Saturday, April 19, 2014

Faran's New Home & Chrome's Monthly Progress Report

Okay, first I have to say I didn't get any pictures today.... I had my camera with me the whole time, but I totally forgot to take pictures, so I'm sharing some old ones.  :)

Faran finally went to his new home!!!  I haven't mentioned anything until now because I didn't want to jinx it.  After over a year of trying to find him a home and several leads not working out I didn't want to have any reason for this home to not work out lol.

I got him out first thing this morning, brushed him down really well, did a once over of his mane and tail to check for snarls and then let him graze in the yard.  Chrome was pissed that I was giving Faran attention and that he wasn't getting to graze in the yard too.  He galloped around like a maniac (see video at the bottom of this post), so I didn't let him graze until the end of the day after he had settled down again.

When Faran's new owners were getting close I popped him back in the pasture so he could get a good drink before he loaded up for the three hour haul to his new home.  When they got here I helped them load up the rice bran, minerals, his driving reins, etc.  I also bagged up three days worth of feed so his diet wouldn't change too quickly.

Once everything was loaded we brought Faran out to see what he thought of the unfamiliar trailer.  He hesitated (because I fed Chrome to keep him quiet and he wanted to eat too... oops), then walked up to it and stood sniffing.  It took a few minutes clucking to him and asking him to get in.  We praised him each time he stepped forward and then he just put his front foot on and hopped right in.  Such a good boy!  I was so proud of him.  He handled the three hour drive to his new home well, but he was definitely ready to unload!  His new owner said after she put him in his pen (next to his new buddies so they can get to know each other) that he even let her approach him.  I'm so, so, so glad he likes her!!!  He's normally so skittish of strangers so it's a huge relief that he's settling in well and enjoying her attention.  A bit later he tried to pretend like he didn't want her attention so she walked off and left him.  He almost immediately walked back to her asking for attention.  He doesn't have her fooled!!  He loves the attention.  :D

 I will miss our beautiful boy so much, but I think this was the best thing we could have done for him.  My husband has been too busy to mess with him much and my attention has been focused on Chrome, so I've felt kind of bad for neglecting Faran a bit.  He does NOT do well without daily work.  After the move he got to where he didn't like being caught or having his hooves done, etc.  He settled eventually, but never back to the way he was when we worked with him daily.  So at his new home he's going to get lots of attention every single day and I think he's going to settle down again really quickly.  I'm also happy that we can go visit him since he's only three hours away.  :D

His new owner has been reading the blog, so I want to say thank you for taking my boy.  I'm so glad I found you because I think you and Faran are going to be a perfect personality match (my anxious personality with his anxious personality wasn't really a good match!) and I can't wait to see the great things you can do with him.  :D  I really hope you enjoy him and that you both are happy with each other.  It sounds like he already considers you his new buddy.


Since today is the nineteenth I have to do Chrome's progress report and assessment.  I'm using the picture from my last post since I didn't take any today.  As I mentioned before it shows his muscles (and lack of) really well, so although it's not a fantastic photo it serves it's purpose.

Date: 4-19-14
Age: 4 Years 11 Months
Height: 15.2hh
Height Gain: None.
Weight: No idea!  I need to check.
Weight Gain: N/A

Progress:  So far he's doing really great with the new workout routine!  You can read about his new workout program HERE.  He only had a couple of days where his stifle was locking again after the second workout.  It has a lot of stifle strengthening exercises in it, so it didn't surprise me.  I'm not sure how I feel about his weight... some days he looks a little thin and other days he looks great.  I guess a bit thin is better than too fat.  I think our new hay will help plump him back out a bit.  I haven't really talked about our hay problems this winter, but there were some!!

After moving we had a lot of trouble finding a new source of hay (the one I used years and years ago when I grew up here isn't selling anymore).  So we asked around and tried hay from several different people, but they kept running out!!!  We had people sell us bales that were filled with mold which we just had to take a loss on because they wouldn't take it back.  We had one guy selling us hay that I swear was two or three years old even though he said it was last year's.  The quality of the hay we found that was actually edible still wasn't that great, so we had problems keeping weight on the boys.  I've had a LOT of people tell me their horses lost weight this winter because it was so cold and icy, so it might not have been totally the hay's fault.  Anyway we finally found a great source of gorgeous barn kept, fertilized hay and he cuts enough he said he never runs out. He cuts probably 5000 round bales of hay a year and who knows how many square bales.  It's kind of a long drive and it's a bit pricey, but it's worth it just to have a reliable source of good quality hay.  Oh how I wish we'd found it at the beginning of the winter.  It would have taken a load of stress off of my shoulders!  My boys have never lost hay in the winter so it really stressed me out that they did.  I think the move from a thirty acre pasture to a five acre pasture was part of the problem too.  I'm just glad the hay problem is solved!

So other than that things have been going well.  :D

Assessment:  The book suggests asking yourself five questions at the end of each month to see if you're progressing, pushing too hard or not hard enough.  Also keep in mind during the Prep phase there won't be a very noticeable change in appearance.  The Cardio phase is where things will start changing.  Here are the questions:

Where are his muscles filling out?  Since this is just my baseline I'll mention the muscles I'm hoping to fill out.  His neck is developing upside down so I want to work on that along with his topline and abdominal muscles.  His quads (stifles) are very weak and they definitely need strengthening.  So he needs to develop in his whole body, but specifically it's his stifles that need the most improvement.  Sadly they are the last muscles in the haunches to develop so it could be several months before he starts showing noticeable improvement.

Has he developed any resistances/or has his behavior changed?  Again this is a baseline, so I'll share a few things I've noticed to give us something to compare to.  He walks very fast downhill and even tries to trot.  That is a lack of strength (and practice).  Going uphill (and this is not a very steep hill) takes noticeable effort, but it's improving quickly.  He walks really fast heading out on a walk or when going toward neighbor horses, but he balks walking away from them.  Once they are out of sight he goes back to his normal walk.  He is landing heel first on his rear hooves (hooray!!!), but still landing toe first on the fronts (I'm working with my farrier on getting his toes shorter on the front).  After doing a workout that has a lot of stifle strengthening exercises (like walking over poles, picking up his back hooves or stepping over his hay bale) sometimes his stifle will lock up the next day and he also has to warm up his stifles (by going for our walk) before he can step over things without banging his toe.  That is another lack of strength issue, but it is also improving.  He seems to enjoy all of our exercises so far and I haven't noticed any reluctance at all to do anything.  The only thing he balks about is walking away from neighbor horses.  Oh and he doesn't care for his pelvis tucks, but he's never liked them.  That's all I can think of offhand.

Does he start out stiff each day (as if he hasn't recovered from previous day's exercise)?  I'm doing his workouts every other day and so far he hasn't shown any stiffness except after routine two when his stifle started locking.  He warms up out of it though.  His rear legs also feel unusually stiff in the hip stretch so I'm curious to see how/if that improves with our work.  It's probably because he doesn't use his rear end due to his stifles.  

Does he fade during exercise or show signs of fatigue?  Nope, not at all.  In fact I still catch him playing and goofing off in the pasture afterwards.  It's finally getting warm enough that on our two mile walk he's almost, but not quite starting to sweat lol!  You can't see it, but you can feel dampness on his neck and chest.  I don't remember the last time my spoiled boy has sweated!  It's no wonder he's so out of shape.

Has he lost, gained or maintained weight?  Since starting the workout routine, he has maintained, but he's at a good weight so I don't really want him to lose any.  I just want him to gain muscle.

 Goals: My goals for this month are to continue with his workouts every other day.  I want to continue to increase the distance we're walking on the roads and keep working on him staying calm when walking by other horses.  I also want to work on the CTR obstacles, but we will see if I have time.  We've been doing a lot of work on the house again since the temperatures are warm enough to paint again.  I also want to ride!!  Oh and I've been reading my massage book again too and I want to try to make massage and stretching a part of our daily routine!


Now here is the video I mentioned above.  I'm giving Chrome the day off today since I was too busy with Faran (and helping hubby and dad with filling the raised flower beds, planting vegetables and moving manure out of the pasture with the tractor-we are finally cleaning up the pasture after winter and we now have a muck heap!).  Besides he self exercised himself so he'll be fine waiting until tomorrow hehe.  The video was taken this morning after I'd brushed Faran and left him in the front yard to graze.  Chrome was pissed that he didn't get to graze!  Notice the awesome lead change?  Normally he only changes in the front (because of his stifles) so the fact that he did a full change made me happy.  He got a bit warm, so I walked him out, but I didn't let him graze until later in the day after Faran had left for his new home.  I didn't want to reward him for being a nutcase lol!  Here's the video.

ETA:  I slowed down the lead change in the video and he actually changed in the front and then changed in the back!  At least he did change though.  Someday with lots of work he will be able to do a correct flying lead change.
My question is, why did he change to his left lead on a right circle??


  1. Best of luck to Faran at his new home withnew owners!

  2. Glad you found a suitable home for Faran, sound like she knows all about him from the blog which is great. Chrome is beautiful, I am sure he will start progressing quicker now that the weather is a bit more pleasant.

  3. Yep that's why I gave her the link to the blog. I wanted her to know everything about him before deciding she wanted him. I figure even if it takes a year to find him a new home being honest is what will keep him safe and happy. I think his new home is perfect for him!

  4. I'm so glad you found a place for him where he will get all he needs, and I applaud you for not just "dumping" him when it got tough there for a while. I know that for a while there it was a tad on the scary side with him.

    I am so enamored with him, and also really interested in where his story goes from here. I hope she sends you updates often and that you will share them with us. Maybe she will even start her own blog....tee hee!

    I'm pretty impressed with the work you are doing with Chrome as well.

  5. Whoooo hooo for Faran. Do you know if they have a job for him? Cart, riding, or just a pasture mate?? Just curious but glad it worked out for you guys!!!! Chrome probably was goofing around or maybe he thought he was heading of to the left once passing the round pen. So he switched already to left lead. Either way seems like leads come natural for him!!

  6. I'm friends with Faran's new owner on Facebook and she is sending updates so I'll be sure to post them to the blog too. :D Starting out he's going to be a pasture mate, but with consistent daily work she's going to see what she can do with him. If he can eventually be ridden, then great, but if not she still loves him and will be keeping him. :D

  7. Janine, you might be right! He might have been planning to go around the horse trailer, but changed his mind after he'd already changed his leads. Who knows what goes through his silly head hehe.

  8. I am so glad that Faran found a home.
    You did a good job with him and he looks fabulous.

    Weight loss this time of year is almost inevitable. Chrome will put it back on once the grass comes in. I've had good luck this winter given soaked alfalfa cubes at night to bump them up but finding a good hay source is a huge relief.

  9. I am so happy Faran has found a home! He is such a beautiful boy! I really hope she starts a blog about him too. I would love to read about his progress.

  10. We hope your new home will be full of love and fun adventures for you, Faran.

    French Percherons Vidock and Violette

  11. Thanks for telling me about Faran. Cool and sooooo GLAD it all worked out!!!


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