Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

I went back to my home town for a party at the stable where I used to work, feeding and exercising horses. I got to see all of my old friends. We always have a costume parade for the horses and their owners on Halloween. The costumes were great even though participation was low this year. I can't post pictures because I don't have permission. Trust me though they were great. I dressed up even though I didn't have a horse at the stable and couldn't participate in the little parade. I dressed in an eighties getup. It was fun! I had the sideways ponytail with bunches of scrunchies, a gray sequined mini skirt, fishnet tights and leg warmers. Oh and plenty of bangles and jelly bracelets. :) It was cool.

So it was a fun, interesting last day of October. This year has gone by soooo quickly! Wish me luck for NaNo and please continue to keep my husband in your thoughts! We really need his back to get better so he can go back to work. I can't get Chrome gelded or have his teeth done until we have our regular income again.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Tag

I got a tag from one of my blog buddies Elrania. It's a cool one. Basically I answer eight questions from the person who tagged me and then I'll make eight questions for the people I tag to answer. They will answer my questions and make eight new ones for the person they tag. Lot's of fun. :)

1. What was the first word you ever said? Wow I have no idea! I'll have to ask my mom because now I'm curious. :)

2. Would you rather only be able to eat fruits, or vegetables for the rest of your life? If I had to choose one it would be fruit, because there are very few vegetables that I like.

3. Do you plan to move or stay where you are when you grow up? Well unfortunately I'm grown up (or try to be haha) and I did move, but more than anything I would love to move back to my home town.

4. Going into battle, do you choose a longbow or a crossbow? I would probably have to use a crossbow. I'd have to seriously work out a lot before I could reliably draw a longbow.

5. Have you ever passed out? If so, when and why. I almost did a few weeks ago. I actually fell down but didn't black out. We're not sure why but I'm fine now. Other than that I've been knocked unconscious once, but never passed out.

6. What was your most memorable Halloween costume? The only one I can remember was a skeleton. We didn't go trick or treating because I lived in the middle of nowhere with all elderly neighbors.

7. If someone told you that you won the lottery of $1,000,000,000 what would your reaction be? I'd be shocked and probably skeptical. When I realized it was true I'd be excited, but also worried. When you win a lot of money the crazies come out of the wood work lol.

8. If you could change your name, what would you change it to? I don't think I would change it. I like my name. :)

Okay and here are my eight questions for you to answer:
1. What is your biggest pet peeve?
2. Do you sleep with your sheets tucked in or out?
3. Do you think it's okay for guys to wear pink?
4. Where would you bury hidden treasure if you had some?
5. Do you have any magazine subscriptions?
6. What's your song of the week?
7. When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper?
8. What country would you like to visit?

And now the hardest part . . . tagging eight people. I don't know if anyone even likes doing these things, but I'll give it a shot.

1. Emma
2. Gwyn
3. Emma (a different one, not cheating lol)
4. Kiki
5. Pam
6. Kendra
7. Sydney
8. Err . . . I can't think of anyone else. If any of my followers enjoy doing fun tags and want to play along feel free to do this one and please leave a comment I know to tag you next time. :) Can't wait to see everyone's answers!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Sorry some of them are blurry. Jackal was on the couch and I threw my shirt on him because I'm mean like that. He immediately started acting cute and posing. :) Check out these adorable pictures.

Hope you enjoyed the cute pictures. :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Weaving Update

I learned that dog biscuits are NOT high value enough to train weaving haha. I used cheese instead. :) I had my husband take a little bit of video footage to add to the final video I'll do when we're done so you can see our progress. Unfortunately the way that I've rearranged the furniture in my house there's only one spot to take a video and it's only big enough for three strides. I'll have to work on it outside I guess.

Storm did very well!! She was eager and focused. She tried to go the wrong way once, but was able to chain together about three steps. I'm of course still using the lure. I need to use the clicker or a target but I'm finding it hard to juggle treats for this one because I'm having to switch hands. If I use the clicker it won't be so important to get the treat to the dog immediately though so I think that would take some of the fumbling around out of it. We'll see how motivated I'm feeling later. I've been working long hours and that's hurting my motivation.

Jackal was spastic and totally unfocused. I was a bit disappointed in his progress today, but we haven't worked on it in a few days and it's still new so I can't be too upset. He eventually chained together about two steps, but I spent more of his session getting him calm. I'll try again tomorrow. I had an extremely stressful day at work and I think that was making me tense and impatient. Keep an eye out tomorrow for some adorable pictures of Jackal!

ETA: Okay I remembered a comment one of my wonderful (and talented!) followers left on my original post about leg weaves. Mary from Stale Cheerios gave me this link to a video of her teaching her dog Ginger this very trick. After watching the video I realized I was skipping steps and I also realized how VERY important it was to use the clicker because I wasn't being clear with my expectations. So I decided to take a step back and start with teaching them to go through one leg at a time. It went much better!

Jackal was still silly excited, but he was definitely understanding better with the clicker. He still needed the lure 100% of them time, but I was still happy with how it went. Storm on the other hand amazed me and made me so extremely proud! She is brilliant and her maturity is definitely showing over Jackal's immature enthusiasm. I could see her thinking! I did it with the lure a few times and then I just stood there and let her think it through for herself. She went through my leg with no lure!!!! She's really good at the right leg but has trouble with the left leg. I positioned myself to where she couldn't go around and just waited. I wish I had it on video because it was just incredible when the light bulb went off. She stood there for a long time looking up at my face and even tried a couple of tricks. Then finally she looked at my leg with her head cocked to the side (adorable!) and walked through like she knew exactly what to do. I gave her a jackpot and praised her big time. What an amazing dog. She reminds me why I adore Siberian Huskies. :) I'll get it on video tomorrow so I can add it to my end video. :)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Is Chrome Lame? - Video

To me it looks like Chrome has been walking strange, not exactly lame, but off somehow for about a week. Whatever I'm seeing is in his rear, although I'm not sure if it's his back, stifles, hocks or fetlocks and it's more pronounced going up hill. I wanted to get the video on a hill, but my husband's back still hurts so I didn't want him to walk that far. To my eye unfortunately the abnormality didn't really show up on the video, but maybe all of you horse knowledgeable people might see something anyway. Please let me know what you think. It may just be soreness from playing rough. We had rain last night (the odd gait has been going on since before last night though) and I heard them playing outside for at least an hour. I added a clip on the end of the video of him in slow motion. It was my first time using this program so it's not very good and the sound is messed up, but it's still cool being able to see him walk in slow motion. :)

ETA: I also forgot to mention that I'm thinking it could be stiffness because when the video was taken he'd been moving around a bit already and may have loosened up. He was also walking faster than he normally does in the video because I was so far ahead of him (didn't want to be in the shot - bad hair day haha). When he's out in the pasture he almost drags his toes and doesn't step under himself. Could it just be laziness or lack of conditioning? Or playing too much? Or maybe the diet change? The ration balancer doesn't have as many calories as Safechoice did (although he is on beet pulp now too), but he's always been kind of lazy\laid back, even before the diet change.

Thanks for your help!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Rest of the Dog Playing Pictures

Okay here are the rest of the pictures from last week. This was after we came back into the yard from the lease land. I put Jackal up because he wasn't listening, then I let Storm and Aslan play some more.

Aslan loves following Storm.

He's like the pesky little brother who won't leave you alone.

My little curly Q tails. Look at the height difference! Storm is 23 inches tall!

Aslan checking out the cat.

This is the expression I get sometimes when I tell her highness to do something. :)

A little playing. They're sizing each other up. :)

Then Storm hears something . . .

Mmm smells good.

What's in there?!

I oblige and open the door.


See them looking up at their perches for an escape route? Poor birds. Time for Storm to go.

Wandering around because they're wore out.

Aslan giving me the stink eye.

More following.

Aslan giving Storm a sniff.

More play!

Aslan apparently has a second burst of energy.

Storm isn't impressed.

Look at Aslan's ears! Cute!

I think she's getting tired of being followed. Look at that expression!

I like how this one turned out.

Then I decided to get a picture of them sitting next to each other.

It didn't go so well. They didn't want to cooperate.

This is the best I ended up with. Sassy Stormy.

Now she's happy because he left lol.

Showing off her other side. Sorry hon it's just as evil as the other side. :)

Aslan went back to pestering.

She sort of took the bait.

Don't these look like two happy dogs??

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Chrome's Monthly Progress Report

Date: 10-19-10
Age: 17 months
Height: Chrome measured 149cm, just shy of 14.3hh.
Height Gain: Hard to say . . . see below.
Weight: Approx 765lbs.
Weight Gain: Good heavens!! Could he really have gained sixty five pounds?? He doesn't look fat to you does he?
Progress: I think the reason Chrome didn't show as much growth height-wise this month is because he got his hooves trimmed. His heels were long and getting them trimmed probably took off half an inch lol! I know bad mommy for waiting so long. They do look better although his left rear still looks like a club foot. A club foot is rare in the rear hooves, so it's weird but it's pretty obvious if you compare them. See how it's more upright with a longer heel? The farrier is going to work on it slowly, but it'll take a long time to start looking more normal and may never look normal.

I've been worrying about him because he seems to be walking with a short stride in the rear. He moves out normally with his front, but seems quick and short strided in the rear. I've been checking his legs and hooves daily and there is no heat, swelling, fluid, bumps, sores, etc. Everything looks and feels completely normal. He still gallops, bucks and plays like crazy so he doesn't appear to be in pain. I have read that a club foot is caused by contracted tendons in the rear legs so I'm wondering if that's it. That is the extent of my knowledge regarding that though so I don't know what it means for us.

Speaking of playing, Chrome and Zep have been playing too rough. Now that Chrome is so much taller than the shorty donkey Zep is biting him on the neck and chest. Chrome has welts and sores all over his neck!! I can't wait to get them gelded. I don't know when it will be though because we still haven't received my husband's temp disability money. :( I'll just keep and eye on him.

Other than that he's been doing great. His coat is turning so dark and pretty with fall coming on. They are playing constantly and feel great with the cooler temperatures. I don't remember if I mentioned that I switched him from Safechoice to a ration balancer and beet pulp. He's doing great on them. He looks absolutely fantastic.

My only complaint is that his mane is AWFUL!!!! It's all short, scraggly and dry. He keeps it completely torn out and destroyed. So much for have a hairy pony to play beauty shop on hehehe (can I borrow some mane Star???). The bits of mane that are growing in are coming in white. :) I'll have to get pictures when the weather clears up. I really want to wash and condition his mane before it gets too cold. I'm thinking of putting him on a hoof supplement because they encourage hoof and hair growth. I really love flax seed for coat and general health but I can't seem to find any. We'll see how it goes when our financial situation is back to normal.

Goals: My goals for this month are just to keep Chrome happy and healthy. I want to get his hooves trimmed, but that's about all I can plan on until we start getting a steady income again. I just want to spend time with him and enjoy him.

Also an update on my husband's back since it basically influences everything in my life right now. He had his first physical therapy today. They did the electric stimulus therapy and gave him a lot of tips and goals. He gets his first epidural steroids on Thursday and will go back to the physical therapist in a few days for another session. I think I mentioned it already but they are thinking the end of November is when he'll be able to go back to work. She's also going to try to get the doctor to prescribe pain medicine or anti inflammatory. She couldn't believe that he hadn't had anything except muscle relaxers this whole time. They also gave him a really fancy ice pack (can be used for heat too). Please keep him in your thoughts!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Progress on Trick Training

I was sooo lazy today. Other than doing laundry, dishes and taking the trash out all I did was sit around and read blogs and play computer games. :) Oh well I did bake cupcakes. And they were yummy!

However I did work with the dogs because I promised I would!! I decided not to use the clicker since this trick is basic luring and I was being lazy as mentioned above lol. I also waited until late and didn't want to worry about separating the dogs. I put Storm in a down stay and worked with Jackal first. She broke the stay a couple of times because I realized I was saying 'come on' as encouragement for Jackal. Oops. Poor girlie was confused.

I noticed signs that we haven't been training in a while with both dogs. The two most noticeable things were snatching at the food and getting overly excited. I'll have to work on leave it with both of them. They both managed to calm down fairly quickly.

Jackal did great. I've worked on it with him before so he had a faint idea what was going on. He also knows peek-a-boo so has no issues with walking through my legs. He kept wanting to jump up for the food and also kept wanting to go around in front of me to sit. Another reason I really need to work on heeling or at least a side or finish cue. I might work on that too. No reason to limit to one trick (except for easing back into it lol).

So other than having to reset him (luring him into a finish at my side) he did good. I gave a treat for each pass through my legs. I hope to fade the lure as soon as possible. I'll start earlier and get the clicker out tomorrow.

When it was Storm's turn I put Jackal on the couch with my husband. He doesn't have as reliable of a stay so my husband was able to reinforce it for me while I focused on Storm. I hadn't initially planned to teach it to Storm as well but I figured why not?!

She resisted going through my legs strongly. She could not figure it out at all! She's also not a very strong lure follower. I'm actually surprised by that. I noticed she's way more aware of my body language than Jackal. When I was bending over to lure her through my legs she kept offering the bow lol. After a few rough tries of getting her to go through my legs (she wanted to pass in front of me) I finally stepped up to a wall so my toe and knee were almost touching it. After doing that a few times I was able to move away from the wall and she was luring neatly through my legs. I did one pass across the living room and called it good.

All in all they did very well! Better than I was expecting after not doing anything for almost a year. :) I'll update again next week. I'll also try to get more pictures up this week. Thanks for voting guys. Oh and I'll always take suggestions for more tricks.

We Have A Winner

We have a winner! I'll start teaching weave through my legs tomorrow. I'm really looking forward to it. I didn't realize how much I'd missed working with Jackal.

Earlier today I went outside to walk around on the lease land because I was bored (it's my day off) and I found an old tarp that was chopped up when the guy brushhogged our pasture. I gave it to Chrome and watched him run and buck with it. I forgot to take my camera!! Bad me. It would have been some great pictures. Eventually I stole it from him and dragged it behind me while I ran around. He chased me and I would randomly let go so he could grab it and run around with it. It was a great game and we had a lot of fun. I eventually took him back up front and grabbed my camera so I'll have a few pictures later. It isn't many and I'm not sure how they turned out, but who cares. I had lots of fun. :) I'll let you guys know tomorrow how my first training session with Jackal goes. Night!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Quick Note, Please Vote :D

I'm on my way out the door to go to work but wanted to leave a quick note saying that you have one day left to vote on the poll and we have a tie. Please vote! I'm excited about getting back into training. Oh and sorry I didn't post the rest of the pictures. I had a sinus migraine all day yesterday. Anyway I really gotta go so I'm not late. Bye!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Pictures of Pups (and Horse) Playing!

I let the dogs out onto the lease land a few days ago and got lots and lots of pictures!!!!! Over a hundred actually so this is only some of them. :) Here goes!

This is in the yard while I was letting Aslan out.

Storm and Aslan get along a lot better than I would ever have thought.

He's still all clumsy puppy even if he's twice as big as Jackal.

My gorgeous Stormy.

Finally out on the lease land.

I had to take turns letting them play together.
I quickly learned that having all three loose at once is bad lol.

There's too much mischief to get into (specifically the pond)
to supervise all three at one time.

Storm was the best behaved. Probably because she's nine years old. :)

Aslan listened well for the most part, but there's
no way to keep that dog out of the pond.
Glad he lives outside with the goat herd. :)
They can all stink together hehe.

Can you believe how tiny Aslan makes Jackal look?

These two are the most stubborn.
In this picture they were completely ignoring me.

Chrome heard me calling the dogs and had to trot out and check out what was happening.

I had to chase him away because he was trying to stomp on the dogs' heads.
He doesn't like small critters other than his chickens.

Doggy butts was mostly what I saw lol.

Chrome trying to chase Storm down. That old girl can still move!
She finally learned that coming to me keeps her safe from the horse.

Trotting back after I chased him away again hehe.
Curious bugger. :)

Happy Storm.

Chrome was sniffing Jackal.
Jackal just wanted loose with Storm and wasn't paying attention.

Then Chrome decides to bite Jackal. Butt face colt.
Jackal was fine.

Aslan looks funny hopping over the briar bushes. :)

Doesn't Storm look pleased to have a tag along?

Jackal got his turn again. Smart, obedient Storm got to be loose the whole time. :)

Lots to sniff.

I always catch Jackal in this strange run stride. :(
I think he's front heavy lol.

Being nice now. :)

Jackal looks like a fatty, but he's really not.
He just has the loose hound dog skin.

Walking back to the house together.

Storm is wore out and hot on the walk back.
Oh and she managed to get in the pond and hurt her paw on something. :(
She'll be fine though. She just holds it up sometimes.

Chrome saying bye until next time.

I'll try to get the rest of the pictures up tomorrow if I have time to finish editing them.