Monday, March 30, 2015

TOABH: Instrospection

This week Beka asks:  Introspection
What would your horse change about you?

This is an interesting thing to think about.  I think if Chrome could change anything about me he would make me more lenient with the treats obviously (what horse wouldn't?).  He would make me stay outside with him all the time to entertain him and scratch all of his itches (and feed more treats).  He would make me loosen up and relax out on trail rides and completely give him the reins so he could go where he wanted at whatever pace he wanted.

Less of this...

 Watching my neighbor gallop her horse...

More of this...

Other than that I think he's pretty happy with me.  :D  Great blog hop Beka!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Ride 104

I haven't ridden Chrome since the fifth for a few reasons... RAIN!!!  Lots of rain.  Which means LOTS of mud!  Also I've been working lots of extra hours because my boss is sick.... again....

I spent the majority of today at a dressage clinic at the barn my trainer owns (where I used to work) and I swear I spent three hours of it straight shivering.  Wow when did it get cold again???  I had on multiple layers as well as my new, super warm coat (the LL Bean one I got for Christmas), but I still shivered the whole time.  By the time I got home my back was hurting and I was exhausted from shivering.  I had fun though lol.

So I was sitting at my desk, happily relaxing, contemplating a nap (I actually napped yesterday which is highly unusual for me), finally warm and a text message pops up on my phone.  The neighbor girl wanted to go ride!  How could I say no??  Sure I hadn't ridden my horse in almost a month.  Sure I was exhausted.  Sure it was almost four pm.  Sure I was absolutely terrified my horse would kill me.... Still I said yes.  :)

You'll notice in all of these pictures that I'm not on his back.... yeah I walked 1.86 miles of the 3.39 miles we rode. That means I walked more than I rode.  He was UP!  He was flipping his tail and prancing at the horses galloping around next door (they took one of the horses away while my neighbor was tacking up so they were going crazy).  I think the prancing would actually be fun to ride if it didn't scare me so much!  I actually got off to let the horse trailer go by and walked until we got beyond the galloping horses, then I got back on.

Don't let the sleepy eyes on my dreamy dappled boy fool you...

I rode for a while and then neighbor girl started trotting in the fields.  I made Chrome stay on the road because the fields are so muddy right now.  I don't want him pulling a stifle.  He tried to trot a couple of times, but listened when I said walk only.  I had a death grip on him the whole time (which is why there aren't riding pictures).  Then in the distance I saw something.,,

 Chrome saw it too.  He froze.  Would not move a muscle.  I don't even think he was breathing.  See the picture above?  He stood like that for several minutes without twitching.

It was a horse drawn wagon (or possibly a hinny?  I was too preoccupied to be sure).  This was the first time he'd ever seen one and boy am I glad I got off.  I got the above picture while he was frozen.  As they got closer he exploded!  My neighbor girl said it wasn't bad, but if I'd been on his back I wouldn't have put it past him to bolt, so I'm glad my feet were firmly on the ground.  They stopped the wagon and let Chrome approach it.  He sniffed the wheel and begged the passenger for attention.  I was so proud of him for facing his fear.  They lapped us in the opposite direction around the block so we saw them a second time while I was still walking and he was much better the second time (although he was prancing and flipping his tail because a lunatic horse in a pasture was galloping around like a nut).

 In these two pictures he's politely watching while neighbor girl galloped her horse.  I think he was wishing I would stop being a chicken and let him gallop too.

Other than getting really hot from all the walking (the sun finally came out) I really enjoyed myself.  I was terrified pretty much the whole time I was riding, but that will pass when we get some practice in.  It had just been too long since I'd ridden I think.  I was imagining the worst thing that could happen in every scenario.  It was a great experience for him though because he got to see a wagon and a bunch of crazy horses galloping around.  He also had to stand still while my neighbor galloped around him.  At two other points we also split up (her off exploring fields while I stayed on the road) so he had to deal with separating and then meeting up with his buddy.  So yeah, good experiences.  :)

Once I got back home Chrome was exhausted as the adrenaline left him system.  I took advantage of it and spent ten minutes or so walking, trotting and cantering around the house.  His canter was perfect!  No crow hopping, picked it up within two strides of me asking, his stifle didn't give out, stopped perfectly, held it for the length of the driveway, etc.  Couldn't ask for any better so I hopped off and gave him a good grooming.  He's shedding like crazy so he really enjoyed it (so much so that I'm not posting the pictures of his "relaxed" state haha).

I hope you all are having great weather and great rides.  The rain is moving back in on us... :(  The mud still hasn't dried up yet!!!  Ahh!!!!!!!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

TOABH: Metamorphosis

Beka's blog hop this week is:  Metamorphosis
We've talked about what your horse doesn't like to do, and I don't want to confuse this with that.  I'm not talking about personality quirks or training foibles.  Tell me:  if you could change something (or things) about your horse, what would you?

If I could change anything about Chrome the absolute first thing I would do is make his sweet itch (or NTWs whichever it is) completely disappear.  As in never existed in the first place.  It makes him absolutely miserable and it breaks my heart seeing him suffer.  It stresses me out trying to figure out ways to manage it since there is no cure for sweet itch (there is hope if it's NTWs).

 His sores covered in zinc.

The closest I've found to a cure is neem oil, 
but if I miss a single day it's back to square one.

The second thing would be his club hoof and locking stifles... in other words his straight rear end.  I think it's all interconnected.  If he had ideal rear conformation the problem probably wouldn't exist.  To me he's absolutely gorgeous the way he is, but something about his conformation causes his stifle to lock, so I'd make that go away too.

This is a really old picture, but the best I can find that shows his club foot at it's worst.

A video showing his locking stifle when it was at it's worst.  
I actually forgot how bad it used to be, 
but look at how scrawny his haunches were then!  Yikes!!

 Those are the two main things I would change.  Anything else would be cosmetic and superficial such has a long, pretty mane and lots of dapples.  At this point I wouldn't even change his color because I've enjoyed the graying process even though I said I would never own a gray horse.  However I definitely wouldn't say no to a magically dirt and stain proof gray. ;)

Speaking of gray, I would also make him not ever develop melanomas.  He may not anyway, but if I could change anything, preventing that would be one thing.  Can we prevent stuff??  I guess if we're dreaming we can.  I don't think I would change his height either at this point.  I'm 5'10" so I always said I preferred taller horses, but really I'm comfortable on him and taller is just farther to fall haha.

Once again, that was a great blog hop Beka!  Thanks!!

Friday, March 20, 2015

DIY Horse Ownership Contest

This is just a quick post to let you know that Chrome is fine.  We've been having lots of rain and I'm working extra hours so I haven't been riding, but the mudball doesn't really mind lol.  Anyway check out this great contest that Olivia is doing for her 100th post (LINK).  Below are pictures of the signs she carves.  She's making one as the prize!  :D

Sunday, March 15, 2015

TOABH: Fail and DTR

I missed last week's blog hop so I'm just doing two at once.  :)  First up is: Fail.
We know what makes Thunderhooves happy, but what does he hate to do?  Let's not ignore those times that you have whip out all the tricks or pharmaceuticals for grooming.

Part of the reason I missed this one is because I was doing so much thinking.  I couldn't think of anything he hated lol.  There are things he doesn't like, such as bits (because I banged his teeth, but we fixed that with sugar and he grabs it on his own now), baths (but he is very good for them and sometimes he does like them if it's really hot), backing up (but that's because of his stifles, it's very difficult for him), deworming (but I can do it free in the pasture with no halter or rope on him because of the clicker training we did and I always follow it up with a treat), etc.  Just like with people there are things he doesn't like, but he does them because that's just life.  The one and only time I used clippers around him he was very wary, but I don't think it will take any time at all to get him used to them.  He doesn't really like the trailer because it's too small for him, but he does load thanks to clicker training.  After having a puncture wound in his hock, he decided he didn't like the stocks at the vet, so when I took him to get his teeth done I had to back him into them.  That's something I really want to work on, but I don't know anyone with stocks we could practice on.  The only thing he's had to be sedated for was getting gelded (duh) and having his teeth done.  I have no idea if he would tolerate getting his teeth done without sedation because it's never been an option. If I ever get the chance to try it, especially for a manual float I definitely will.  The only machine I've found that he doesn't like is the air compressor.  That hissing sound it makes when you put it on or take it off the valve stem freaks him out.  I think the main reason for that is because we had a flat while he was on the trailer and had to air it up.  He associated the two together.  We will work on that too.  He's also afraid to go into water by himself.  If I lead him or another horse goes in first he's fine.  That is just inexperience.  I think the biggest thing he hates is being ignored... obviously hehe.  Okay so I came up with more than I thought I would.  Chrome really is great about most everything and if he's not it doesn't take long for him to figure out that it's okay to do whatever I'm asking.

The blog hop this week is: Defining the Relationship
Let's be realistic.  What's the plan with your pony?  Is it a five-year investment with a return, is it until you move up beyond the Kin's abilities, or is it forever?

Chrome is for life.  He is my dream horse and my heart horse.  I hope we can grow old together.  Trail riding is my main love and goal, but I want Chrome to be an all around horse than can do anything and everything.  There are so many things I want to try with him including dressage, working equitation, competitive trail riding, driving, parades, camping, working cattle, cattle drive, riding on the beach, fox hunting, SCA, archery, mounted shooting, sidesaddle, etc.  So you see, he has to be for life because it will take us years to do all of these things.  :D  I can't wait!

P.S.  I almost forgot.  If something happened to me, my husband can and will care for him.  If something happened to both of us, my parents would.  If something happened to all of us I have no idea what would happen.  I have several people I would consider sending him to, but I haven't made a firm decision yet.... it's so hard to decide!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

I won artwork of Chrome!

I entered a giveaway on Instagram and won!  She did two drawings as the prize.  I LOVE them!  Please follow her on Instagram.  Her username is and she shares a lot of other artwork that is really cool.  Definitely worth checking out.  

I have always wanted artwork of Chrome, but I'm too chicken to try to draw my own horse.  I like drawing big cats lol.  To see my art go here.  So I'm really excited about these.  The only other art of Chrome (other than my lame sketches) I have is the drawing I got in the Equestrian Blogger Secret Santa.  To see it go here.  :D

Saturday, March 7, 2015

TA & WFTJ Blog Hop: Winter Woes

Saiph from Wait for the Jump and Karen from Thee Ashke have joined up for a fun blog hop.

This winter has been a tough one for equestrians. We have seen torrential rains, deep mud, unending snow, bitter winds and record lows. Words like "The Pineapple Express", "The Siberian Express", "Polar Vortex" and "El Nino" have meant less riding time and more time staring out the window at the weather. This winter has left barns devastated by collapsing roofs, trucks stranded in hub deep mud and frostbitten fingers and toes. All of this has led to our first blog hop. Thee Ashke and Wait for the Jump have teamed up to ask:

1. What has been the worst (and/or best?) of this winter so far?
2. What is the worst storm/winter you've ever experienced? Did you dig your way out of your house through feet of snow after an epic blizzard? Did you survive a tornado? Have you lived through a hurricane? Tell us!
3. What is the best winter you've ever had? What made it so special?

You don't necessarily have to talk about snow. This is a hop for equestrian bloggers to vent about the weather as much as they want, and to help those that are tired of winter to not feel alone! "Winter" is not limited to amounts of snow or cold temperatures. In the West Coast, winter involves torrential rains and green things. In the South, it means ice storms. In Florida, it is synonymous with the most 
beautiful time of the year. In Australia and Argentina, winter is all about summer heat. Everyone is welcome to participate, regardless of climate!

1. What was the worst (and/or best) of this winter so far?

I think the worst was the change in Chrome's behavior with the cold weather and fat supplement I had him on which resulted in me falling off for the first time.  That probably sounds melodramatic, but I feel like it has set me back a lot in the confidence department (not to mention the desire to ride department).  He has calmed down a lot since I took him off of the fat supplement and I'm not terrified or anything, but I really have no desire to push myself to ride in the cold anymore.  I'll wait until spring.  The good part was that I did a LOT of riding in the fall and saw a lot of improvement.  We accomplished a lot.  We had a really mild winter all the way up to late January/February.  We didn't have our first snow (or even ice really) until February.  We didn't have a lot of rain until then either.  It has been a fairly nice winter, especially with my new coat.  That coat has made all the difference in the world.  I will never buy cheap coats again!  I still wear my old, cheap coat to work because I work with a two year old and I don't want her getting my new one messy.  I'll go out to do chores in the new one in the morning and be completely comfortable and then a couple of hours later I'll be in my old coat just to walk out to the car and be shivering! I can't recommend LL Bean enough after this experience.  Sorry for the coat tangent lol.  Truly if I were to really complain about this winter it would be job related/getting bronchitis related, not weather or horse related.  :D

2. What is the worst storm/winter you've ever experienced?  The worst ones I can think of are a tornado and an ice storm. I don't remember the dates at all and I don't have any pictures so you'll just have to Google ice storm damage and tornado damage to see what it looks like.

The ice storm wasn't really scary.. just a major inconvenience and painful when I fell on the ice (several times, but I'm not admitting to anything hehe).  We lost power for about a week if I remember it right.  Heat isn't a problem because we heat our home with wood heat (we don't have central heat or air at all).  The problem with no electricity is that we have no water!  Our well is electric.  At the time of this storm (I was a teenager I think) we didn't even have a generator.  There were trees down across the road so we couldn't leave our house (I don't think we could even get up the driveway).  These days if we lose power for whatever reason I sneak up to the school where hubby works and shower in the gym if the roads are safe LOL!  

The tornado was terrifying.  I have spent my entire life being afraid of tornadoes, but up until this one none had been all that close.  I've spent every spring of my life glued to the T.V. during every storm waiting to see if we would be under a tornado warning (can't hear the sirens at my house).  There have been many, many, many times I have had to hide in a closet.  At my old house I hid in the hallway with me and the dogs under the futon mattress.  So when this tornado hit I dashed to the closet and covered myself with blankets.  I was scared, as I always am, but I didn't really think anything bad would happen.  That is until I heard it!  I had never in my life heard a tornado before.  I can't even describe the sound.  I was so scared I thought I was going to hyperventilate/pass out.  Even after it had passed I was too scared to get out of the closet and just stayed under the blankets crying.  It went within a quarter mile of the house.  We lost power, but there was no damage to our place.  I will never forget that day.  It took months before I could see the path of the damage without crying.  I'm so thankful that after spending my entire life being afraid of tornadoes that we finally have a tornado shelter!! 

3. What is the best winter you've ever had? What made it so special?

This is a hard one to answer... I've never been a winter person.  I shiver when it's below 70F.  So I don't do a lot outdoors in the winter and I love being outdoors.  I can think of particular days that I loved, but a whole winter?  I just don't know.  I think the best I can come up with is 2009 because that's the year I got Chrome.  He was a weanling and a dream come true and I'd been without a horse for two years so he got me back outdoors even though it was cold.  I also got to ride on Christmas day in the snow for the first time ever (we almost never have a white Christmas, snow doesn't start until Jan. or Feb. here and some years we don't get any at all) in 2012.  That was totally awesome.  I think the biggest highlights of winter for me is snow, especially if it's more than a couple of inches.  I remember getting ten inches one time.  That was SO AWESOME!!!!  I know a lot of you hate snow, but I so rarely see it that it really is so magical to me.  Besides snow and frozen ground is so much easier to deal with than all the mud.  I hate mud.  And rain.  I'll dig through my pictures and see if I can find any of the big snow.

Ice storm when I was a teenager.  This might have been the one that had us out of power for a week. It looks innocent, but it's not lol.

Below is 2008 I think.  We got ten to twelve inches of snow.  That's the most snow I have ever seen in my entire life.  We had so much fun in it!

 Look at Stormy!  Check out how much snow is on my bike hehe.

Below were all after 2009, but I don't feel like looking up actual dates.  Here are some of my favorite snow pictures.  I LOVE snow!

I know it's blurry... but those ears!!

 Look how deep it was!  Storm was not a short dog.  :)

 My white(ish) Christmas ride.

Yep snow makes me happy.  :D

Friday, March 6, 2015

TOABH: Ermahgerd

Beka's next blog hop is:  Ermahgerd.
What is your pony's absolute favorite riding activity?  What makes those little ears perk and causes the knees to lift?  Let's just focus on the favorites - we'll save the bucks for next week.

Chrome loves riding out on the roads and his favorite activity while out there (besides spooking) is showing off for other horses!  He puffs himself up, flips his tail and prances.  It's unnerving to me as the rider because it feels like he's going to explode, but as my hubby pointed out... it's all my fault...

You know how they say a puppy (or baby goat or baby any animal) is sooo cute when they jump up on you, but when they are over a hundred pounds it's not cute anymore?  Well, even though I knew better I thought it was sooooooo cute how he acted when we went for our walks and saw neighbor horses.  He would stick his nose in the air, flip his tail and prance.  Instead of correcting him I giggled, ran around with him and tried to take pictures like these below...

I just realized we had a neighbor with a white board fence at the old house and we have one at this new house too.... odd.  You can see the one at this house in the snow riding pictures I just posted.

So since it's my fault I obviously can't get mad at him.  I just have to patiently retrain his response to other horses.  I think it's going well considering last fall I rode him by horses he's never seen before on the buckle while they were trotting around.  We've come a long way!

Also while looking for the above pictures I randomly ran across this last one and had to post it.  So cute!