the money to invest more and more into it.  If you don't know what paddock paradise is check out my earlier post here -

2. Teach Chrome to longe and ground drive.
Chrome is almost four so I figure by now his legs can hold up to some longeing.  :)  I want to teach him to longe so we can practice vocal cues, going forward with energy and also ground driving.  I finally got my round pen set up so I should be able to start working on this soon.  :)

3. Ride Chrome more and get him in shape (Do Couch to 5k).
I have to get Chrome in better shape.  To see why and also to learn more about the Couch to 5k program go to my earlier post here -

4. Buy a new horse trailer and get Chrome comfortable hauling.

I need a new horse trailer!  The one I have right now is a very old, Thoroughbred style trailer that is narrow, but very tall.  Someone took the center divider out before I got it so it only safely hold one horse.  That is very frustrating especially when we had to move them to our new home one at a time.  It took like six hours to get them all moved.  Chrome is also nervous of this trailer and doesn't like it at all.  It's so old it doesn't have trailer brakes or good suspension so I know the ride has to be rough and loud.  So yeah... I need a new trailer.  I just wish I had the money to go buy a new, fancy one right now instead of having to scour sale ads.  Keep your fingers crossed we find something finally!

5. Build some CTR obstacles and practice on them.

Since Chrome will be old enough to compete in competitive trails rides in a little over a year I probably need to start doing some prep work!!  I would like to build my own obstacles to work on.  We will see if I find the time and money....

6. Tame Led Zeppelin and get him gelded.

Now that we are getting settled in our new home with neighbors that are further away and won't be bothered by braying I am going to pen Zep up and get him tamed.  It's impossible to work with him out in the pasture with the other horses because they get in the way and he has too much room to run off.  I'm also planning to get him gelded.  Part of the reason we haven't is because of money, but now that my husband has a really good job that shouldn't be a problem soon.  The other reason I haven't is fear....  Zep will turn six years old this year and I've heard that donkeys can be more difficult to geld.  Something about bigger blood vessels that have to be sewn up or they can bleed to death....  I want him to be tame enough that if there is a problem I'll be able to see it before something happens....  yeah so I'm just nervous about it.

7. Work on Faran's confidence.

This one is more for my husband.  I haven't really written much about it on the blog, but Faran and I do NOT get along at all..... we basically ignore each other.  I feed him and check him for injuries daily, but that's the extent of our interactions (well other than me taking pictures of him).  I'll explain more later if any of you are interested. 

8. Take dressage lessons again (with Chrome if he's ready or on a school horse if he's not).
Now that I'm back in my hometown I want to start taking dressage lessons with my old trainer again!  If I can get the basics on Chrome well enough before the end of the year I'll start taking lessons on him, if not I'll just ride a lesson horse.  I can't wait!

9.  Get Chrome landing heel first.
I haven't talked about Chrome's hooves in a while, but he still mostly lands toe first so I want to learn more about hooves and figure out what I need to be doing to get him landing heel first.  I'll write more on this later.

Anyway I really need to hit the hay, so I'll talk to you all later.  :D  Oh and I'm trying to get caught up on everyone's blogs, but it's taking a while, so let me know if I missed yours. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Lightbulb Moment

Sorry in advance for no pictures and LOTS of text lol, but I feel this is important to get written down.

Okay, I have been feeling frustrated lately that I can't seem to teach Chrome to steer.  I didn't know why teaching him to steer has been so difficult!!  I've taught horses to ride before and never had this problem.  I think my first problem is that I'm a perfectionist!!!!  Because Chrome is my horse and the first horse I've ever even thought about teaching dressage to, I want to do it right!  Unfortunately I've gotten so hung up on doing everything perfectly that I'm not doing ANYTHING!!!  I'm so afraid of screwing up that I'm too afraid to try anything at all (the fact that it's been six or seven years since I took dressage lessons doesn't help the fear of screwing up)!!!

So I started looking up random training videos by random trainers and I learned a few things.  Just because I plan to make Chrome a dressage horse doesn't mean that I can't train him in the basics using Western methods (heck my dressage trainer has a Western rider start her horses before she starts training them in dressage).  I've been so concerned about someday teaching him dressage that I haven't wanted to teach him anything that's not "dressage" including steering.... are you noticing what I finally noticed?  If he can't steer there is no way I'll ever teach him dressage!  Duh!  :)

So I need to take a step (or a million steps) back and start from the beginning.  My first problem is forward.... he has no GO!  Chrome is a lazy horse.... a lazy, overly desensitized horse.  I never taught him that a whip means go forward.  I've never backed up my "walk on" vocal cue for going forward.  I haven't been consistent with leg pressure meaning go forward.  (Note: He will walk forward, but it's a slow, ambling walk with no purpose, not a forward, energetic walk)  So, if I can't get him to go forward energetically how in the world do I expect to get him to steer. 

So, first step is to teach him forward.  He needs to know that a whip means go forward and that the voice cue means go forward.  Once he's good at that I need to teach him that leg pressure means go forward.  And most importantly he needs to learn that when I ask him to go forward he needs to keep going until I tell him he can stop (by saying whoa or just stopping my body from following the movement). 

Since he is almost four I'm going to start teaching him to longe (and yes even use the round pen for some free longeing, round penning or whatever they call it these days).  Once I get some GO in him then I can work on riding and steering again. 

This may all seem sooooo obvious to you guys (if you were even aware of the problem, not sure if I've mentioned it before), but I was thinking so far ahead that I totally forgot about the basics.  Yes I want to start taking dressage lessons again and start teaching him to work like a dressage horse, but if we can't even go forward or steer that's never going to happen.  So, wish me luck!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day & Fifteenth Ride

 The weather finally cooperated enough for me to go on my first ride at our new home.  :D  And yes, that is short sleeves in February, go ahead and hate me.  ;)  I went ahead and used the saddle, but I'm not positive it fits right because Chrome was kind of balky and unenthusiastic compared to when I ride bareback.  I'll check the saddle without the saddle pad to see if it fits later.  Anyway here are the pictures...

 My husband was holding Chrome while I brushed him because I don't have a place to tie him yet and was taking pictures.  He was playing around with the sun trying to get interesting pictures.  I really like this one lol.  Chrome is so cute!  He wasn't being mean or trying to pull away, I was scratching his favorite itchy spot on his neck with my curry comb.  He loves it!  :)

All ready to go and I'm excited... Chrome?  Not so much haha!

It's been a while since he wore the saddle so I took him for a jog to make sure he was okay with it (besides it's practice for when we start doing competitive trail rides hehe).  Ignore how weird I look, I'm pulling my shirt down lol.

 Too bad this one is blurry.  I like it.  I stopped to tighten the girth one more time and my husband got this picture.  That house in the background it the one we're building for us.  :D  The white part will have wood siding on it soon.

 Chrome always looks like he's half asleep haha!

 Tackling a big mud puddle.

 He happily went through it and I reached down to give him a pat.

Chrome looking more alert.  Notice my pine bough crop with pine needle tassel?  I can't find my real riding crop so I used a branch from a pine tree.  He was being lazy and needed a little encouragement at times, but I barely have to touch him with it.  :)

 "Chasing" Led Zeppelin.  :D

 Sniffing my "riding crop".

The end, hehe.  I like how he's stepping under himself on this one.  :)

As soon as we get the round pen set up I'm going to starting teaching him to longe.  I think it will be easier to teach with some boundaries starting out because right now he can't make a circle to save his life lol.  I'll try to get video of our first session, but it will depend on if I am alone or not.