Wednesday, October 29, 2014

no to wheels

Shyloh has been doing fantasically well in her open bridle line driving. Seriously, it has been awesome. I have even taught her to side pass from the long lines, not that it would ever be useful in a cart, but we like doing things like that. 
We also like taking braids out and having curly hair-do's!
The first couple attempts warranted evil glares back at me. She knew what I was asking, but she also knew her dinner was waiting. Shy gave me some very sad excuses for stepping sideways, which included a lot of forward motion.  Eventually, I was able to get some good side stepping out of her and Shy got her dinner. It is so hard to move both the front and back legs sideways at the same time (according to Shy)!

The next few tries went much, much better. I'll have to get some video. But there you have it for another useless skill!

Since she has been doing really great with the line drive again, we decided to give it a try while Terry was driving Reba. We figured, with the open bridle Shy should be much more relaxed.

Well. . .when I pulled her out of the pasture and she saw the cart, from a distance, she locked in on it and wouldn't move. I got her moving again, but she was doing her best to impersonate an Arab with her flared nostrils and short, quick breathing. We didn't even have to walk by the cart to get to our spot!

I helped get Terry and Reba hooked, then tacked Shy in her gear and away we went. Reba and Terry went out ahead of us and we waited for them to pass us near an opening. And Shy tried to turn around and get the hell out of dodge. Fail. 
She was able to look at it without spinning around by the fifth attempt.
I started walking behind Terry and Reba, Shy could handle that. But when I had them trot a lap and come up behind us at a walk, Shy wanted to take off again. This was not the light, easy, one handed line driving I had grown accustomed to. . .this was a two hand-er, pulling back to keep my horse from taking off. Fail again.

I tried having Terry and Reba stand on one spot while we passed them. Again, this was a two handed operation while also not letting Shy circle out 20 feet from the cart. Fail.
This was the only acceptable way to be around the cart, even so, she still had one ear on it and one ear on me.

My conclusion is that Shy hates carts and things with wheels. Beth told me not to give up quite yet, so I might give it a few more tries to see if she relaxes at all. I also plan on trying a sled again, since I had much better luck with that the one year. Sleds do not have wheels, so they must be okay, right?

I admit, I was a little disappointed. With as great as Shy had been doing, I thought she should have been able to handle the cart better, especially since she could see it and it was not attached to her. It wasn't totally terrible, but I really thought it could have been much better. Am I expecting too much? Ponies. . .

Monday, October 27, 2014

mgli 2014

Last weekend was the Michigan Great Lakes International Draft Horse Show and Pull. I think I mentioned earlier that it was the first year that the Haflingers were there and they were doing their Haflinger and Hitch Pony Championship Series. The top four hitches that competed at qualifying events and had the highest points were driving against each other. So, of course I had to go watch!

Going to MGLI is always a fun time. We get to see the big hitch horses, all different kinds of hitches, baby horses, pulling horses, and do a little shopping.

Aside from the Haflingers, the coolest part was the farm team obstacle. 

I took a couple videos and some photos, so enjoy!

He had "googles" around each eye.

Haflinger line up

My Woody!


Thursday, October 23, 2014


I am realizing that the weather seems to be affecting my moods more and more every year. For the past two weeks, it has been cloudy, damp, rainy, and just crappy out. I have had to drag myself to the barn. Once I am there, I feel better, but getting there is a struggle. I thought I was having a rough September, but it spilled into October and I foresee November not being any better. But such is life. 

I went to the barn over the weekend and as soon as I grabbed all my stuff, it started to rain. So I put it all away and went to chill with Shyloh under the trees. Once again, she was covered in burrs, so I de-burred her. She had some on her ears, which she was not happy about. I actually had to put her in a hold to get them out, which resulted in a pissed off pony and me being shook about. 

But yesterday, the sun came out! And it was glorious. It was just what I needed. I love the ritual of being with my pony. Pulling up to the barn, getting my grooming supplies out of my locker, putting them in our area, then going to get Shy is so simple, yet so comforting. Once I get her, we walk side by side to our area where I give Shy her food and start the grooming process. I de-burr, brush brush brush, and pick feet. By this time, I have forgotten all my troubles and I feel like a new person. And Shy is just so perfect for me. 

Then I tack Shy up. I love that she makes everything so easy for me. She never fights tack and stands beautifully. Yesterday, since it was so nice out, I decided to line drive her through the woods. Maybe we would run into some turkeys to chase. 

It was the most wonderful line drive ever. We shuffled through the woods, crunching the leaves under our feet and walking over branches. 

Shy had a beautiful forward walk. She was not bothered by the noises of the leaves or the branches touching her. Sometimes, we didn't even see the sticks on the ground until they were stepped on, snapped, or rolled upward to touch legs or belly. Shy didn't bat an eye at this. I think we may have unlocked the key with an open bridle. 

I was thinking while we were line driving how awesome it would be if Shy (and myself) were this calm and collected with a cart and how much fun we would have. Maybe one day we can revisit this. 

I hope the sun can stay out. It doesn't have to be warm, just not cloudy. Also, my pony is incredibly fat. Ugh!She doesn't even eat that much! I think we need to add more work to our ritual. I like a chunky horse going into winter, but this is getting out of control. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

muddin' and lungin'

It has been rainy here. Rainy and muddy and just gross. One day, there was a break in the drizzle, so I went to visit with Shyloh.  I got to the barn and bonus!, they had already fed and the horses were finishing the last of the hay. I thought, maybe we would do some fun clicker stuff that we haven't done in a long time or maybe we would line drive. 

Shy had other plans. I guess she felt like running because she played a mean game of "catch me if you can". We ran through the mud, we ran through the trees. She would let me get so close, then off she would go. My Air Ariats (named so for the "air vents" in both sides of both boots where the plastic toe piece meets the leather) collected mud as it seeped through the holes. Yuck.
She makes up her own paths
Shy has not played this game in forever, so I was not prepared with a peppermint. The mere crinkle of the wrapper will stop her in her tracks. I tried many methods, even scooping up hay remains and trying to feed them to her. It was a no-go. 

The more she evaded, the madder I got. She wanted to run? Run we would. . .as soon as I caught her. Eventually, after chasing her out back and through the woods, she stopped and I caught her. Shy then did her walk of shame back up front where I promptly de-burred her and put on her lunging tack.
Thirsty? From 40 minutes of evasion? No. . .Too thirsty to continue any further? No. . .
Oh yes. . .we were going to run. I was even more pissed because I hate lunging. It is boring. And there is no round pen at the barn, so I couldn't even free lunge.

We trotted and trotted some more. I did spiral circles, big to little to big again. I had her do walk/trot transitions. A little cantering (so hard for her, even harder for me to get her into it!).  Then we reversed and repeated. 

A few reverses later and I had a slightly sweaty, very huffy puffy, fat pony. Guess who wasn't trying to play that game with me anymore and did perfect ground ties?

I decided that since Shy was warm, I would stretch her out. She loves her stretches! But even those weren't enough to keep her not pissy. I hope she decides it is not worth playing that game next time I go out. Plus, I don't want to lunge again.
Haha. Gotta laugh at pony, still mad after the lunge.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

what's in a name blog hop

Hand Gallop asks us, What's in a name?
Shyloh didn't really come with a name. In fact, she went about a week without one since she was dropped off at the barn. 
First day at the barn!
During that time, I got to know her. . . as much as she tried to avoid it. She refused to be caught, taking upwards of two hours and six people, she was head shy, jumpy, and had no real interest in people taking an interest in her. She actually went out of her way to steer clear of human contact.

So I spent some time thinking about a name for her, employed some friends to do the same thing. Then I spent the weekend at my dad's house. While I was there, we were throwing a bunch of names around and one name kept coming back. . .Shiloh or Shyloh or Chyloh.
That hair!
I decided to go with Shyloh, obviously. It fit her. And she completely ignored it. Even to this day, she may look up when I call her name, but usually grass or standing or anything is better than running towards me. 

Later, after tracking down the few weeks after she came from the auction and before she came to me, I discovered that she was called Ginger and Pumpkin. Anything before the auction, I cannot find. I have no clue if she is registered, but I highly doubt it. I have no clue what farm she was born on, if she spent her whole life in Michigan or not, who her sire or dam are, siblings, nothing. 
Her hair sure holds that curl from braids!
That doesn't really matter to me. Shy is mine. But I think it would be cool to know, to have a history. And if Shy ever got a show or registered name, it would be Miss Sassy Shyloh Templeton.

The name still fits her, even though her goofyness has really surfaced. She is shy around new people. She takes a while to warm up. But when she decides a person is okay, she is hilarious. I love it.