Thursday, December 30, 2010

Resolutions vs. Goals

Well, I was sick yesterday with a stomach bug or something but I'm feeling okay this morning.

I have a long day at work today, but I'm thinking of doing something new as far as resolutions go for the new year. Instead of focusing on things I need to stop doing or bad habits I need to correct I'm going to set New Years Goals (sort of like the monthly goals I did for a while only without time constraints). Things I want to do and accomplish this year. And since they're goals it's no big deal if I don't reach them this year. There is always next year. I'm going to think about it at work today and try to have my post up tomorrow or on the first with my New Years Goals. :) I can't wait to see everyone's New Years resolutions/goals!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Christmas!

We're back from visiting family! I had so much fun but I'm exhausted (seven hour drive one way). The doggies were very well behaved at my parents house and they enjoyed pupsitting. The pups adored my aunt who was up for a visit from out of state. Chrome and Zep missed me I think. Or the food maybe. ;D The turkeys missed us so much they escaped and went to the neighbor's house lol.

I had fun visiting with my husband's family. I love all of my little nieces and nephews. :) They're so much fun. We had the ultimate silly string battle. Anyway I'm probably going to bed after I surf the internet a bit. They only have dial up down there so I didn't get to be on the internet at all. Ugh! I'm having withdrawals lol. I hope everyone had a great Christmas! I'm looking forward to the new year. :) Night!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Horse Personality Quiz

Chrome stole my husband's toboggan hat.

I found this personality quiz at Fantastyk Voyage and thought it looked really interesting so I gave it a shot. It's sometimes hard to do quizzes for Chrome because he's not old enough to ride yet and some of the questions are about riding. I answered my best and the answer is . . .


The Goddess is loved by most of the other horses and most people. They are expressive and sensitive and emotional. You will know how they feel. They try very hard to please and will worry and be anxious if you are not happy with them. In the negative they can have scattered energy that is hard to get focused. This personality can be loved on as much as you want.


Listen to them
Play with them
Ask for what you want
Allow them friendships
Be their friend and leader
Give them variety
Own them forever


Be rigid, bossy, boring
Move them frequently
Keep them alone
Stress them

I think this is pretty accurate (and it must be because I did it about six different times with slightly varying answers and came up with the same answer for Chrome). They describe the Goddess as being 'Submissive Energetic Curious Friendly'. I sort of think of Chrome as having somewhat of a lazy streak, but he can be very reactive and playful, so maybe he is energetic. It will be hard to tell until I can actually ride him. When we go walking he's usually excited and very forward. And he's definitely curious and friendly. He's submissive to humans although he is definitely testing his boundaries. He's gotten very bossy to Zeppelin around feeding time, but I'm really not sure who is boss between the two of them right now. All things considered I think it sounds pretty accurate. Give it a shot. It's fun. :)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tired & Merry Christmas

I'm tired. We hauled hay all day. It was square bales of mixed grass hay of average quality because everyone is out of the good hay. I'm happy to finally have some. We also discovered that the barn on the lease land is full of amazing looking hay. It's a little old and dusty, but once the top layer is removed the rest looks fantastic. Chrome and Zep seem happy to eat it. :)

We're going out of town for Christmas and this will be my first time ever leaving Chrome for more than a day!!! I'm so nervous. This is like sending your kid to kindergarten. Sigh. We will both survive I'm sure, but I have several neighbors watching the place, someone else feeding and gathering eggs and two people for emergency calls. I'm also padlocking all of the gates. I'm a little overprotective. :D

The next few days are going to be busy with prepping things and getting ready, so I may not be able to read blogs, comment, or post much. Everyone have a great Christmas!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Horse/Dog Training Using Body Language

One of my followers asked me to explain the training method I used when I taught Chrome to back up for his dinner. I've always considered myself good at reading the body language of both horses and dogs. I started reading about body language when I was a kid and was fascinated by it. I've been doing it so long now that it's second nature. The easiest way for me to explain what I'm doing is to tell you about 'body blocking' in dog training.

I use body blocking all the time when training my dogs. I use it for teaching a dog to stay out of a particular room or to wait before going through a doorway. Basically I stand in the doorway, facing the dog, legs apart enough to block the route to either side of me and wait the dog out. When I get the behavior I want eg. sitting, laying down or not whining, I step aside, turning away and say 'okay' in a high pitched voice. The square posture facing the dog means 'this is my space and you are not allowed in it' and moving aside while turning away means 'okay you can go through the doorway if you like'. It's basically communicating in the dog's natural body language.

You can also use the body block for a dog who jumps up on people. When the dog starts to jump up you can step into him which knocks him off balance and puts him back on all four or you can turn your back and ignore him. Either one works it just depends on your patience, the size of the dog and what you have in your arms.

With horses the body language is much the same. Square shoulders and a direct gaze means stay back and turning to the side with relaxed posture means they can come closer. To teach the back up using body language you can do it touching them or not. You can put pressure on their chest and wait for them to move away from it, thus removing the pressure and rewarding or you can walk into the horse, raising your arms if needed to create energy and stop when they stop as the reward (or step aside and allow them their dinner). I didn't have to touch Chrome when I taught him to back away from his dinner because we had worked on it before. I basically positioned myself between him and his food (body blocking - don't do this with food aggressive horses) and then I walked toward him. He already knew to back out of my way so all I had to do was reduce the number of steps I took with him and teach a hand and voice cue. Eventually he would back away without me walking toward him. It's pretty simple and works great if you don't have a lot of time to wait for the horse to figure it out on his own. I hope this explained it well. I'm not very good at explaining my techniques because most of what I do is subconscious and/or second nature. Let me know if you have any questions.

With the hope that someone else can explain it better I did some Google searches and here is what I came up with. Just because I agree with some of what they say does not mean I agree with it all. I especially like the last link (which may be where I learned about body blocking, but it's been so long ago I'm not sure). It explains well what I'm trying to say. :D

Monday, December 20, 2010

Pack Rat Anyone??

I don't know about anyone else but I hate being wasteful! I hate spending money. I hate wasting gas by making unnecessary trips into town after things I forgot to buy while I was there anyway. I hate wasting food by letting it go bad in the refrigerator; in fact, one of the reasons I bought chickens is because I can feed them food that would normally go to the trash and they lay eggs, therefore reducing wasted food. I hate throwing away things that I spent hard earned money on and I always wonder if I might need it again someday. In short I'm a bit of a pack rat.

So I've done research on the subject a few times and here is what I have come up with.

Giving away or throwing away items I can no longer use is not wasteful. Buying something that I didn't need in the first place was wasteful. The buying of the item is in the past and there is nothing I can do about it, but I can learn from it. So I have to learn to shop smarter and ask myself if I really need the item before buying it. Having my husband injured and out of work has been a huge help in reining in my spending and learning to be more frugal. The basics were always there, but I had gotten a bit free with my spending. It's been tough but I feel a lot better about my budget now. Now I'm impatient for my husband to get better and go back to work so we can actually start saving money instead of spending it.

For those of you who have these same tendencies I have an easy way for solving that second problem I mentioned. What if I throw away something I might actually need? An easy way to answer that question is to ask myself, have I used this item in the last six months or a year? If no, then I can safely get rid of it. If I'm still unsure I can put it in a box in the attic with the date on it and if I don't open the box in six months I don't need it. :) It really works. If you have pack rat tendencies give it a try.

*Note: Sorry this is sort of off topic and not related to the farm, but I was drawing a blank about what to write so I wrote what was on my mind. :D

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Chrome's Monthly Progress Report

Date: 12-19-10
Age: 19 months
Height: 14.3½hh
Height Gain: Approximately half an inch. In another month he should be fifteen hands and not even two years old yet!!! :D
Weight: Approximately 810lbs.
Weight Gain: He gained thirty pounds! I was happy to see this because I thought he was losing weight. I guess it was just a growth spurt that made him look like he was losing weight while he added on height. I better be careful about increasing his feed too much.
Progress: As you know from the post a couple of days ago I finally had Chrome's hooves trimmed again. I think this farrier will be a lot more reliable and easier to schedule with. She was very organized and even had appointment cards and invoices!! He looks a lot better after having his hooves done. Considering she took off almost half an inch it makes me think Chrome probably made it to fifteen hands for a little while at least lol. :)

I did get hay finally, yay. At least selling my goats provided me with enough money to do that. I do miss them though. The farrier also gave me some insight into Chrome's behavior. She said he's very lazy, which I knew he would be because Friesians aren't known for being energetic. She also said that I'm letting him get away with too much, blaming it on him being a stallion. She said I need to make him behave or having him gelded won't do any good. I will admit that I have been letting him get away with stuff. As you know from a previous post he was crowding during feeding and I resolved that. He's been nipping, but all I have to do is reprimand him in a stern voice and he stops, because he knows better, he's just testing.

I need to start taking him for walks again and make him work and pay attention to me before he starts seeing me as a lowly pasture mate. He's not rude at all, he's just started to test his boundaries. I haven't been working on any yielding or softening with Chrome so I think I'm going to use the methods Kate wrote about on her blog A Year With Horses. I think those will help get him softer and listening to me better. I have a head cold right now though so we'll see how that goes later when I'm feeling better.

Goals: My goal is to get better lol. I want to work on the softening exercises with Chrome and start walking him again. If that goes well (I'm super lazy in the winter) I might start trying to clicker train him again. I've just been so busy with the extra hours at work and my husband's doctor appointments for his back that I haven't been doing anything. I haven't even worked with Jackal on crawling. :( I'll do better I promise!! I also need to read blogs. I'm soooo far behind. I have almost three hundreds posts to read. Sorry I haven't been commenting a lot. I am or will read all your posts though. Okay I'm going to rest before work.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Jackal's New Doggie Blanket

I'm excited to announce that I've successfully sewn my second ever item of clothing. The first was a pair of shorts I made years and years and years ago. This time I made a dog blanket for Jackal because he always comes inside shivering like he's a solid block of ice. I have pictures for proof that I did indeed make it all by myself! Okay so my husband helped me (he sews better than I do!!).

*Sorry the indoor shots are so grainy, blurry and messy. Bad lighting.

Jackal helps me pin the pattern to the fabric.

He also makes good use of the scraps I don't need.

Proof that I was actually the one behind the sewing machine. :D

Me totally sewing! Check it out!

The finished product. Doesn't he look handsome??

I need to do some modifications next time because he's so square. It's a little short in the sides and long in the back. When I measured Jackal I was surprised to find he's nineteen inches tall (which I knew) and nineteen inches long in the back! Square. ;) Obviously if they had me measuring from the chest it wouldn't be the same, but he apparently has a short back. See how it bunches over his tail? Oh well it works. It stays on and keeps him warm. The front and belly strap are held on with heavy duty velcro. I used brown fleece on the inside and denim on the outside for maximum warmth.

I don't think he's too sure about it lol.
Better than a t-shirt with a rubber band holding it tight lol.

"I look like a dork mom."

The only outside shot I got in the light this morning.
I think he looks handsome in his blanket.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

New Farrier

Okay, I learned a LOT today about Chrome and hooves in general. Here is the story on the other farrier. He has a lot of personal things going on right now and has canceled on me three times. He also made comments about Chrome's hooves not being bad and that I should start riding him this spring (at two!) . . . um, yeah I won't be calling him again. No offense to anyone, but he can go back to trimming his Quarter horses and stay away from Chrome. His hooves can't be treated like Quarter horse hooves.

So I called my friend and got a new reference. I absolutely LOVE my new farrier! I know I said I liked the other guy, but I like most people I meet so um . . . anyway I know better now. This woman however was very friendly, knowledgeable and was explaining things in great detail and answering all of my questions. I felt comfortable asking her my silly questions and I got really good answers. She's also going to be a lot easier to work out a schedule with.

Here is what I learned about Chrome. The weird way that he was walking is originating from the hips like we suspected. His stifles and hocks are fine. She said it's caused by a combination of laziness, growing pains and his awkward growth stage (very butt high). His joints and hooves are great though. What a relief!!!

She agrees that both hind hooves are clubby, the left hind is worse as we know. She said that she wants to get him on a strict trimming schedule and see what she can do with trims. If the trims don't improve it and/or it gets worse she told me about some injections that we could try, but she isn't for sure if he's too old for them. Worse case scenario would be surgery and she explained all of that in great detail for me. It sounds horrible and painful for the horse so let's pray it doesn't come to that. She said he's only a two or three on a scale of five and that she does think trimming will improve it. Since he isn't going to be a competition horse he may be able to live with club feet the rest of his life and never take a lame step. It's just kind of a maintain, wait and see game.

She said he definitely toes out in both the front and rear hooves. I had noticed it in the front, but thought in the rear that it was just cow hocks. She said we will know in the next few months if we can improve that at all, but she said by the time they're two their knees are usually past fixing. I don't think toeing out is that big of a deal though for a trail horse or low level dressage horse. If anyone has any experience with it I would love the hear their stories.

The only other thing she said to watch out for is his hoof walls. He tends more toward the draft type, thin walls as opposed to the thick, strong Arabian walls. So far he hasn't had any problems with chipping or anything, so that's just a 'keep an eye on it' type of thing.

So she answered all of the things that had been worrying me a lot. It's a huge relief to have those questions answered by someone who can be there and actually see and touch him. :) I'm just going to focus on getting the club feet under control now and then we are good to go.

Sorry the post got so long, but I'm just so excited and relieved and happy. :D

Wordless Wednesday - Jackal Hates Being Cold

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Chrome's Dinner Manners

I was going to get the video for this yesterday but I got held up at work until after dark so I couldn't get the video I needed. I just wanted to share a video of Chrome backing up for his dinner. He had started crowding me and making ugly faces so I taught him to back up instead. As you will see in the video he's learned it so well that he wouldn't even approach his bucket (which is what I want), but I wanted to show off his backing so I lured him forward with a handful of feed. Once he was next to me I asked him to back up. He started to come back forward before I told him he could so you get to see him do it twice. :D

This was taught without a halter, lead or whip. I used solely body language to teach it and his dinner as a reward. I could have taught it with clicker training, but I've just been so busy I only have a couple of minutes and it was easier to just do it this way. Now that he's learned to stand several feet away I'm going to use clicker training to teach him to put his ears forward so I can have him stand back, put his ears forward and then release him so he can eat. I don't like the grumpy faces he's been giving me, so I'm going to do that purely for aesthetic reasons. :)

So anyway here is the video.

Sorry my lens was dirty. I actually dropped it (YIKES!!!!) and forgot to clean the lens off because I was so worried that I'd broken it. Luckily it's fine. So what do you think of the super polite colt? :D

Monday, December 13, 2010

Chrome vs. Sycamore

Okay, sorry this took me so long. I've been so busy. I finally had the day off today so was able to resize pictures and make the video. :)

Our contenders . . .




The fight!

Aren't they so cute?? Chrome was fascinated by Sycamore's horn and was chewing on them, but I checked and he wasn't hurting him at all. Did you see how Smore was moving Chrome's legs with his horns? He's a stout little goat. :D

Here are the pictures for those of you who can't view videos.

A friendly meeting between the competitors.

Chrome gets in an early cheap shot!

Sycamore butting Chrome in the chest and leg.

They look like they are posturing lol. Don't you love Sycamore's hackles/ruff?

Chrome chewing on S'more's horns.

Sycamore was using the hill to his advantage.

Chrome is the victor in the end and chases S'more away. :)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sunday Stills

Sunday Stills this week is one of my favorites. Pets! :D Enjoy!

To see more Sunday Stills click here!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Quick Note - Vote for Denali's Mom!

Denali's mom is trying to win a contest with SmartPak (supplement company for horses) on facebook. If you have Facebook and a minute please vote for her. The details are in her post here. Thanks!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Sneak Peek

I had today's post planned out but due to having to work all day I just didn't have the time to get everything ready, so . . .

. . .

I will leave you a sneak peek instead . . .

P.S. I forgot to mention in my post about the goats that we didn't sell Sycamore, the young buck that we produced this past spring. We were keeping him at our house because we wanted Kudzu to sire next year's kids, so when the woman bought our goats she didn't get S'more, since she went to my parents house to get them and he was here . . . We still haven't decided what to do with him. We could castrate him and let him live with Chrome and Zep, but it's a HUGE challenge to keep him from getting into the chicken coop and eating their food (which would kill him) and he's definitely not happy alone in his secure goat pen. We shall see . . .

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

Picture taken February 2010.

Picture taken December 2010.

Look at the height difference now. In February they were almost the same height. :)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

So Sad . . .

I unfortunately had to sell all of my goats for financial reasons. They went to a great home and I get regular email updates from their new owner. I will miss them so much, but I couldn't justify hanging onto them for selfish reasons when I could no longer afford to provide the care they deserve. Aslan is also happy in the new home because he has over two acres to roam freely in a pen that he can't escape so there is no danger of him getting shot like his brother did. This was a very, very difficult decision to make, but I feel like it was for the best.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sunday Stills - Potluck

For Sunday Stills this week we get to post whatever we want! Yay! I didn't have time to even pick up the camera this week so I was looking through my archives and found some pictures of Chrome that I've been meaning to post since October. I was trying to take pictures of his cute little muzzle to show his graying out progress and I'll just say that trying to photograph a friendly, curious, playful colt's nose is not easy! Here are the pictures with outtakes first. :)

And below is the best shot I got. :)

I can't believe how quickly he's going gray. I can't wait to see if he sheds out steel gray in the spring or if he'll start dappling, or if he'll still be dark for another year. It's so fun watching as his color changes. :)

ETA: I decided to add a couple of pictures I got today just in case archive pictures are allowed. :)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Kylie's 3rd Annual 25 Days of Christmas

Kylie is having her annual 25 Days of Christmas countdown again this year! It's super fun and easy, so go check out the rules and comment on her posts everyday to enter a drawing!

What makes it so great is that not only is there a prize basket for the winner but even better is the donation of $25 made to your choice of a rescue or shelter. And this year Puggle is matching the donation so it will be a total of $50 to your choice of shelter or rescue!! Think of the dog food or toys or blankets that could buy for homeless dogs!! So please join in the fun. :)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Sad News

Wow, I had hoped to post earlier but I had to work all day. Sigh.

Yesterday I got the horrible news that someone shot my mom and dad's dog, Rip, twice with a rifle. :( I am so upset! My parents are devastated. Also, because Rip (Aslan's brother) got out of his pen and was on the neighbor's yard, it technically wasn't illegal, so we can't do anything about it. And this after the same neighbor's dogs tore Rip's ear off and my dad had to spend almost a thousand dollars to get him put back together. :( He never spoke to my neighbor about it because he's an elderly man and has cancer. Now he's not sure if he should try to get some sort of compensation or just leave it alone. If Rip were still alive he wouldn't even worry about it, but since he's dead now . . . I don't know. I'm just so upset and confused over the whole thing. Why did Rip have to find a way out of his pen on that day??

Aside from that one of my coworkers basically stole some of my hours so I had yesterday off (I'm making up my hours elsewhere . . . well almost all of them). I spent most of the day in my feed shed, stacking pallets, removing old hay, burning empty feed bags (been too dry to do it), cleaning up and putting together a tall cabinet so I could store my brushes, buckets, halters, etc up off the ground. It looks so nice in there. I worked for four or five hours straight to keep my mind off of Rip. Now my arms are so sore from hammering and lifting stuff. :)

Well, I'm going to go read my book and forget about everything. Later.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

What Chrome has taught me so far . . .

I was bored driving to work this morning and thought of something fun to post. A list of the things Chrome has taught me since bringing him home in October of 2009. For those who may not know my background I grew up with horses. From the time I was five years old until I was twenty two years old I never went without a horse(s). Then I moved away and didn't have one again until I got Chrome two years later. So I should know about horses right? Well, check out number one . . .

1. I learned that just because I grew up with horses is no reason to assume I know everything about them (especially weanlings!). Yeah, kind of obvious right? Well that is a young person's mentality. They think they know everything? Well Chrome quickly dissolved that illusion for me. :)

2. I learned that I never, ever want to buy and raise another weanling ever again! Please don't misunderstand me, I love Chrome and I would never trade the time I had and the things I learned from him as a weanling for anything in the world, but raising weanlings is expensive, time consuming and very, very stressful. I knew most of this going into it, but I guess it doesn't really hit home until you bring the little guy home and realize you have no clue what you're doing haha!

3. I learned that plenty of turnout is the absolute most important thing for a young, growing horse. I've always known that turnout is important for horses, but for an adult horse you can get away with having them in a small paddock for at least part of the time. Not so with a weanling. For their joint health and their mental health they need room to graze, run and play.

4. I learned that for a weanling you MUST have tall, sturdy, visible fencing. I made the mistake of thinking that a little sag in the fence wouldn't be a problem, because this is a cute little weanling we're talking about . . . wrong! On his first day home Chrome proceeded to jump my fence and gallop off onto what is now our lease land (at the time someone else was leasing it).

5. I learned that you must have electric wire or a board above your regular field fencing to prevent this cute little colt from leaning across the fence to eat the grass on the other side. A little preventative here is so much easier and cheaper than restretching or replacing fence.

6. I learned that you must never leave a weanling alone without horse companionship, especially in a new environment. It didn't kill Chrome, but it stressed him out those first few days when he was alone (although my neighbor's horse was right next to him and they could play over the fence) while we were making arrangements to pick up Galaxy.

7. I learned that Mane, Tail & Groom (MTG) is your friend! Especially when you pick up a companion for your colt and she is covered in rain rot which she proceeds to give to your precious colt! It's also great for growing mane back in when your bratty colt decides to tear it all out.

8. I learned to always keep feed locked up tight in a building where you colt can't get to it! It could have had a disastrous outcome and I'm just thankful I didn't learn this one at a huge cost. Growing up my horses' feed was kept in a building that was not even in the pasture. My feed shed now is a metal building that used to be my goats' shelter. Needless to say Chrome learned how to rub his butt on the building, dent the doors and push them open!

9. I learned that weanling/yearling diets are complicated and it can cause huge amounts of stress on people like me who worry about doing every little thing wrong. :) There is so much conflicting research and some of it is a trial and error trying to figure out the right diet and weight for your colt to prevent joint problems.

10. I learned to never leave ANYTHING in a weanling/yearling's pasture that you don't want destroyed! This includes extension cords, water heaters, coffee mugs, clothing, metal barns, buckets, tarps, etc. So don't be leaving those metal barns laying around. This also applies to chicken/rabbit hutches that make great butt scratching posts.

11. I learned that all metal buildings should be outside the pasture or have protective fencing put around them to prevent itchy horse tails from causing ginormous butt shaped dents in the metal.

12. I learned that even weanlings need their hooves trimmed (how did I not know that????) and to always have a farrier/trimmer lined up as soon as you buy a new horse and to keep them on a strict trimming schedule.

13. I learned not to over-deworm weanlings and to have fecals done by your vet to determine the frequency and type of dewormer to use. As a kid we followed the old school method of deworming. After Chrome started getting event lines in his hooves I learned that overuse of chemical dewormers can cause hoof problems in horses.

14. I learned that you should ALWAYS have a secure latch (maybe a padlock) on ALL gates otherwise precious weanling let's himself out for a romp down the neighborhood roads! Not a nice call to receive from your neighbor.

15. I learned that disregarding the cost, labor and damages inflicted by weanlings they sure are a lot of fun and total lovebugs!

So to sum all of this up I have absolutely no regrets with buying a weanling because being able to go out to his pasture and giving him a hug makes it all worth the trouble, time and expense.