The blog is about our continued journey together as I attempt to make him my dream all around horse who can do anything from dressage, competitive trail riding, driving, mounted archery, working equitation and anything else we want to try.
Ugh this picture is awful. It was so bright outside and all we had was a cell phone, but hey we're on our new trailer!
My husband and I have been looking for a new horse trailer for a long time because the one we have is too small for Chrome and has a few other features I just don't like (heavy ramp!). My dad finally found one for us that a friend of his was selling and he gave us a good deal on it (it's nice to have such a well liked dad!). It's definitely a fixer-upper, but that's fine because our truck broke down and hubby is having to replace the engine in it. We also will have to get a gooseneck attachment. For now it will just sit in the pasture so we can practice loading.
The previous owners used it for horses for a long time, but then they got rid of their horses and used it for cattle. When they got a new trailer this one sat for a while (that's why it is rusted) before they finally decided to sell it. It needs cleaned, sanded and repainted. It has really good mats in it, but they need cleaned as well. I want to pull them out and check the floor really well again even though it has already been checked (I'm really paranoid about floors). A window needs replaced, but the tires are in really good condition, the lights and gooseneck work perfectly and the frame is still in great condition. Most of it's problems are just cosmetic (everything rusts here in our humid climate....sigh).
The first thing I did after crawling all around in it was tie Chrome to it and brush him off. Please forgive his filthy appearance. He's been playing in the pond lately and the neem oil I use for his sweet itch makes everything stick to him. He was curious about it and gave it the stink eye a couple of times, but you can see how relaxed he was. I was so excited to see if he would load I forgot to get a picture of the tack room for you, but it has a tack room with bridle hooks and six saddle racks. The gooseneck can be used for a mattress for camping or for hay storage. There is an escape door in the front stall on the side and the back gate has a smaller gate for access to the rear stall. The divider is missing, but I can get a new one. I'll get better pictures when I can.
After brushing I had him pose in front of it.
It looks so huge to me!! I've never had anything other than the two horse straight load bumper pull that I don't like and I've had for over fifteen years lol. I've also never had a gooseneck before, but I'm excited about it. You can see the tack room door and the front stall escape door here.
Chrome was relaxed (see his cocked hind leg?) while sniffing the thick rubber mats.
I'm going to feed him on it every day, so I put his bucket in the trailer. He walked right on and started eating with no hesitation. I was armed with sugar cubes and my clicker and didn't even need it!! This is the first time in his entire life he's ever been on a step up trailer too. I think he much prefers it over the ramp on our other trailer.
I made him leave his food to unload and reload several times, then I tried self loading him for the first time. See the video below.
I was SO proud of him!! He walked right on with no hesitation. I think he likes this trailer so much better. The other one is too dark and closed in. I love that the inside of this one is white. It will help reflect heat as well. The windows will let lots of air flow in too. He will just have to wear his fly mask to protect his eyes. Stock type horse trailers are very popular where I live because it gets extremely hot here. If I could afford a closed in Sundowner with air conditioning I would totally do that, but this will work just fine for our short trips.
I'll keep you up to date on repairs and repainting and I'll definitely let you know when I haul him for the first time on it! It might be a while though because we are still working on the truck. I have to go now. I miss you guys!!
Today is Chrome's tenth birthday!! I just can't believe he's ten already. How has the time flown by so quickly?? We were lucky to have a pretty day to get photos. It's been raining constantly all spring, so it was a surprise. I started out by giving him a bath.
He was nasty! I forgot to get blue shampoo, so I couldn't get all the stains out, but it was much better than before.
"Save me!" his eyes are saying.
After the bath we took a ton of pictures, then we had our ride. I'm going to cover the ride first and put the rest of the photos at the bottom because there are a TON and they might not all load for anyone who has slow internet. The ride was thirty minutes and was just on the property and the road in front of our property. We did quite a bit of cantering. He was being lazy so I got a crop and he tried bucking once, but it wasn't bad. I used it very lightly after that and he did really well so I praised him and then stopped and did some desensitizing. It all went well, considering how little work we've been doing.
No clue why the angle is so low, but Chrome's expression is cute!!
His tail looks SO much better.
He was being so lazy.
The weather was perfect. Look at the blue sky and green grass!
Okay next up are my favorite pictures, then below that is the rest of us posing together, so you can skip them if they don't load or are boring. I just wanted them to remember the day by.
I about died laughing when he did this!!!! Bored much Chrome??
Yep, he's a pro at posing, but eventually he gets bored.
He still has a decent neck when he gets his head out of the clouds.
Almost white tail and dapples!
Still his favorite trick. Love his smile!!
Doesn't he look sexy when he's not obese?? I just need to get muscle on him.
Below are the rest of the pictures that shouldn't require captions.
I was able to do something I've wanted to do my whole life! I rode in a parade! It wasn't a huge one. There were probably around twenty horses and it only covered three or four blocks, but it was still so amazing. Rocky was an absolute rock star (no surprise, he's done this before). I had SO much fun! We got to throw candy to all of the kids and I think we even made it on the news, but I didn't see it because it was in a different town from the one I live in. I wish I could have ridden Chrome, but I think he's just too inexperienced with other horses to do something like that. I will someday though. I wasn't able to get many pictures because I was throwing candy and waving, but that's okay because I was able to be in the moment and enjoy myself.
Waiting for the parade to start. Rocky was bored, but stood still very well.
I blurred everyone out for privacy. Lining up for the parade.
This photo was taken on my cell phone from Rocky's back. That's how close the fire trucks were. They were blaring their horns and sirens the whole time! I was so proud of how well Rocky did!! That was an experience I won't soon forget.
I'm posting this way after the fact, so I don't remember all of the details, but for my records I just wanted to write it down. I hopped on Chrome bareback for a short ride (I forget how long, but probably 20 minutes) before the rain started. He was very good and we even went for a bareback canter. We just rode around the house.
It's sad that my last post was in November talking about my new camera and how I was going to be posting a bunch of photos.... and now I'm posting in April with cell phone pictures lol!! I have been taking photos with the new camera (I LOVE it!), but I haven't had time to edit or post them. I have to figure out how to manage my time better because during the week I go to work and then come home and spend an hour or two doing chores (feeding/watering/haying all the animals), then go inside, shower, eat supper and pass out. On the weekends I'm catching up on cleaning the house and my outside time is spent working the goats (shots, pest control, deworming, trimming hooves, etc.) or doing ground stuff with Chrome (trimming hooves, pest control-sweet itch sucks-pasture maintenance, hand walking, etc.). By the time I can ride I'm too tired. It will get better when all of the goat kids are weaned... at least there are no more pregnant ones! Oh and it's been raining non-stop for months! Today was the first sunny, warmish weekend day which is why I finally hopped up for a ride. I'm going to try to do better now that the weather is improving. Anyway, enough whining! Let me tell you about my adrenaline filled ride.
There is a reason that the above picture is the only mounted picture lol. Since I've been hand walking Chrome on the roads and he's been fine I had the bright idea to hop on him for the first time in five months and go for a solo ride out on the road.... stupid!! I was drunk on sunshine. That's my excuse.
First ride stats. We rode for a total of 48 minutes and we covered one and a half miles on the road. I rode around the house some too, so not all of that time was spent on the road.
On this ride Chrome pulled out every bad habit he has ever displayed. I think this was the first time I experienced all of them in one ride. We had spooking, balking, weaving, almost bucking, jigging, spinning and almost bolting. Yes, all in ONE ride!! The sad thing is I'm not that upset with him. I was terrified at certain points and thought I would die once, but I didn't dismount and I really wasn't scared except during his more dramatic moments. I can't really blame him because I haven't ridden him consistently in a really long time (since I started working full time plus overtime in 2016 to be honest).
Here is the ride breakdown... we started out on the road going the direction he hasn't been in a really long time (I thought it would be smarter to go the direction where there aren't as many horses instead of the direction we go when out for walks) and he was immediately balky. I just focused on my position, core and keeping my temper. I gave him a sharp kick when he balked and immediately relaxed and praised him when he would walk. Then he spotted lots of scary stuff (a freaking mailbox?????) and started eyeballing and veering away from things, including a piece of rubber on the road...
Then he started the weaving, where he tries to circle one way and when I correct he over-corrects and tries to go the other way... annoying. So I took up the slack in the reins and rode with a strong leg to block his sideways movement. He finally gave that up and went back to walking hesitantly and occasionally freezing in place when he would see/hear something (anything..everything..). Annoying, but better than spooking or spinning and bolting. At one point I was so sick of the balking that I made him trot down the road. It's so much easier to keep him going at a trot even though I'm risking a bigger spook reaction if something startles him. That was until he saw a fire hydrant and grew roots again.
So after lots of dramatics (standing rooted to the spot, not really dramatic) over a fire hydrant (to his credit it didn't used to be there and I'm not sure he's ever seen one before-I wish I could have let him approach and sniff it, but the ground was too soft and I was afraid he would sink in the trenches they dug), a stupid horse neighed. He immediately lost it. He neighed back (one of my biggest pet peeves) and started trying to trot with his head in the sky (and probably his tail). I will be fair and say he wasn't full on jigging, he was just walking quickly and bouncily. The mare I grew up with actually jigged (trotted at the speed of a walk or in place while I was asking for a walk) and that was so annoying, so I'm glad he would actually walk when I told him to.
A car drove by us (slowly and respectfully - thank you stranger) and pulled up to a mailbox, parked and started sorting mail. I caught up to them and walked around the car. The guy said "That's a beautiful horse." I thanked him and felt better about my brat horse lol.
Then we turned up this really steep road that I love to work him on because it's the only hill that is close and not paved (it's normally gravel, but they put this really fine screening gravel on it that is soft and lovely). I asked him to trot like I normally do (good butt workout and good for his stifles). He jumped into this huge, wonderful canter. It was so awesome! He's so out of shape that he was only able to go six or eight strides (very steep hill), but it was wonderful while it lasted. That was the first time I'm cantered him uphill and was by far my favorite part of the ride. I walked him back down (he wanted to trot because he's out of shape, but I didn't let him). I turned him back up and asked him to trot back up and he did. I was praising him and petting him like he was the most amazing horse on the planet (he is hehe).
After that we headed home. He was still wigging out about the horse that neighed at him so he was doing the almost sort of jigging thing and neighed one or two more times. As we turned to head back I saw a huge dump truck pull into a driveway to drop a load of dirt ahead of us. Normally I wouldn't worry at all about it because he's a saint around traffic, but the way he was acting on this ride it made me a little apprehensive.
I tried waiting him out, but he was taking forever dumping it so I just continued on my way home. At the fast walk we were going we would be home in no time since we weren't even a mile away. About a third of the way back I heard a vehicle approaching behind me so I turned him to face it and waited, thinking it was going to be the dump truck. It was a van pulling a trailer stacked high with wooden pallets. Of course it was. I wanted Chrome to see if so he wouldn't spook, but he was too busy staring in the direction of the horses. I grabbed the rein near his mouth and physically turned his face toward the van. He spotted it and grew more alert, but he wasn't worried about it. I relaxed..... until it got almost beside us and I realized the trailer had a flat tire and was doing that weird noise that flat tires make.
Chrome heard it right about then too and it's hard to explain what happened next. He front end got light (did not rear), then he did this weird in place bucking thing (crowhopping?), then he spun around and I thought he was going to bolt (he's done that before), but since the scary thing was now in that direction I guess he decided he didn't want to gallop after it lol. I encouraged him to walk toward home so that he wouldn't feel trapped and would think forward and stop thinking "up".
So we continued to walk very fast toward home. Then I did hear the dump truck coming behind us from around a blind curve. I heard him slowing down (he knew we were there) and I hurried Chrome down the driveway of a friend/neighbor's house. I got halfway down and turned him to face the road. The dump truck drove slowly past (we waved at each other in greeting-thank you again stranger for being respectful) and he was totally fine. I guess standing in my neighbor's driveway allowed his brain to kick back in, because after that the rest of the ride home was actually pleasant and on a fairly loose rein, with no spooking or any other shenanigans.
He was still walking quickly (I don't mind because I like a fast walker over a balker any day), but wasn't doing the up and down, bouncy, jiggy walk. When we got to the driveway I insisted he pass it and keep going in the opposite direction. He wanted to balk, but I very insistently told him to keep going (I should have taken a riding crop, but I forgot because normally he loves to go out on the roads). Once he relaxed and walked normally (stopped thinking backward) I turned him and went home.
That was an exhausting ride!! I actually had fun though... I guess because it's just been so long and there was no way I had even a chance to get bored LOL! Sorry for the wall of text. I should have worn my GoPro, but it was all last minute.
Since I didn't have riding pictures here are some from before and after the ride.
It took LOTS of brushing to get him this clean.....
I should have known that innocent face was a farce!
I wish his mane wasn't yellow.... so ready for it to be warm enough for bathing.
He looks butt high and sway backed because of the uneven ground, but look at how thin he looks!!! My gelding is finally not pregnant!!!! I honestly think part of the reason he was so "up" on the ride is because he's finally not obese (LOVE my slow feet hay net) and has the energy to do stupid crap. I'm kind of afraid of how hot he'll be if I ever get him in shape.
He stills has dapples!!
Please ignore his gross tail. It has gotten SO thick and long because I didn't brush it over the winter, but it's very stained. Blech! This is why I always said I'd never have a gray horses........ never say never.
This was right before we headed out on the road. Such deceptive innocence.
After the ride he had to spend some time tied up to think about his misbehavior.... but look at that sweet face!! He was an absolutely turd while tied up (he wanted to go graze) and even set back on his halter so hard it took pliers to undo the knot.... even the quick release knot wouldn't release.... I need to get a cotton rope instead of the boat marine rope. That's why I don't go far. He has only set back while tied maybe three times in the almost ten years I've had him, but horses are horses and it happens, which is why I don't go far. Thankfully he immediately stops pulling as soon as I yell at him.
So I probably should have named this post 'the good, bad and ugly sides of Chrome' haha. Even with everything that happened I'm not angry at him or anything, because I know he's not normally like that. It's spring, he's eating green grass and he's feeling sparky. It happens. It's part of the gamble with horses. I know he'll be right back to his normal self after a few more rides, so I'm not letting it bother me. I'm just super proud that I didn't dismount, because that's what I used to do when he would scare me. I have to recognize the small wins and stay positive!!
Again, sorry for the SUPER long post. I get carried away. On that note I have SO much I need to get done so I'll see you when I see you! Bye guys (if anyone is still here)!!
A friend of mine gave me her old Canon EOS 20D when she upgraded her camera. I finally got everything I needed to start using it (cards, battery, etc.) and I'm so excited to start practicing with it. This is my first DSLR. I learned the basics several years ago, but haven't had any practice since. I've been reading and watching videos to refresh my memory, but keep in mind I am going to need a LOT more practice. I'm still so excited to have an actual camera again because I hate cell phone photos. I went out to practice with it outside for the first time today and just snapped some pictures of my mudball pony. Gray horses are SO hard to take pictures of. I was cheating and using the auto mode (because I was taking pictures of fast moving baby goats - see my other blog HERE for pictures of them), but I will eventually start using the manual mode. I want to practice on still objects and landscapes first. I'm afraid I'll get frustrated if I try to practice on uncooperative animals lol.
He is SO icky, but so handsome.
I have a 50mm lens and I have very, very little experience with lenses (years ago and only a couple of times), so getting the focus right is very difficult for me. I'm still learning and need so much more practice. When I get it right, it's incredible.
Napping while I take pictures of baby goats.
The white balance or exposure is off on this one. He's so cute napping though.
Woken from his nap. I like the back lighting. Wish he weren't so gross though.
Can't leave Led Zeppelin out. I LOVE these pictures even though the lighting is awful.
He was so fascinated with the kids.
Chrome was fascinate with them as well, but I was too busy making sure he didn't bite them to take pictures. He was a good boy I'm happy to report. Once things dry up and we aren't drowning in mud I'll hopefully be able to get some more pictures for you guys. I hope you enjoyed them.
One last picture before I leave. I wanted to share one of Jackal to show you how amazing this camera is when I get my you know what together.
It's so much easier to take pictures of him because of his amazingly wonderful sit/stay hehe. :D
We dressed up as the headless horseman for Halloween.
I've never been a huge fan of Halloween or wearing costumes, but everyone at work dresses up for Halloween so I joined in and dressed as a Dementor from Harry Potter (costume was cheap). Halfway though the work day I got to thinking how cool it would be to get rid of the mask and accessories and wear the cape as the headless horseman on Chrome! So much more fun than dressing up at work hehe.
For the record I blacked out my face in most of these pictures to make it creepy, but I left one with my face. Also I did not wear a helmet because the hood wouldn't fit over it. I know how stupid that is, but it's my decision to make so please respect that.
I was lucky we happened to have a bunch of pumpkins sitting around because hubby gets them from the local grocery store for free once they've gone past their prime and won't sell. We feed them to the goats. Goats LOVE pumpkin! It worked out great for the costume.
So creepy right?? I wish it had been overcast and at dusk, but the pictures turned out better in the sun than they would have on a rainy day, so it's okay that the atmosphere isn't quite right.
One with my face so you can see I didn't really lose my head lol.
Chrome is so handsome! He outshines my costume hehe.
For those who can't see videos I have some screenshots below.
My first time cantering Chrome with no hands (that I remember).
First time in a costume on Chrome too.
I wish I could have kept the hood up, but it blew back in the wind.
He did so awesome!!
I was so happy and excited I leaned forward and started patting him on both sides of his neck. His ears immediately popped up. I wish they'd been forward for the canter, but I think he was watching the fabric whipping in the wind behind him. Oh well. He still did so awesome and he wasn't spooky at all. When I first brought the costume out I waved it all around him and snapped it in the air around his head and he didn't react at all except to want to sniff it. I love how nothing I do bothers him because of all of the training we did when he was young.
I'm so proud of Chrome. How many horses can go six months without being ridden, get taken out of the pasture on a cold day with the wind blowing and a neighbor zipping around on a four wheeler next door, have their rider dress up in a costume they've never seen and canter with fabric snapping in the wind and be totally cool with it? Chrome can!!
P.S. I have stuff to share. I've just been too busy to blog. I do want to reassure you that nothing was wrong with Chrome over the summer other than his sweet itch. I've just decided to give him summers off because it's not fair to ask him to concentrate when he itches and we are both pouring sweat just standing around in the shade. Now that the bugs are gone and it's cooling off I'm going to try to ride more (if I can stop spraining my ankles that is!). I'll catch you guys up on some other stuff as soon as I can. For now I have to go.