Monday, April 30, 2012

monday musings by shyloh #35

Oh, hello there. . .

It is rainy and overall yucky out and I am very tired from my travels yesterday. But I was a good Haffie horse (the best one there in my opinion) and I hope I get to go back soon! That's all I have to muse about today, I am a sleepy pony. The rain is not helping a Haffie stay awake!

What is your favorite place to travel?


Sunday, April 29, 2012

big clinic day!

Today was the big day! And, whew, am I exhausted! Me and Shyloh, along with Jaime and Kyle, Notch and Clutch, went to a draft horse/driving clinic in Ohio. My third weekend in a row spent in Ohio. . . We were a little late and missed the braiding part, but I learned a ton of other things. And everyone there was so nice and helpful! Plus, there were lots of Halfingers!
Waiting for the Pony Express to take us to the clinic!
First, the bad news. . .I am pretty sure Shy broke my pinky toe. It is swollen and bruised and hurts. I never realized how much we depend on that toe, I always thought I could do without it. We started the day with her stepping on my foot and I just knew that was going to be the bad omen for the day.

Now, the good news. No. . .great news! Shyloh was amazingly awesome at the clinic! She was on her very best behavior. She marched right on the trailer and dug into her hay bag. She had no problem being in the tight space that was reserved for her in the trailer. Then we went to pick up the big boys from their barn. Again, Shy had no problem with a giant Percheron and humongous Clydesdale right next to her.
All she needs is some hay and she is happy as a Haffie can be.
Big horse, little horse
A little over an hour in the trailer and we were at the Harry Hughes Youth Equestrian Center. It was a nice place!. They had a large outdoor arena, a smaller outdoor arena, lots of grassy areas, places to park trailers, and trails. Shy hopped off that trailer like, Hello!! I am here! Being in a completely new place with new people and new horses did not phase her at all. I tied her to the trailer and she just stood there.
Does she have donkey sized ears or what?
Oh, delicious hay. This is not bad at all!
Then it was time for the Showmanship part of the clinic. We had to stand in line, then when one person went, we had to back up the horse and move down the line until it was out turn. Shy was a backing up champion and stood like a pro. She was not fidgety at all. 
Waiting for our turn!
Then we did a walk/trot/golf club pattern. I had to learn how to stand Shy so the pretend judge could walk around her. They had to explain everything to me, I knew nothing. But Shy was excellent!
Kyle and Clutch
Jaime and Notch
Next, we harnessed up the horses and did some line driving in a figure eight around the cones. We kinda fell apart here, but we got some much needed assistance! I need to be sterner with Shy.After that, we were line driving all over the place and even did a small obstacle course! She was a little butt clenchy, but got over that pretty quickly.

Jaime and Kyle hooked Notch and Clutch to their carts and they drove around the arena while we practiced line driving outside the arena. We stopped to watch the Haflingers, Gypsy Vanners, mini horse, and a few other horses trot and walk around the arena. Shy was very interested in all of them. How cool is this:
Jaime and Notch
Kyle and Clutch
And, of course, Shy cannot go anywhere without a gelding falling in love with her. She met Rambo, who was cast under her spell. Aren't they cute together?!
They were kissing each other!
Today has led me to a couple conclusions:

  • Shy likes to travel. She was totally fine with everything that went on today. She was so calm and at ease all day.
  • We might have been convinced to do some in hand shows in this circuit! We had fun!
  • If I think Shy will act up, she is an angel. When I think she is going to be good, she is not. So I will be thinking the worst from now on and have myself a perfect little pony!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

prep day

Aside from cleaning stalls and feeding horses, I spent most of the day prepping Shyloh for our first big debut into the world. . .aka the clinic. I am so excited to go! I must be if I am willing to be to the barn at 6:30 am to feed Shy and get her ready to board the trailer. That is earlier than I have to wake up for work!

I brushed Shy. She has managed to become dusty again, but it is too cold for a bath. I kept her tail braided all week, so I added some spray hair moisturizer. Then I moisturized her mane and braided that, just to try to keep it tame. 

Kathy came and gave Shy a massage! She loved it! She does not appear to be sore anywhere and was a good sport during the massage. Dropped head and droopy lipped the whole time.
Ahhh. . .That's the spot!
I got muscles!!
Work it Kathy!
After Shy's wonderful massage, I walked her around the arena, then took all of her braids out. Her hair is so nice. . .I hope it stays that way overnight. 

Wish us luck in hopes that I have a Halfinger that behaves herself tomorrow! Did I mention that I was excited? There are supposed to be lots of other Halfingers there, too! It is a Spring Draft/Driving Clinic. We are going to start with:
  • Braiding and Decorating Drafts. I hope I finally learn how to do some decent braiding.
  • Draft Showmanship. I know nothing about this, so it will be fun to learn!
  • Safe Harnessing and Hooking. Very important. They will check harness fit, but I am doubtful that I will hook Shy up to a cart tomorrow.
  • Harnessing. Just more on harnesses? I have no idea. . .
  • Driving. Yay! Fun to watch the other horses drive and learn to better line drive Shy.
  • Open Work Time. I guess this might be like a free session? Work on what you need to work on?
So that is the itinerary. But I have a feeling I will be learning a lot more that what is on the paper. Shy's first time (with me) being in a big group of other horses outside of her barn, new people, new place. . .but I am excited (have I already said that?)!

***We are doing a 50 Photo Challenge on Shy's Facebook page. Come check it out and join in if you want!***

Thursday, April 26, 2012

hobby horse blog hop #10

Here are the rules:
Answer one or all of the prompts. Link back to Living a Dream's post. Visit other blogs. And don't forget to ask a question of everyone else!

This weeks prompt is: I really hate it when. . .

I really hate it when I have to go to work instead of the barn! Especially on really nice days. I know, I know, work pays for the barn, but I really like spending time at the barn. Would you rather look at this all day. . .
Okay, so NOT my work space, but making a point here
or this?
Peaceful grazing with the pony

The answer is clear. The barn. Even when Shyloh is being so sassy I get so frustrated I want to pull my hair out!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

padded cells and restraints

Shyloh needs a padded cell stall and restraints a muzzle to live her daily horsey life. She is such a special pony. . .in many ways.

I am trying to keep Shyloh in a nice condition for the clinic we are going to on Sunday. She is not in agreement with this, of course. Not only does she still have the scrape above her eye, she poked herself on something right above the scrape. This horse needs a padded stall. I have went and put duct tape over every surface that could be causing these scrapes. 
Now, she comes in from the pasture with what appears to be a hoof mark on her back. Shy seems to be doing everything in her power to embarrass me at the clinic. We will be going and she is going to look like a neglected horse! I can't even imagine how she will act. . .but she has been known to surprise me at times.
Mare, you looks good, won't you back that a$$ up
I am pretty positive that she asked one of the taller horses to rear up and land on her. I am also pretty sure she was trying to get said horse to mark her in an area that the saddle is supposed to go. Thankfully, it landed a little further back. Shy was not sore, but I put some Vetricyn on it and my customary silver spray bandage. The next time she was outside, I brought her in with little burrs all in her forelock. Why, Shy, why? At least she is leaving her braid in her tail. . . 
Help me!
But on to good pony news. . .Shy spent two days in the pond pasture with her herd on grass and kept her grazing muzzle on! She does spend a few minutes at the beginning trying to get it off, but once she realizes it is not going anywhere, she puts up with it and walks the whole pasture trying to get grass. The other horses barely moved ten feet from the gate when they got in the pasture. They put their heads down and kept them there until it was time to come in. 
Call the authorities, I am being held against my will.

Monday, April 23, 2012

monday musings by shyloh #34

Ryleigh. . .I need to tell you a secret about my Master Plan. After all this torture the two leggers are putting me through I am staging a coup! Revenge! Can you believe the stuff that they are doing to me? I have on saddles and surcingles with lines running all over me! I am pulled from grass to run and sweat. Not fair!
Hey. Don't act like you won't be a part of this! We need to work as a team. We need to overthrow the two leggers and their insistent quest to make us work. We need to be wild and free to graze all day! Here is what we are going to do. . .
That's better. Yes, yes. First, we must tell all the other horses in the barn. We will set the stage for our covert operation and call it Mission: Green Green Grass. Our goal, to rid us of the two leggers, except during hay time, and maximize our time grazing. Destroy the saddles, stomp the bridles, drag the harnesses!  Rid us of lunge lines, saddle pads, training aids, and lead lines! No more bits, whips, halters, or baths.
Start spreading the word. . .we will set our plan in action soon. Let's meet tomorrow, over the fence, outside, away from prying ears to synchronize our watches. Soon, freedom! And no work. Moohahaha!


Sunday, April 22, 2012

foiled again. . .

The question being, who was foiled? I think Shyloh was foiled, then in retaliation she foiled us, but eventually we got the upper hand and foiled her! Finally, I hope. So today's score is Shy - 1, us - 2.

For today's lesson, Beth had a plan. Well, Beth always has a plan, but Shy works very hard on upsetting the plan, so the plan is constantly changing. The plan is to address Shyloh's scooting. She scoots into transitions, she scoots when too much leg is used, she scoots when she doesn't want to do something she is asked to do. I should have named her Scooter. 

Beth has concluded that Shy is scooting to get out of using her rear end properly. She is not used to using those muscles and is fighting it every step of the way. So we started off with some round pen work. With side reins. The purpose of the side reins was so Shy was not able to raise her head and scoot into her transitions. This was to encourage her to use her rear end. It was also teaching her to accept the contact of the bit so she would not evade it. The hope was that this would translate to the saddle. Another plus of the side reins was that Shy couldn't dive for grass. Woot!

Beth set them on a loose setting to get started. Shy was not pleased. I swear she was glaring and thinking hateful thoughts at us. Then the side reins were tightened a bit. Shy was even more upset. When asked for a canter, she almost bucked out. She thought about, almost did it, then for whatever reason, decided against it. 
Shy is so unbalanced at the canter, she will often pick up the correct front lead, but the wrong back lead. After she was able to do it correctly, Shy was done in the round pen and I saddled her up.

Our hopes of round pen to saddle translation were dashed. Shy started scooting all over the arena as soon as Beth put some leg pressure on her. To Shy, leg pressure means go forward NOW! We are trying to teach her that leg pressure can mean other things. After our initial disappointment, Beth had a idea. She went searching through her plethora of equine related gear and pulled out a German martingale. 

Beth explained how it was used. Similar to the side reins (which are dangerous to ride in), the German martingale encouraged Shy to use her rear end by not letting her head pop up for the scoot. When Shy held her head in a rear-engaging position, it released pressure. Beth said that she would not be riding long in this; since it was forcing Shy to use muscles she has been avoiding it and did not want to over do it. Beth also stated that the German martingale was not something we want to rely on, but just to get Shy to understand how she needs to move. 
Shy actually did very well in the German martingale. Only one small scoot. And Beth discovered that Shy is able to do lateral moves. So lateral moves will now be part of the training regimen. I am going to have the fanciest trail horse out there! 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

driving seminar

I just got back from a driving seminar held by the Black Swamp Driving Club in Ohio with Jaime and Kyle (owners of the Percheron and Clydesdale). Anita Alden from Odyssey Training Stables was the clinician. She is actually located near Ann Arbor, which is much closer to us, but we took the trip to Findlay to learn about driving. Funny thing about Ohio, they actually had a fence in the median of the freeway with a donkey and some horses laying down!

It was a cold day and of course everything is outside or in a barn. We missed the individual sessions, but made it there in time for the seminar. When we pulled into the fairgrounds we saw some horses! Why is it that when I see horses I get so excited, even though I have one and I am around them almost every day? We got to see a Dartmoor pony, a Morgan pony, a paint pony, and a donkey!

The first thing I did before the seminar started was try a rein board. You take the reins and through a pulley system it has a weight attached to the other end and you can see how the way you use the reins work with the bit in the horse's mouth. Interesting.
Really useful to see what your hands are doing!
A man was there teaching a one handed driving method. He had me grab the bit and showed the difference between the "American" way of driving vs the one handed method (which is not really one-handed). Basically, you hold both reins in one hand, but your hand is sideways and by slightly releasing certain fingers, it tells the horse what to do. It made much more sense than the "American" way, as he called it. Also, instead of cranking on the mouth to turn the horse right, you release pressure to turn the horse. Makes sense. And the point of the whip is to act as your leg. 

We grabbed our chairs and a blanket, luckily Jaime and Kyle had one in the truck for us to share, and Anita started off explaining driving bits. As expected, there are all types of driving bits. Many of them are multi-functional, meaning that they can be used at different leverages depending on how the horse is acting that day. I think Shyloh might eventually go in the bit circled. . .but who knows.
Look at all the bits!
Anita went over what conformation and temperament is desirable for driving horses. Short backs and strong rears (engines) where needed for this activity. And curious horses are strongly encouraged, not fraidy horses.
Cute Dartmoor mare.
A little long in the back Morgan mare.
Anita showed us a few driving whips and how they were supposed to be properly weighted. Then she showed the proper fitting and tacking of a harness for the Dartmoor pony and Morgan. The harnesses they had were beautiful (and $2500 each!!). 
Driving is not a solo activity!
Make sure the harness fits correctly.
After the horses were in harness with their driving bridles on, Anita showed how to properly attach a cart. Then we went outside to watch both horses walk and trot around. 
Always bring the cart to the horse.
Bring the shafts over the horse to attach the cart.
Hold on to the reins.
Make sure you sit back, don't lean forward. The horses can feel that weight.
Horse should have three different trots: A quick trot, a working trot, and an elongated trot.
Overall, I learned a lot. Anita was very knowledgeable, but it seemed like she had so much information to share and just could not get it all out.  I am looking forward to the clinic I am taking Shy to next weekend with Jaime, Kyle and their horses! Fun!

Friday, April 20, 2012


I have retired my Ariat boots. I think it was time. . .
Pretty good for wearing them almost every day for a year, doing all kinds of barn things in them! They have been replaced by these. . .
I can work at the barn with these. They are comfy, I had them on today.

And I hope to get another pair of boots soon. Oh boots, I will miss you and all we have been through!

On a rougher note. . .Shyloh is really pushing my buttons! I wanted to do some round pen work with her before the rain came, but I am pretty sure I got much more of a workout than Shy. 
First was the battle with the grass. She keeps coming up with new ways to eat it. When I turn her, she dips to head to grab a bite each time. Then, Shy made her circles smaller so she was on the grass and not the track of the round pen. Ugh! Next, she refused to go into a canter when I asked her. I pretty much had to chase her to get her into that gait. Not how the round pen is supposed to work. The only really good thing she did was when    I asked her to whoa, she would stop and turn into me. I held her at that whoa for a bit (pushing my luck), but she did not lower her head to graze. Whoo hoo! Then it started to rain and we went inside. At least we ended on a good note.
I did some clicker training with Shy and the mounting block. It took a while, but we eventually made some progress. I could tell she was getting irritated; she kept swishing her tail every time I moved her back over to the block. My goal is for her to stop stepping away from the block when I step up on it. I think that this will be useful when (if) I go on trail rides and I need to step on something to get on her and no one is available to hold her. It is a work in progress. . . as is everything with this sassy horse!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

hobby horse blog hop #9

Here are the rules:
Answer one or all of the prompts. Link back to Living a Dream's post. Visit other blogs. And don't forget to ask a question of everyone else!
1. Tell us a bit about your feelings or experiences regarding musicals. Do you like them? Have you been in one? What recollections might you have about musicals?
I love love love musicals! I have no musical talent whatsoever, but I am so amazed by those that do. So, no, I have never been in one. So far, Wicked is my favorite. 

2. Tell about a near miss or fall that was simply stupid. Don't scare me. . .or other readers!
Well, my most recent fall off Shy was on a Friday the 13th. In February. And mt tailbone still hurts from it. I don't know what she spooked at or if it was just her way of saying she was done, so I feel it was stupid on her part, haha.

3. What song (or part of a song) defines an event in your week?
Too many choices! I will have to go with Patience by Guns n Roses. This little horse just wants to keep testing me!

Said woman (mare) take it slow, and it'll work itself out fine

All we need is just a little patience
Said sugar take it slow and we'll come together fine
All we need is just a little patience

My question: What are you favorite kind of boots?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

the round pen

Oh Shyloh. Always trying to be one hoof ahead. She still has not quite grasped the concept that her shenanigans result in extra work for her. Or she likes doing extra work, but I doubt that.
We started round pen work. Shy actually did very well, but the temptation of grass and dandelions was too much for her. This was the first time I did round pen work and it seemed like Shy had some round pen work in the past. We worked on using body language to get Shy to walk, trot, canter, whoa, and switch directions. We did have to use a lunge whip at first, but quickly transitioned it out. 

Shy worked up a sweat working in the round pen. It did not help that every time she felt we were not paying attention, she dove for grass. Or when she was asked to whoa, she went down for grass. Or when she was asked to walk, she tried to sneak in some grass. Sometimes, I think it was just the principle of getting grass, because she knew she was not supposed to do it and would push the grass out of her mouth as she was made to trot or canter. But sometimes, those dandelions would disappear into her mouth like they were being sucked in. 

But with the bell boots and splint boots on her, she had a beautiful trot and canter!
After the round pen, Beth rode her for a bit. Shy was tired and did really well. Not quite my dream pony from the other day, but very good. So I got on her. I walked Shy around, worked on using my legs to keep her on the rail, and walked over poles.

Did I say Shy was tired? She started giving me some trouble going left. So after we went over the poles, I made her go left. Shy said no and scooted herself into a canter, a canter that I did not ask for nor was I expecting. I was able to stop her relatively quickly and stay on. Go me! Then I made Shy walk around some more doing circles and going over poles. No more troubles from the pony.

I am thinking that her scoot and take off is a tried and true way that she has used in the past to get out of doing things she does not want to do. Well, it is not going to work anymore. I know Shy can work without doing it. And if she continues to do it, she will have to work harder. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

frustrating pony

Scenario 1: Shyloh has been in her stall all day due to the threat of thunderstorms. She has not been worked in a week. The wind is so strong it feels like the barn roof is going to rip off. It is so loud. There are no other people or horses.

Scenario 2: Shyloh has spent the day outside with her herd. She was just worked the previous day. The weather is nice, the sun is shining. The arena doors are open. There are two other horses in the arena and some people.

Which scenario do you think Shy would be an absolute dream pony and which one do you think she would be a horrible nightmare in?

For the dream pony, if you guessed Scenario 1, you are correct! Yesterday was amazing! Shy was awesome. I got to the barn and turned Shy out in the arena to run some energy off of her and get a good roll in the sand. She was being very sassy and having herself a good ole time running around, bucking, and doing these little bunny hops. Then she riled up the hole barn by calling to the other horses and they all answered back. The wind was howling, but Shy never gave it a second thought.
Shy's fan club
Once Beth got to the barn, I tacked Shy up and Beth began to put out poles and a tarp. Something new! Beth wanted to work on getting Shy to use her back end more. I told Beth that Shy has not shown any spookiness at the wind (it sounded like it was going to rip the roof off), so if she becomes spooky, she is faking. 

No worries, because Shy had no spooks or scoots this ride! Wow! She walked, trotted, and cantered over poles and tarp. She hesitated once when going over the tarp the first time, but never gave it a second thought any other time. Beth was very impressed with her canter transitions, she didn't know where the improvement came from. Shy has not been ridden since the testy ride last Tuesday. Her transitions were really good and much more controlled and balanced! 

Beth also worked on a side pass with Shy, which Shy figured out. Beth was very impressed that Shy was responsive to her legs and not jumpy at all. Shy was also able to disengage her hind end without a fight! 
Then I got on Shy! I think we are like a vicious cycle. If she is relaxed I am relaxed so she is relaxed. If I am tense, she is tense, so I am tense. Make sense? As soon as I got on Shy, I could feel how relaxed she was; sometimes I can just feel the nervous energy in her. We walked on and went over the poles and the tarp. Shy was wonderful! She listened to what I was asking her and was so calm. This is the pony I want her to be all the time. Shy got a ton of praise and we ended the lesson a little short, but on a great note!

Scenario 2 was today. I went to the barn with high hopes of my perfect little pony and she did not deliver. Shy was fighting Beth every step of the ride. Shy wanted to go fast, so Beth made her go fast. Round and round they went. Shy wanted to stop, Beth said nope, we are going fast! Shy was very hard on the left rein and kept locking up on the bit. She gave Beth a hard time when she was asked to disengage her hind end. She kept scooting into her transitions. Beth would touch her mane or the side of her neck and it would send her flying forward. It was horrible, awful, terrible. Not as bad as it could of been, but where was my Shy from yesterday? 
Getting ready to give Beth a hard time
I did not get any video of the disaster that was today. I was in shock and disappointed in Shy. Clearly Shy knows what is being asked of her and is able to perform, but chose not to do so today. I should have got video of her ride today. And to think, poor Shy (and me) would have got the day off tomorrow if she was a good horse. Oh well, more work tomorrow. . .

Monday, April 16, 2012

monday musings by shyloh #33

This is all I have to say. . .

I just want to point out that Allie does not let me run around with my lead rope attached and dangling, I escaped! Moohahaha! Try to bathe me some more. . .Try to put that muzzle on me. . .


Sunday, April 15, 2012

the bath

Today started out gloomy and rainy, but ended up pretty sunny and 70 degrees! I made the executive decision to give Shyloh a bath. She needed it. Bad.
No Allie, no bath! Puh-puh-puh-please no!
I got my shampoo, conditioner, whitening shampoo, and new Healthy Hair Care Hair Moisturizer (from Equine Affaire). I washed Shy down and soaped her up. Lucky for me, Shy is really good with getting a bath.
Even if she does not look too happy about it. . .
After her bath, I took her in the sun to dry, put some coconut oil of her hooves (they are dry and have been chipping), and picked out her feet. Shy was gobbling grass like she hasn't eaten in three weeks, so I went to grab her muzzle.

My mistake. . .she saw that muzzle and took off running! Oops. . .and she had the lead road still attached to her. Thankfully, she ended up in a pasture. Sadly, it was a large pasture. Unfortunately (for me), she rolled in grass, then in dirt as soon as she could. I can't keep a clean pony for ten minutes! Dangerously, she galloped and bucked her way to the very end of the pasture, lead rope trailing along. Gratefully, she did not step on it and hurt herself. Normally, I would have just left her in there, but that dangling lead rope forced me to get her.

Shy did not want to be caught. She was having way too much fun eat dandelions (her new favorite snack!) and running from me. I picked a dandelion to try to catch her and she looked at me like, b!tch please, I can get my own dandelions, then bent down, ate one, and took off again.

Good thing sugar free peppermints trump dandelions! I finally caught her and got her cleaned up again.Whew. I guess that is my welcome back from Shyloh!
Pretty and shiny!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

equine affaire 2012

I had so much fun at Equine Affaire! It was amazing! I got to see so many Haflingers, I was in heaven. All the Haflingers there seemed so much taller, wider, and lighter colored than Shyloh (except the chocolate Haffie). They were beautiful! Did I mention the foal? Cute!

We walked through all the shops, but I did not buy much. It was fun to look at all the stuff that they had and so overwhelming! I got a ton of information, too. And, I met a fellow blogger, Miranda from Hard To Handle. She was not hard to miss with her lime green cast!
The clinics were awesome. I went to a few clinics and learned a bunch of new things I want to try with Shyloh. I also saw some very bold horsemanship and cowboy mounted shooting. I watched Mark Bolender, a little bit of Aaron Ralston on Ranch and Trail, a minute of Todd Flettrich on Dressage, some Bob Coleman, P.H.d on Equine Body Scoring (and they used a Haflinger!), a quick glance of Stacy Westfall on reining and teaching spins, caught the end of Larry Kuyper  on team penning and sorting, and the Double Dan Horsemanship. I only got video on two, but here is a little bit of them.
I saw some fantastic demonstrations. I got to see a ton of breeds that I have never seen. Very cool. I watched the 5 gaited Icelandic horses and Paso Finos. Interesting. I got to see Clydsedales and Shires driving a cart with their filly and colt next to them.I spend a good deal of time in the breed pavillion with Fresians, Rocky Mountain Horses, Trakehners, a Shire, Gypsy Vanners, mini donkeys, a blind Appaloosa, the Curly Horse, Mustangs, ponies, Andulusians, Arabians, and minis.
And, of course, Pfizer Fantasia! Wow. Let's just say that seeing a man standing on the back of one cantering horse and flipping into the air to land on a second cantering horse. . .breathtaking! I do wish I would have attended a Guy McClean clinic, he was hilarious and could canter a horse backwards!

If anyone has a chance to ever go to the Equine Affaire, I highly recommend it! I want to go every year now!

Enjoy the Haflingers!