Wednesday, August 31, 2011

shyloh has a job to do

Shyloh's first SweetTart! 

Shyloh earned her candy from her lunging today. A blog that I have been following did a post and I decided I am going to try to follow some of the advice (modified to Shy and my needs) to help raise Shy's confidence. In a nutshell, the author wrote that if the rider has a job in mind, they focus on that and not the horse spooking. Even if the job was just pretend, it is good to have a purpose for each ride. I will say that I do not agree with the part about keeping the horse tacked up and tied all day until they are ready to be used. That seems cruel to me and Shy does not need that, nor do I have time for that. Shy stands perfectly still in cross ties and while waiting for me to get myself together.

I am going to give Shy a job every time I work with her. This means that after I groom her, I am going to tack her up. That way she will know that she is working. I have heard that before (and from a very experienced horse person), but honestly, I was being too lazy to tack Shy up every time. But I am going to attempt it now, especially when I want specific things done with her. 

So today, I put the saddle and bridle on Shy and took her to the arena to lunge. We have lunged a few times before, with moderate success. Today, the only other person at the barn was Beth and she was mucking stalls. The funny thing about Shy is that she knows a lot more about lunging than I do.  She knows all about body language and cues, and I am still discovering those and trying to be conscious about where my body parts are and how I am positioned in relation to Shy.

I was completely on my own. It took a minute to get Shy moving, but I was being firm with her and she knew I meant business. Every time I got ahead of her, she automatically stopped. So I had to reposition myself and start over. I was seriously sweating by the time we walked out of the arena!We were able to walk, trot, stop, and do transitions from all of those in both directions. Shy still refuses to canter on the lunge line! She trots mighty fast, though! I had to run in circles to keep up with her. Eventually, I added a pole for her to walk and trot over. She was great! I really love doing work with poles and obstacles. I was seriously sweating by the time we walked out of the arena!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

the honeymoon is over

Head for the hills, it's about to be a bumpy ride! I think Shyloh's honeymoon period is over. When I worked in residential care and foster care with juveniles and at-risk youth, there was a period of time when they first entered care that we referred to as the "honeymoon." During this time, the youth was well behaved, just kind of sitting back and taking in the new surroundings. After about a month, the "testing" testing phase would begin, where the youth would see how far they could push every one's buttons and see what they can get away with.  

I think I am at this point with Shyloh. She was wary, yet assessing her new situation and deciding for herself how to read me. And I think I am about to be tested big time! I have to keep reminding myself to be clear, concise, and consistent. That nip yesterday was the first in a series of a testing and trying time. All I know is that I need to come out on top! 

What is it with people wanting me to hit the horse? Is this really a necessary part of owning a horse? I would really like to get some comments on that. Yes, Shy bit my arm yesterday. Did she mean to bite it, I do not know, maybe. But, I take full responsibility for that. I was letting her comfort herself by licking me when she was nervous. Or so, I thought because it seemed like when I asked her to do stuff that was out of her comfort zone, she wanted to come in and lick. Then the licking progressed to pushing the fronts of her teeth on me. Yesterday, it ended with a nip. So, Shy is done with the licking. She will have to find a new coping mechanism.

When I yelled out in pain and disbelief, someone in the arena commented that oops, I got bit. I turned around and she stated that next time I need to wail my horse. I must have given a sour look at this (I have little control over my facial expressions), because then she added that I could pinch the neck. She stated that pinching the neck is more natural, because that is how the horses correct each other and it feels like a nip to them. I am not sold on this method yet, either. 

Another thing. . . Shy "mentioned" yesterday that I took her halter off. She has not had her halter off (except for being bridled) since the first week she came to the barn. Even then, Robin had fashioned a "catch tab" to attach to the halter. I have since removed the tab and have been able to catch her pretty easily. Today, my only goal was to successfully catch Shyloh and halter her. 

And it worked!! All it took was a butterscotch! After I haltered her, I took her for a walk around the property and let her graze. Shy is quite different outside than she is inside the arena. I wonder if she was ever worked inside before. Outside, her walk was much better, she even trotted while I ran next to her! She refuses to do that inside! She seemed much more confident while we were walking through the grass and did not spook once. One day soon, I want to go into the big pasture with Shy after the other horses go inside. There is a pond that I want to check out.

We visited with the other horses still in their pastures and checked out the new pasture that is in the process of being fenced in. We also went in the round pen. Now, I think Shy has been in a round pen before. I am not sure if it is instinct or previous experience, but when she got in there, she started trotting at the edges. 

After our walk and graze, I took Shy back to her paddock. We had a really good day. Small steps=big success to me! I took her halter off again today. I imagine it being the equivalent to me taking my bra off at the end of the day, sweet relief!

Shyloh completely enjoying her mouthful of grass and a cool breeze! Sweet bliss!

Monday, August 29, 2011

monday musings by shyloh #1

I have so much to share today. . .but that is going to have to wait. I am going to start a new segment called Monday Musings by Shyloh, where I write from Shy's perspective. I think that this will be a good exercise for me in writing and thinking about things from Shy's point of view. It may also be funny. . .so here goes. . .


So, the people got wise to my grain stealing and put a new feeder out for Chick, my BFF, that attaches to the gate. Now I can't slide the bowl away! But, Chick loves me so much that he leaves some for me. He knows that I am a hungry girl!

The lady came again today. She comes almost every day. I am still not sure what her deal is. Today she came while Chick was out with his lady. I kept calling to him, but he was ignoring me because he was eating grass. I wanted to eat grass! I love grass! It is so tasty! 

The lady is so strange! She didn't come to see me right away, she hung out with Chick and his lady. Then, when she did come to see me, she went straight back to where the water is. I trotted behind her, but every time she looked back, I stopped. Haha. I don't want to her know how interested I am in her, because for some reason she is really interested in me. She always wants to touch me and stuff. But she gives me treats, so I do what she asks of me, for the most part.

The lady really is a weirdo. She hung out where I live for a while, but didn't do anything. I tried to played catch me if you can, but she wasn't interested. Then, I saw the strangest sight. . .a little horse, smaller than me was kinda by my fence. I thought I was the smallest horse ever, but I guess I was wrong! It was the strangest little thing. The lady and the other lady went to get it. There were three total, just loose out front. I guess they took them where they belong, because when they came back, the little horses were gone. 

Finally, the second best part of my day came! Hay time! Nom nom nom! I love hay. The lady stayed and watched me eat (I said she was odd), and kept dropping this thing. I wasn't scared. I had hay and Chick didn't seem to care about it. So it was all good. But then, the lady put the leas rope on me! We went inside and to the place where I she does all this funky stuff to me, then I have to undo it by rolling in the dirt. But I wasn't done eating! Not fair!

Look at all that hay left, and you want to do what with me?
Oh well. I was getting brushed and getting my neck scratched. I love love love getting my neck scratched!  Then I had to stand for what seemed like the longest time ever just waiting. People kept coming up to me and petting me. I am okay with that now, but still a little unsure. I mean, hey, I don't know them! I don't know what they want from me or what their angle is. If they have food, I welcome them to touch me, though. I did get to try something new today! Ryleigh's lady gave me coffee! It was a sugar filled delight! So good, it makes me want to smack your mama, or pucker my lips in a funny fashion!

After eternally waiting, we went into the big sandy area. It was busy in there today! Bob, my first love was there, and so was Ryleigh, Resy, Shamon and Eli. But I was well behaved. . .at first. I walked this maze thing a bunch of times, then I walked it backwards and over poles. This is easy stuff, but, backwards is so scary! I can't see where I am going and I am not sure the lady knows what she is doing. But, I will give this to her. . .once again, we made it safely through the maze. So, mayabe she does kinda know what she is doing. . .the jury is still out on that.  Ryleigh was doing the maze with me. Then Resy wanted to take his rider through the maze! Shamon and Eli also went through it too! And the best part was that Bob took his rider through! Bob is new to being ridden and he was fantastic! All the other horses did great, too, but I got real bored just standing around. I pawed the ground to let this be known to the lady. I mean, I am a pretty patient pony, but this was getting ridiculous! Plus, I had hay waiting for me!

The maze
The lady tried to walk me backwards through the maze again. Well, I was not having any of that, so I bit her. Partly because I was wanting my hay, partly because I was tired, partly because I had to stand around doing nothing for so long, and partly because I wanted to see what she would do. The crazy lady screamed and made a crazy sound. But that was it. I knew she was not happy about what I did but I did not get hit. . .I may have to test this out again. . .But now she won't let my mouth near her! Seriously, how bad could it hurt? Chick bites me all the time and I am fine and dandy.

I did a few other things for the lady, then she gave me a delicious banana and a scrumptious apple. Did I mention that I love food? As we were walking back outside to my hay, I tried to nibble on some grass. The lady was not letting me. So I pulled harder. Grass is so good, why didn't she understand this? All I got was a little bit, then I went to my home to finish my hay. Chick was waiting for me. 

One more thing. . .before she turned me loose, the lady took off my halter.  I wonder what this means. . .


Sunday, August 28, 2011

thief in the night. . .or just at feeding time

I learned today that Shyloh is a grain thief! I knew her love of grain was extreme when that was the only way that I could catch her ( I am able to catch her without grain now! Yay for me, boo for her), but she has taken it to a new level. . .thievery! Shy does not get grain daily. Being a Haflinger and reading all that I have about the breed, I opted to go grain free. She does get her supplements during the morning feeding though.

Don't be fooled by her cuteness. . .she has a Who me? Never! Look on her face!
But I have learned form Kathy how tricksy my pony is. . . She scarfs down her supplements, then goes for Chick's grain! I saw her once tip his bowl over so some grain spilled on the ground and she could clean it up. Kathy says that she has witnessed Shy multiple times stealing Chick's grain bowl right out from under him! She will grab it with her teeth and pull it away. And the strange part is that he lets her. I guess grain really is the crack of the horse world! And Shyloh apparently will lie, cheat, and steal to get some!

Pretty lashes. . .she probably stole them from another horse. . .j/k!
Today, I washed Shy's mane. Ever since I added coconut oil to it to help her dry skin (and it did help), it has attracted dirt like crazy! Her beautiful hair was looking gray and yuck. It temporarily looked so white and clean and pretty, until I put her back in her paddock and she rolled. Then she got up and snorted, pranced a little, and it seemed like she was saying don't wash my mane again, ha!  Sassy girl!

Clean and pretty mane!
Shy says I'll show you not to wash me again! Moo haha!
Must get both sides covered in dirt!
After her mane cleansing, we worked on an exercise called the keyhole. I really think I need to up the ante with these exercises for Shy. She is doing so good! I put the upright poles in front, because I know she has been leery about them in the past. After an initial stop to check them out and make sure that they were not a cougar in disguise, Shy walked right through them. I added cones, which we weaved and used to make the path narrower. I also put poles across, which she had to walk over. And, we backed through the whole thing! Shy was a genius! So I need to find some stuff that is more challenging to her. The other exercises that I found required manual labor to build parts, so I am not sure we will be able to get to those anytime soon.

I discovered this great blog, A Year With Horses, the other day! It's also in my side bar. This blog has put into words some of the things I want to accomplish with Shyloh, but I did not have the correct vocabulary for it, I guess. In this post, she discusses developing virtues in horses. The virtues she lists are:

Curiosity/ability to experiment

(taken directly from her post)

Her thoughts seem to be similar to my way of thinking and she explains how most people think they need to "work" the horse on the outside, but really, in order to establish and maintain a relationship with your horse, you need to "work" the horse form the inside. I thought that was very profound! She also has posts on her observations of how her horses exhibit these virtues and what needs to be developed more. This post is an example of that. And, yes, I picked this horse because his name is Pie and that is Maggie's "street" name.

This last post that I want to share is about making progress with your horse. I really appreciate her insight and how she is able to recognize that even the small steps count toward progress!  I encourage any one who reads my blog to also look at A Year With Horses. She has been blogging for a while and has many interesting and helpful posts.

Probably one of the best parts of my day were helping Kathy take the horses out! All the horses were great and it was fun seeing how excited they were to be outside. As soon as most of them got free, off they ran to the back of the pastures to graze or play or just be horses. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011


What a great night! As you can see from the pictures, Shyloh was amazing again! And. . .no spooks tonight!

We worked on a labyrinth with the poles. I got the idea from here. I want to try as many of these exercises with Shy as I can to boost her confidence. We went forward through the labyrinth both ways. Then, I up'd the ante and I had Shy go backwards. I didn't think that she would do it, but she did! Shy proved me wrong, once again. Then I rearranged the poles into a different formation. We worked on going through them both ways again. Then i put two poles across and Shy walked over them without a problem! She did not even balk at them or stop to sniff them. And they were slightly raised off of the ground. A few times she hit the poles with her back legs (I think she was being lazy and not picking her feet up high enough) and rolled the poles a little, but she did not care. Like I said, no spooks tonight! As the last part of our exercises today, I removed the poles across, and we walked backwards through the path. Again, perfection! Shy did not give me any trouble!

The barn was so quiet and peaceful tonight. The only problem was the flies! They were everywhere! Poor Shyloh was covered with flies. I had to spray her twice, but I am pretty sure that the flies will still bother her. I even sprayed Chick down. He was having a rough time with the flies. Each season has its pros and cons. Winter=no bugs but cold, summer=no snow but bugs!

Friday, August 26, 2011

cuteness alert!

. . .Is this NOT one of the cutest things you have ever seen?

I think it just may be!!

And, don't you think Shyloh could benefit from these shoes? 

Especially since I found out yesterday that she had lined herself up to kick Beth a week ago! I was so upset! That is unacceptable behavior. It may have been that she was in heat, but that is NO excuse.

Also, here one of the articles that supports my supplement choices for Shyloh.

I discovered it at, but it is from Horse Journal.
Click here to read the article.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

goal #2

Ta da!!!!

After Goal # 1 of trail riding, this is the new goal. How cool is that? I really have no desire to be on Shyloh as she jumps over things. . . but it sure would be sweet to watch her jump!

Today was another fantastic day! I managed to catch Shy without grain! I hung out in her paddock for a while and she came right up to me. So I am thinking that what I am doing is working and I am gaining her trust. I groomed Shy up real pretty, then we went to graze.

Grosse Ile Equestrian team was practicing and I did not want to disturb them. I took Shy for a short walk around the property and she grazed as we walked. When equestrian team practice was over, I took her in the arena. The plan for tonight was to work on Shy's confidence by improving her footing. I placed three poles down and walked her over them multiple times. Then we worked on trotting over them. Shy was great! Next we practiced stopping with one foot over the pole, then two feet over the pole. Again, Shy did excellent! The only thing she couldn't do was get three feet over, she kept bringing all four over. After that, we worked on backing over the poles. This involves a lot of trust on the horse's part. Shy struggled a little pit, but she did back over one pole. Finally, I moved the poles closer and worked on all the same things again.

Then I did a really cool thing that is a step towards Goal #2. I used cones and raised one end of two of the poles so that one end was raised and one end was still on the ground. Shy went over them like a champion! We did that a bunch of times and the whole time she was making her "thinking noise." I love that little grunt.

Shy was really using her brain tonight! I have a few more ideas that I want to work with her next time! I am so proud of Shyloh for all the improvements that she has been making. She did not spook once tonight! Well, she did spook once, but I am not counting it. We were walking back to her paddock and Shy was half in the building and half out. She stopped to get some grass and Beth touched her butt. Shy was not expecting that and scooted forward. Shy kept a low head all evening (a sign on relaxation) and never once raised her head away when I went to pet it. .That in itself is a major deal! What an amazing little pony!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Resy and Terry
I got to ride Resy tonight! He is a 28 year old Arab horse that has a ton of training under his belt (saddle?). Actually, Terry has been trying to get me to ride Resy for a long time, but I was always afraid I'd break him! Because of the type of horse that he is, he is much narrower and sleeker, and takes much longer strides  than I have been used to riding. But I got on him, and it went okay. . .

It's hard for me to get on another horse. I was so comfortable on Mia. And each horse is completely different. But, since Shyloh needs to overcome her issues and I need to work on my riding skills (or lack of), and Resy needs to be exercised, Terry thought it would be a good idea to practice on him. I believe that the more I ride him, the more comfortable I will get with him and it will bring up my confidence. Even as I type this, I am working on my leg position. . .knees slightly bent, feet straight, heels down. It's not the most comfortable position, but I have to get used to it. 

While I was riding Resy, Terry's sister, Alison, was riding Shy! Alison is an excellent rider. She has Shyloh walking, trotting, and even took her up to a canter! Amazing! She spooked twice, I think, but her spooks where just kinda scooting her butt. No bolting, no bucking, no rearing. So, that is good news! And on the spooky front, Shy did not spook once in the cross ties, she walked right into the arena without a problem, and when I was bringing her in, I thought she was going to spook at one point, but she didn't! Improvement? I hope so!

On another note. . .I think I have a new obsession! These crepes are delicious! There are crepes of every kind imaginable! I had one that was like an elephant ear, one that was like a Reese's peanut butter cup, and one that was chicken and cheese. Check it out, it's in Midtown on Woodward!

Look at all those kinds of crepes on the board! yum!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

one month!

It was one month yesterday that I brought Shyloh home! And I celebrated by riding her. And what I call riding is sitting on her while I am led around. . .

Shy has come a long way in that one month! When I brought her to the barn, she was terrified of people, she did not know what an apple or a carrot was, she would not let me pet her head or brush her hair, and she jumped at every little noise. Now, I am able to touch her head and brush her mane and forelock. She eats like a champion. She is really warming up to people and I believe that she looks to me for comfort or when she is unsure. She is still jumpy, but less so. She approaches me and does not run. I can catch her easily, as long as I have grain. Kathy was able to catch her without grain! Don't get me wrong, I know that we have a loooong way to go, but it is reassuring that we are making progress!

I am not sure how to describe yesterday. . .I did get on Shy. Maybe I wasn't ready to ride, Robin did not think so and I am not entirely convinced that I thought so either, but I did it. It's like this with me. . .I am terrified of roller coasters, but I will go on them. I convince myself to get in line and have panic attacks the whole time while I am waiting to get on the ride. Then I get on and I am tense. The coaster starts going up the first big hill. . .I have my eyes closed and I am holding on for life! After the first hill, I open my eyes, even though I am scared, but I never let go or put my hands up. Actually, the pictures of me on the rides are quite hilarious! When the ride is over and I am off, I am thinking,  that was fun, let's do it again! So that is kind of what getting on Shy is like. 

Shy is not like Mia. Mia was pretty much bomb-proof. To even get Mia to move, I pretty much had to kick her, not squeeze. When she tried to buck and rear me off that one time, I was scared, but not terrified. I stayed on. When she chased that van when we rode down the street, I was able to handle that. When she pretty much galloped (or it felt like a gallop) back towards the barn that same day, I stayed on her. I never once felt unsafe or that Mia would try to hurt me. Sure, I had an adrenaline rush and I was out of my comfort zone, but I recovered.

With Shyloh, there are a lot of things that are different. She is much younger than Mia by over a decade. Mia was a lesson horse that tons of people rode, so she was pretty much desensitized to everything. Shy is much more reactive and I do not know her as well. And I am not confident in how she will react yet. I am also not confident in my abilities. I have not taken lessons (yet). I am lucky enough to have some friends who know what they are doing help me, but I do need formal lessons. But we will continue to work on trust on confidence building with each other. 

At the very least. . .I got on Shy without falling off the other side! However, getting off was a whole different story. As I dismounted, I leaned forward to swing my back leg over the rear of the saddle (I need to start doing stretches!). When I leaned forward, the saddle horn must have gone between my boobs, because when I slid off, I heard rrrrriiiiiipppppp, and my boob popped out! Terry was doubled over in serious pain laughing like it was the funniest thing EVER (and it kinda was), but here I was standing, one boob out of my ripped up bra and a horse that was like  WTF just happened? That is my first, and hopefully my last bra casualty, and I really liked that bra. 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

sunday at the barn

I went to the barn with Robin and Terry. Kathy and Sandy were there, too. Lucky ducks, they were on a trail ride when we got there! One day. . .that will be me! I think my biggest fear is my inexperience with horses and riding. I am not afraid of Shyloh. She knows exactly what she is doing. I do not think that she would intentionally hurt me or anyone, or any horse. It's all me and me not knowing what I am doing that is holding me back.

Shyloh did great today! There was no jumpiness or spooking! I know that there is no way that the supplements are taking effect this quickly, so it must be that she is gaining trust with me. We have had a bunch of good days in a row, so I am waiting for that bad day (or week, or month). . .you know the saying, two steps forward, three steps back.

We worked on our showmanship, with the cones in a square and stopping and lining up. Then we did some trot work. I had to get the crop, but we trotted next to each other! I feel bad that she is so scared of it, but I am not going to hurt her with it and she understands what it means, so I use it. I put the cones in a line and walked them, then worked on trotting them. Shy was fantastic. Although I did have to tap her (ever so lightly) when she began to slow, we trotted through those cones! A few times, we even continued around the arena. Whew. . .that wore me out!

Pretty girl!  I am actually sitting on the mounting block when I took this, so maybe her mounting block  fears are subsiding. . .maybe?
After, I took two poles outside to see if Shy would walk over them. They were not a problem! She was walking and grazing right over them. We also walked through them and backed through them. I took Shy to graze some more, and to my amazement, she trotted outside next to me, without the crop! Running through the grass with Shy was fun! She seemed to enjoy it, too!

My dad came over today. He lives near Coldwater and said that at the garage sales out there, they have horse tack for sale all the time! I might have to take a trip to my dad's house again. . . i could really use my own tack!

Tomorrow's post might hold a surprise. . .da da da dummmm. . . .

Saturday, August 20, 2011

just watching

Today, I sat back and watched Shyloh in her paddock with Chick. Snooze. . . 

Not what I was expecting. I was prepared to watch them munch grass, clean up what was left of the morning hay, and do their best to keep the flies off of them, but I was hoping that after a while they would forget I was there and they would begin to do all kinds of wonderfully amusing, cute, and entertaining horsey things. Not so. . . 

looking for food. . .

continue looking for food. . .
They ate and stomped and ate and and swished tails. Then, a twist in the dreary routine! They were thirsty and went to get a drink of water! And in order to drink this water they had to walk to the back of the paddock. This extreme movement constituted a break in the monotony! Then, at one gut-wrenching suspenseful moment, we thought Chick was going to roll, but we were highly disappointed when he decided to eat hay instead. 

So, I went inside to finish watching equestrian team practice and interact with people. When I came back out, something fantastic must have gone on, because one of Shy's ears was out of her fly mask. WTF? I missed it?? It was like having to go to the bathroom in the middle of the movie and coming back having missed the best, most action filled part. I was so disappointed.

This is a face of pure disappointment!
So, we sat back down and watched Shy and Chick some more. Again, more eating, stomping, and fly repelling. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. But then came the highlight of the whole horsey show!! Shy and Chick were being cute with each other! Aww. . .BFFs!

We're cute <3

Let's snuggle :)

. . .until Mike decided to feed them handfuls of grass. This is when I learned that the "love bites" along Shy's side were probably not done out of love, but out of food mongering. They were both going for the same piece of grass that had fell to the ground and clearly Chick wanted it more than Shy, he snapped at her and tried to bite her side! I guess they are BFFs unless it comes down to a blade of grass. . .

Even though watching Shy would not win an Oscar in the action category, I did learn some things. While Shy is forging for leftover hay and grass bits, she probably sucks up a lot of dirt, which can cause colic. So I am putting her on Sand Clear to put a stop to that. Tomorrow, I plan on doing my showmanship homework that Terry gave us.

This is how I smell for food!

Where did all the food go?

Friday, August 19, 2011


 **Update - Just received pictures from Robin, so I added them**

What a fantastic day at the barn with Shyloh, Robin and Ryleigh, and Terry! I learned A LOT from Terry tonight. For instance, even though Shy is scared, she is a very willing participant and learns quick. Terry is fully convinced that we can get the jumpiness out of Shy by October. Me. . .not so much. . .but we will see. Terry said that Shy is jumpy because of her past training.

Terry showed us how to do showmanship today. Showmanship is an event were the person is not riding the horse, but they get show the horse off and have the horse do patterns. It is kinda like dog shows, I think. Anyway, we worked on that to get Shy to think and used to being handled by me. We incorporated the use of a crop today, just to tap Shy along. She is pretty much terrified of it. But is does work! She will trot now when I run next to her, although, she is kinda trying to run away from me. We also worked on walking in a square, turning Shy correctly, and stopping. Shy did amazing!!

I have no idea what I am doing!

Trying to get Shy to trot next to me! 
I started Shy on her supplements today, which included magnesium, vitamin B1, and red raspberry leaves, in addition to the ground flax seed that she has been getting.  She gobbled them right up! I swear this horse will eat anything! She also tasted a french fry today and Cheese-its the other day. But for some reason, she was scared of the coconut oil that I used on her mane to moisturise it. She is a strange creature. Anyway, I will see if her jumpiness calms down over the next few weeks.

I am such an impatient person! I was discussing Shy's behaviors with Robin the other day and just saying that I was a little frustrated that Shy continues to be jumpy. She reminded me that I have not even had Shy a month! What?? It seems like forever! So I need to tone down my expectations. . .especially with the supplements. They will not work overnight!

But on a good note, I got Shy's massage results from Kathy.She said that she has a strong, straight, back and was impressed with her calmness and willingness to stand for the 45 minute massage! Kathy also said that she did not have any heat coming from her legs or anything, and that is a good thing! She is a healthy girl! Now I just need to get this dandruff and dry skin under control.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

gonna spray

Shyloh is being a cranky pony this week! Yesterday, Beth was riding Bob (Shy's first boyfriend) in the arena for the first time, so we steered clear of it. Shy met some new people and a Chinese Crested dog. One lady that she met said that Shy was beautiful and she was just what a Haflinger is supposed to look like (yes, I was beaming with pride)! I got the new supplements in today, so I am going to start those tomorrow and hope they work. . .

I took Shy outside to graze and the bugs were attacking in full force. So I decided to spray her, but I wanted to spray her outside. She tends to be a little jumpy at the first spray, every time. So I started saying Gonna spray right before I sprayed. My logic was to give her a verbal warning that the spray was coming. Well, the first couple times I sprayed her, she began to lunge herself, trotting around in a circle on her lead rope. Then she caught on real quick that gonna spray meant that a spray was coming, so as soon as I said it, she trotted in her circles. Then she came to realize that I would only spray her once she put her head down and began to eat grass, so she would grab a mouthful real quick, then lift her head to chew it up, and repeat. I guess there is no fooling her. . .

After Beth as done riding Bob, we went into the arena to attempt to practice come showmanship exercises with Robin and Ryleigh. Shy can step up and back up, but she cannot pivot. And for some reason, she will not trot when I try to get her to do it when I am on the ground. I know she is not lazy and I know that she knows what clucking and trot means, so I will have to get to the bottom of that. . .

I heard the cutest story about Shy and Chick yesterday from one of the boarders who comes to feed. She said she was filling their water and they both walked over to her. Then they looked at each other and drank at the same time. Chick finished drinking first, waited for Shy to finish, then they trotted off together!  I just wish Chick would explain the new "love bites" that are along Shy's one side. . .

Today, Shy got the royal spa package! She got a pedicure (the all natural farrier came out and trimmed her hooves) and she got a massage! Kathy took good care of Shy with the farrier and said she was wonderful for her! The farrier said her hooves look real good! Then Kathy gave Shy her first massage! Lucky girl! I think the massages will be good for her; they will let her know that people won't hurt her and they will reinforce that touch is good. Kathy said that Shy was a little leery at first, especially around the face, but then she excepted it well and she was an angel! I am so happy, even though I cannot imagine Shy being an angel this week. . .

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

pooper scooper

I scooped poop yesterday, a lot of poop! Two wheelbarrows full, to be exact. Shyloh and Chick's lean-to had a ton of poop in it, so I decided to scoop it up. I did not want to do anything with her anyway, I wanted to let her know that every time I come out, I am not going to pull her out and make her do something.

Shy is not afraid of a big yellow wheelbarrow. She was not bothered by it at all when I wheeled it in her paddock and to the lean-to. As I started to scoop poop, I heard something, and looked back and saw Shy running. . .ok, trotting, towards me! At first I thought Yay! She is actually coming to me!, then I thought Oh, shit! She is running right at me. . .maybe she is pissed that I am in her "house"! I am still unsure of why she was running, but she just wanted to check stuff out and see what I was doing. After a minute, she lost interest and went back to eating hay remnants.

I decided to try some calming supplements for Shy, to see if they work for her. After doing some research, reading user reviews, talking to company representatives, and comparing prices, I decided to go with Magnesium and B1. I am going to see how it works and if it takes the edge off of her at all. I also did some research into dried raspberry leaves, but I think I am going to hold off on that until I see how these other supplements do.

My phone takes terrible night pictures. It looks all grainy, like an alien or the chupacabra should be creeping around in the background!

Shy's pretty view of the sky

Sunday, August 14, 2011

more spooks

Today was a spooky sort of day! I'm not entirely sure why, but Shyloh was very spooky and a little bit cranky. It could be that she is in heat (I don't know if she is or not, though), or it could be that she appears to have some sort of bug bite on the side of her lip. If the bug bite was the case, it explains why she was reluctant to take the bit and why she was cranky while we were trying to work. 

Can't really see it, bit it's the pink spot on her lip. I swear it was puffy! 
After I lunged for a bit, I decided to try lunging Shy over the pole, which we have done before. I got the pole out and walked her over it a few time. No problem. As I was lunging her, she came around the circle, saw the pole, and spooked at it! Ugh, what the hell? We have been walking and trotting over poles, around poles, through poles, and lunging with them for a week. That was when I took the bridle off and noticed the puffy pink lip. I put the halter on, and tried to walk her over the pole again. No go. I was thinking Seriously, Shy. This is not new stuff here. It took a while, but I had her walking over poles and through poles again.

As I continued to walk her around the arena, Robin got a carrot stick and attached a plastic bag to it. Plastic bags are THE most terrifying thing to a horse. I am not sure why. They hate it when they crinkle... but when a peppermint, butterscotch, or Jolly Rancher wrapper crinkles, they come running! Anyway, at the first crinkle of the plastic bag, Shy picked up pace real quick to get out of it's evil reach. On the second loop around, we stopped to investigate the horrendous villain. As Shy was checking it out, she blew out her nose, which made the bag make a noise. Oh my God, pure terror terror!  But we kept at it and eventually, I was able to touch Shy with the bag and move it near her feet on the ground. 

Next, I took Shy out to graze. I went out the back and decided to walk her the back way to her paddock, so she could graze along the way. At one point, she must have decided that the grass was so good and forgot about where she was and what was going on, because when I gave the lead rope a tug and said walk on, she jumped about a mile into the air! Oops. . . The good thing about Shy is that she recovers quickly from her spooks and doesn't deter her from doing something again. 

Mouth full of grass! yum!
Her last spook happened when we were leaving. I think Chick was spooked first at the car, which then spooked Shy, but they both took off in the paddock! Poor Shyloh! Do they make anti-anxiety medication for horses?

Eating left over hay with her BFF, Chick :)
Being spooky makes for a thirsty pony!
Shy doing something funky. . .

Saturday, August 13, 2011

catching up

I did not go to see Shyloh today, and while I did miss her, I also got to do some things I rarely get to do.

Today, I took the dogs for a walk at Lake Erie Metropark with my friend Anna and her dog, Nina. We used to go almost every weekend last summer. And if we weren't walking the dogs or taking them swimming, we were kayaking or riding our bikes. I miss those bike rides and kayak trips, but the weather this summer was either way too hot or rainy.
Nina, Cooper, Maggie :)
I ate dinner with family and it was delicious! I also hung out with some family that I've been neglecting. Mike went on a tubing trip and I just got done talking to him on the phone. I am so happy that I did not go! He said the water was freezing and being cold is my least favorite activity! Before dinner, I took Felecia to see the movie The Change-Up. 
If you are not into boobs, I would not recommend this movie. Because it showed A LOT of boobs. And, it was really not that funny. I never once busted out laughing. So, I really would not recommend this movie anyway, even if you were into boobs. 

My plans for the rest of the night are to chill and relax, hang out with the dogs, and maybe get some ice cream. . . definitely get some ice cream. The real decision is Cold Stone or Dairy Queen. . . hmmm. . . .

Friday, August 12, 2011

giving some attitude

I think Shyloh has got a big attitude for a little pony. Now, I know some stuff she does not mind at all, but sometimes she tosses her head with a vengeance! For instance, she hates her ears being touch. So, I have been touching them to get her used to it. When I start touching them at first, she tosses her head like oh hell naw! Then she is okay with it, but still guarded. However, when I put on her fly mask, halter, or bridle, they have to go over her ears. She has no problem letting me grab her ears for that to put them in the fly mask or slip them under a halter or bridle. Attitude!

Today we worked on more desensitizing stuff. I got out some barrels. . .didn't faze her, the poles. . . not a problem, cones. . . no big deal. She was leery about these upright stands that are used to hold jumps, but we got ever that. Felecia, my cousin, came to the barn with us. She is staying with me for the weekend and got a real treat when Robin let her ride Ryleigh! I had Felecia kick the big blue ball back and forth with me. Shy did not mind. Felecia accidentally kicked it at Shy once, and it hit her in the side (not hard at all, I promise!) and Shy did not freak out. To be honest, not her most favorite thing ever, but it was not spook-worthy. 

Since Shy appears to be doing well with obstacles, I want to move them outside. I think it will be a totally different experience outside. And since my ultimate goal is trail riding, I think that will be a good move. Shy totally is not spooked when I drop brushes, other grooming stuff, or her container for apples and carrots. She also was not spooked when I crinkled a Coke can. 

I did discover the one thing (so far) that Shy cannot stand. It is the only thing that she has ever raised her leg at me for, as in a warning that if I continue doing what I am doing, she is going to kick. And, it sounds gross, but sometimes these things need to be done. Shy does not like her nipples (not sure what horse nipples are called? udders?) touched. The reason that I wanted/needed to touch them was that she has mud on and around them and I just wanted to clean it off. Shy was not down with that at all. . .I feel bad for whoever has to clean them (probably me, eventually). . . They get dirt in them and have to be cleaned out periodically, because the dirt can cause irritation or infection. 

Overall, I think we are making improvements, but now we need to add attitude adjustment to Shy's to-do list!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

not so scary. . .

Yesterday was a fantastic day at the barn! 
  • I worked with Shyloh on introducing her to new things
  • I became a klutz around Shy
  • Robin rode Ryleigh for a long time!
I set up a mini obstacle course for Shyloh. We walked over poles. We walked through poles. (Through the poles was very scary at first!)

We walked around cones. I put cones on Shy. I dropped cones.

I showed her the big blue ball. I bounced the big blue ball. I touched Shy with the big blue ball. Shy was amazing! 

At first she was a little afraid, but I kept at it until she did not care. I hope that I am teaching her to trust me and she is learning that everything is not so scary!

I did some reading on desensitizing. Some things said a spooky horse is an unsafe horse and to get another horse. Some stuff said just keep trying new things all the time. Some said that a horse can never be desensitized to everything it would meet on a trail. So. . .I didn't know where to start or what to think! I did read one piece of advise that said if the owner was klutzy around the horse (dropping stuff, falling over, tripping, etc. . .) then the horse will think that the owner is always causing the spooky things and it is okay. This translates to the saddle, so when the horse encounters something spooky on the trail, they will think the owner did it and be okay. I started dropping grooming brushes while I was grooming Shy. At first, she jumped a little, but then it did not bother her at all! She even let me hold on to her ears after I worked with her a bit!

I really wanted to go back to the barn today to work on some more stuff, since we had so much success yesterday. But I am beginning to realize that there is simply not enough time in the day to do all the things I want/need to do. I have been sacrificing a lot of things to be with Mia, then Shyloh. And while I do not want to take time away from Shy, I think I have to get back to some other things that I have been neglecting in my life.