Monday, June 27, 2011

New Shirt & Great Clicker Session With Chrome

I got a new t-shirt from Chasing The Dream. She did the artwork herself and had them printed on the shirts and mailed to them everyone very quickly and for a great price. I'm so excited because it's original and beautiful. Thank you so much!!

I also had a great clicker session with Chrome today. No pictures or video unfortunately because my husband was busy. I've noticed that I've been getting frustrated easily lately so I decided to go out and work with Chrome at liberty with only a clicker and treats and no plans or goals. It went great!! I fed him and brushed him while he ate (he seems to work better after he has his breakfast/dinner) and then as I started to walk away from his feeding area he fell into a perfect “heel”. I clicked and gave him a treat (C/T). As soon as he got his treat he started putting his head down because that's what we'd worked on last. And it wasn't the curled up, lowering halfway thing he normally does, it was stretching all the way to the ground. Yay! Definitely a C/T for that. He did it a couple of times without being cued before I got organized enough to cue for it and he did it perfectly on cue as well. For anyone new to the blog I cue the head down behavior by touching (or gently squeezing if he's ignoring me) his crest about midway down his neck because he's touching about his poll and was starting to pull away from me.

Next we walked around some more and I asked for a whoa, drawing the word out instead of saying it sharp and abrupt. He responded to that a lot better. Then I asked for lateral flexion. I was standing on his right side and he did it perfectly to the left across his back, but seemed confused doing it to the right since that’s the side I was on. I’ve only been practicing from across his back lately so he's not used to flexing toward me.

Then I did head down a few times, switched sides and did head down and lateral flexion toward me and away while standing on his left. Then I asked him to disengage his hindquarters from both sides. He is way better on one side than the other, but I’m drawing a blank which side it is. I think he’s better with me on his left, so stepping under with his left hind (which happens to be his club foot/sore hock). I’ll check next time we work on it. I also worked on his backing with me at his shoulder (from both sides) with my hand on his chest while facing both forward and backward. He did really well with me facing backward, but when I turned to face forward and put the back of my hand on his chest he seemed confused at first which is weird since I do most of my backing while facing forward when we’re walking together. He quickly remembered and did well. Also forgot to mention I was using very light touch on all of this!

After that I was working on his walk on voice cue and whoa voice cue. He is definitely recognizing walk on now. He stills goes off of my body language mostly, but I know he’s listening too. On the whoa he still gets a step or two ahead of me, but it’s okay. Then I worked on trotting. He did great at first. After the first couple of times he got too excited and was cutting me off so I’d slam on the brakes and cross behind his haunches so I could come up on his other side and he wouldn’t be in front of me. He quickly learned that trying to cut me off didn’t work lol. We worked on trotting a few more times, but it was hot and muggy so he lost steam quickly. Pasture puff. :D So I ended on some really good walk on, whoa, back, lateral flexion and head lowering. Just asking once on each behavior. I’m so proud of him! He was so in tune with me and paying attention. He of course got frustrated/impatient at times but was able to figure it all out.

His treat taking is still a little rough at times. He comes at my hand with a gaping mouth, but doesn’t touch me with his teeth thank goodness! It does make for a very slobbery hand though ick. I hope someday he learns to take it neatly hehe. I'm sure he will because he's improved immensely already. All in all I’m proud of my boy and very happy I decided to work on something easy. I think I’m going to spend a few days working on this stuff just to get his body moving and limber because he seems so stiff when we work on ground driving. I’m also going to work on lateral flexion in the cavesson so he’ll learn to give to it instead of pressing into it. I have my work cut out for me, but it’s a lot of fun so I don’t mind. :D

P.S. I think I'm also going to make a homemade cordeo and see how he like working in it just for something different to do. Here is a link showing someone's homemade cordeo.

Thanks for reading. I hope all of the training posts aren't boring. :D

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Faran Learning To Accept Fly Spray

My husband was digging through his dad's old stuff and found a noseband that should work great for a cavesson for Faran. It's a tiny bit small around his nose, especially once we add the rings, but we should be able to add holes to it no problem. I think he looks cute in it.

I also have a video of a clicker session teaching Faran to accept fly spray. This was only the third time my husband had worked on it. The first two times were short sessions of just spraying the water in the air and not touching him with it. I tried to keep this video as whole as possible so you can see the true progression, but there were interruptions.

Ignore me in the video. I was apparently tired and zoned out because I was making no sense at all lol. :)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Chrome's Second Ground Driving Session

I'm back posting this so don't let it worry you that you're seeing this two days later lol!

I had a second ground driving session with Chrome and it didn't go as well as I was hoping. It shouldn't have surprised me because I had a really bad headache, had a really bad day at work and was just really not into it. I probably should have just skipped working with him today, but I feel like if I keep putting it off when I don't feel good I may never do anything with him.

I did learn something very valuable though! Chrome's lacking in some of his foundation work (or just needs brushing up) before we work on ground driving again. He needs more work on moving away from pressure to ropes (across his haunches) and I need to do some lateral flexion work in the cavesson because he likes to brace against it (he's used to doing his work in a rope halter).

So anyway I put on his cavesson, surcingle and driving reins and then I had my husband walk in front of us, hoping Chrome would follow him. However without a rope or treat he really wasn't interested in my husband lol. He was listening to walk on a lot better without me having to slap the ropes against his sides at all. I also tried to minimize my clucking so that he would be responding to the words 'walk on' instead of clucking. He did okay the first couple of times, but then started trying to spin around to face me constantly. This is where I got frustrated because I was having to pull with all of my strength to keep him from facing me. Like I said he needs work in the cavesson with leading and flexion. He's used to the feel of a rope halter, not flat leather.

I did stop to put the rope around his hindquarters so he would spin away from me, yielding his haunches to the rope. It helped a little. I need to work on whoa and giving to pressure in the cavesson before I work on ground driving again. I'm tempted to try it on the road just so he will walk a straight line, but that wouldn't be safe. His saving grace is that he did excellent waiting for his treats. As soon as he heard the clicker he froze and let me walk up both his left and right sides to deliver the treat. Silly boy. I think once I fill in these holes in his training he'll pick up the ground driving quickly. :)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Faran's 5th Clicker Session Video & Chrome's Injured Again

We started out our work with Faran today with my husband grooming him at liberty with no rope, completely unrestrained. He's doing so well! Faran still walks away at times when he needs a break, but after a minute let's us approach again and happily stands still for more brushing.

Faran is very curious about the camera so I get quite a few pictures like these lol!

My husband dropped the brush. Faran had to investigate. :)

Checking out his brush again.

Here he's playing with his other brush. I'm so happy to see his confidence and curiosity come out.

He had enough brushing and walked away for a minute, but he's still watching my husband.

Standing at liberty to be brushed. He even returned the favor! Check out this video.

So pretty!

Faran loves playing with the treat bag so we decided to work on treat manners (e.g. no mugging/Grownups are talking, do not interrupt game). We also worked on following the target which he did great! Here's the video.

I didn't get a chance to work with Chrome tonight, although I did a little with him this morning, which was basically review of what he already knows, because I was promoted at work and the hours have been crazy. The sad news is that he's injured himself AGAIN. This time it's a gash across his nostrils. It was getting really dark so I couldn't take pictures. I put Carona on it and will check better in the morning, clean it up really well and medicate it. It wasn't bleeding or deep, so I'm sure it's mostly superficial. Well, that's all tonight. Time for bed!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Faran's Height/Weight & Clicker Training With Both Horses

Faran is standing facing and/or walking to meet my husband now instead of standing with his butt to him. He's gaining confidence quickly, but we still have to be calm and quiet around him. He's getting used to traffic and didn't even move when a motorcycle went by. Door slamming doesn't bother him so much anymore either.

We finally got Faran's official weight and height. He didn't like the stick we use to measure height so I used a level to see how tall he was against my husband (to about his lower lip) and measured my husband lol. Faran is sixteen hands and three quarters of an inch. :D I used the weight tape on him and it said 1200lbs, so I checked online and found a calculator. I measured his heart girth at 79 inches and his length from point of buttocks to point of shoulder at 70 inches and it said he's 1324lbs. I'm glad we didn't believe the previous owner's estimate of 1600-1800lbs. Sheesh!

My husband did Faran's target training loose this time instead of tied up. He stood in the middle of the round pen and offered the target. Faran stood watching him for three or four minutes and then walked up to him without hesitating. He stopped with his nose about six inches from the target, blew through his nostrils and arched his neck, then reached forward and touched it. The click startled him but he didn't leave. After the second click he wasn't startling from it anymore. Faran still doesn't recognize the clicker yet, but it took Chrome a while to figure it out so I'm not concerned. :) Faran already touches the target at a bunch of heights and positions. I'm going to suggest my husband start having him follow it soon.

I also worked with Chrome, so you don't think I'm ignoring my boy. I took him out onto the road in front of the house and worked on leading. He didn't try to go ahead of me at all, although he was being balky at first because Faran was nickering at him. I clicked him for being in the position I liked and also for putting his head down a couple of times. I need to work on his left side too. I have a tendency to lead from his right side lol. He did really well so I kept the session short (I was also starving and really needed breakfast). So that's my horse adventures for today so far. :D

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Faran's New Halter & 2nd Clicker Session Video

We named the new horse! His name is Gypsy King Faran, or Faran for short. It has several correct pronunciations, but we're pronouncing it fair-un. Faran comes from David Edding's fictional destrier, Faran, mount of Sir Sparhawk in the The Elenium and The Tamuli series.

I spent last night making Faran a rope halter like Chrome's only in red. Good grief I forgot how difficult and frustrating that is lol. It turned out great and only needed minor adjustments. He was calm while we tried it on him in the dark last night. I was proud of him, he didn't spook once.

Today we tied him up and my husband groomed him all over while I took pictures. He didn't act sensitive at all about being groomed or touched anywhere, so it's weird he acts so skittish when he's loose. I think he learned to play hard to catch at one time and is just skittish about noises and fast movements. He's calming down really quickly though. He doesn't spook at traffic or us slamming car doors or anything anymore.

In fact Faran loves grooming! He stretches out and contorts himself around while being brushed trying to get the best itchy spots scratched. Above is a picture of him stretching out. I love how his skin wrinkles. Pudgy guy needs to go on a diet lol.

He's so gorgeous!

I took some pictures for comparison for when we get him trimmed. This is his left hind that he had stretched out so it looks weird since he's on his toe.

Right hind, he thought it needed to be hidden by his tail silly boy.

And his fronts. The cracks look awful but he's not sore or lame. I'm going to try again to find some flax seed or I'll find some other hoof supplement. Putting him on the Enrich 32 will help a lot, but I think he needs something in addition to support his hooves while they grow out.

Giving his apprehensive expression at the brush. He's a little nervous about most everything, but quickly calms down and accepts things easily. Well, we shall see on the fly spray. I sprayed his detangler once in the air next to him and he almost panicked! We will use clicker to get him used to that once he understands the click.

He has such pretty eyes.

You can almost see the white in his eye. I know he'll always be sensitive, but I hope someday he feels confident enough that he isn't so scared anymore.

One of my favorite pictures of him.

Now here is the video. I left it unedited so you can see everything. This is Faran and my husband's second session with clicker training. My husband has watched me train my dogs and horse with clicker training, but he hasn't actually ever used it. I talk too much in the video, coaching and offering suggestions and reminders. He knows everything I told him, but I understand how much there is to concentrate on. Anyway let me know what you think!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Chrome's Monthly Progress Report

I normally try to face him parallel with the road because of the slope but the sun was too high and he would have been in shadow. So in this picture he's facing downhill and the quality isn't great because I used continuous shooting. I might try to get more pictures tonight. He wasn't cooperating because his new brother was neighing to him. :) They haven't met up close because we're keeping the new horse separate long enough to get him dewormed and to see if he gets sick or anything. Then we will move his round pen down into Chrome's pasture so they can get to know each other. :)

Date: 6-19-11
Age: 25 Months
Height: 15.1hh
Height Gain: He didn't grow any this time. Now that he's two his growth rate has slowed.
Weight: The weight tape says 860lbs . . .
Weight Gain: . . . which means he gained twenty pounds!

Progress: I have started doing some clicker training with him again when I have time. I hope things slow down soon because I'm tired of not having time to mess with him. I also introduced him to ground driving for the first time and he did great. :)

Goals: I would like to work on ground driving again and definitely do some clicker training. I may have to take him into the very back of the pasture though because he's going to be distracted with his new brother in sight. I'm not going to try to plan on too much until they get used to each other. :) As soon as the new guy goes into the pasture with Chrome I'll definitely start working on taking him for walks more often so he doesn't get too buddy bound. :)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

New Horse!!!!

I'm so excited! We now have a new horse and it was sort of by accident. Yesterday my farrier told me about a carriage rental farm she'd gone to for shoeing/trimming. She told me there was a black Percheron gelding they were giving away for free because he was too skittish to pull carriages for weddings and birthdays and she is too busy to work with him on it. We said we were interested (because he sounded exactly like what my husband wanted for his riding horse) so she emailed his owner.

This morning my farrier calls me to tell me that if we want the horse we had to get him by Tuesday. Since today was my last day off I asked if today was okay. She said fine. So we drove down there.

His name is Zorro (we're going to change it if anyone has any suggestions). He is 16hh tall, eleven years old, black with a star, trained to drive (pairs or singles, although he doesn't have the confidence to go in singles, needs more training), he's had a rider on him but not much training so we will be starting with the basics as if he hadn't had any training. The downside to this gorgeous boy is that he is distrustful of humans and painfully shy. He's very difficult to catch and is very jumpy. It's all stuff we can work through. His owner hadn't had him long and knows nothing of his history because she got him on trade.

He's in good health except he's too fat and his hooves need work, but those aren't big problems. I'm excited to start working with him. Right now we have him in a round pen away from Chrome and Zeppelin for quarantine. Then we will move the round pen onto the lease land so he can get to know them before we turn him loose. We have to get him reliable to catch before turning him out because I'm not chasing a horse down on thirty acres!!

So anyway here is what I'm sure you have all been waiting for. His pictures!!

Keep in mind I'm 5'11" tall.

Keep in mind I'm 5'11" tall.

Our new Percheron looks more Friesian than my Friesian cross lol!!

Playing with his rope.

He definitely shows curiosity about people and his surroundings, but he's so sensitive! I think he's going to settle in just fine. He needs a ton of desensitizing and the clicker training should teach him for think for himself instead of just reacting. I look forward to sharing our adventures.

As soon as we think of a name I'll edit the blog to include him and Zepplin in the title and banner. :) Again I'll take suggestions on names! My husband is picky and this cutie will be his trail horse so it's up to him.

P.S. I was gone all day so I didn't get to do Chrome's monthly progress report. I'll do it tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Trouble Posting Comments?

I know there have been a lot of problems lately with posting comments in Blogger land so just wanted to ask, is anyone having problems posting comments or is everyone just outside enjoying summer? :D If you're having problems posting comments please email me at storm_glory(at)yahoo(dot)com and I'll see if I can find the problem. Thanks guys.

Edit: I got an email saying that if I change my comment form from embedded to pop up or full page that I won't have problems anymore, so I changed it. I wish I'd known what the problem was sooner. Thank you so much for the advice Mary I really appreciate it!! So leave me a comment and let me know if it's working again. Also if you have time check out my last post for a video of Chrome ground driving and let me know what you think. Advice and suggestions are always welcome since it's only my second time teaching a horse to ground drive. Thanks guys!

Monday, June 13, 2011

So Excited! First Ground Driving Session (video!!)! And a New Lungeing Cavesson.

What a fun day. :) My followers probably remember my post about the rope halter and ground driving reins I made here. Well I've done it again. I've been wanting a lungeing cavesson for a while now because ground driving in a rope halter just doesn't work lol. Unfortunately they are expensive, so I used my imagination and made my own. I used a noseband from an English bridle, and old dog collar, some D-rings, rivets and adhesive foam for padding. It turned out great!

A close up showing the three D-rings.
One on the front for lungeing and two on the sides for ground driving.

A closeup showing the noseband, the D-ring, the old leather dog collar and the two layers of adhesive foam (found in the kids craft section of Hobby Lobby). Breaking the welding on the D-rings and spreading them to get them around the noseband was probably the hardest part. And we couldn't find our leather punch so we had to use a nail. That was fun lol. I think it turned out great even though it's not much to look at. :)

My husband hugging Chrome. Of course Chrome looks handsome in anything. I think the rivets make it look kind of nice. :)

My handsome boy getting ready to smile.

Our favorite trick. Such a cute smile!!

Showing off his cute baby teeth. :)

And what you've all been waiting for. The video! Sorry it's so long. I didn't want to cut anything out. I added captions, but if you don't want to read them I'll explain here. I've only taught one horse to ground drive and that was in 2000. I only did it a few times and had no idea what I was doing. So this is only the second time I've taught a horse to ground drive and the first time using clicker training. :) I'm horribly unorganized and at the beginning I completely forgot to put the clicker in my hand so the click was very delayed.

I started out having my husband lead him so he'd get used to me walking behind him. When he was doing well I had my husband lengthen the rope and then eventually leave us on our own. During this session I was simply clicking for forward movement, preferably straight. Like all babies he kept wanting to turn to face me, but I was actually really proud of how well he stood and waited for me to bring the treat to him instead of trying to turn to me. So proud of my boy! Anyway enough talking, here's the video.

I'm so happy!!!!!!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Back to Training!

I'm excited I finally got off of my exhausted, lazy rear and went out to work with Chrome after work. I fed him, brushed him, fly sprayed him, brought him out of the pasture and tied him to the fence post. He was bewildered at first because I’ve only ever tied him to trees, but it only took him a minute to figure out he couldn’t follow me. Poor guy was so confused.

First I worked on lifting his hooves (well resting his rear hooves). He did very well and held them up for as long as I would wait and sometimes didn’t even put them down between clicks lol. He resisted a little on his left rear, but I think it was the unfamiliar fence and hill causing the problem. He just likes to dance around sometimes. I also asked him to move his haunches over several times which he did well and his shoulders once. It was a little iffy, but we’ve never worked on it so I was happy.

Then I untied him and worked on his lateral flexion. He did his good side perfectly, but really wasn’t doing too well to the right. He would flex but not very far. I was tickling for the cue. Then I remembered that he's supposed to be learning it with the rope! That cleared things up for him a bit and he did well. He still doesn’t flex very far to the right, but what can I expect after so long without working on it? This would be so much easier to teach from on his back lol. I’ll keep working on it and get him loosened up.

Then I worked on backing with halter pressure since I’ve only really done it with my hand on his chest. He did really well backing until I released pressure, sometimes as many as ten steps. Once he even flexed vertically and I gave him a jackpot. I want to get him loose doing it instead of bracing. He needs to learn to give his head. I completely forgot to ask for head lowering. I need to work both on his crest cue and his rope cue. When he’s good at that again I want to ask him to do it while walking and eventually backing.

That’s all I worked on since it’s been a while. I didn’t want to over do it. All in all he did fantastic! It’s like we never stopped working except for the stiffness. :D

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Picture Update

I just thought I would share some pictures I took of the handsome boy this morning so you can see for yourself how well he's doing. :) The flies were bothering him so after he ate I groomed him, fly sprayed him and let him graze in the back yard. I love my fly spray. It kills the ticks which are such a problem but it also leaves his coat so soft and shiny. :) Also I have his halter pretty loose in these pictures because of that cut on his throat. It's looking so good I don't want to risk breaking it back open.

He kept stepping on his rope. Silly boy. It aggravates him but he doesn't panic.

The sun was really bright so this picture was washed out really bad. I tried it in grayscale and it looks a little better. He's just so pretty I couldn't delete this picture. :)

Also I found a cute Friesian/Belgian cross online that is close by and for sale for only $900 and I really want him, but we can't afford a second horse right now. He turned two years old two days ago. He's fifteen hands. Calm and sweet. The reason his price is so low is because the owner has Parkinson's disease so a friend is selling the horses for him. The friend doesn't have proof that the colt is half Friesian, although he has met the dam so he knows the Belgian part is right. He's also not registered. I can definitely see the Friesian in him so I'd be willing to pay that price, but I can't . . . makes me so sad. He and Chrome are the same size and age. They'd be cute together and then my husband would have a horse to ride when they turn three. Oh well. We will find a perfect horse for my husband someday when the time is right. Here is a picture of the cute colt.

I'll just daydream. :) Hope you guys are having a good week. Mine is starting to look a little better. :)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Still Here

I'm still here. I've been working incredibly long hours and it's been almost one hundred degrees outside, so when I'm not working I've been swimming or working inside the house. I've done a lot of spring cleaning and rearranging in my house. It's starting to look nice again. Now that I'm not having to close (10:30pm) at work anymore I'm going to try to start getting up early again so I can work with Chrome before it gets super hot outside. Sorry I haven't been posting. :)