Thursday, April 28, 2016

Chrome Walking Video

The PT work I'm doing with Chrome is apparently helping!  He was galloping around and being a nut case when I got home from work.  :D  I haven't seen him more do more than a walk with an occasional lazy trot in a week, so that made me very happy!

I did his stretches, walking, tail pulls, backing and walking over railroad ties again today.  On his stretching and walking I'm noticing he has more reach on his right hind and is stiffer on his left hind.  His left is the side that locks up so that makes sense.  His backing wasn't as good today as the other day, but I did it immediately after walking and we were on the flat driveway, compared to last time it was after he'd had a break (grazing) from walking and was on grass and a slight slope.  So I'm not worried that he's back sliding or anything.

Just for fun I got a video showing his walk, so you can see the overstep (or lack of) and also so you can see how I'm walking him.  It's easier to show, than to explain.

He doesn't like me swinging the rope at his butt, because he'd rather be lazy, but he's a good boy and does it anyway.  I will definitely continue doing all of this when I start riding again.  I'm so impatient for Saturday to get here so I can see if getting trimmed makes a big difference compared to the slow progress with the PT.  I'm also thinking about getting the target stick back out for our walks to see if I can get him to walk with a long stride, but with his head down more.  He's developing an ugly ewe neck....

Now, I have to go to bed.  It's getting late.  So I'll leave you with these adorable pictures of my sweet boy.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Stifles Update

Thanks for the comments guys! Chrome is fine. This is actually a really mild episode of his stifles locking. I'm just being extra cautious since I've been riding him quite a bit for the challenge. His health comes first.

The ground work and physical therapy have been really helpful. He didn't lock up (no toe dragging) at all today and wasn't sticky with every step while grazing like he was a couple of days ago.  The only time I really noticed it was during tight turns (they didn't give out, but he slows way down and acts like he's expecting it to happen) and when asking him to pick up his hooves (he has to shift around to unlock them before I can pick them up... It wasn't happening when moving forward or sideways, only when picking up).

I did his stretches and tail pulls, then let him graze while I brushed him and applied his neem oil. Then I decided to try backing. Most of you probably know by now that he has trouble backing. He seems to lock up worse going back than forward which is weird because most horses use backing up to unlock. Today however, he did great!

I held his halter while standing directly in front of him, asked him to lower his head and back up. We were on the soft grass with a very slight downward incline. Very slight. Barely noticeable lol. When I asked him to back up he hesitated for a split second as if he thought he wouldn't be able to and then started backing. When he realized it wasn't going to lock up, he backed confidently, quickly and energetically with perfect diagonals. I've never seen him back that easily and quickly before!! He normally drags his feet backward, but today all four were easily clearing the ground. That made me so happy! I think the PT is making a big difference. I'm going to have to keep it up even when I start riding again.

I'm doing the walking and stretches every day, but doing the tail pulls every other day. For the walking I'm holding the rope in my far hand, facing him and flicking the end of the rope at his haunches so that he engages himself. When I lead him normally he steps his hind hooves in his front prints with his hind toe only about an inch in front of his front toe print. When I ask him to walk out he steps his rear hoof in front of his front print with about three or four inches between the front toe and rear heel. That's quite an overstep!! It's important though because the lazy walk does nothing for him.

As of right now I'm hand walking him on the driveways. I figure a break from the pavement is a good idea right now.

One other thing. I forgot to mention; when I rode Rocky the other day Chrome was hiding from flies in the barn out of sight. At one point Rocky neighed for Chrome. Chrome didn't answer. I was worried Rocky would get upset if he didn't know where Chrome was, so I called Chrome's name. He immediately neighed and walked to the gate to see me!!!!! How cool is it that my horse will answer to me and not even his pasture mate????? Chrome also ignores my husband's and dad's vehicles when they get home from work (we live on the same property but different houses), but when I drive up he comes to the gate and neighs at me! I love him!!

Monday, April 25, 2016


Sorry no pictures.

I'm giving Chrome the week off because my farrier can't come out to trim him until this weekend.  His stifle started locking up again (like toe dragging locked) yesterday and it was sticky too (with every stride while grazing).   I did some stretches yesterday and today he isn't locking and isn't sticking every stride.  It still gives out occasionally and he has trouble with tight turns.

Due to all of that I have decided that during his time off I'm going to be biking (and keeping it up on the days I don't ride even after this week because if he has to exercise, I do too) and doing some of his PT stuff.

I'm starting with stretches, tail pulls and forward walking, then I'll work on backing, transitions in hand and stepping over things.  Once I'm back in the saddle after his trim I'll work on all of that while riding.

Here is a really interesting article (LINK) that explains what I'll be doing.  It explains the four stretches and the tail pulls.  The time frame on it is much longer because it's for injury rehab I think.  I probably should stretch Chrome's in hand work out longer, but I've been riding him anyway and it wasn't bothering him until his feet got long.  If his stifle is still sticky after the trim I'll stick with in hand stuff until he's moving normally.  I'm not expecting that to happen though, because he always goes back to normal after a trim.

If I don't post a lot this week, that is why.  It's not because anything is wrong.  :)  To be honest, I've really enjoyed the bonding I've done the past two days with him.  I'm having to start his neem oil because he's already starting to itch (he has sweet itch for any new readers), so between thorough grooming, applying neem oil, letting him graze, doing stretches, hand walking, etc. he's getting a LOT of attention in the evenings after work.  :D

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Chrome Ride 134 - 100 Ride Challenge Ride 20 - Rocky Ride 10 (with us)

I rode Chrome with the saddle and bridle for twenty minutes at the walk only in our yard because his stifles were sticky.  Moving definitely helped, but I wasn't going to trot or canter with the risk of it giving out or locking.  I noticed that, although he's building muscles in his haunches, he is still lacking quad muscles, so I definitely need to get him going up hills or over poles again.  Normal riding isn't going to strengthen the correct muscles.

ETA: You probably noticed there are no pictures of me riding Chrome.  That's because hubby was busy mowing and I forgot my phone.  I went inside and got it after the ride and got all of these pictures.

After I rode I did something that would make Lytha proud!  I washed Chrome's yellow tail!  Hehe.

It was just a bit cool for a full bath with cold well water, 
so I just did his tail in a bucket while he grazed.

 The goats have ruined his beautiful tail!
It used to be thick all the way to his fetlocks.  :(
Now it is so thin below the hocks... I may have to cut it....

It was funny when I walked up behind him and dunked his tail in the bucket, he turned his head to look back at me.  When he figured out what I was doing he went right back to grazing.  :D  He's so used to my weirdness.

 His face is getting so flea-bitten!

 After it dried it looked much better.
Still yellow, but much, much better.
See how it's thick to his hocks and then turns to a thin, scraggly mess?

 If you only look at the top it's still as gorgeous as ever.  

After that I did something I haven't done in a while.... I rode Rocky!

I was such a big chicken I had hubby walk with us up and down the driveway a couple of times.  Rocky definitely tested me (trying to spin, ignoring my cues and even got light in the front end once), but I persisted and he gave up fairly quickly.  Once we reached an understanding I actually had fun.

I forgot how nice it is to ride a horse that neck reins.  He is so supple and bendy in the bridle.  I was amazed, to be honest.  When we first brought him home he was stiff necked and braced horribly.  Hubby has done a great job getting him light in the bridle (except at first when he was testing me) and bendy.  I did the exercise that I did with Chrome the other day, only using neck reining instead of direct rein.  I was lightly laying the rein across his neck to see how little it took to turn him.  We were almost doing serpentines he was turning so light and fluid.  I was very impressed and happy with him.  I'll definitely have to ride him more now that I know I can get through his bratty moments.

Love this picture!
I finally have a black horse to ride like I always wanted (little girl dream horse!) hehe.

I even asked him to do a short trot, close to the pasture gate, so I wouldn't have to deal with barn sour bolting.  He did a slow, easy jog that was such a weird side to side movement that I'm not used to!  I'm so used to Chrome's forward trot, that it felt strange riding Rocky's slow jog.  It was comfortable though.  I'm really curious to see how his bigger, forward trot feels (because he can do a heck of an extension in the pasture), but I wasn't willing to push it since the ride was going to well.  I know I've trotted him years ago, but I honestly can't remember what it felt like.  I'm looking forward to reminding him how to be a safe and sane equine citizen.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Chrome Ride 133 - 100 Ride Challenge Ride 19

 Chrome didn't want to put his ears forward so I did it for him hehe.

I rode for half an hour in the yard with the saddle and bridle.  I wanted to work on cantering so hubby didn't ride, but as I was leading Chrome to my car Rocky neighed and galloped to the gate!  Hubby and I were so excited to see him actually want to come and and join us.  Hubby brought him out and groomed him really well, cut a bridlepath, fly sprayed him and combed out his tail really well.  So he got pampered while Chrome worked hehe.  It's a good way to show Rocky that humans don't always mean having to work.

Rocky's fancy new bridlepath.  :D

Chrome was really good, but his stifle gave out several times... it makes me so sad!  I think it's because it's time for them to be trimmed though.  My farrier is coming out soon, so hopefully that will help.  I warmed Chrome up at the walk and then the trot.  Then I asked him to canter.  It took everything I had to get him into it.  It's probably partly from being out of shape and partly from having not asked him in so long.  I cantered him up and down the driveway a few times, but when his stifle gave out again I quit... it had only happened at the walk up until that point.  I don't want to risk causing some sort of damage having it happen at speed....

It was a fun ride and once he figured out I wanted him to canter he picked it up really well.  He had trouble maintaining it and was being bad about falling into the trot when he got close to hubby so I didn't get any good pictures.  Here are a couple.

Yes I held on to the saddle horn because I'm a big chicken.  I haven't cantered him since last fall I think.  After cantering a couple of times I wasn't nervous anymore though, since he didn't crowhop or anything.  :D  You can see the makeover we gave our well house too.  It now has a matching red tin roof like the house and it's painted dark brown instead of that pale tan it used to be (and had been for over twenty years lol).  The door is red to match the tin and add some contrast.  Dad did most of the work.  I think it turned out great!

Walking out after his stifle gave out.  
I love that I can canter him and then just drop the reins and walk.

Hubby liked the sun light in this one.  
I like how far under Chrome is stepping as we turn. 

Look at how dappled his neck is!  I wish his shoulders were 
dappled instead of being gray already (he rubbed the fur off 
because of his sweet itch and it grew back in white).

I think Rocky has every color in his tail!  So pretty!

Rocky looked so good after the grooming hubby gave him that I suggested we get some nice pictures of him on level ground.

 The late evening sun made him look a lot more brown than he is, but I still like them.  He looks good!

 Chrome was so mad I tied him up instead of letting him graze.  
I had to smack him on the butt because he was leaning over 
that fence to get to the grass........

 There isn't much to say because both boys were so well behaved.  Two things I will mention is Chrome didn't do the weaving/balking thing up the driveway at all today and I did some ground work with him after the ride.  He remembered how to yield his haunches and shoulders perfectly (crossing the leg in front like he's supposed to), even though we haven't practiced it in ages.  He's such a good boy!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Chrome Ride 132 - 100 Ride Challenge Ride 18

It actually wasn't raining when I got off work!!  I rode Chrome a short way down the road (1.27 miles total and 30 minutes) bareback in his halter.... I might be crazy lol.  Hubby hand walked Rocky with us.  Both horses were perfect!

Chrome was very relaxed, but eager and forward.  He walked out fast, both going to and away from home.  The only time he hesitated (what I call balking, but is really just walking slow) was when we turned back to go home because he wanted to go see the horses that spooked them last time.  I wasn't pushing my luck bareback though and kept him going toward home.  I love how happy he is to go places.  He loves going!  He was an absolute dream today.  It's days like this when I know he will be my perfect trail horse someday.  :D

On the way out I heard something coming up the road that sounded like a tractor or a truck pulling a trailer.  As it got closer I realized it was a Gator, but it had back seats and a long bed too.  I haven't seen one like that.  It was really cool.  Chrome hasn't seen one either, but I wasn't too worried since he's great with tractors.  I turned him to face it and waited.  He watched it approach and luckily the guy slowed way down and then stopped to chat.

It was an older guy who is new to the area who lost his wife to cancer two years ago.  I could tell he was lonely.  He talked to us for a long time and eagerly greeted and pet Chrome.  :)  Eventually another car was coming and he had to keep going.  I enjoyed the chat, but Chrome was getting impatient (he kept trying to turn and continue down the road away from home... love!) and I was glad to get moving again.  Turns out the next car was neighbor girl B.  She pulled up and said, "Well it's a good thing he's kind of broke!"  I laughed!!  It's true.  I still think of him as really green, but I was riding him bareback in a halter on a road, in traffic, next to a Gator that he's never seen before.  I was so proud of him!!

She chatted with us a second and fed both Chrome and Rocky a peppermint.  I told her she is such a horse person, carrying peppermints in her car hehe.  We finally were able to get going again.

His shoulders look so gross and weird because of where he's rubbed them 
due to the sweet itch.  The hair grows in a different color and he has scars... pout.

Just as we were turning back into the driveway someone yelled "Hey!"  I looked around and spotted another neighbor coming toward us pushing a stroller.  I decided to get off because Chrome has never seen a stroller and the neighbor horses across the street were headed our way.  We stood and chatted for a while.  Her baby got to pet Rocky, but I couldn't let Chrome get too close.  He's too lippy, especially after having a peppermint.  He showed off and flagged his tail when the neighbor horses galloped up, but he was really good... until he got impatient, but that's another story lol.  I probably could have made him behave, but I used it as an excuse to cut the conversation short because some neighbors will talk for hours and we'd already been held up and it was getting late.  There are only so many hours in a day after work and I had to cook supper, take a shower, do laundry and write this post.

In short, it was a great ride and made me so happy!!  Yay for no rain!  Tomorrow I probably won't get so lucky, but I'm just going to have to wait and see because I've gotten lucky so far.  :)

P.S.  Chrome did his smile and shaking his head no tricks perfectly for the neighbor.  They were impressed hehe.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Chrome Ride 131 - 100 Ride Challenge Ride 17

I got off work (still loving the new job) and rushed home to ride because there was rain coming.  I didn't get pictures (just in case I got drenched I didn't want my phone on me) and I rode bareback in the halter to keep the tack from getting wet.  It was all pointless because we didn't get rained on.  It wasn't as imminent as I thought!

I rode for twenty minutes and it was a very productive ride!  I asked him to walk up the driveway and he immediately started the weaving, trying to turn around, walking slow crap and I was tempted to get totally pissed off about it, but then I decided I would outsmart him instead.  By the way, I finally figured out why he's doing it... he's veering to the right because he wants to go into the woods to eat the really tall grass (it's his favorite).

When I realized what he was actually doing today, I started walking him back and forth over the timbers lining the parking spots.  Back to my point.. when we are on the driveway he's veering toward the grass and then I pull him back the other direction.  He uses it as an excuse to try to turn around (hoping to go back to the grass.. he's obsessed right now because it's spring).  I don't think it's actually because he doesn't want to go up the driveway, so not balking like I thought, but rather he's fixated on the grass and when I turn him away from it he thinks I'm asking him to turn around... or something like that!

What I did to outsmart him was doing tiny serpentines the width of the driveway and the entire length!  We have a long driveway.  Well, it's only a tenth of a mile, but it feels long.  About three quarters of the way up I could tell he had decided this was incredibly stupid and not worth the effort!  I made him finish anyway.  Then we marched back down the driveway.  He was very quick moving today because the mosquitoes were driving him crazy.  I should have fly sprayed him before I rode, but I didn't think about it.  At least they kept him moving eagerly forward and not balking. so there's that.

After we walked back down I turned him and asked him to walk straight up the driveway again.  He considered pulling his shenanigans a second time, but he didn't.  I think we might add the serpentines to our regular work since it worked so well!

Afterwards I decided to work on something I'd read about yesterday.  The point of the exercise is to make the horse light in the bridle (or halter in our case).  What you do is have them walk forward, then put light pressure on one rein.  As soon as they turn, you drop it and walk straight a couple of strides before doing it the other direction.  I had him so bendy and light, weaving all over the yard.  It was so cool!!  I'm bad about being impatient and pulling as hard as necessary to get an immediate response, instead of letting him think about it, which makes him dull.  I need to quit!  Besides it's not fair to him.  I'm going to practice it a lot because he responded really well to it and he deserves it.  He was turning off of such light pressure and his response was immediate, forward and eager.  I love it!  That will help make the serpentines easier too.  I should have tried them again after I got him light, but the mosquitoes were driving me nuts and I got off to fly spray him.

I'm very, very happy with how he did and myself, since I used my brain instead of my emotions.  :D  It's supposed to rain all week and I might not get to ride again until Friday... pout.

P.S. I just spent half an hour (sarcasm) correcting the grammar in this post.... I can't believe how horribly lazy I have gotten.  I overuse so, that, lol, haha, etc. waaaaaaaay too much....................

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Chrome Ride 130 - 100 Ride Challenge Ride 16 - Rocky Ride 9 (with us)

Sorry no pictures, but this was a boring ride (thank goodness!) so that's okay.

Rocky was an angel!!!!!!!

Neither one of us wanted to ride because hubby's back hurt and my shoulder hurt, but we had to go for a short ride to see if Rocky was going to act better.  He did!

Since both horses were being so good we only went a total of a quarter of a mile and maybe fifteen minutes on the road.  Then because hubby's back was hurting he got off and stood with Rocky while I rode for another ten minutes around the house.  Chrome was acting sore at the beginning of the ride (an hour was probably a bit much yesterday....), but I trotted him around at the house and he was acting totally fine.  I was worried he was lame or something.  I always think the worst lol.

We wanted to keep the ride short because Rocky was being really good.  He didn't balk.  He didn't try to turn around.  He didn't fight the reins.  He didn't do anything wrong.  We thought maybe it was because he was tired from the longeing (because he's out of shape), but after we rode we let them graze in the yard and he trotted around and chased Chrome.  I think he was just choosing to cooperate because it was easier.  Rocky is a lazy horse and the fact that he was trotting around after the ride means he couldn't have been too sore.

I am!  My poor arm and shoulder are sore from being dragged around, but luckily it's not nerve pain.  It's just normal muscle soreness like what you'd get after a workout.

All in all I'd say we made progress.  Hopefully Rocky will now realize if he's going to be barn sour he will go home and work on longeing, but if he's not barn sour he will have a short, pleasant ride and then go home and get to graze.  He's smart and I don't think it will take long for him to figure out.

P.S.  I forgot to mention that Rocky was terrified of the whip yesterday and I never touched him with it.  I don't remember him being afraid of it when I used it to keep him away from us when he was charging us over the food aggression... but maybe I made him scared of it then??  Or maybe he's been hit with one before we got him?  He didn't seem clueless about longeing so I wouldn't be surprised if he's been longed or round penned before.  Maybe he was hit with it then?  I'm not sure, but I spent a lot of time after longeing him just rubbing him with the whip and he eventually calmed down.  So I don't know if I caused it during the food aggression thing when he first got here or if it's something from his past, but either way I'll be sure to spend plenty of time desensitizing and showing him it's just a tool we use and not a weapon.  Rocky is a complicated horse I'm learning, but he will totally be worth it when we figure everything out.  :)

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Chrome Ride 129 - 100 Ride Challenge Ride 15 - Rocky Ride 8 (with us)

We rode kind of late, so this is the only picture I got.  The rest were too blurry.  All I have to say about Rocky is that he was a barn sour butt!!  Chrome on the other hand did a really good job.  He was very forward and happy to be out.  We went the same direction as last time.  When we got to the where we turned around before I stopped to let Rocky catch up.  Rocky was balking and trying to turn around.  Being very unpleasant.  Then we kept going, but when we got near the horses pastured on that part of the road, both horses got excited.  Rocky started acting up which caused Chrome to get excited (but he didn't do much, just flagged his tail and danced in place a bit).  A truck was coming and stopped because we were in the middle of the road.  The pastured horses took that opportunity to bolt and Rocky came unglued.  We finally just dismounted because it was too dangerous with traffic.

We walked about a tenth of a mile back toward home and I got back on Chrome.  We were very disappointed in Rocky, so when we got back to the driveway we kept going.  We didn't want him to be rewarded for bad behavior any more than he already was (hubby getting off-he couldn't get back on because the saddle rolls if you don't use a mounting block).  We went up and down in front of the driveway, passing it multiple times.  Our total distance on the road was 1.61 miles.

When we got back to the house Chrome started being a butt about wanting to go back to the car to untack because that's where Rocky was.  He was balking and trying to turn around.  That really irritated me because it was bad enough one horse was being that way.  Chrome wasn't being nearly as insistent or ugly about it, but I wasn't going to let it slide.  I kept walking him to my car, turning around and walking away.  He finally stopped balking, but he was walking really slow going away, so I was making him trot, but even then he was hesitating.  I finally broke a branch (more like a twig) off a tree and used it to encourage him forward.  It was a tiny, very flimsy stick and I only had to pop him with it twice before he started listening to gentle tickles of the stick lol.  I finally had him walking the same speed no matter what direction we were going and I called it good.

After putting Chrome up I worked on teaching Rocky to longe (not sure if he's ever done it).  I didn't want Rocky to think he was getting out of work by being a brat.  He definitely needs more work on longeing.  He circled decently, but he was dragging me in the direction he wanted to go.  I'm glad I wore gloves.  I need to set my round pen back up so he has boundaries.  If you guys were teaching a strong, grown horse to longe would you use a halter in a round pen or try teaching it with a bit??  I'm leaning toward halter in a round pen.  I don't think I've ever worked with a horse who dragged me before.  Or if I did, I don't remember it.  I think I need to back up a few steps and work on teaching Rocky to give to pressure on the halter.  He was trained to neck rein, so he does not give to a bit or halter very well at all (I've done a little lateral flexion, but had to quit because of my shoulder... he's VERY heavy and difficult to flex).  I'm seriously thinking he needs to be trained as if he were an untouched, untrained horse.  I can see so many basic steps that were skipped in his training!!

So all in all it was a good ride for me.  I enjoyed Chrome out on the road, even though he was a turd at home, but he worked through that.  Watching how resistant Rocky is makes me realize how well trained and willing Chrome is, even on a bad day...  I don't want to be down on Rocky, but I also don't want to pretend he was an angel.  I just hope I can get him over this because I don't want hubby to dislike riding with me!

Anyway it's late and I'm rambling.  I'm going to go to bed.  Night!

P.S.  I almost forgot!  The new job is going fantastic.  I had my second PT appointment which was good and I haven't had any nerve pain in my neck or shoulder in over a week!  :D

P.P.S.  The only time Chrome spooked was when a bird flew up next to us.  It was a small spook.  He was fine with the dog pack.  He was decent with the horses, other than the flagged tail and prancing.  He's a good boy.

ETA:  I forgot to mention I rode Chrome 57 minutes minus the five or so minutes of walking during the ride.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Chrome Ride 128 - 100 Ride Challenge Ride 14

He redeemed himself!!  Chrome was such a good boy today.  We went out on the road (hubby walked with the dog, but left Rocky at home because he was recovering from a migraine and didn't want to deal with the horse) for 22 minutes and 1.27 miles.  I went the opposite direction from last time because I didn't want to deal with the neighbor horses being obnoxious again (they were in the far pasture and didn't see us today).  Going this way there was only five other horses, but they were right where I turned around so I didn't have to walk along their fence lines (they are on opposite sides of the road from each other).  They are older and calmer (and not barrel horses), so they probably would have been fine, but again I didn't want Jackal on the pavement for more than a mile.

 I'm not used to how he looks in his bonnet anymore!
It sure helped with the gnats and mosquitoes though.

 About 90% of the ride was on the buckle with his very forward, calm walk.  He was so happy to be out.  The only spooky spot we had was at one neighbor's house that has a pack of dogs he lets run loose (one reason we don't like going that way).  Three of the really big, furry dogs came charging up the driveway, barking and growling.  Chrome's head shot up, he swung his butt away turning to face them and then started backing up toward the ditch.  I was shocked they scared him that bad, but I have to admit they are intimidating (hubby carries a walking stick and rocks because that's what it takes to keep them away... we've had to deal with them before).  Luckily the dogs stopped before Chrome went in the ditch or decided he wanted to bolt.  As soon as they stopped, he stopped.

Hubby told me to keep going while he guarded my back, throwing rocks at the dogs to keep them away.  Chrome was very leery, but he kept going.  Once he realized they weren't going to follow, he relaxed and turned his attention back to the horses up ahead.

 Chrome and Jackal looking in the same direction hehe.

When we got to the turn around spot we stood still for a few minutes, just watching the horses.  When we turned around I asked Chrome to trot.  He launched into the trot and we pounded down the road.  We only went until we caught up to hubby and Jackal, who turned around early, because I don't like to ride at speed on pavement.  We only did one other trot, where we went ahead and came back to hubby, because I wanted him to go ahead of us for the evil dog pack.  We made it by them easily, Chrome didn't even pay any attention to them that time even though they were still stalking and barking.

 Leading him back to the pasture.  He looks half asleep lol.

 He went straight to the water.  It's so fresh it still has bubbles from when I filled it before the ride.

Rocky was jealous that he didn't get to go so I fed him handfuls of grass.  
You can see a piece sticking out of his lips lol.

I didn't really want to ride, but I'm glad I forced myself to go, because it was a lot of fun and nothing like the last ride.  :D  The other good news is I haven't had any nerve pain at all in my neck or shoulder since seeing the physical therapist!!  So happy!  Even the muscles aren't sore anymore.  Yay!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Chrome Ride 127 - 100 Ride Challenge Ride 13

First of all, no pictures... sorry!  I forgot my phone.  Second... it's time to step things up.  Chrome was a butt!!  To be fair, it was cool, windy and I was riding out on the road, which he's only done once or twice in the last six months or so (too lazy to go look right now).

Hubby walked with us, leading Jackal and Rocky.  I rode Chrome in the bridle and saddle because I could tell he was feeling his oats (he galloped up to the front when I called him).  It started out quiet, Chrome walking calmly and forward.  Then we turned the corner by what we call the junk house (neighbor collects garbage and junk, then spreads it all over her yard so it looks like a junk yard).  Someone was in there among the junk banging on something.  The wind was also causing plastic in a broken car window to whip around.  He didn't spook, but he was up.  He was also looking for the neighbor horses, which makes him spookier because he's not paying attention to his environment.

Then we got to the neighbor's barn and someone has pulled a beat up, trashy camper in beside her barn and was cleaning it out.... very loudly!  Seriously they were ripping cabinets out and throwing them out the door.  There was also a service vehicle parked next to the road with one of those black truck bed covers that was standing open high over our heads.  Chrome has never seen one of those, couldn't see what was making the noise in the camper and had finally spotted the neighbor horses way off in the pasture.  He was balky, but relatively calm.  Rocky was spooky too during all of this and Jackal was whining because the neighbor dog was stalking us.  All very annoying.

We kept walking along the pasture and the neighbor horses neighed at us a few times which caused Chrome to slam on the brakes and swing his head around to gawk... which just irritates the you know what out of me.  I kicked him until he kept going (silently berating myself for not having a whip, but I thought we were past this balking crap).

We kept going and he continued to be balky and annoying.  I basically just tried to ignore his bad behavior and focused on keeping him going.  Straight lines were optional.  I swear it was like he was a baby all over again.  We only went half a mile before turning around because Jackal isn't supposed to be on pavement too much.

When we turned around both horses obviously stopped being balky (Rocky because he's barn sour and Chrome because he wanted to go back to the other horses).  We walked along fine until we got back to the neighbor barn.  Chrome was ignoring the banging in the camper and the truck and the tin banging on the roof, but he was staring at the neighbor horses still.  When we passed the barn he relaxed, dropped his head and resigned himself to going home.

I, however, saw the neighbor horses coming from around the barn, so I knew what was about to happen.  They exploded around the side of the barn (they were feeling good too) and Rocky jumped forward right into Chrome as he slammed on the brakes and flagged his tail.  He didn't even notice Rocky slam into him... he just stood, staring at the horses, all puffed up and feeling sixteen hands.

Okay... normally I would have gotten off as soon as I saw the horses coming because I'm a huge chicken and I knew how he would react, but I didn't!!  It wasn't really a conscious decision.  I just didn't think about it.  Getting off never crossed my mind.  That makes me so happy!!!  I actually rode him through his shenanigans and wasn't really scared... okay a little, but not too bad.  I was more irritated that he still acts like a green moron, than scared haha.

So hubby got Rocky back in control, miraculously without Jackal getting stepped on.  We continued down the road.  Chrome's tail was flagged and he was doing his floating trot... which really does feel as awesome as I thought it would lol.  I could feel the tension in his body.  He was two second away from bolting every time the other horses took off galloping and bucking.  Amazingly whatever ounce of sane he still had in his brain combined with my death grip on the reins, kept him at a walk/prance.  The whole time I was scared, but proud of him for containing himself when I knew all he wanted to do was run and play with his "friends".

So we continued on around the corner.  The neighbor horses stopped at the corner, but just then a car came up behind us.  Chrome was walking sideways, wanting to see why the horses stopped and was swinging his butt into the road.  I scolded him and got him straightened out so the guy could pass.  Then we kept going.  He finally relaxed and kept walking.  Then... just as I knew would happen... the horses bolted up from behind us and ran along the fence we were walking by and then off into their pasture.  Chrome, again, wanted to bolt, but he didn't.  I wrestled him into a walk and he calmed down again since they were way off in the pasture and we were almost back to the driveway.

Once we got back on the property it was like night and day.  He was back to his normal self.  Irritating, but I'm thankful he comes down so quickly.  So as we walked calmly and placidly up the driveway I got to thinking about his behavior and was a little pissed off.  I know I shouldn't get mad or take it personally... he's a horse just being a horse... specifically a young, inexperienced, sheltered horse... but I did.  I couldn't help it.  I didn't take it out on him or anything.  I just made up my mind that there was absolutely no way the ride was ending right there when he expected it.  I made him trot up the driveway and he jumped into it, very forward.

I waited for hubby to put Rocky away and then I started riding around the yard.  Going up the driveway I asked Chrome to trot.  Then he pulled a trick that he's done a couple of times now, but I didn't realize what exactly he was doing until today because previously it had only been at a walk.  I had noticed that he was veering from side to side on the driveway, but I didn't know why.  I finally figured it out at the trot.  He started veering to one side and when I corrected him with the reins he tried to use that as an excuse to turn all the way around and go back to the car (okay so maybe he is a little barn sour... car sour... whatever, but it's because I've been letting him graze after I ride... that won't be happening anymore.  Now that I think about it he does that every spring when the grass is first coming up).  That totally pissed me off.  I straightened him back out and kicked the snot out of him.  I had to keep ping ponging him back and forth to keep him straight, but I eventually got him by that spot and he started trotting a straight line without all the veering.  We trotted all the way up the driveway, then turned and walked halfway back down.

Then I turned and trotted him up my grandparent's driveway, turned around and trotted him back.  Just as we were approaching my driveway he spooked sideways at something and then flipped his head and curled his neck like he does right before he starts crowhopping.  I popped him in the mouth and he stopped.  For a second I really thought he was going to start bucking.  The sad thing is I think he was just being really playful because he felt good... but he has to learn that isn't acceptable under saddle.  The good thing is that he actually decided not to buck before I even corrected him (so I really shouldn't have corrected him, but I was already reacting and couldn't process it in time to stop myself).  It all happened in a second, so it's one of those things you realize after the fact.  I don't know how to explain it, but all of you who ride know what I'm talking about.  You can feel the horse's intention in his body and Chrome's reaction to the spook was to buck, but then he changed his mind because he knows better.... and then I yanked him in the mouth.  Ugh!!  I wish I could stop that reaction...

Anyway as soon as I yanked him to a walk I immediately sent him back into a trot, because he'd been so balky I didn't want to teach him spooking meant stopping.  We trotted back up the driveway and then walked to the yard and worked on standing still while hubby put the hay fork on the tractor.  Chrome did not want to stand still.  I was verbally scolding him, but didn't do the lateral flexion like I normally do because my shoulder still hurts.

Finally I got so irritated with him sneaking steps in that I started turning him in tiny circles and making him keep going forward until he didn't want to anymore, then I made him keep going for a few seconds more.  As soon as I took my leg off he stopped and then flexed laterally without me even asking lol.  He was so confused, because normally I just flex him, I don't ask him to circle because it's hard on his stifles.  He was really rubbing me the wrong way though.  It only took a few times and he gave up and stood still.  Finally!  It's so weird riding him when he's so "up", because he's normally such a dead head.

I'm proud of myself for riding through the scary parts though, especially the fact that I never even considered getting off when that used to be my first response.  I'm disappointed in myself for getting irritated and angry though.  The weird thing is I was actually having fun when he was being good.  Maybe that's why I got so irritated.  Ugh.  Anyway, we just both need to step up the rides and get back in practice.

I know that Chrome isn't upset though because after the ride he still came over and was begging for attention, even though hubby was driving a bale of hay out into the pasture lol.

The part on the road was 1 mile and the ride was a total of forty one minutes.  He didn't act at all tired by the end of the ride, which is why I think it's time to step things up.

Sorry for the looooooong wordy post... it's probably boring, but I need to record this stuff so that when he's acting like a fool in a couple of months I can look back and see how bad he actually used to be so I know we're making progress haha.  I still love the little turd, even when he makes me want to pull my hair out.  :)

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

My injury update + Chrome's sibling pictures!

 Okay, first an update on the shoulder... which is actually a slipped disc in my neck lol.  Funny how pain refers like that.  The appointment at the physical therapist went well.  I really liked her and she seemed to listen well and really understand what I was going through.  The other people I've seen (doctor and chiro) all seemed to think it was purely muscular and kept brushing off the nerve pain thing.  She was the first person who believed me that this isn't just knotted up muscles.

Since I don't have pain all day, every day (just when at work, driving or doing other things like brushing my hair) she is very optimistic that we can work through this.  She is also big on teaching me the things I'll need to know to manage this and prevent further damage throughout my life, which I really appreciate.  I love her 'go after the root cause' mentality instead of just 'slap a band-aid on it' or just wait and see that I've gotten from other people.  So I have some homework to do (stretches, exercises, posture stuff) and I'll go back next week to see how it's going.  I finally feel like this is all going to be okay.  I was getting really depressed about the whole thing because it felt like I was going to be in pain forever.

I had to take a week off work on injured leave.  My last day was Saturday.  It was an eight hour shift and by the end of it I was in so much pain I could barely drive.  I couldn't turn my head left or right or look down, which all made driving almost dangerous!  When I got home I got as far as the front porch and laid down on the couch and didn't move for an hour...  after I was finally able to get up I had to have help getting undressed and taking a shower.  It was a really, really bad day.  So after half a week off things are definitely looking better and with the physical therapy I think it will get even better.

So the scary part is I quit my job... I just can't go back to it because I know it will just make things worse if I do.  The good news is I have another job!  It's actually the job I wanted back in the beginning when I moved back, but they didn't have any openings at that time.  It's a customer service job so I won't be on my feet all day (yay desk job!).  I will be working Monday through Friday, 8 to 5, so yay predictable hours and weekends off!!  Also it's a three dollar an hour raise right off the bat.  The really cool thing is I used to work there ten years ago before I moved away and now that I've moved back I'm going to work there again lol.  I'm super excited, but a little... terrified!  It's a very fast paced environment with a small margin for errors.  So the pressure is on.  I can't wait though.  So I think everything is working out the best way it can.  :)

Now, because I hate posts without pictures I thought I would share pictures of Chrome's sibling that I stole... err borrowed from his sire's website.  ;)  I have a new reader (thank you for reading Christle!) and she commented that Chrome took after his Arabian dam more than his Friesian sire.  He definitely did take after his mom a lot, especially with the lack of hair and gray color, but he took after his sire too.  In person I can see it in his face, the set of his neck, his topline, even his rear legs.  He definitely didn't get the Arabian croup lol.  I think he's a pretty even blend of the two.  He got the Friesian personality (with a bit of the Arab to spice things up hehe) so I'm happy.

I got to thinking though about all of the pictures I've seen of Chrome's half siblings and they all look a lot alike!  So I figured I would share some pictures with you guys.  First up here are some of his sire.  You can see my other posts about him here (link) or check out his website here (link).

One of his most recent pictures. I wish that was me riding him!  :D

This was years ago when he won his USDF DSHB Reserve Regional Championship I think.

Now on to his half siblings.

Six year old Friesian/Arabian.

Frisian/Arabian mare. 

 At five years old.

 At six years old.

Friesian/Arabian mare.  I can't remember how old she is.


Another half sibling that I can't find anymore info on. 
I really wish I could though because this is what Chrome will look like someday lol.


That might be two separate horses... I got my pictures mixed up...  
if they are different, they are both still Arab crosses.



 I've shared Knight on the blog before.  :)



Friesian/Quarter Horse.

 Friesian/Arabian yearling.

 Chrome looked just like this guy at that age!

Friesian/Arabian mare.

 She's going gray too!

Friesian/Thoroughbred gelding.

 His eye looks just like Chrome's!

Friesian/Arabian mare.

 This may be the same mare as the gray above two pictures.  I can't remember for sure.

So anyway I can definitely see a family resemblance.  Chrome's sire seems to really stamp his offspring with a particular look even when the dam isn't the same breed.  Maybe I'm just crazy and seeing things, but with a lot of these I didn't even know which ones were Chrome's half siblings because they were all mixed up on the foals page with other stallion's foals (website has since been changed), but I could guess almost every single one of them without reading the captions.  I definitely see their sire in all of them.  :)

I hope that was as fun for you guys as it was for me.  Sorry it was so long winded.  I really didn't want to post an update without pictures lol.  Also enjoy some old Chrome pictures just because he's the star of the blog and he was such a cute baby!

 Five months.

He had such a nice neck before I gelded him lol.
He actually looked more Friesian before I gelded him... weird.
It might just be because he was darker then.

 One of my old favorites!

 His two year old birthday!

 Anyway I better quit before I break your computer!  I get so carried away when I start looking at his old pictures, but my excuse is you needed lots of examples to compare him to his siblings lol.

Oh wait, here is his dam.  I really need new pictures of her!

Oh and just because it's still like a dream, here is when I met Chrome's sire!!  :D

Okay, that's all I promise hehe.