Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Beginning Stages of Driving Training with Chrome

Yesterday Chrome got his hooves done, so as always I got him out about an hour ahead of time to spend time grooming him. Doesn't he look fantastic?? He doesn't even look like he has a winter coat in pictures. Of course it hasn't gotten really cold yet. Is the flax making him shinier?

Silly boy was playing with the fence in this picture. I brushed him and combed out his mane and tail.

I know it's just the farrier, but I like for him to look nice instead of being a fuzzy mudball when she comes over. I always spend a lot of time cleaning out his hooves and cleaning off his legs so she doesn't have to deal with muddy feet. Just something I like to do to be helpful. :D

Trying to check out the battery charger my husband sat nearby, but his lead was too short lol.

Pretty tail! You can see the white in his tail. Is the blonde the color it comes in or is it because it's dirty? Would washing it make it whiter (I don't care for the blonde)? It happened so gradually I didn't even notice if it came in that color or came in white and changed to blonde.

See how it goes black, white, blonde? It is sort of cute actually lol.

There is white in his mane, but none (well not much) of the blonde thank goodness lol. I know he only has one copy of the gray gene which means he'll gray out slowly, but what goes first? It looks like his face, mane and tail are graying the fastest. Anybody have any guesses about when he will go dappled gray? Since his mom is flea-bitten do you think he will turn flea-bitten too? I can't find much info online about the genetics of flea-bitten gray. It will definitely be interesting to watch as he changes over the years and I'll be thrilled if he stays dark a while longer. :) Also will his legs go gray too or stay black? My trainer's horse had black knees for years but I think they eventually faded. I never met him as a baby though so I don't know what grayed first, how quickly he grayed, how many gray genes he has, what his base coat was, etc. He's ten or eleven now and just now losing his dapples and getting flea-bitten. I hope it takes that long or longer for Chrome lol.

I had a brilliant idea the other day. Using my surcingle and breastcollar I can make sort of a harness. I couldn't find my nice breastcollar so I used one of my husband's old, old breastcollars. Cute, huh?

The red and white actually looks adorable on him. :)

His forelock almost reaches his noseband (his halter stretched from that episode in the trailer).

I wish this one wasn't blurry! I love his smile!!

Trying to reach the grooming box that was sitting on the log just out of the picture.

My husband scratched Chrome's itchy spot. Chrome was all stretched out, wiggling his lip, being absolutely adorable! He couldn't reach it to scratch for himself because of the breastcollar so he appreciated the help.

And he proceeded to dunk his lips in my husband's hot chocolate LOL! He didn't know it was hot so it startled him. I hate that it burned him, but it didn't seem to bother him. Maybe he'll think twice before sticking his nose where it doesn't belong lol. See the chocolate on his lip? And the green/yellow around the corner of his lips is from the apple treats I was feeding (that he isn't sure he likes, but they were on sale lol).

Now I will show you the video of what we did with my rigged harness. Faran lovers here is a picture (above) and check out the video because there are some adorable shots of him. I tried to edit the video down because it was pretty long. It's still long, but I hope some of you can see it. :)

He did so great! I'm glad I kept those old tires. :) I can't wait to eventually hook him up to my gorilla cart (wagon/wheelbarrow combo), but I want to go slow. Just because he wasn't scared of the tire doesn't mean we can move on after only one session. I'm excited how well he did with it. I hope this is a sign that he will someday make a good driving horse. :D Now I just have to save the money to buy a wagon/buggy and harness . . . but wait first I need a saddle lol. Sorry I talked so much in the video. Wasn't Faran cute?? I didn't mean to scare him, but he is getting a whole lot less explosive. Now for some pictures for those of you who can't see videos.

He did so well. I don't know why he chose to carry his head low (maybe because we work on it so much?), but that's actually a good thing because it builds the muscles over his topline (correct me if I'm wrong) instead of the muscles at the base of his neck. I was not cueing him to lower his head, he was offering it on his own. I think part of it was also because of the new treats. I don't think he's that crazy about them. They are longer than the ones I've been feeding him so he was sucking on them until he could chew them up. That's why we took such long breaks between pulls. I didn't want to stuff his mouth so full that he would drop them.

He makes it look so heavy lol, but it's not. I can easily pick up the tire. How often should I work on this? Pulling doesn't stress their backs like riding so it won't hurt him on mostly straight lines (to protect his joints) right? It's been so long since I researched all of this lol. I guess I need to go do some reading.

Such a sweet, sane boy. It never scared him, even when we trotted (see video). :D

Stopping to let Faran approach the tire . . .

Faran did well too. It scared him a couple of time when it would move near him, but he never lost his curiosity so that's awesome.

Faran is so gorgeous!

I really wasn't expecting him to carry his head low. I thought he would stick his nose in the air and hollow his back. He surprised me and I'm thrilled with how he did.

Walking back to the gate.

Leaning on his back makes him look tall lol. It took about six shots to get this picture because he kept trying to play with the breast collar. I finally gave him one of the big pieces of treat that he's not crazy about so he would stand still. He has that expression on his face because he was sucking on it lol. He's such a dork. His mane is getting so long. I wish he wouldn't rub it out near his withers. Brat. :D

The boys say goodbye until next time!


  1. I like Faran and Zep in the video. They are both like "what the heck is that mama's horse doing now?"

    Mango Momma

    P.S. Chrome's tail is magnificent.

  2. Very cool! I love that you let Farran be curious! Have fun!

  3. I've been debating on when to start to teach my yearling to pull things, but couldn't find much info on ages for basic cart training. Not that I think he will be a cart horse, but to give him something to do until I feel he's ready to ride.

    It was fun seeing Chrome figure out the tire :)

  4. Wow! Good boy, Chrome!

    I like the blonde tail. I think his mane is going blonde, too. It is very unique.

  5. Fantastic job! I'd be worrying about what to do if the horse flips out and I can't get the tire untied. Chrome remained calm the entire time.

  6. Momma's horse LOL. Chrome is so that! Thanks for the laugh Mango Momma.

    Janine, thanks! I try to include all of the boys in the things we do. Since Faran and Zeppelin are so skittish of the things humans do I feel like watching Chrome do these things, not get hurt and earn treats all at the same time sort of helps convince them that we aren't out to hurt them. :)

    HammersArk, I can't find much info on it either. I've heard that pulling isn't as hard on them because it's usually on straight lines and there is no weight on their backs. From what I've read a lot of people start teaching them to pull at two so they can start conditioning them safely before a rider ever climbs on their back. I have no real life experience with any of it though. We're winging it. ;)

    Thanks Val! I don't hate the blonde or anything, it's just not my preference. Obviously I think my boy is the most gorgeous horse on the planet like any biased horse owner, but I do prefer a black tail (or opposite and pure white tail). Oh well, I'll love him no matter what color he turns (well maybe not if he ever turned neon green HAHA!).

    NuzMuz, it never even crossed my mind how I would get the tire loose if he panicked lol. Oops. I think I had it tied far enough back that if he had panicked I could have just circled him with the lead rope and stopped him. That's why I was leading him instead of ground driving (we will get to that eventually). :) I actually expected him to do well with it because he is so laid back and accepting of new things, but actually he surpassed even that in my biased opinion. I'm very proud of him. Thank you for your comment. I'll rig up a way that I can release the tire next time just in case something bad does happen. Thanks for the reminder to always have safety first!!

  7. Well, I think Chrome's color contrast is gorgeous! And the percheron really stole the show... he looked so studly! ha. Do you ride him? And the donkey, well, he is one adorable hug! :)

  8. I haven't watched the video yet, but I wanted to share this link http://tinyurl.com/7d7bhls She talks about the gray gene and what not. What the heck is a flea bitten look? I swear I learn more new phrases from you! I don't care what Chrome ends up looking like, he's beautiful to me! Now, back to the video, after reading the comments I can't wait!

  9. Oh that video is too fun! I loved watching the other boys so curious about the whole thing, then little Leddy in the background rolling around, he's hysterical. Faran is such a stud! Chrome really looks good, his intelligence is really showing.

  10. Mary, hehehe you're too funny. :) A flea-bitten gray is when they turn solid white and then develop hundreds of tiny specks of color back in their coat. Did you see pictures of Chrome's mom? She's a flea-bitten gray. If you didn't there are pictures of her on Chrome's page. There is info and one picture of a flea-bitten gray here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fleabitten_gray You can also do a Google search to see a ton of pictures. :) Thanks for the link about the gray gene. I'll check it out. I LOVE reading about color genetics. Thank you also for your comment. I love my boys. They are all so adorable. :)

  11. Chrome is absolutely gorgeous and I'm not saying that to flatter you. And so is Faran. You should be very proud of how well Chrome responds to your schooling. You've done a great job with him. I'm excited, as I'm sure you are, about seeing you ride him this spring.

    I wonder if he is going to dapple at all or just gradually fade away to flea bitten, like his mother. I'll bet his legs stay dark for a long time. My Annie was never a dapple. She had a steely gray body and black mane, tail, and legs, very different from Chrome.

  12. FV, thank you for the compliments on my boys. :) I'm curious whether he will dapple also. I've been studying gray genetics lately and I'm 99% sure he will be flea-bitten. Some people believe (not saying there is scientific proof) that horses with at least one flea-bitten parent, that carry only one gray gene and that gray very slowly are the most likely to go flea-bitten so that's three strikes. :) I hope he has a ton of flea-bites like his mom. She was cute! I do hope he goes through a dapple stage though because that's so gorgeous and it would be so much fun to take pictures of. :) I'm excited to see how his color progresses and I'm excited to ride him in May. Thanks for following along on our adventures and for commenting.


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