Monday, December 31, 2012

monday musings by shyloh #69

See what the two leggers cooked up for me? This is what happened when Allie puts an ad for a crash test dummy on the internweb. Anthony replies!!

I should have known something amiss was going on when Allie started sliding the sled under my legs. I would see it go under one side and come out on the other! Mind blowing! But eventually I got used to it. I didn't particularly care for it, but I put up with it.

And the treat guy came to visit! We went for a wonderful winter walk together and I got carrots! Yum!
I was good for the treat guy.
But soon after than Allie started tacking me up. I figured, no big deal, I am a tire pulling champion. Doesn't bother me at all any more. Funny thing though, I didn't see the tire anywhere, just the blue sled. . . hmmm. . .Where is this going?

Allie did rig up a homemade bit warmer using her gloves. It was much appreciated.
nice and toasty
And this is what happens when Allie gets grand ideas. And when I am really good at pulling tires, this is what I have to do in return. . .
At first I was all like, whoa sled, you make a funny noise back there! Are you going to eat me? But then I realized that maybe the blue sled wasn't a horse eating monster. In the end, I did have a little bit of fun pulling Anthony around in the snow. Maybe we can do it again some day soon. Maybe. . . Although I do have a feeling this is preparing me for bigger things to come. . .

~Shyloh

Sunday, December 30, 2012

barn mice

The barn mice are like winter ticks. Except I don't bring the mice home. The mice have decided that my locker is comfy and cozy and I have just enough things for them to ruin for their little homes. I am not down with this. . .
I'm cute, but I will ruin ALL the tack!
They are pooping little mice turds everywhere. All over my tack, shelves, grooming bag. . .just everywhere. They have invaded an empty plastic bag and destroyed a sponge to make a nest. A nest where I am sure that they plan on having millions of little mousey babies. 
Mouse house
The kicker was when I discovered that they began to take the fluff from Shyloh's too big shipping boots! Heck no! I plan on selling those! (Anyone want horse size navy blue shipping boots?)Luckily they just began to tear into the shipping boots and you can't even tell. I promptly removed those to my car before any further damage can happen. 

Mice are cute, but vectors of disease. The barn cats are not doing their job controlling the mouse population. I think they spend too much time in the heated barn. Oh cats. . .

I really don't want to kill the mice. They don't bother me, besides pooping everywhere. But destroying tack is a no no. I can't afford to replace tack just because a mouse needs a home. My first line of defense was all natural. I heard the peppermint oil put on cottonballs will keep the  mice away. So I went to the herb store where I get Shy's raspberry leaves and got some fresh peppermint oil. I doused practically the whole bag a cottonballs and placed them strategically around my locker (in the paces where the most poop was found). The I dumped the remaining peppermint oil on the wood shelves and floor. I thought my work was done. And the tack room smelled quite strongly of peppermint.
Puh-puh-pul-leeease don't kill me!
A couple weeks went by and I saw no evidence of critters. Yay, I thought! A natural way to keep the mice away. But this week I have noticed a poop increase. Boo. The peppermint smell is still pretty strong, so I think I have to resort to more forceful methods. I don't want to use poison. It is much too dangerous with the cats and horses. So I think I will go to live traps. We have some at the house, but I keep forgetting to bring them out. Basically, the mouse is lured in a box and a trap door shuts behind it. It doesn't kill the mouse. But I'm not sure what I am going to do with them after they are caught. . .if I set them free, they will just come back. Any suggestions? What do you do for problem critters at your barn?
Super goatee Shy!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

snowy line driving

Today I took the plunge. . .

I attached the tire to Shyloh and then I did some line driving. Who replaced my jumpy horse with this calm tire pulling champion? I even got some video!
Did you see that first step off? Total calmness. No quick steps, no anxiety. Just step off and pull the tire. The video didn't capture the little bit of trotting we did or the little spook Shy did. It was just a small jump, but it had a quick recovery. 

I think the snow helps a lot. It has this aspect to it that does not make a gravel noise. But this is a good thing because I can get a lot of line driving under Shy's belt and build her confidence and mine. 

After our session, Shy got a hay snack from Dancer's owner. She deserved it!

Dancer

Friday, December 28, 2012

snowplow

I am thinking I can make some extra money with Shyloh as a snowplow. 

Back up. . .I haven't been to the barn in a week. A week! Christmas and family things then sickness have kept me away. Shy must have thought she was wild and free pony. I let her finish eating with her herd, then tried to wrangle her in.
See the difference in these Haflingers!
nom nom nom
Sharing!
She sure gave me a hard time catching her today. That was the first in a long time. And she was doing her head toss. I haven't seen that since we moved to this barn.

But I did finally catch her, with the help of a candy cane. Once I brought Shy over to the grooming area, she kept trying to leave. And when she saw her harness, she tried to walk away again. Then she saw the tire I brought out. . . .If you remember the rules of the tire, I was not supposed to use it without a header. But I got permission earlier in the week to hook it up to Shy and I would head her. No line driving. And because she has been a line driving super star, I wanted to take the next step. But Shy's initial reaction was not promising. Great, I thought. . .my plans with the tire are going to fail. Shy was a little jumpy and acted like she had never seen a tire in her life!
Say what?
Just great, I thought again. The tire, which Shy has seen a million times gets wide eyes and thinking noises, but parades are no big deal. I considered scratching my plans. I had a pony out of any kind of work for a week who thought she was wild. And she was jumpy. But I figured, I'll take the safe route and ask someone to hold her while I attach the tire. I really wanted to take this next step!
What is this monstrosity?
I don't think I like it. . .
Brenda agreed to hold her head and Shy stood still like a champ. Did I ever mention standing still is one of her strong suits? Except that one time. . .and I didn't need another bad experience with the tire! I admit, I was nervous when I took hold of the lead line. I took a few deep breaths and off we went.

Shock! Shy stepped off with that tire like she always walked with a tire. No scoots. No trying to run off. Nothing. Naturally, I stopped her then asked her to walk on again. Perfect. What is this pony? Shy pulled that tire all through the snow. Hence. . .my snowplow! 
In motion photo. . .
What a good pony!
There was one moment where Shy did her unusual scoot thing. I have noticed this and mentioned it a few times and I would like to see it on video or from a different point of view. Her legs move fast and it is like she is taking off, but she doesn't go anywhere. There is no tightening of the lines or lead rope. Strange. Shy did this once when we were walking over some hay. I am not sure if the tire got caught and bounced maybe, but she recovered quickly. I made her walk back around it and it was not a problem. 

I am so proud of my little snowplow! She is always doing the most unexpected things. We are one step closer to cart time!!

Monday, December 24, 2012

monday musings by shyloh #68


T'was the night before Christmas, when all through the stable
Not a pony was stirring, to sleepy to be able.
The stockings were hung by the arena with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

The horses were nestled all snug in their stalls,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in the halls.
And Tony in his blanket, and Jesse in his vest,
Had just settled in for a long winter’s rest.

When out on the pasture there arose such a clatter,
Shyloh sprang from the sawdust to see what was the matter.
Away from the window she spooked like a ghost,
Tore open the stall door and ran to the fence post.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen rain
Gave the luster of mud to paddocks again.
When, what to Shy's wondering eyes should a-springer,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny Haflingers.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
Shy knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his Haffies they came,
And he clucked, and he kissed, and he called them by name!

“Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! On Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the arena! to the top of the wall!
Now trot away! Trot away! Trot away all!”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the barn-top the Haffies they flew,
With the sleigh full of carrots, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, Shy heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each Haffie hoof.
As Shy drew in her head, and was turning around,
Down to the barn St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his croup,
And his clothes were all tarnished with sawdust and poop.
A bundle of hay he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowl of apple jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And Shy snorted when she saw him, in spite of herself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave Shy to know she had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his head,
And giving a nod, to the arena he fled!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a cluck,
And away they all flew each giving a buck.
But Shy heard him exclaim, as he drove out of sight,
“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"

~Adapted by Allison from Clement Clarke Moore or Henry Livingston


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

shy's parade debut

I was way more nervous about how we were getting to the parade then the actual parade itself. I know if I am on the ground next to Shyloh, she is pretty comfortable and not spooky. But how we were all getting to the parade. . .

The plan was to drive Notch and Clutch with the hitch wagon and pony Shy off of them. The rest of the parade participants from Jaime's barn would also be riding their horses to the parade line up point. This was a 45 minute horse ride. Eek!

Could my out of shape chub of a horse keep up with two giant drafts? For 45 minutes? I had no clue. I have never pony'ed her before. I could only hope that she would just go with the flow and not decide to plant herself. Nervewracking!

The fact that we would be taking roads didn't bother me too much. Shy has never had a problem with traffic. . . the only thing she ever did when she saw cars or trucks was stop. She can't just stop while being tied to two moving drafts and a wagon! That wouldn't end well for her!
Put the bows in at the barn
Well, when we got to the barn, Jaime discovered Clutch had pulled a muscle or something in the mud and she did not want to hook him to the wagon. So Jaime's barn owner hooked her two Haflingers to the hitch wagon. And I sat in the back with Jaime and held on to Shy. 

Shy put up a pretty meek effort at not wanting to go forward. But Kyle got out a driving whip to tap her on and Shy caught on to the whole point of ponying real quick. After Kyle got back on the wagon, we had another horse stay on Shy to keep her moving. I took this crappy little video. Jaime took a bunch more from her phone and sent me them via text, but I couldn't get them off my phone. Sad face,
video
Besides the two Haflingers, there were six other people on horses in our entourage. We trotted pretty much the whole way there: over railroad tracks, past jerk drivers who wouldn't slow down, mailboxes, yard decorations, machinery in yards, and a ton of other potentially scary things. Shy did get wide eyed, but never spooked. She was awesome!!

When we finally got to the line up point, Shy promptly found some grass. 
Nom nom nom
I decorated her in bows, jingle bells, garland, battery powered lights, antlers, and red polo wraps. She was mighty cute! 
There are mini lights wrapped around her halter, but they are hard to see.
Shy could have cared less about the fire trucks honking and making their fire truck noises, air brakes, all kinds of lighted floats, tons of people, and cars.

Once the parade started, Shy was beyond amazing! She finally started blowing out (never once during this whole day did she make her "thinking noise"), but her head down, and walked the whole parade without a problem. The people didn't bother her, the candy being thrown didn't bother her, and the floats didn't bother her. Shy kept up with the wagon and all the horses. I was so proud of my little mare! She is a parade pony!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

got shafts?

I went to the barn in order to get everything ready for our big debut tomorrow. I can't leave work as early as I would like, so I don't want to be in a time crunch. Eh. . .I am having anxiety, but Shyloh proves every time I get all worked up about stuff that it is no big deal to her. 

I got everything ready and I still had some daylight left. What to do. . .what to do. . . Work on line driving, of course! I decided to be brave because Shy has been extra awesome lately and got the shafts out. I was going to put them on her before a practice line drive. 

Shy got her harness and blinders on and I showed her the shafts. I got the usual white eyes, but I am starting to think that is all for show. . .like a few of Shy's behaviors. She set herself up to not move an inch as I touched her sides with the shafts and let her know what I was doing. She did not care at all. I put the shafts in the tugs (which is a bit difficult by myself) and Shy stood there like a champ. Then I realized I forgot the bungee cords to hold the shafts up in the back. Crap. . . I improvised with the lead rope. It worked just fine. 

I grabbed the lines and off we went! The shafts were a little too far up and way more bouncy than they will ever be with a cart attached, but Shy just kept trucking along. She was unfazed. I proceeded to do a happy dance in my head. Shyloh is coming along so well! As we were walking along, people at the barn kept saying when are you getting a cart? and you need a cart for that horse! All in due time. . .plus they have never seen her step off with a cart attached! Yikes!

As we were coming from alongside one of the barns, a feeding bowl came flying over the fence where the pasture boarded horses live. Shy spooked! Her scare spooked some horses being ridden in the outdoor arena. It scared me! I thought one of the horses kicked it over or something. But someone had threw it over. Shy's spook could not have been more perfect, as far as spooks go. She jumped about two feet sideways then froze. She didn't bolt or even try to, my lines never tightened! 

After that we kept going. Shy must have known it was close to feeding time because she kept trying to point herself back in the direction of her pasture gate. When I tried to move her away, she went into statue mode. So I backed her up and tried again. And backed her up and tried again. And backed her up and tried again. I told her she better give up because she was not about to win this fight. And she did. We set off in the opposite direction from the gate she wanted. 

Once more, I decided to be brave again. I asked for a trot. This was the first time I asked for a trot with the shafts on. And once more to my surprise, Shy trotted without a problem. She didn't keep the trot at first, but once I got her into a nice trot I asked her to walk then whoa. Perfect!

I gave her a ton of praise, then let her go eat with her herd. I am so happy with how good Shy is doing! I have been doing the happy dance in my head all the way home from the barn and will probably continue into tomorrow! I didn't get any photos today, but here is Shy with her troll hair.

Monday, December 17, 2012

monday musings by shyloh #67

I was going to discuss my Christmas list, but instead, I found this and got highly distracted and upset. . .


Bows, lights, jingle bells, garland!!!

What does Allie have planned for me now? It better not be this. . . 
Or this. . . 


That would be so embarrassing and I would be all like this. . .
~Shyloh

Sunday, December 16, 2012

de-stress

Shyloh has done her job perfectly today. I think I am de-stressed and ready to tackle the work week. It seems that stress is going around in a few of my blogger friends lately. I hope their ponies work some magic on them, too!

It is odd to be 55 degrees F in December. Maybe in Florida or California that is normal, but in Michigan this weather is far from normal. And then there is the rain. . .and the mud. Needless to say, I arrived at the part to a pony with a wet top half and a muddy bottom half. Anthony showed me how to wrap her tail so it would not drag in the mud. Even though I had it braided, the bottom was still a muddy mess.

Today was also the barn Christmas party and some horses got all decked out for the occasion!
Brenda and Buddy
Faith
We got some delicious food and we hung out with horses and horse people. It was a nice party! And a new horse arrived! A five year old blue roan Tennessee Walker! Doesn't he have the cutest baby face?
Jose
After the festivities, I decided to pull Shy back out of her pasture and work with her on bridling. Lately (well, maybe for longer than I like to admit), Shy has been clamping her teeth shut and forcing me to stick my finger in her mouth to get it to open to put the bit in. She doesn't pull her head away or fight it in any other way. It hasn't been difficult to deal with, since she never fought me sticking my finger in her mouth, but it was annoying and bothersome, especially with a driving bridle. 

So I took out the clicker and we went to work. I used the command "open" and after four or five successful clicks and treats, Shy was opening her mouth without a problem. That clicker is like magic! The video starts out with Tony braying in the background. I only got one try, because all the others were out of screen shot. But at least this one was a success!

We took a break from that and worked on another behavior. I want Shy to pick her hooves up on command. She is already really good at picking them up when I pick her hooves, but it would be cool to have to pick them up with a word. I tapped a leg, said "foot" and when Shy picked it up, click and treat. Shy got this really quick, too. The back legs were much better and more controlled for picking up. The front legs need a some more refinement, since she wants to wave with them. But I was pleased with her progress! I even switched up the order I did the legs each time.

We hung out and Shy worked her de-stressing on me me some more. I grabbed a bucket, stood on it, and hung over her. She was so good. When I was done, Shy was feeling playful and was playing with the bucket. When I put her back in the pasture, Shy had her crew waiting in the back for her, and Jessie waiting up front. Silly ponies!
Zanna, Lukas, and Tony waiting for Shy to join them in the mud pit
Jessie waiting up front
Back together again!

Friday, December 14, 2012

equine therapy

Today was a rough day at work., I was in desperate need of some equine therapy after work. My job is stressful enough without having to do other people's work while they sit around doing nothing. And on top of that, the things I heard today made me want to vomit in my mouth. Gross. Okay, enough work rant. I am so very much looking forward to a little break for Christmas and New Year.
Sometime, you just need to hug a horse
Shyloh did her job very well today as an equine therapist. She got my mind off of everything stressful. I took my time grooming her then put her harness on. 

Yesterday, we had a great day! I worked on line driving Shy at the trot and I was very pleased with the results. Usually Shy won't keep the trot up, but yesterday she had a beautiful slow jog and was gee'ing and haw'ing like a pro! She was going so well, that even though I felt like I was going to pass out from all that running behind her, I kept it up as long as I could. Good pony.

The line driving is doing Shy a lot of good. It is getting her comfortable with me behind her and she is listening very well. Today we worked in the paddock with all the trees. We did lots of sharp turns, then I decided to try something new. I wanted to back her through two trees. After she finally backed through, I did not work her very much longer. Short successful sessions are best, plus my head was not in the right place. 

Now for the fun stuff!

It's cute to watch Shy figure out her legs. She always starts with them too close for her big head. I did notice a couple times when I should have clicked (I was trying to click when she went on the toe of her right leg). But I had a hard time seeing around that giant noggin!

After my therapy session with Shy, I have headed home for a quiet evening on the couch to not think about anything work related until Monday. I hope to book a weekend full of horse therapy. I need it! Anyone else have any grand horse plans?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

a little bit of random

Just some random thoughts that I don't get to write about too often and a few cute videos I found.

Who doesn't love Haflingers, rolling horses, and babies??


I am thinking of taking Shyloh off of her Magnesium and B1 supplements. I will keep her on the loose salt, red raspberry leaf and Maxum Crumbles multi-vitamin. I figure she has been doing so well, I might as well see how she does without the extra vitamins. Plus, the Maxum Crumbles has those two vitamins in it. I have a little over a month of her current supplement regimen bagged up, then take out the B1 (because that is what I will run out of first), then take out the Magnesium. We will see. . .I have been hemming and hawing about this for quite some time. The combo seems to work well for her so should I leave it? Me and my incapability to make a decision. . . Any thoughts?

With this yucky weather we have been having, one thing I am grateful for: that Shy is not a mud roller! It has been so rainy and muddy lately. A wed pony is one thing, but a muddy pony is something I am glad I don't have to deal with! The horses have all that room to roam, yet they will chose to stand in the mud up front rather than stay on the sandier areas out back. And they have no problem being rained on, they will stand outside the shelter if they feel like it. I saw this video on a Haflinger group I am part of:


Whew, Shy has no problem with puddles and did start going in the pond at the old barn (until she got stuck in mud, then got mad), but I am glad she does not love puddles that much! 

In Shy news. . .I no longer need a peppermint to catch her. When we first moved, she would come up to me because she was still getting used to everything. Then she started a feeble attempt at "Catch Me If You Can" for a short time.  And now, she lets me walk right up to her. That only took a year and a half, haha! Maybe one day she will actually come up to me. But I will take the not running away for now. Maybe it has to do with her being outside 24/7. Maybe she knows that even when I come to get her, she knows that she is going back out. No mystery as to when the next time she will get outside is.  

Nothing else really new is going on with me and Shy. The plan is to keep working on line driving, using the shafts, and recruiting headers so we can use the tire pull. I need a whip and a third hand to hold it. Chances are I will be ordering the cart after the new year. Yay! Here is what it will look like, but with a seat cushion!

Aside from horsey stuff, we are decorated and ready for Santa! The tree is up, the lights are on, and the stockings hung. I think our Christmas will be pretty low key, just the normal family stuff. After the holidays we are thinking of a weekend trip to get away. Not sure where yet. I am open to ideas!

One more funny video I found! Don't show Shy, I don't want her trying this on me!



Monday, December 10, 2012

monday musings by shyloh #66

Jessie my hero!


He clears away the other horses when Allie comes to get me. He waits for me at the gate while I am out. And he gives me encouraging nickers when he sees me working. Jessie sticks up for me and makes a space under the run in for me when it's raining. What a guy!

And Marshall. . .trying to get a sneak peek at me as I walk by. . .It just seems like I have this effect on the geldings where ever I go! Haflingers are hot stuff!
Next week, I'll share my Christmas wish list!

~Shyloh

Sunday, December 9, 2012

jingle bell rock

I finally arrived to the barn to a dry horse! It has been rainy and muddy and just plain drab for what seems like eternity. Shyloh had been wet so I just didn't work her. And with the whole working late thing last week, I also didn't have the chance. So I was rather happy that when I got to the barn and Shy was dry. Time to work!

I want to get her used to noises behind her, so I bought some jingle bells. Cute ones.
Rockin' around the barn!
The first day I had them, I just attached them to Shy's cooler (I was trying to dry her to work her, but that didn't really work out). She was fine with them. 
Jingle bells swing and jingle bells ring
The first day I had them, I just attached them to Shy's cooler (I was trying to dry her to work her, but that didn't really work out). She was fine with them. Today, I attached the jingle bells to her harness. Again, Shy could have cared less about the bells. Well, that idea was shot down. I still worked on our line driving with the jingle bells until it started to rain. 
Giddy up jingle horse, pick up your feet
Then it started to rain and we were forced in the indoor arena to continue our work. I don't care to work in there if it can be avoided. It is small and dark and I do not care for the footing. Another horse was in the arena today, so I took the jingle bells off. I didn't want to scare a horse with a rider on! We stuck to half of the arena and worked on turns, figure eights, stopping, and backing. Shy was a rock star! My only issue with her was walking up to the wall. She knows it is there so she won't let me run her into it. Not that I would, but I was trying to get as close as we could so we could practice sharp turns. Sometimes, my horse thinks to much for herself. 

But, Shy was amazing and we had more foamy mouth!
Dancing and prancing in jingle bell square
After the other horse finished her lesson, I got out the shafts. Again, no point in scaring another horse with weird contraptions. As I walked Shy back in the arena door, the side of her harness hit the door and Shy spooked. So, I walked her back out the door and the fight began. She refused to walk through the door again. Once I got her through, out we went again. And again. And again. Until she walked through the door without a problem. 

I got Shy reacquainted with the shafts by having her touch them and rubbing them on each of her sides. No problem. I had someone hold Shy and I put the shafts in her tugs. No problem. I rigged the back end up. No problem. I jiggled the shafts and had them move on her while I had someone holding her. No problem. Then off we went. Shy was doing well, then problem. A scoot. But a weird scoot. She tucked her butt and scooted it in, but her front end did not seem to shoot forward. There was no tightening of the lines. 
Now the jingle hop has begun!
After a couple of the same scoots, Shy was great. I am pretty sure the scoots were like the riding scoots. . . she was just trying to get out of work. I worked on trying to get her to cross over her legs for turns. I am not sure of that command, but I used over. I would call ourselves moderately successful on that. 

Overall I was really pleased with how we did today, especially since it had been a week since we did  any work. 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

me vs the mini

I have never handled mini horses before. But I agreed to walk Pancake, the mini, in a local parade with Jaime and Kyle. Pancake was a pro, she did the parade last year. Should be easy. . .right?

Wrong. Pancake made it difficult for me from the get-go. I went to catch her in her little mini field with her mini buddies. She was worse than Shyloh at her worst! Pancake had all the horses tearing ass around the mini field.
zoom!
Funny thing about minis is that they are so small and funny, everything they do is cute. . .at first. Jaime  got some grain and we (she) finally managed to catch the little rascal. I walked her to the trailer and little Pancake refused to get in. She reared, holding the rear and sitting back on her legs. Cute and funny. Kyle said one time he just picked her up and put her in the trailer. Silly mini. We did not have to result to that and Pancake got in the trailer. 

Kyle was pulling the trailer with two minis and a horse. Me and Jaime would be driving Notch and Clutch to the parade in this:

Her brand new hitch wagon! It was awesome! And scary. It was the first time the boys were hooked to it. It was high (and I'm a bit afraid of heights). It was big. But Jaime and I climbed all the way up and off we went. 
So high!
After a while I relaxed way up there. The boys were amazing! I really can't say enough how great of a job Jaime did training Notch. We trotted pretty much the entire way. And we showed up to the parade in style!

At the parade start point, I put some antlers, bells, and a bow on Pancake. She was far from thrilled about the whole decorating thing. I began to wonder just how much it would hurt to get kicked by a mini, because I was sure that was going to happen. It didn't though. When I went to brush her front legs, she ripped my hat off my head and almost bit my head in the process. I was less than pleased. Jaime and Kyle out lights on the hitch wagon. It was so cool!
She sure is cute!
Itty bitty!
Poor Pancake acted like she had never been in a parade before. She spooked at everything. The eight shiny reindeer (mules) terrified her as they went past. 
They all had "anters" and pulled Santa!
And once the parade started, Pancake wanted to run like someone lit a firecracker under her! She was pulling me this way and that way. I held on tight right up at her halter and she pulled like she wanted to remove my arm from its' socket. I gave her slack on the lead rope and she was running back and forth in front of me. Little Pancake was literally dragging me down the street. Eventually, I got smart and let her run circles around me. At least this way I could guarantee that my arms would stay attached to my body. And she was screaming! Calling for other minis, since there were mostly big horses around. We were fighting the whole time and I think I was losing.

Of course, once the parade was over Pancake was a little better-ish. I would take a draft horse over a mini any day!
Sorry for the grainy photo