Monday, November 30, 2009

Second Road Walk & Dinner Time

We took Chrome and Galaxy on their second walk on the road. We took the same short, dead end road as last time and they did fantastic!! Before you get all upset I did take pictures, I just haven't edited them yet. As a matter of fact they are uploading off my camera right this second. I'll do a follow up post with the pictures. Chrome made me proud because he walked right through mud puddles, he listened very well, never spooked and he even trotted on lead (still learning this). Just wait til you see the pictures.

Also, if you remember the story I told about Chrome at dinner time. When I check on him I ask him if he's done yet and if he nickers that means he has finished. I finally got a video of it, so here it is! :D

Isn't he just so cute?! Anyway I'm going to start editing pictures so I can post them. :)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Full Friesian Alert!

Disclaimer: No photos. Sorry.

I love when Chrome shows his Friesian side! For those of you who are not very familiar with the Friesian breed here is a description of the Full Friesian Alert:

"FFA: Affectionately known as "Full Friesian Alert", this is when a friesian spies something interesting/spooky and does a "four on the floor" jump and leg plant, head craned high, ears perked, totally tense and stares at something."

It is from Legacy Friesians page telling All About The Friesian. It is a very interesting read for those considering owning a Friesian or if you're just curious.

So anyway, back to Chrome. When I feed them I usually halter him and then turn him loose and he walks to his bowl to eat. When I walked over to tie him up our cat appeared at the edge of the ditch, startling him. He made a leap straight into the air and scrambled back a couple of steps, then puffed himself up in FFA. A lot of people actually describe seeing a Friesian in FFA like see a cat all puffed up, back arched with it's hair on end. Friesian just seem to grow as they puff themselves up. I was so proud of his response. He didn't try to run away or anything.

About ten minutes later one of our Phoenix roosters flew up onto the gate right above Chrome's head startling him again. Normally he isn't so reactive, but I think the cat had him on edge. He flew backwards and hit then end of the rope, then he stepped forward off the halter pressure and stared at the rooster like, "Oh ok. It's just you." I was so proud of him. Some horses, when startled, then start fighting the rope because they feel trapped. This results in a broken rope, halter or possibly even an injured horse. I did have him tied with a quick release knot so if he had decided to fight it I could just step forward, pull the rope and release him. Anyway, just thought I would share. :D

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Happy Thanksgiving!! A couple of things I am thankful for (in relation to this blog - to see others see this post) are that I finally have a Friesian Sport Horse of my own, that both of my horses are healthy, that my family is healthy and I get to go see them and also that at night when I feed Chrome and it gets dark I walk out my door and ask, "Colt, are you done?" If he's not done he ignores me, if he is he gives me this adorable, deep nicker and I got out, untie him and take him back to Galaxy. It warms my heart. Here are a few pictures of Chrome and Galaxy being thankful for each other and for back scratchies.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving! This is one of my favorite holidays because I love spending time with my family and eating good food. :D

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Desensitization Training

Okay, the video I told you I would get yesterday . . . I got it today. The rain and crazy wind yesterday kind of prevented me from doing it then. So I went out today and got video. Get ready to hold onto your hats because this colt is one wild bronco (my apologies if the video is boring). ;)

Poor guy looked almost bored to tears. :) Now that the little brat is eating treat we will start doing something fun. I just need to go buy some more because they ate them all. Oops. I'll probably make my target stick today as that will be the first thing I'll teach him. :)

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Exciting News

Okay, now finally to the exciting news. I bet you can't guess what Chrome wants in the picture above. Nicker Makers!! He's finally decided he loves the Nicker Maker treats I bought! Between the two of them they ate half a bag of them just while taking these pictures!! Which means I can start clicker training soon. :)

Also, just to keep things in perspective I'm five feet ten inches tall, so Chrome is not as small as he appears in the following pictures. If you're used to being around Quarter Horses and Appaloosas he's huge compared to a weanling of those breeds. He'll more than likely mature with his back at about my chin when I'm standing up straight. :)

So, here are the pictures.

He still sometimes makes faces.

This one looks like an advertisement for Nicker Makers. :D

More please!

Rattling the bag to get pretty ears from the greedy horses.

Stretch for it!

Laughing at Galaxy for wrapping herself around the pole instead of looking over the gate.

Being mean and teasing Galaxy.

It'll be so easy to teach Chrome to smile!
**It looks like Gal is eating my hand lol!

That can't be all!!

I'm going to try to get video of Chrome while we're working on whip desensitizing. He's only seen the whip once (and tried to eat it) and he did so great! He's not scared of it at all, even when I swing it over his head. You'll just have to wait for the video. Here are a couple of pictures.

First time seeing the whip. Giving it a good sniff.

And a nibble.

Rubbing it on his body.

Starts nibbling the lash.

When he took the lash in his mouth I looped it over his head like a bridle and bit. He was a teeny bit surprised, but didn't mind. When I pulled it off his head he still didn't want to let go.

Watching the neighbor's horse Two Socks.

Then I did some work swinging the whip around him and over his body, but it doesn't show up well in pictures, so like I said, I'll get a video tomorrow. It's about time I put my new tripod to use. :D

And a good job rub. He loves having his forehead rubbed.

I was excited today because after I fed him supper and took him back to his nighttime corral he lowered his head before I could rub his forehead! So he has made the connection that lowering his head gets his halter off. :) That's all for now.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Exciting News/Bad News/Cute Pictures

I'm going to be cruel now. The exciting news I'm waiting to tell you tomorrow when I have pictures to go with. :D Sorry.

The bad news is that Chrome has rain rot (click rain rot to see explanation) now too. I knew there really wasn't any way to prevent it since Galaxy has it so bad. His isn't nearly as wide spread so we will treat it and get it taken care of. Galaxy needs another treatment too the poor girl. This probably explains Chrome's dandruff too.

Anyway on to the interesting pictures.

The horses share their breakfasts and dinners every morning and evening with the chickens. Galaxy probably doesn't appreciate it because she likes to clean up what she drops, but I don't mind because it means not a single morsel of feed is being wasted. Gotta love those chickens!

Check back tomorrow for more fun pictures.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Six Months Today - Progress Report

Chrome is finally going into his gawky stage, which is good because it means he's growing. His butt is still higher than his withers, but they are catching up. His ribs are showing a little bit when he walks around which is actually good when they are growing because if they get fat at this age if can cause damage to joints and growth plates in the legs. He's gotten a hay belly, little piglet. His coat still looks great although his skin is still a bit dry. As soon as I can find someone to order flaxseed for me I'll start giving him that for the Omega fatty acids. His tail is growing and getting very curly at the ends. He's also getting spunky and is doing what horses do best, horsing around. Check out the video at the end of the post. Now on to our monthly progress report.

Date: 11-19-09
Age: 6 months
Height: A little over 12.3hh (51in/4ft 2½in/1.29m/129.5cm)
Height Gain: ½ inch
Weight: 430lbs (195kg)
Weight Gain: Last month’s weight was a guess. After comparing measurement techniques I think he was actually 380lbs, so he gained 40lbs (18kg)

Progress: Chrome is doing fantastic. As you know from my posts we did find a companion which was one of last month’s goals. Another goal was to get to know him, which I’ve done. I’ve learned that he has an independent personality, but still loves attention. That’s he’s a little reactive to new stimulus. I’ve learned that he’s a little hard to catch, which we’ve mostly over come. I’ve worked on his leading and he’s stopping better although sometimes he still bumps my elbow. When I get him started in clicker training I’ll be able to refine it further and start teaching him voice commands. As you know he got sick and when we took him to the vet he did fabulous on the trailer. I’ve also been haltering him, grooming him and picking up his feet when I feed him. I’ve also worked on desensitizing him to his lead rope swinging around his head. I’ve also been teaching him that after he eats when I take the halter off he has to lower his head to get it off. It’s going great and he’s not rooting anymore. Well I think that covers all of last month’s goals plus some.

Goals: My goals this month are to find a treat he likes so we can start clicker training. I know this will just take time because weanlings are just so picky, but I’ll keep working on it. I really think the nicker makers will be the ticket eventually. I also want to take him on more walks on the road and around the property to ensure he’s getting enough exercise and desensitize him to traffic. One goal I would like to accomplish this month or at least start is desensitizing him to a longe whip with a lash. This will make teaching him to longe as a two year old a lot easier. Depending on the weather and my schedule I might also start working with him on desensitizing to a plastic bag. Due to static electricity he’s a little jumpy about having his blanket put on and removed so if we don’t get too much rain I’ll work on that. I want to do everything I can to prepare him for being a good trail horse. Anyway I think that’s enough to work on this month.

And some pictures . . .

And here is a video of him playing. One thing I like about our set up is that the window right by my bed overlooks the corral where I keep them at night. Because we don't have a barn in the corral we've put up a wind block, but when we get the new, bigger barn built I'll put the corral right up next to it so they can get inside. I'm excited about the barn. I'll post pictures when they start putting it up.

If you pay close attention in the video you will see him running, bucking, playing with his ball, playing with a stick, playing with his halter, chewing Galaxy's tail, biting Galaxy's face, etc. Tons of fun in this short video!

After watching him get frustrated that his ball was caught under the fence I decided to hang it in a tree so he can play with it. It was the sound of him kicking the ball that woke me up at six thirty this morning so I could take this video footage. :D

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Good Boy

When will I learn to keep my camera with me at all times?? I was laying in bed because I had a headache and heard the horses playing around so I looked out the window (which overlooks the dog yard and part of the pasture yay!). Chrome trotted up the hill and stopped by the dog yard. Sarge, the little Border Collie/Springer Spaniel mix I'm pupsitting was the only one outside. Jackal was curled up with me giving me comforts (and snoring).

Chrome sniffed noses with Sarge then turned his butt to him and lifted a rear leg. That's one thing I've noticed about my cute little colt. He doesn't seem to know how to kick! He knows to turn his butt and lift a rear leg but he never kicks out (unlike Galaxy who has deadly aim). So Sarge reached through the fence and sniffed his leg. Then Chrome turned around again and started pawing the ground. When Sarge jumped up against the fence Chrome put his head over and started grooming the dog on the shoulder!! Sarge licked Chrome's face and ear. I ran to get the camera, but when I got back Chrome had moved on to pawing and chewing on the water hose. I'm so happy to see he's got his spunk and playfulness back.

The head lowering to get the halter removed is going much better. Once I realized he was rooting I was able to hold onto the halter until he lowered his head and held it still. We're at about waist height (I'm tall), so he's doing good. Eventually I would like to have him lowering his head all the way to the ground like my mare used to. We'll get there. We have so much time ahead of us to play and learn together. Anyway, just thought I'd share. Tomorrow is his progress report. You will never guess how much he's grown!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Bad Habits

I forgot how easy it is to teach your horse bad habits. Sigh.

After Chrome finishes eating I've been taking him back to his pen and unbuckling his halter. Then I would hold one side of the halter up and rub his forehead. When he lowered his head (this eventually makes bridling easier) I would let the halter drop smoothly off his face as his reward. Today he and I were both impatient (I was cold/he wanted hay) and I noticed that instead of lowering his head he was actually rooting his nose out and down. It was a downward motion so without thinking I let the halter slip off. Oh well. Next time I'll work on getting him to lower his head without the rooting motion and hold it still for a second before I take off the halter. Things would be so much easier if he would just eat treats so I could clicker train him. The nicker makers are still hit and miss. Occasionally he will eat them, other times he doesn't want them. The joy of training weanlings. :)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Rains are coming . . .

Well winter is finally shoving it's ugly self back into our lives. The rains start again tomorrow so pictures will be slim. I've enjoyed this beautiful, long Indian Summer we've had. One of the best autumns I can remember in a long time (or maybe it's just that having horses again got me outside enjoying it again instead of holed up by my computer). The nineteenth is coming up soon so look forward to Chrome's progress report. I can't wait to measure him again! He looks like he's grown some.

I'll continue to keep you updated on our progress even without pictures. We've just been doing the same routine everyday so far (good to make a routine for them). I brush Chrome and pick up all four hooves while he eats breakfast, then I give them hay while I finish my other chores. If I don't work or I have an early day I let them out into the bigger field to graze on the sparse grass that's still growing. They also get to play and run around while out. Then I feed them supper, put them up and give them more hay.

I've been doing research on what's a safe amount of exercise for a weanling and I think I'm going to start walking him twenty minutes a day for about four or five days out of the week. That way he gets the exercise he needs to build bone density but gets the rest he needs to grow. On days when my husband isn't working I'm going to try to walk both horses on the roads (instead of around the farm) to get them used to traffic. Starting early will turn them into spectacular trail horses. Keep an eye out for updates.

Friday, November 13, 2009

More Pictures

Here are some more pictures (taken with digital camera this time) of our fun day together.

This is one of my favorites of Gal. I wish both ears had been forward and both rear legs had been on the ground, but I still like how her coats shines.

Cute horsie butts.

Chrome wants the grass that Galaxy is eating!

Chasing the cat.

Galaxy's tail adornments.

Gal flirting with the neighbor.