Saturday, March 29, 2014

20 Questions

Um.. yeah I failed this week in the riding department.  Between Chrome's trim and locking stifles, being out of town for a few days, the hideously large amounts of rain (and hence also mud) and my weather related headaches that make me feel like I'm dying and wishing I would die so they end I just didn't get around to it.  I don't think it was a bad thing though because Chrome's stifles are much better so I think they did need time after the trim to readjust to the new angles.  So we will pick back up either tomorrow or Monday.

As usual when I have nothing to post about I steal material from L. Williams at Viva Carlos hehe.  She actually got these 20 questions from someone else who got them from the Daily Horse Tumblr.  If you want to see L. Williams answers here is the direct link to her post (LINK).  Now, on to the questions...

1) What discipline do you ride right now? Well... the green horse Olympics?  Haha!  For real though I'm just teaching Chrome the basics and we also just started working on the obstacles for Competitive Trail Riding.  When I get the truck fixed and have the money I'm hoping to start taking dressage lessons on him too.... if I ever manage to start riding regularly enough to get him in shape well enough to not die trotting around in sand for thirty minutes lol!

2) If you had to switch your discipline, which one would you choose? Since I don't really have a discipline how do I answer this question?  With Chrome I want to do dressage, competitive trail riding and driving someday.  If not one of those... maybe working equitation or... oooh polo (which I would probably suck at because my hand/eye coordination is bad hehe)!  LOL!

3) Who is your equestrian idol? I don't really have one.... I haven't ever been involved in the show scene and can't even watch equestrian events on T.V. since I don't have cable or satellite.

4) Who is your least favorite equestrian? I don't know... anyone who doesn't give a crap about the horse they are riding I guess.

5) Describe your dream horse... breed, color, markings, name.... (if you have yours, post a pic)?  Anyone who has read this blog for long knows my dream horse is a Friesian.  :D  They are all black with no markings so that part is easy.  Although in a non-Friesian my favorite face markings on a horse are a star/snip combo.  So adorable!  I do have a name picked out for my future Friesian (if I ever get one), but I don't think I want to share it yet.  Even though Chrome is turning my least favorite color and is shorter than I typically like he is still my dream horse (you can have more than one right?).  He has the Friesian personality and he's my best friend.  The gray (so fun to watch the changes each year) and shortness (easier to mount, cheaper to feed, smaller trailer, less far to fall,  stays sound longer, etc. are all great reasons to love shorter horses) are totally growing on me too hehe.  Here's a couple of pictures since he's my dream horse.  :D

6) Explain or post a picture of the horse you ride.  This isn't really a question lol!  My horse is plastered all over this blog, but since I love to talk about him Chrome is a 2009 Friesian/Arabian gelding.  His registered name is Beebee's Chrome Chavalier TTT.  He was born bay and is turning gray.  He's 15.2hh at almost five years old, so not sure if he will get any taller... probably not hehe.  He has the best personality ever!  He's friendly, curious, confident and always game to try something new.  He's a young, green horse with the brain of a twenty year old horse.  I got Chrome when he was a five month old weanling and I've done all of his training (well besides the stuff his breeder did like halter training, leading, picking up hooves, etc.) myself.  I rode him for the first time on the day he turned three.  I rode him a little bit in his three year old year and a little more in his four year old year, but it's totally time to get our butts in gear and get serious. It's time to stop treating him like a baby.  I did a lot of his training with clicker training, including some fun tricks like smiling and saying no.  He has sweet itch in the summer, which is a pain in the butt, so he rubs his mane out which is why I roach it.  I think that about covers most everything.  If you're interested in learning more you can read his blog since I started it before I even brought him home as a five month old hehe.  More pictures below since I'm obsessed with pictures!

Proof I do ride him hehe.

7) What would you do if you were forced to stop riding?  Been there, done that, it sucks!  I basically spent my time working and when not working I was drooling over horses on the internet haha!  If I couldn't ride though I have a bunch of other hobbies that I totally love like writing, photography, dog training, etc.  :)  Plenty to do, just not enough time!

8) What was your best score at a show? I've never competed, so no answer available.

9) Who's your favorite horse blog? Whoa... how do I choose???  There are a TON of them!  In fact there are so many of them I can never keep up with all of them.  Again so many, just not enough time!

10) Group lessons or private? Why? Private!!  I've never tried a group lesson, but I can almost guarantee I would not like it as much as a private lesson.

11) How high do you jump? I don't jump regularly... I just hop over fallen tree limbs occasionally.  I don't think I've ever jumped over two feet, but I'm not sure since I've never stopped in a trail ride to measure the things I've jumped over.  Maybe I should try jumping an actual jump and measure it someday.... lol!

12) What level dressage do you do?  I've never competed, just taken lessons... I think I've only worked up to First level stuff, but I'm not sure since we just worked on whatever I needed to work on.

13) What level eventing do you do?  I've never tried eventing and probably never will... jumping just isn't really my thing.  I think it would be fun to learn how to jump properly, but I have no aspirations to jump big things or compete in it lol.  

14) Cross country colors? What are they? Don't have any.  My SCA colors are going to be blue and silver though.  :D

15) What colors look good on your horse?  Well once he turns gray any color will look good on him... win!  The only color I've ever really tried on him is blue and I love it!  His breeder had red on him which looked nice when he was dark, but it's never been my favorite color.  I've had a green halter on him before too and it was alright, but not nearly as nice as blue.  :D

16) Your opinions on Rolkur?  It's cruel.... duh.

17) Last time you rode... was it great? My last ride was on Sunday and it was only ten minutes long because Chrome was sore... so it was kind of sad.  He's been trimmed and feels much better now though so I think our next ride will be great!

18) If you can spend a day with any Equestrian.... who would you spend it with... What would you do? I'd probably spend it with my trainer, watching her ride her horses and give lessons.  Having a lesson on Chrome.  Talking.  All those fun things.  :)

19) Helmet or no helmet... your opinions? Helmet!  Sometimes if I'm offered a ride and I don't have my helmet with me I will ride without one, but I try to always wear one, especially on my green horse.  :)

20) Who was/ is your first horse?  I don't have pictures of my first horse.  She was a black and white pinto pony named Patches (came with the name).  I was only five at the time and I barely remember her.  The first horse I loved and that I considered mine (my sister and I shared horses a lot) was Lady.  I've mentioned her on the blog before.  You can read more about her here (LINK).  Lady is a 14hh Appaloosa cross mare that I got in 1995 when she was five.  I gave her to a friend in 2007 when I moved to a place where I couldn't keep her.  Click the link above to see pictures of her.  

If you decide to answer the questions leave me a comment so I can come read them please.  Below are a few more pictures of Chrome just because!  :D


Thursday, March 27, 2014

I finally got to meet Chrome's sire!!!!!!!

Sorry I disappeared for a couple of days.  My husband and I went on a road trip to do something I've been trying to do for two years.... we met Chrome's sire!!!  Jan (pronounced like yawn) is the most gorgeous, personable, laid back Friesian stallion I have ever met.  I can totally see where Chrome gets his personality!  They are just alike!  It was soooo hard to drag myself away.  Jan's owner is so friendly, funny and welcoming, it felt like we've known each other for years!  I can't wait to go visit again.  :D

Absolutely gorgeous!!!  He's 16.1hh I think.  The perfect height.  :)
I got to help brush him and unbraid his mane, so fun!

 Look at all the hair!  How does he even see where he's going hehe!

 Now you can totally see where Chrome gets his sexy smile!

 He was having such a blast kicking up his heels and catching some air in the round pen.

 And tossing his mane like a horsey Fabio!


 Look at the gorgeous mane!!  It reaches his haunches!

 He has great movement!  Again his mane reaches his haunches.

 His forelock is so long she HAS to braid it to keep him from accidentally eating it!


 He is so gorgeous!  These pictures don't even catch the half of it.  I wish you could all meet him in person.

 Hubby even got his picture taken with him. :D

This is after we rebraided his mane.  It reaches his knees!  

I LOVE this horse!  When you're around him you totally forget he's a stallion.  He's so calm and well behaved.  I wanted to stay there all day and be his personal hair dresser and slave LOL!

P.S.  The white on his forehead is gray hairs, not white markings.  :)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

ACTHA Obstacle Frog in Pond - Video

 I decided not to ride Chrome today.  I figured one more day off after his trim wouldn't hurt since he had so much taken off (not to mention if gives my chafing another day).  It seems like every time his angles change in his feet I see the changes in his stifles.  It's almost like they have to readjust again.  Hard to explain, but the day wasn't wasted because we worked on our Competitive Trail Riding obstacle training.

His hoof trimmings, which Jackal loves to chew on.  :)

First I had to dig out and rinse off my wading pool.  Then I filled it with clean water.... not that you can tell.  Ducks make water so nasty and the wading pools apparently weren't cleaned very well before we stored them lol.

Dirty wading pool.

Then I had to gather ammunition!  We got pebble sized ones, a medium sized one and a fairly big one to make different sized splashes.

Then here is the result...

Obviously we practiced from the ground first.  I don't think I've ever thrown anything into water near him before so I wanted to see his reaction.  He did awesome!  The reason he stepped away the first time I threw the biggest rock in is because the water touched him.  Before the water splashed against him he didn't care at all (other than being bored and wanting to go back to grazing).  I threw the big rock two more times and he didn't mind at all.  I'll practice this again tomorrow before mounting up and trying it.  I'll get video again.  :D

Sorry the video isn't very good.  You might want to turn the sound off.  I didn't realize the wind was that loud!!  So annoying.  It's been blowing for days and is getting on my nerves.  :(  Even worse the wind is cold!  I'm so ready for spring to be here for real lol.

So I think Chrome aced the first obstacle!  Standing still is the hard part hehe.  I think the reason he reacted to the water touching him is because he hasn't been bathed in almost a year.  Another reason I can't wait for it to warm up again!!!!  I'm looking forward to trying this from his back tomorrow.

P.S. I LOVE that I had all those rocks in a plastic bag on a windy day and he didn't care at all, even when I threw them to the ground.  :D  I don't miss the days of having a horse who was scared of plastic bags (well it was actually my sister's horse, but you know what I mean).

Monday, March 24, 2014

My boys are so cute!

All three boys napping in the sun.  :D  Chrome spotted me, but he was asleep before I took the picture.  This is the first time I have ever seen all three of them lay down together!!  They are so cute!

Chrome got his hooves trimmed.  Good grief they were long!  They look so much better now.  My farrier said his hooves barely flare at all so that's cool, but his heels look like they are getting under run, so we're going to have to shorten the trim cycle.  His hooves grow so much faster in the summer... it's insane!

In other news apparently riding him bareback in loose sweat pants has made the inside of my knees tender.  When I went fishing and hiking today my legs started itching and I thought I'd gotten into a bunch of chiggers or seed ticks even though it's a bit early and cool for them, so I was rubbing my knees against each other since my jeans were too tight to pull up over my knees... The seam on my jeans rubbed the inside of my knees and caused a chafe rash.  :(  It burned for a little while, but I cleaned it and put cortisone cream on it, so it's much better now.  I don't want it to chafe again though so I'm going to be wearing my breeches and probably using the saddle this week when I ride.  The chafing was right where the leather is on breeches, so I definitely need to wear them!  I'm looking forward to seeing how he feels.  I hope having the day off and having his hooves trimmed helps his stride feel normal again.  Keep your fingers crossed!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Ride 47

Well ten minutes can hardly be considered a ride, but since I was on his back I'm going to make a post.  I was thinking about how he was acting and thought I would try a short ride today after he had a day off to see if his stiffness was from being ridden two days in a row or if it was his feet hurting from being overdue.  The consensus is..... both maybe?  He was much better today.  I warmed up at a walk for almost ten minutes and then asked him to trot.  He eagerly trotted off and this time he went about six strides before hesitating instead of the three strides the other day.  Then when I clucked at him he kept going for another six strides or so.

I had my husband watch and he saw absolutely nothing wrong.  I trotted a second time and he felt really good.  My husband said he looked even front and back, so I'm thinking it was from being ridden two days in a row.  He's also walking faster toward grass and slower away from it so part of it is being a bit soured from riding more frequently.  So my plan is to have his hooves done tomorrow, give him the day off and then ride again Tuesday and see what kind of difference there is in his stride.  If it's the same I'm going with soreness and sourness from being ridden two days in a row, if it's much better I'm going with super long toes being the problem, so we will just wait and see.

As far as the ten minute ride he was pretty good.  He stood rock solid while I mounted this time.  Apparently he learned his lesson after walking off on me last time and getting verbally scolded, then when I turned him back around he ran into the trailer (I was using the fender to get on bareback) with his hip so he sort of reprimanded himself lol.  Today he didn't move an inch until I asked him to.  Hey I'm all for him training himself haha!

As I mentioned before he was being a slug when we went away from the grass and walking out when going toward it (apparently I've been letting him graze in the yard too much), but other than that he was obedient and good.  At one point I asked him to cross a spot on our property where the water runs off (a couple inches deep and a couple feet across, so very shallow) and he resisted.  I tapped him with my heels for about fifteen seconds, but my dad came out of his house behind me and distracted me.  After I answered dad's question I asked again and Chrome crossed, hesitant and unsure, but willing.  I was so proud of him!!  We need lots of work with water crossings.  :D

The only other thing is that he didn't really want to stand still when I asked him to.  He'd stop perfect, stand for about fifteen seconds and then try to walk off.  It only took a couple of corrections and then he stood perfectly still.  He's just testing his boundaries because he's a spoiled brat and he wants to graze.  Since he's such a calm, sweet, willing boy I can't hold it against him.  It takes very mild reminders to get him listening again so what do I have to complain about?  I love this horse!!

P.S.  We turned our outside water on today so tomorrow I'm going to dig my wading pools out of storage.  :D

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Competitive Trail Ride Obstacle Training

Sorry once again, no pictures!  I realized something the other day... I haven't done any training on the obstacles in CTR and Chrome is almost five, which is the age you can start competing.  I don't have the money to compete right now, but I don't want him to not be trained when I do have the money so I need to get started on that now.  Besides you spend more time training for a sport than actually competing and the training is the fun part, so what am I waiting for?

So what I've decided I'm going to do is write down all of the obstacles listed on the ACTHA website here and pick one each week to work on.  I don't want to be in a hurry or push him too hard so obviously if a week isn't enough time I will extend it.  Some of them we can already do so there's no reason to spend more than a week working on them.  Even if he already knows one I want to work on variables since each competition can vary on each obstacle.

So here is the list of obstacles (you can see descriptions on the website):

360 Degree Turn/Spin
Animal on the Run
Down Bank
Up Bank
Barrel Board Pinwheel
Close Encounters
Don't feed the bears!
Don't spray me!
Frog in Pond
Hat Pick Up
Noise Control
Perfect Picture
Spanish Pole
Spider Web
Straight Arrow
Trot Transitions
Trot Weave
Turn on Forehand
Turn on Haunches
Vine Simulator
Wagon Wheel
Water Obstacle
Wildlife Box

Some of these are going to be tough like the up and down banks because I don't have access to any, but I'll figure it out.  I'm going to choose one for this week, but I'm all for you guys chiming in with whichever one I should work on next week!  I'm thinking for this week I want to work on Frog in Pond since I already have a wading pool and it will be a fun way to celebrate turning our outside water back on after a long winter of hauling water from the well house hehe.  If you decide to chime in on our choices keep in mind right now I don't have any cavaletti poles!  I'll let you know when I have some available.

I'm going to tag these posts with CTR Obstacle Training, so you can always choose that tag in the labels in the sidebar if you want to review the posts as we make progress through them.  :D

Friday, March 21, 2014

Ride 46

I took pictures!!  The only thing I've noticed is when I take pictures I don't get as much done during the ride lol.  It just turns into a lollygagging around kind of thing.  It's okay though because as I was walking around to warm up, Chrome seemed a bit tender footed on the driveway.  Once we had walked around for ten minutes I trotted him and although he responded he was definitely lacking enthusiasm and wanted to stop after a few strides on his own.  I tried it three times to make sure and decided to call it quits even though I'd only ridden about fifteen minutes.  I'm pretty sure it's because he's overdue for his trim.  He's on an eight week cycle (which is too long anyway) and my farrier got sick (or her daughter did I think), so it's been another three weeks, so yeah he's way overdue.  I called her and she's coming out on Monday so hopefully that will get him back to himself.  He will probably get the weekend off since the weather is going to be icky anyways.  I don't think he will complain.  Here are a few more pictures.

 Jackal follows me around while I ride.  It's part of his new exercise program hehe.

 I tilted the camera BAD on this picture!  This shows the trees we weave around to practice steering.

This one isn't tilted hehe.  The trees to the left of the cedar tree.  Lots of fun weaving for us!

I'm hoping if the risk of frozen pipes is over that we can turn our outside water back on.  I would love to be able to give Chrome a bath.  He is sooo dirty!  It's supposed to get a bit cooler next week though so I may not be able to.  We shall see.  I'll keep you guys updated on the tender toes.  I hope everyone has a great weekend!!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Seven Deadly Sins Blog Hop

I wanted to ride today, but I was bored with riding in the yard and my husband's back hurt too much to go for a walk with us.  Then I got busy and never rode.  So instead I'm going to join in on the Seven Deadly Sins Blog Hop that L. Williams at Viva Carlos created a while back.  Sadly I'm too late to actually join the blog hop part of it, but the questions looked so fun I want to participate anyway.  I hope that's okay L!!

Seven great things/strengths in your riding life

1. Chrome.  He is always my number one!  Without him I would never have regained my confidence with horses (okay so I still have a ways to go at times, but he's a huge step in  the right direction).  He's my friend when I need a shoulder to cry on, he makes me laugh when I need cheering up, he always has something up his sleeve when I'm bored, he's the perfect model for practicing my photography, he's everything... he's a dream come true... I love that horse!
2. A supportive husband who also loves horses.  He always encourages me to never give up and he helps boost my confidence when I'm feeling scared.  He believes in me and that's huge!   Not to mention he takes pictures and videos for me!  I love that!
3. My parents for giving me a background with horses.  My dad's love of horses is what got me into them in the first place and even though my mom didn't grow up with them, she understood  my love for them and supported me even when she was terrified I'd get hurt.
4. My love of learning everything I can learn about horses.  As a kid I devoured every book I  could find on horses.  My dad taught me a lot as far as how to ride, tack up, groom a horse and how to trim hooves, but most of what I learned about raising them and training them, especially clicker training, I learned mostly on my own through dedicated studying of books and later the internet.  There are obviously a lot of other people who  have helped me get where I am today, but my dad and my desire to learn were the big ones.  :)
5. Having my horse in my own yard is huge!  I've always had my horses at home.  I've never had to board and I am so, so grateful for that.  Yes boarding does have the benefits of being able to go on vacation without having to find someone to care for them and not having to feed in the rain, but being able to go outside whenever I want to give my horse a hug or go ride is just the best!  It's worth  all of the extra work!
6. Bloggers!  You guys are so great!  Your comments mean so much to me.  I can bounce ideas off of you, get answers for my questions and most importantly the motivation to keep learning about how to take the best care of my horses as I can and the motivation to ride when the weather sucks.  :)  Thank you for all that you guys do!
7. Riding bareback!  I spent so much time riding (and falling) bareback when I was a kid and I really think it helped me.  No I can't sit a buck to save my life (I can sit crow hops, but  not bronco bucks), but I have a pretty good seat and I'm almost more comfortable bareback than I am in the saddle.  Weird I know, but it's true lol.

Seven things you lack or covet for you or your horse

1. Oh good grief there is so much and it all comes down to money!  I could say money and that would basically cover everything I need/want for myself and Chrome, but I'll try to be more specific. Number one would be better facilities... a closed in, weatherproof (bug proof)  barn with actual stalls and storage, an arena for riding in (bonus if it's covered) and if I'm  really dreaming more land!  I miss having them out on thirty acres.  It's been a huge adjustment keeping horses on five acres like I did when I was a kid.
2. Second would be either equine insurance or a well padded savings account for vet emergencies.  I'm terrified of ending up in a situation with Chrome where he needs a surgery and I can't afford it.  :(  I used to have great savings, but with my husband's injury, job loss and the move... money is TIGHT again.
3. Third I'm thinking a truck and trailer that is in good condition.  We keep having to fix things on our truck and I'm beginning to think it will never be in working condition again.   Also I hate my trailer.  It gets the job done, but because it's an older trailer with no divider I'm terrified of tying Chrome up in it.  There are too many ways he could get hurt if tied up.  I really wish I had a nice, safe trailer.
4. Next I want a dressage saddle that fits both me and him, so I can actually practice my  riding position without continually fighting against a saddle that isn't built for it.  I  love my Aussie saddle for trail rides, but it's just not built for dressage.  To go along with the saddle I would love to have dressage lessons again too!!!  I feel like I'm  floundering along out in an open sea trying to train Chrome all by myself.  I've taken  dressage lessons, but I've never started a horse in dressage, so I'm kind of lost.
5. I would love to either have great, safe trails to ride on or a riding buddy to go with me out on the roads.  I'm just not comfortable riding out on the roads alone... this is a huge problem for me right now because all I can do is walk circles in my yard...  I feel so stuck.   This is part of the reason I've had no motivation to ride.  I don't have a saddle, I can't afford lessons even if I had a working truck and trailer to get me there and I have no one to  ride with on the roads for a change of scenery... maybe this should be in the number one  spot lol.
6. If I'm really dreaming... I would love for there to be a cure for sweet itch and/or for me to have the means to completely protect him from the stupid gnats.  I hate that he's so miserable in the summer... with no stall to put him in, fly sprays don't work, neem oil was only partially effective and a pasture full of trees and brambles that would destroy a fly sheet in a day this is another way that I feel stuck.  I feel like there's just nothing I  can do to help him and that's frustrating.  I would also love a magical cure for his stifle issues too.
7. And for something totally fun and splurgy I would love a wagon and harness so I can teach Chrome to drive.  :D  That would be such a blast and then my husband could go with me since  he'd be sitting in a chair instead of on the back of a horse (which hurts his back really bad).  Sorry if this came off as whiny or "woe is me"... I didn't mean to complain...

Seven things that make you angry

1. Abusing and/or neglecting animals.  I just do NOT understand why anyone would do this to poor animals who have no choice in the matter.  :(
2. People who have everything and then gripe and moan about what they think they don't have.   I'm struggling financially so I just can't stand to deal with ungrateful people.
3. Bad weather... okay so it probably doesn't make me angry, but it is a total bummer when you don't board and don't have a covered arena lol.
4. People with no respect or concern for other riders, especially riders on green horses.   How hard is it to ask if it's okay to take off galloping before you do it???
5. This one is kind of like abuse/neglect, but not so extreme I guess, but the people who don't ride their horses for a long time and then run them into the ground or the people who  ride their horses hard and then throw them out in the pasture, never bathing, grooming, checking for soreness, getting a chiropractors, etc. really just piss me off.  Have some freaking  respect for these animals!  They're not objects and they could so easily kill us, but they don't!  Also people who use harsh hackamores or ill fitting saddles because they don't know any better, but then when you say something they stick their heads back in the sand and pretend you didn't say anything instead of trying to learn and make things better.
6. Know it alls! People who think they know everything and refuse to listen to what you have  to say because they obviously know more than you... especially if they are a "professional".   Just because I'm not a professional doesn't mean I might not know more about something then they do.  Obviously I don't know more about medicine than a vet or hoof anatomy than a farrier, but I might know more about nutrition or clicker training then either of them!  And  to receive not even a chance to share my knowledge is just annoying!!!
7. Prejudices! Especially breed prejudices!  Dressage people who hate Friesians or dog  people who hate pit bulls just flat out pisses me off!  Holding a prejudice against a specific breed of animal is like holding them against a specific race of humans.  Even if I have met 20 horses of a certain breed and every single one of them was mean that doesn't mean I'm going to hate every horse from that breed.  The 21st one I meet could be the best horse on the planet!  This is a bit different from stereotypes in that I might stereotype that breed as being kind of mean because I've met 20 of them that are, but I don't HATE them and when I meet one that isn't mean I'm not going to hate it because of it's breed.  I'm going to give it a chance and then appreciate it for being awesome.  I have no idea if any of  that made any sense lol.

Seven things you neglect to do or cut corners on

1. Cleaning up poop out of the pasture... I know it would help a lot with preserving pasture quality and cutting back on worms... but good grief five acres never seemed so huge!!  Not to  mention they like to hide their poop piles up in the trees and brush.  I also have never learned the art of poo picking in the mud!
2. Grooming and bathing.  I brush where the saddle goes when I ride, but I don't always brush Chrome's whole body when I ride.  I sometimes groom him every day even if I don't ride, but that's usually when the weather is nice.  When it's too hot or cold I don't.  I'm also bad about skipping brushing his legs even when I do his whole body.  I also don't comb out his tail very often, but it doesn't knot too bad and over brushing it can destroy it so that's okay.  I also don't bathe him much... which is probably going to have to change when he turns gray!!!  By the way... this is the exact reason that I love cutting his mane off haha!
3. Tack cleaning.  I don't think I've cleaned any of my current tack since I got it (which has been years for most of it)........ I know I'm bad!  To my credit I keep my tack either in  my house or my car, I don't leave it out in the barn.  I also don't ride in the rain or if I do it's bareback.  I probably do need to clean my bridle at the very least hehe.
4. Tacking up!!  One of the benefits of bareback riding is.... no saddle hahaha!  I know that sounds so bad, but if I'm in a hurry I just don't want to bother tacking up.  Not to mention  when you're only riding twenty minutes at the walk tacking up can feel like it takes longer than the ride itself.  Heck half the time I ride in my sweat pants and sneakers (okay almost all the time on the sneakers)... I probably wouldn't be so lazy in this department if I was boarding, but as it is I don't care what I look like and I actually prefer riding without a saddle most of the time.  :)
5. My fitness.  Like most things I do great when the weather is nice and when I have friends to keep me company, but in the winter or rain... yeah I turn into a couch potato!
6. Stretching...  I know that stretching along with massage could probably be really helpful  for Chrome, but I'm so lazy when it comes to this... not to mention some of the leg stretches really stress my back.  If I didn't neglect my fitness this one probably wouldn't be such an  issue haha!
7. Umm... I can't think of anything else... can I say dishes?  Or does it have to be horse  related?

Seven most expensive things you own for your horse/riding

1. Chrome... he was one of the largest purchases I've ever made (not including houses or vehicles) and upkeep on a horse is expensive too.
2. Truck and trailer!  Maintenance on vehicles sucks!  And insurance!!!  And gas!!!!  And tires OMG!!!!!
3. My Aussie saddle.  It was on sale for a really good deal, but it's still one of my pricier items.
4. Health care (vet, dental, wormer, farrier, etc.)
5. Feed and hay.  OMG I forgot how much hay horses eat when they're only on five acres!
6. Does my camera count?  Since I use it to photograph our progress for the blog?
7. Oh I almost forgot!  The tractor and maintenance on it.  That was way more expensive than Chrome lol!  Buying tires for it will give you a heart attack!

Seven guilty pleasures or favorite items

1. Number one guilty pleasure is Chrome!  I can't imagine my life without horses and I love him so much he's more family than "just" a horse, but I do feel guilty sometimes because horses are so expensive!  It's not just me that makes sacrifices, but my husband does to.   There's a lot of things we can't have so I can keep Chrome.  There's a lot of times we can't  go do things since I keep him at home.  So yes he's definitely a guilty pleasure, but to me it's so worth it because he keeps me sane.
2. A regular rubber curry comb!!  I've had to groom horses (other people's, not mine) without a curry comb and it sucks!  How do you get all of the dirt and hair off?  Also the curry is great for getting the hair and dirt out of the body brush.  I love my curry!
3. Blogging.  Reading blogs and writing my own blog (especially taking and editing pictures)  is soooo time consuming, but I love it because of your comments and as a way to remember my journey with Chrome.  I so appreciate having like minded blogger friends to get advice from! When money was tight I seriously considered getting rid of our internet, but I didn't, mainly because of the blog!  Since we moved it's a lot cheaper (and slower) so it's not so much a guilty pleasure, but it is one of my favorite things.
4. My camera!  Blogging would not be near as much fun without my camera!  It's also helpful for taking videos and learning from them.  I also really appreciate my camera for having pictures of my animals and friends.  There are beloved pets I had as a kid that I don't have pictures of and I'll never make that mistake again.
5. Another one of my favorite things is that awesome horse smell!  That's one of the things I missed so much when I went without a horse for two years.
6. Clicker Training.  Even though I haven't been using clicker training so much lately it's still one of my favorite types of training.  Without it I don't think I would have the bond I have with Chrome.  I don't think he would be as confident, curious and engaged as he is. It's so much fun for both of us and one of the kindest, most effective, training methods I  know.
7. Sunshine!!!  I know I've said it before, but I'll say it again.  I just can't function without sunshine.  I joke all the time that I'm solar powered.  If there is no sun I just can't recharge my batteries.  The sun makes everything better.  :D

Seven things you love about horses and riding

1. Being outdoors, especially with trail riding it's so nice being out enjoying the sunshine and exploring.
2. Horse friends (including the blogger ones)!  People who don't love horses just don't understand us!  Am I right??  :D  With horse people there is always that feeling of family and belonging.  I love that!
3. The bond with the horses.  Learning to work together and to understand each other.  Doing  everything we can to make each other happy.  There is nothing like bonding and communicating with another species.  Besides who doesn't love horses?
4. Learning new things!  As a friend of mine pointed out the other day I have a thirst for  knowledge.  I love learning all I can about horses.  Hooves, diet, training, breeds, history, dressage, even things like eye sight and color genetics.  Heck years ago I learned all about polo for a novel I was writing (dang that's a complicated sport!), even though I've probably forgotten most of it, it was still fun!  I just love it!
5. That feeling of accomplishment you get when you and your horse figure out something new!  Working on something and finally figuring it out is the best feeling ever, especially if your horse is just as happy to get it right as you are.
6. The other feeling that just can't be beat is that feeling of freedom when you're galloping as fast as you can go across a field!  I soooo miss that feeling and I can't wait until Chrome and I can share that together.
7. Stress relief, especially with trail riding you get that feeling of escaping from the world and the stresses in your life.  Riding just makes me happy!  It's so rare to ever get off my horse and not be smiling.  :D

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Ride 45

Once again I rode right at dusk so no pictures... instead I'll show you these two.  The first one is from August 2012 and the second one is November 2013.  Can you believe how much his color has changed??

Anyway back to today.  I normally don't ride two days in a row, but I decided recently that I can find a million and one excuses not to ride (too busy, out of town, gone all day, bad weather, don't feel good, etc.), so I'm not going to use not riding two days in a row as an excuse.  After all he's almost five and I'm only riding for twenty minutes mostly at a walk.  That isn't going to hurt him. He's not a baby anymore!  I have to keep chanting that lol.

So after my doctor's visit (annual check up, nothing wrong), cleaning house, cooking supper, visiting with a friend, etc. once again the perfect time to ride was at dusk.  I thought hey I feel great, the weather is great, I'm going for it!  :)  It was a good ride too!

Chrome started out kind of stiff so I just walked around a while.  I couldn't tell if it was his feet, his back or his stifles.  I was worried it was his back because I was riding bareback two days in a row for the first time ever or his feet because he's overdue for a trim because my farrier has been sick, but turns out it was his stifles.  As we were walking down the driveway he tripped on one back leg and I'm pretty certain his stifle locked.  He kept walking and his stride got longer, smoother and no longer hesitant.  So I guess exercise helps work him out of his stifle stiffness.  That's a relief!!  After the initial warm up he was eager and happy to go with a great stride, so I'm just going to have to be very careful about a good walking warm up with him.  I do not want his stifle to lock at a faster gait.

To start with we worked on standing still which once again he aced!  He's such a pro at planting his feet and waiting for instructions from me.  :)  Then I did some walking around on straight lines until his stifles were warmed up, then started weaving through trees to work on steering.  He did great!  I still had to do baby horse turns by opening my hand wide at times, but other times he was doing great grown up horse turns.  I can't wait to take lessons so my trainer can help me capture his shoulders!

After that I worked on trotting.  I LOVE how even though he's lazy at the walk he immediately surges into an awesome trot with a vocal cue and light squeeze of the calf.  In fact I was worried he was only responding to the vocal cue and that he had no clue what the calf squeeze meant so I tested it out.  Without saying a word I gave a gentle squeeze with my calf and although it took a half second longer than usual, he surged right into a trot!!  Love this horse!!!

After riding for eighteen or so minutes I spent a couple of minutes standing still working on him lowering his head.  He has no clue at all how to yield vertically because I've never worked on it with a bridle from his back.  He was very confused and thought I wanted him to back up (his bitless bridle feels like a halter so backwards pressure on his nose he assumed meant back up).  So I started flexing him at the poll (sometimes in the neck when his poll was stiff) slowly side to side until he lowered his head, then I gave him the reins and praised him.  He figured that out quick!!  Then when I had his head down I asked for him to back up and he did it perfectly!!  Yay!

By the way he stands with his head at wither height, but picks his head up when I take up contact, so that's why I was working on him lowering his head in halt.  I hope that makes sense.... I'm confusing myself lol.

After that I hopped off and started to take his bridle off.  He started to do that ducking/rubbing thing that I HATE, so I pulled the bridle back over his ear (luckily I hadn't gotten it all the way off).  Then I waited for his head to be still (he likes to offer putting his head down as a way of "begging").  When his head was still I tried again and he shoved his head toward me, so I pulled it back on his ear.  After another time or two he kept his head perfectly still so I pulled the bridle off and let him graze.  Such a good boy.  Then I gave him a really good brushing since he's shedding like crazy.  He grazed until dark and then I put him up.

Sorry for the long, wordy post, but Chrome is such a good boy I can't help bragging on him.  Also I want all the details of his rides for my own records.  :)   I really hope everyone else is having pretty weather and enjoying some ride time.

P.S.  I almost forgot!!  When we were weaving through trees at the front of the property by the road Chrome spotted the neighbor's horses.  They are across the road, but way across one pasture, not right by the road.  He stood staring at them for a long time, but he didn't neigh or get overly excited.  When I asked him to go back to work (weaving through trees) he went right back to it without a fuss.  Good boy!  I hope he keeps his cool like that when we're around other horses that are closer to him.  Also when I was working on him flexing vertically when he finally figured it out he started blowing out.  He blew out around six times!  So cool.  :)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Ride 44

I rode right around dusk, so no pictures unfortunately!  Here's an old one from when we first moved just so you don't forget how handsome the boys are.  :D

Hubby and Jackal went along for the ride out in the pasture because Jackal is on a new exercise program to lose some weight (you can read more about it in a recent post on my other blog  Jackal has to stay off of the asphalt roads, so he's going to spend some time out in the pasture following me and Chrome around hehe.  That will get the weight off of him.  :D

I rode bareback for twenty minutes.  I really wanted to use the saddle, but I was fast losing daylight so I'll use it next time.  I went to a dressage clinic over the weekend (one reason I didn't ride and also because it was COLD) and it was soooooooo nice being around horse people again.  Man I miss it out there (I used to work and take lessons at that dressage stable).  One of my friends has a six year old Haflinger mare (she is GORGEOUS!) that was used as a trail horse and driving horse, so she's new to dressage.  The cool thing is everything they worked on was SO relevant to me and Chrome, so I learned a lot.  :D

The number one thing I need to work on with Chrome is FORWARD!!!  He is so lazy.  The crazy thing is he's super eager to pick up a trot, but he doesn't know how to move more forward within the gaits and his walk is super lazy.  I didn't work on that much tonight though because I was bareback and it is muddy (very slick) outside.

What I did realize is that I'm still riding him like a baby horse!!  When the clinician said to ride a baby horse like a grown horse it just clicked for me.  One of the biggest things is steering.  I've still been riding Chrome with a open, leading rein instead of just squeezing my fist like with a trained dressage horse.  I never even gave him the chance to see if he would respond to the more refined cue.  Not to mention the open leading rein has my elbows a mile from my side and my hand turning flat instead of thumbs up.  Yeah I have some bad habits to break asap!!

So for this ride I picked up a little more contact than I normally use with him and worked on keeping my elbows glued to my side and my thumbs up.  I also worked on sitting tall and engaging my core so I don't fall forward if he trips or stops suddenly (that was a reoccurring theme in the clinic hehe).  He responded SO well to the quieter cues to turn, even responding just to a squeeze from my fist.  Sometimes when he would get locked in his jaw or neck I would have to bring his head around too far, but I tried to do it without moving my hand two feet out to the side.  It worked great.  We obviously need a lot more work and I think having a more active walk will help us a lot with our steering.  The other thing I realized is that the open leading rein was causing him to fall out through his outside shoulder really bad!  So I did some practice catching his shoulder with the outside rein and a couple of times he got it right.  I was so excited!  We need a lot more work moving those shoulders around, but he really showed me tonight that he's super, super, super smart and will learn this stuff really quick I think.  :D  Obviously I'm going to take it slow so I don't overwhelm his baby brain..... wait he turns five in May.... I guess he isn't really a baby anymore lol.  I have to start thinking of him as an adult horse, but it's so hard!

Anyway I only trotted a couple of times just to see how he was responding (immediately off of a light calf squeeze and vocal cue yay!!), but mostly kept everything at a walk since it is very slick out.  Along with the walking I also worked on him stopping and standing still.  He ACED that!  Lazy boy lol.  I'm looking forward to working on grown up dressage horse stuff with him hehe.  Let's all keep our fingers for spring weather and no more of this freezing cold, super windy crap we've been having.  Night guys!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Ride 43

I'm in a hurry so I have to make this short, but I want to record it to keep track of his rides.  I rode Chrome again today, bareback for just under 20 minutes.  I took him out on the road and my husband went, but he was walking Jackal on a leash so we didn't take any pictures.  Sorry!

Chrome was excited as we left the property, but very hesitant about the direction we chose (which he's been down several times and nothing has ever happened).  He kept wanting to stop and look around.  The wind was blowing pretty hard and I think he was smelling the neighbor's horses.  When he wanted to stop I would let him look around for a minute before asking him to continue.  Each time we stopped my hubby and Jackal kept walking and it was so funny because when I'd ask Chrome to walk on he wanted to trot to catch up.  I made him walk because letting him get away with that would lead to the jigging I hate.  We went a short distance and then turned around because the neighbor dogs were being OBNOXIOUS with Jackal there.

As soon as we turned around Chrome extended his walk, lowered his head and snorted three or four times in a row.  He was definitely tense!  So I was a little disappointed because I thought he was walking fast because we were headed back in the direction of home.  So as a test when we approached the driveway I just sat there and did nothing.  He kept walking straight!!  He never looked at the driveway and never slowed down.  In the other direction he was still looking around (the neighbor on that side has a really trashy house and property), but he was doing his fast walk, so I was happy.  He was eager to keep going, he just didn't like the other direction for some reason.  We went a short ways and turned back before we got to the other neighbor with obnoxious dogs (ahhhh why don't they build fences around here????).  He continued his big walk all the way back to the house.

I was so proud of him, especially since he didn't spook when there was a bunch of rustling in the brush beside the road.  :D  In fact he never spooked once, he was just tense.  I'm not bothered by the fact that he was tense going in the first direction.  Either he knew something I didn't or he just wasn't ready to go there after such an extended break.  I'm willing to listen to him.  We can conquer it another (less windy) day.  Anyway I gotta go.  Later!

P.S.  I finally used the mark all as read button in my blog reader.  I hated to do it but with 1300+ blog posts to read there was no way I would ever catch up!  I hope I haven't missed anything important.  If I have you can leave a comment and I'll try to check it out.  Sorry guys.  I hope all is well with you.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Ride 42 & a Haircut

I have been out of town for a few days.  I needed to get away so I went back to my old town where we moved from and stayed with my best friend.  It helped a lot to get away from the memories, but dang I missed my boys!  I think they missed me too.  :)

First up I gave Chrome a haircut.  His mohawk is gone!  The last time we had snow and ice he had icicles hanging from his mane and the poor thing never did stand back up, so I just cut it all back off to start over again.  Check out this picture below.

Handsome isn't he?

I have to get used to the naked look again lol!!  I can tell you after spending an hour helping my best friend groom her Friesian and untangle her mane and tail I'm kind of liking Chrome's low maintenance haircut.  Notice he's wearing his old rope halter again?  Yeah he broke his pretty blue halter.  He had his head over the fence and I put the halter on him, but the clip on the throatlatch caught on the fence.  I saw it happen and freaked out, so he freaked out and pulled back and it snapped.  Luckily the clip is easy to replace and nobody was hurt.  I'll just use his rope halter for now.  After his haircut we went for a short walk on the road.

Is there a car coming mom?

He was being so goofy and full of himself!  He even spooked once, but all he did was bounce forward a couple of strides, then stopped and looked back.  I don't think he even put pressure on the lead rope, but I don't remember for sure.  If he did, it wasn't enough for me to notice.  We walked a short distance and then met the mail lady at our mailbox.  Chrome wanted to play Pony Express.  Since I wasn't on him I let him carry it...

Carrying it in his mouth wasn't working because he was shredding it (it was a junk magazine so I didn't care) and when he'd drop it he would lose interest in it.  You can kind of see it in his mouth in the above picture.  If you enlarge the picture you can kind of see his dapples on his chest!!  They don't show up in pictures very well, but they are definitely there.  I'm so, so, so excited that he's going to dapple out.  :D

 So then I let him carry some other junk mail on his haunches.  He didn't even notice it.

And then I got really clever and let him carry it in his halter.... see it in his noseband against his forehead in the picture above?  Hehehe.  Once again he didn't care.  He's such an easy going guy.  :D  After we played with the mail we walked back up the driveway with my mom.  I was talking to her so I was walking kind of slower than I normally do and he wanted to go, so I tossed his rope over his back and let him go.  He marched off and after a second he realized I wasn't coming with him so he took off in his HUGE ground eating, floaty trot halfway down our driveway, then he took the split off that is my grandparent's driveway, trotted allllll the way down it, between the two houses and out to the backyard to graze.  It was hilarious.  I had my camera with me, but I couldn't get it turned on fast enough to get a picture before there were trees between us.... *pout*

After that, since he was feeling so sparky I decided to ride (okay, okay I had already planned on riding, but it was even more exciting when I saw how good he felt).  I rode bareback for twenty minutes in the yard.  At one point I saw my dad driving up the road, so we trotted up the driveway to meet him.  When Chrome saw his big white van he hesitated.  I let him stop and stand, staring at it, for a minute until he realized it wasn't a horse eating monster.  Then, without so much as a sound or cue from me, he eagerly trotted the rest of the way up the driveway to where his van was parked just inside the gate.  I said hi to dad, then moved him off the driveway so he could drive up to the house.  When dad drove by, Chrome started to take off after him!!!  He wanted to chase the van sooooo bad!  I don't want him to learn to do that without waiting for a cue from me (since I plan to ride him on roads), so I corrected him (with a verbal reprimand and holding him back with the reins... I didn't hit him or anything) and he calmly walked up the driveway.  He had his bouncy walk going because he was excited, but he was not jigging.  I LOVE that he does not jig.  That is one of the most annoying habits I've ever come across (not counting dangerous ones like bucking, rearing, spinning or bolting, those are obviously way more annoying) and I hope he never learns to do that.

Anyway, I'm sooooooo happy the weather is warming up and I'm soooooooooo happy that daylight savings time has finally arrived.  :D  I can't wait to start riding more!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Has anyone read this book?

Has anyone read the book Everyday Training: Backyard Dressage by Mary Twelveponies?  Someone mentioned it on a forum I was reading and it sounded interesting, but I can't find anyone who has ever heard of it to see if it's a worthy buy... have any of you read it?  Here is the link to it on Amazon.  Thanks for any information you can share!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Pretty Snow!

We got a little bit of snow (okay more like freezing rain, but it looks like snow lol) so of course I had to get some pictures of the ponies (yeah I know I don't actually have a pony, but that's what I call them anyways).  :D  It was sooooooo bright outside that I was totally snow blind so the pictures aren't great.  I could barely see the LCD screen to tell if they were in focus or in frame for that matter.  Here are the ones that turned out best.

We took a bucket of alfalfa chaff out and made little piles all over the snow for the horses to enjoy.  In the above picture Chrome is so focused on the bucket he didn't even notice the alfalfa on the ground.  Hubby showed him the pile on the ground and it was game on from there!

Faran says move it shrimp!  This is my pile!  They had so much fun.  It was great watching the silly boys licking the ice clean hehe.

 Yummy alfalfa!

 This is how hubby breaks the ice on the pond for me when it isn't too thick.  :)

I LOVE this shot!  Look at that gorgeous blue sky.  

Zep hates snow.  It balls up in his feet.  He wasn't caring too much while stuffing his face on alfalfa though lol!  Don't worry he didn't get much of it (too rich for donkeys) since he is the lowest on the totem pole the other boys kept him from getting much and that's why we kept each pile small.

 I like this one even though it's super blurry.  It looks like they are ice skating!

One more of cutie Zeppers.

I didn't take many because my hands were hurting soooo bad!  It's cold outside!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

I can finally talk about her (also Chrome is fine)...

This is the last picture I ever took of Storm.

I finally wrote about Storm on my other blog at  Also Chrome is fine from falling the other day.  He's also much more respectful.  Silly horse.