Monday, June 30, 2014

too much cute

We interrupt the normal Monday Musings to bring you too much cute to contain another day! Sorry Shyloh, but this beats you out. . .

Some friends of ours that show at our Northwest Ohio Driving Circuit shows also have a Gypsy Vanner farm and live pretty close to Kyle and Jaime's barn. And this past week two of their mares just had babies!

Babies!! Little foals full of little Gypsy beards and little Gypsy hair and little Gypsy feather and too much little Gypsy cuteness!
In your face filly!
Crazy little colt with mama right behind him
So we went to visit, of course! Can I tell you that Gypsy babies are probably the cutest thing on the planet? 

One was a solid filly(either black or smokey black, not sure yet) with blue eyes. She was adorable! She walked right up to us, like hey, I'm here, Love me!! And we did. She was the first foal from their stallion, Mr. Sandman. Her mom is Angelina Rose. This filly is already sold. I really wanted to put her in my pocket and steal her away. She would have come with me.  She is only a few days old and already took a halter like a pro. She is just so chill.
Walking up to everyone to say Hi! She is so sociable and not afraid.

Filly's mama
The colt was a little firecracker! He was in the pasture with his mom, Daezy Mae and two other mares. One was Lillie Belle who is due with the last foal on the farm for this year. 
Lillie Belle, almost ready to pop! 

The other is Jazmyn Joy, who is a yearling or two year old, I think. The colt is a couple days older than the filly and so so sassy! They are thinking that he is going to be a blue roan pinto. He was running around and kicking at his mom, the air, the grass, anything he could kick at. I guess he is a kicker and kicks at people too. His eyelashes are so so long and he has a belly mohawk!
Those eyelashes! He looks wet because it was just raining.
After getting our foal love on, we visited with the stallions. Sandman has really filled out nicely. He is super chill and loves to be loved on. Star is the other stallion on the farm. He is still too young to be bred, but he gets to hang out with Sandman and a mini horse.
Mr. Sandman
The Gypsy Vanners are such a great breed of horse. They have the calmest temperament, and they ride and drive. They are a thick, solid horse. 

Check out the website for Serenity Farm Gypsy Horses! We thank them for letting us visit!

Sunday, June 29, 2014


I learned what a thresher was this weekend. I had no idea, but Terry and I went with Beth to a National Threshers Reunion down in Ohio.

Turns out threshers are old style ways of farming, I think. The event brought a ton of people, more than I ever thought was possible, to look at old style farming equipment, steam engine farming equipment, and horse drawn farming equipment. Obviously, we went for the horses.

Beth brought Art and Curly. She wanted Curly to get exposure and experience the commotion of the golf carts, farming equipment, and steam. Curly was not a fan of the steam engines. Art could have cared less, but he was raised with all that stuff.

There was a ton of mules, Belgians, and Haflingers that were plowing a field. There was a 6 hitch (that ran 3 across in two rows) of Belgians, and and 8 hitch (4 across in two rows) of mules. There was also a couple teams that ran three across. It was all pretty cool to see.
Six Belgians
Eight mules
Neal and three of his Haflingers
Three mules
Bethany's two mules,Millie and Katie (Bethany shows Millie at our NWODC shows)
Beth drove Art and Curly in her forecart and worked on getting Curly to walk in the furrow. Curly did really good with all of the activity going on. Luckily, when the steam engines came by, Curly was tied to the trailer. Curly also decided it was a good idea to kick at the trailer tire and rip the air stem off. Oops. Good thing Beth had a spare and it was quickly changed out. 

We had a good day just hanging out with horses and draft folk. I got to share some of my Haflinger knowledge with a guy that was very interested in the horses. And then Terry and I spent a long time chatting with Beth and walking around her property. She has all kinds of things that grow there on their own: raspberries and apples, plus her garden with strawberries and a bunch of other vegetables. I want my land to produce food I can eat for free! Terry eats grass and other weird things, so she can get food just about anywhere. But those raspberries were so delicious, much better than store raspberries. 

Anyway, I now know what a thresher is. And I had a fun time with horses and friends. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

higher standards leather care review

A miracle happened the other day.

I didn't think it could have happened, but it did. I bought this old leather harness for cheap off Facebook. I was warned that it needed cleaning. I just didn't expect this. . .
So the harness sat in a box in a spare room for about a year. In the meantime, I had ordered some Higher Standards Leather Care for a friend for Christmas, then they donated some soap and conditioner to our Harry Hughes Youth Equestrian Center fundraiser, then I ordered my very own set. I used the set on my Ariats and now they look really nice. 

But I really didn't think the soap and conditioner could hold up to the dried up moldy mess that was this harness. 
Just ewww. I didn't even want to touch it.
Terry agreed to help me tackle this harness since she loves to clean tack. She recently cleaned her saddle with the soap (Fox's Vanilla Lavender) and conditioner I got her and she loved the smell and how nice and supple it made her saddle.
Some parts, after soap
We each started working on different parts of the harness. It was beyond dirty. There was probably 30 years of sweat, grime, poop, and grossness on this harness. I thought we would go through the whole can of soap, but we didn't. A little went a long way. And the smell made the dirty task bearable. The soap cleaned the harness right up and really worked its way into the leather. Terry commented that is seemed to condition as it cleaned. The stiff harness started bending and softening as we worked the soap into it. 

Then we used the conditioner. It smelled like chocolate, which was nice. The leather ate the conditioner right up. We used our fingers and worked the leather with the conditioner. A little bit of the conditioner was all that was needed to really soften the leather. It was a beautiful thing. I was in such awe of how amazing this product is! Like I said, I did not think this harness could be saved. 
All cleaned!
Breast collar. This was the stiffest piece and the piece that was white in the first photo!
The leather on the harness is actually very nice and responded incredibly well to the soap and conditioner. I think at one time it may have been a good quality harness. It even has some really nice stitching details on the bridle, lines, and breast collar. 

Higher Standards Leather Care is great and did an awesome job of bringing this harness back to life. Lots of other blogs are raving about it and I am so happy I tried it for myself. Not only does the soap come in some great smelling scents, but it is a very effective product. Shyloh and I give Higher Standards two hooves up!

If anyone wants a harness, this one is for sale! I am going to test it on the two sizes of minions at the barn to see what size harness this is for sure. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

hump day haflinger series #24

Figure, from Topaz Dreams always wanted a horse, but was taking a practical approach and waiting until she could afford a horse comfortably. Even though she did not have a horse growing up, she took lessons in a hunter barn when she was in middle and high school.  After she graduated college and got a job, Figure was lucky enough to be gifted a great horse. 
Haflinger: Confetti DYH or Confetti or 'Fetti
Sire and Dam:  Aspect x Cayleen AFH
Age: 18 year old mare, but no one told her that, she thinks she is 10!
Height: 14 hh
Favorite Food: Grain mash.  Confetti gets quite upset when it's not provided as part of dinner.  It does not matter much which grain - she just wants to feel like she's getting something special!  She also likes one particular type of local fern.
Personality: Confetti loves people - she is quite social and she'll wander over to new folks at the barn to introduce herself.  She has generally excellent ground manners but has a huge opinion of fairness under saddle.  Compromise is important.  Smart horses get bored, get in habits easily, and get cranky when asked to do things they strongly disagree with.  She will absolutely take advantage of uncertain riders or unclear cues to interpret things the way she wants.  Did I mention that she's smart, stubborn, and opinionated?  
Likes: Eat, run, and jump - but the latter two, only for as long as she wants to, of course.
Quirks:  She does not longe on a line at the canter.  Walk/trot is fine; canter she turns her nose out and leaves.
Discipline: Endurance, 25-mile rides called Limited Distance or LDs.  Confetti has also been a jumper, Pony Club horse (dressage, jumping, games) and was originally Western-trained.
Endurance is about completing a set amount of miles in a certain time - but finishing with a happy and healthy horse who is 'fit to continue' to (theoretically) go out for more miles.  Horses must pass brief 'vet checks' before, during, and after the ride to be allowed to continue/get their completion.  For a 25-mile Limited Distance ride, you get six hours (including a 30-60 minute hold, depending on the ride), so you're looking to keep a 5 mph average pace throughout the ride.  

To train for endurance, the rider and horse must build up the miles, build up the pace, and try not to do both at the same time.  Confetti and Figure tend to ride around 25 miles a week.  It's a balancing act between overtraining and wearing out the horse, or not training enough and running out of horse during a ride.  
They have completed all three LDs that they have done so far. You do not get places in endurance, but completions. 

Figure discovered Haflingers at the end of her second year in college. She was looking to lease a horse after the summer was over. She saw an ad for a pretty little Haflinger in May, but thought nothing of it. When she saw the ad again in August, Figure went to go look at her. She fell in love and was bouncing with happiness after the first two rides! After she leased Confetti for two years, her owner gave her to Figure!

Figure is blessed to have a generally solid mare that will try whatever is asked of her . . .  if she sees a point to it.  Point her over jumps, take her on the trail, chase crows, walk along the edge of a cliff, climb up the side of a hill, gallop along or trot a while... she's not an easy mare, she has opinions and does express them, but if asked the right way, she'll generally oblige.  Figure and Confetti do a lot of negotiating (mares?).  As a trail horse,  she thinks for herself, but she usually checks in with Figure before deciding which action to take for herself.
On the trail
It easily took Figure a year to read and understand Confetti; but  now, she knows what the subtle signs are of a meltdown or panic or just a needing to get a good run in before she can settle for work.  She's not terribly obvious about most of them - it's a hint of tension and feeling of firecrackers when mounting, though she looks like she's walking totally calmly, and that tells Figure to let (or make) her run first.   It's the tense muscles and insecurity that tells Figure that Confetti's brain is just about completely fried and she needs a break.  Sometimes, you just know.  These are the subtleties that make her totally unsuitable for kids and beginners that just aren't quite sensitive enough to pick up on the little things.  
Figure plans on doing  LDs as long as Confetti is happily going down the trail and holding up to the distance.  If things go really well, she would like to try and do a 50 mile endurance ride.  Whenever they are done with LDs, Figure guesses that they will mosey along on (mildly brisk) trail rides.  Confetti is a versatile little horse and she is sure they will find something to do.

Monday, June 23, 2014

monday musings by shyloh #135

I got all geared up in my fly mask, muzzle, and halter. I know what that means. . .
alien pony
Grass! Me and the big horses went to the back pasture to enjoy the cool breeze, the sun, and  grass. On the way out, I did get to enjoy some mulberries from the many mulberry trees that line the driveway back to the pasture. 

First things first when getting released. . .try to get the muzzle off so I can inhale grass at Haflinger speed. But Allie has gotten hip and puts the halter over all the fly mask and muzzle to keep it on. Boo. 
Be off, you food restricting demon!
Once I resigned to eating grass at a super slow pace and bobbing my head up and down to get the blades in the little hole, I was fine. At least I wasn't the only horse that was silly looking. . .
Hee hee
I also got to finally hang out with my big horse friends. I like them most and usually stand at the gate between the pastures longing to be with them (or their round bale). So I was a happy happy horse!


Sunday, June 22, 2014

change of plans

First: I have a winner for the Two Horse Tack Halter Bridle Giveaway! I used a randomizer to pick the winner. Congrats to Natalie! I posted earlier on Shyloh's Facebook page

We had our second show planned for this weekend. Shyloh and I had really been practicing our trail moves and we were ready. But it had been raining all week, so I was wondering just how I was going to keep Shy clean enough for the show.
How indeed?
The day before the show, it was cloudy and we had continuous sprinkles. Yuck. Terry was at the barn with Lily. Michele and her son Noah were there to get Meatball all ready with his new tack. Lily was helping get Shy groomed. 
Shy just loves this!
So good!
And Lily realizes the importance of picking hooves. Shy is so wonderful for her.
Shy hold her feet up with no fuss/
So much patience!
Just as we were getting ready to tolerate the sprinkles, we received a message that the show was canceled! The grounds were under water. 

Michele still tried on Meatball's new tack. An English set! How cute!
Seriously cute English pony!
The next day, me, Terry, and her sister Alison played with Reba all day. I even got to drive the big Shire for the first time. 
I also line drove her to hook her to the cart. I miss this.
After that, we worked on cleaning up Reba's feather. Dawn blue dish soap and purple shampoo worked really well. . .but some stains need more applications.
Pretty mare!

Sisters on big draft horses!
Then Terry and Alison rode Reba and Notch out back. Alison got a lot of photos that I am anxious to see for her photography business. It was a really great and beautiful, sunny day. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

pony the pony

At the last minute yesterday, we decided to take the horses on a walk down the road. Terry was on Reba, Kyle on Clutch, and Jaime was driving Dexter. I had planned on working with Shyloh in the round pen, but Jaime convinced me to pony her along for the ride. Okay. . .
Ready to go!
Terry started out ponying Shy, but Shy kept walking in front of Reba and turning and then before we knew it Terry and Reba were in a ditch and it was just a mess.
Getting ready to go.
No size difference at all. . .
So I took her and ponied her along the cart. I thought Shy would hate it, because she has really grown to hate all things cart, but she was perfect. Millions of cars passed us, semi trucks, motorcycles, we were passing next to ditches and mailboxes, other horses running in their pasture, and even people on bicycles. Terry almost backed Reba into a kid on the bike. I think Terry forgets Reba sticks out another five feet behind her. :)
Good pony
Shy stayed in a good position next to the cart and trotted when Dexter trotted. She was relaxed for the whole trip. Shy was looking around at all the sights (mostly farms) but kept and ear on me. I really think she likes going out on adventures like this. 
Twas a sunset ride/drive
It was a nice relaxing trip. Once we got back, I hopped out of the cart to tie Shy to the hitching post. When I turned her around, her back end brushed the cart and she jumped forward. What the hell, horse? We just spent the last hour with the cart!
Pony Pizzas for good ponies!
Shy was so perfect on the road. I really just need to grow a set to get out there on her!

Don't forget, today is the last day to enter the halter bridle giveaway with Two Horse Tack!