Sunday, January 31, 2010

Monthly Goals & A Short Walk

My 2010 goals for Chrome are:
  1. Use clicker training to desensitize Chrome to as much as possible.
  2. Go for more walks on the roads. Use clicker training to make it a positive experience.
  3. Teach Chrome some tricks specifically smile.
  4. Write in Chrome’s blog more often.
  5. Work on hauling to new places.

My break down of those goals for January were:
  1. Charge the clicker and work on targeting.
  2. Start walking around the property until clicker training is started.
  3. Nip the nipping in the bud before it turns into a biting problem!
  4. Keep writing.
  5. Hold out on this until I get clicker training started.

My progress is:
  1. I charged the clicker and worked on targeting once so far. Go here to read all about it. I'm still trying to find something other than sugar that he'll eat.
  2. I actually skipped the walking around the property step and went straight to solo road walks! He's doing fantastic. I don't think he registers Zeppelin's braying as a horse's neigh so he doesn't get upset at all. In fact I think he's starting to really enjoy it. I took him out this evening right before dark to walk up the road and back. As we were starting out I paused to wait on my husband and he started to rear up a little, feeling frisky, but I told him no and he stopped. Then we went for a run together. I'm so happy he's learned to trot on lead already. There was a crazy little Jack Russell following us and barking, but Chrome never batted an eye. One truck passed us and you could see him flinch away a bit, but he held his ground. Chrome's such a good boy! To see more examples of our walks go here and here.
  3. Chrome is doing really well with the nipping. He still sometimes swings his head toward me, but he knows not to make contact. He's not threatening me. He just wants to play, so I'm not scolding him for it (unless he gets too close).
  4. I've been doing great with posting to the blog as you can see if you check the archive.
  5. Still waiting on this.

My new goals for February are:
  1. I want to continue to work on targeting this month.
  2. I'm going to keep walking him as much as I possibly can to continue to expose him to new things. When he knows the clicker better I'll incorporate it into our walks. Right now if he makes scary eyes at something I just keep going. He doesn't shy or side step, so I don't think it'll hurt anything. I would eventually like to use clicker to encourage him to explore things that scare him. That will be a ways off though.
  3. For now I'm going to stick with targeting.
  4. Keep on blogging. :)
  5. Still not ready to work on hauling yet. The ground is too soft to move the trailer and he's not familiar enough on clicker yet to do anything. I think I'll wait for warmer weather to start hauling.
So there you have it. I feel like I'm doing pretty good with Chrome. I'm doing enough new things to keep him interested, but not trying to do too much. I've been doing really well keeping his age in mind and being patient with him. We have a very good understanding of each other. He occasionally gets pushy, but we're working on that and at the moment I don't feel like it's a dominance thing. He still looks to me as the leader. It makes me feel so happy when Chrome runs and bucks and then trots to the fence and looks at the front door because I know he wants me to come out and play (even if I'm just taking pictures).

Chrome loves to play with Zeppelin (we let them out to play together for the first time on Saturday) but he's very rough and Zep finally had to tell him enough. I was pleased that he did listen. :) I knew Zeppelin would teach him some manners lol. I have great videos of Chrome trying to get him to play that I'll post as soon as I can. I have hundreds (maybe close to a thousand) of pictures to edit after the snow, so please be patient. :) Anyway, check back throughout the month and at the end of the month to see the progress we make on the goals.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Donkey Day!

Heehaaaaaaaaw! Led Zeppelin here. I'm so excited that I get my very own day on the blog where I can write whatever I want! Chrome hogs all of the attention, so my human decided Saturdays are my day. I was not expecting to come here when I walked onto the trailer, but I'm glad I did. I get all the hay I can eat and I have a new buddy. I loved my goat pals, but it's nice to have another equine around again. There are some strange creature here though! I was very confused about the chickens at first.

But we're good now. I'll even have a nice roll with them around.

I do want to tell you about my second day here. Or maybe it was my third. Anyway, I was not handled much as a baby, so I don't always trust humans straight away. I was very skittish of my new humans. They took their time out in the pen with me feeding me grain from their hands and from the bucket. Eventually I was eating out of the bucket while they scratched my neck, withers and shoulder. As long as I had the grain to concentrate on I was fine.

Eventually they slipped a rope halter on me. I didn't mind. Then they stuck a tube in my mouth and squirted in some wormer. Of course I got grain immediately after so I didn't mind that either. My humans were surprised I didn't jerk my head back or fight or try to escape or try to spit it out. What do they think I am? A horse? I'm a donkey, people! Once I decide I trust you, then you're good. They didn't get any pictures because they were expecting it to be a whole lot more difficult than it was. I'm offended. Anyway, I think I'll have another roll and take a nap.

Night everyone!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Snow Videos From Today!

Normally I try not to post twice in one day but we had a bunch of snow today and I got some really cool videos that I had to share. I'll share the pictures I took another day. This first one is of Chrome and Zeppelin still in their pen, running, bucking and playing together.

This next one is several clips of Chrome playing after I let him out of his pen. I didn't really want to because it's slick and I didn't want him hurting himself, but I figured as worked up as he was getting he probably could in his pen too, so I let him out to burn off some energy.

This last one is after Chrome finished playing and had calmed down. The snow was coming down hard and I had my umbrella out to keep the camera dry. Chrome had never seen an umbrella before today so he was a bit wary and wouldn't come to me, but later on he investigated the umbrella and chewed on it lol. I have pictures of it that I'll show later.

Hope you enjoyed. We had a lot of fun today and I didn't have to go to work, so it was great!

New Videos

For a change of pace today I thought I would share a couple of videos I got of Chrome this past month. The first one is of him playing with his feed bucket after I unsuccessfully tried to bungee cord it to the fence.

This second video is of him playing with the tennis ball on a rope. Sometimes pictures just don't do this colt justice, so I thought you might enjoy seeing him swinging it around and popping himself in the face. I don't think I'll ever have to worry about him being afraid of things hitting him in the face lol.

I've decided that Saturdays are going to be Donkey Day so look forward to pictures of Led Zeppelin tomorrow. :)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Fifth Road Walk - Third Time Alone

Okay, the day before yesterday we took Chrome on another walk, but this time we didn't go down the secluded gravel road, we went down a busier residential road. Before the walk I led him up to the house while I grabbed his brush and some sugar cubes. He followed me in!! He actually got his front hooves in my house before I realized what was happening. I backed him out, then used sugar to lure him close enough for this shot.

Sorry about the bad lighting. It was dark inside the house. Also please excuse the garbage. It was trash day so I was getting it ready to take to the road. :)

Then we set off down the road. He was a little hesitant about the new direction, but still happily walked on.

Sniffing the asphalt as he walks down a hill.

Checking out all of the new stuff. He could also hear the dogs up the road barking. We actually had five or six vehicles pass and he did fantastic! They all politely slowed down and I turned him to face them and he did so well. He also didn't seem in the least bit bothered by the dogs running loose.

I know it's crappy quality, but I just love how it turned out. The way his mane was blowing and the sun made weird patterns. Pretty cool.

This is my favorite picture. At the bottom of the hill he decided to just stop and take things in. I didn't push him. I gave him time to look, listen and think about things.

Here he saw the horses that live on the property behind us and trotted past me. As soon as he hit the end of the lead he stopped and neighed. I circled him back around and he walked politely on.

In this shot Chrome is looking at the other horses. If you look at the shadows you'll see me with the camera on his side. The other shadow is my husband and a neighbor's dog. The dog didn't bother Chrome at all. He sniffed noses with it and then went right back to worrying about the horses. Silly boy.

He was a bit obnoxious about the horses, but we have plenty of time to work on that. When he would start to trot or jig I would just circle him around and he would settle back into a calm walk. I didn't like making so many circle on the asphalt but it was a short walk and I'm sure next time it won't take so many for him to realize he gets to go forward if he walks calmly.

Chrome also met the school bus. He's used to seeing it go by his pasture, but he's never been out on the road when it passed. Because we were walking down a dead end road it passed twice. I moved him up into a neighbor's driveway and just let him trot circles around me. He was a bit nervous about the bus, but I think he was actually more wound up about the horses neighing to him. We continued our walk and he calmed back down. All in all I think he did great! He just continues to blow me away every time we go out. He's so level headed for a colt. I know we haven't hit the two year old stage where they lose their brains, but we'll get a bunch of experience under his belt before he hits that stage. He's such a good boy.

I think when the weather warms back up a little bit I'm going to take the video camera on a walk and video tape him. That way you guys can see how he acts instead of me trying to explain it in words. Besides, it will make a really great comparison tape for later on. :)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

I was going to tell you all about the fantastic walk Chrome and I had yesterday, but I never got the chance to edit the pictures, so I'm just going to show you those pictures from the seventeenth for an (almost) Wordless Wednesday. Enjoy!

Good picture to show the size of Zeppelin next to Chrome.

Being adorable. I think I want to frame this one!

He pulled his Jolly Ball out of the tree and had fun dragging it around.

Playing with the Jolly Ball.

Check back tomorrow to hear about our walk yesterday!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Charging The Clicker & Targeting

I decided to finally get off my lazy rear and start working on clicker training with Chrome. I'll admit I've been putting it off a while because I'm just so afraid of messing anything up. I know how to train a dog but this will be my first time using clicker training methods on a horse. So after a little more research and studying to reassure myself I went out to the pasture armed with clicker, treats and a target stick (a tennis ball on a wooden dowel rod).

First I worked on charging the clicker. Click, treat, click, treat. I quickly realized I was rewarding minor mugging so I quickly moved on to target training. I'm going to work on the mugging thing tomorrow, because I want it drilled into his little brain that he will not get treats for sniffing my hands or pockets. He's doing so well with the nipping thing that I don't want to encourage it all over again. He hasn't offered to nip in a while now.

Chrome caught onto the target training quick! As soon as I held it out he touched the bright tennis ball because he was curious and had never seen one before. All it took was once. After clicking I would put the rod behind my back while feeding the treat, then I would bring it out again and he would touch it immediately. I did that until I ran out of the pocketful of sugar cubes I had. I'm going to dice up an apple later and put a bit of sugar on it with the hopes of converting him to an apple lover. I just don't like feeding him that much sugar. Apple pieces would be so much easier to train with. Anyway, I kept the session short and gave him scratchies afterward. I think he really liked it. Later when I went outside he came right over to me and kind of stretched his head out looking at me like he wanted to play again. :) I think Chrome is going to be fun to train.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Random Pictures

Okay, here are the last of the pictures from the thirteenth! Tomorrow we get to move to the pictures taken on the seventeenth lol. Now you know why I keep saying it's going to take me so long to catch up. And I just took a bunch of new pictures today! So here they are.

I'm not sure what this expression was all about. I think he wanted me to play lol.

Practicing his sliding stops. :)

Chewing on the curry comb I left on the fence.

Going for a gallop.

Looking cute!

He was playing and bucking in this picture. I thought it looked really cool how I caught him pivoting on the one foreleg and he looks so muscular and powerful.

Giving Galaxy ugly faces.

Weird canter stride but cute.

Doing what Chrome does best. Playing with his toys.

He really puts some head and neck action into swinging and twirling his toys. Won't ever have to be worried about him being afraid of something hitting him in the face lol!

I love how smart and laid back Chrome is. The first time he hung his leg in the toy it took a bit to figure out that he had to let go and step out of it, but he never panicked. Now he is an old pro at dropping, stepping back and grabbing the toy again. Smart boy. :)

Getting a drink after all of the fun.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Things to do with a bucket . . .

Okay, here are the pictures of Chrome playing with his old water bucket that I promised. So here are the fun things you can do with a bucket.

Investigating the bucket.

Turning his butt to the bucket. I think he wanted to kick it but couldn't figure out how lol.

Licking the bucket.

Rolling the bucket.

Chewing the bucket.

Either hiding behind the bucket or making shadow puppets lol.

Taking a break from the bucket for some bucking. :)

Going back to the bucket after his zoomies.

I think he wore himself out lol.

If you guys ever get tired of all the pictures please let me know. I get a little carried away. I want to be able to look back and remember all of this when he's grown. :)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Another Toy

Sheesh, these pictures are actually from the thirteenth! Sorry I took so long to get them posted. Anyway, here is another new toy that Chrome just loves. It's a tennis ball on a rope, originally part of a dog toy.

I need to get a video of this sometime. The look of pure bliss on his face is just awesome! :) Keep checking in because I got pictures of Chrome playing with his food bucket the other day too. Tomorrow I'll post pictures of him playing with his old water bucket which are also from the thirteenth. I will get caught up someday. I promise.