Tuesday, October 11, 2011

operator error

I feel so lucky to have such a great little pony! Shyloh is so patient with me; when I fumble with the bridle, when I botch a saddle removal, when I attempt to put her halter on inside out and backwards, and when I give the wrong cues, she just looks at me like let's get it right this time, okay?. But she never throws a fuss. Even when I have her all tacked up in the arena, and I get lost in conversation with someone else, Shy just stands there so calmly. Her only protest is a series of yawns (apparently, our conversation is boring to Shy) and maybe a tap or two with her front hoof to let me know that she is bored. But she is never pushy and she never tries to take off.
Braided what little forelock Shy has. . .but there is new growth coming in!
We took another trail walk today with Sandy and Forseti. We went in a different direction than than before and encountered tornado sirens, a helicopter, a motorcycle, and a truck hauling farm equipment. Shy took everything in stride. She even walked over plastic pop bottles and a two by four. She was not bothered by anything. What an amazing little horse!
Shy on the road with Sandy and Forseti
On our walk, Shy kept invading my space and walking into me. I was getting frustrated with her and kept pushing her over (thinking to myself that boundaries is what we will be concentrating on immediately). She usually respects my boundaries pretty well, so I did not know where this was coming from. After doing a self assessment of my position, how my hands were, and how I was holding the reins, I discovered it was MY fault that Shy kept walking into me! I had not realized that I was inadvertently cuing her over with the reins. As my dad always says, when stuff goes wrong, it is usually operator error. I have a feeling that I will be making a ton of operator errors with Shy, which is why I am so glad she is patient with me!
Just plodding along
Another operator error that I am battling is Shy dive bombing for grass, or clover, or leaves, or anything that appears to be slightly edible. I know that this is entirely my fault for letting her graze with her halter on and now it is something we must correct. But I did want her to graze and sometimes there was not an open pasture for her (excuses, excuses). On our walk, I actually have to pull chunks of grass out of her mouth because she stuffs in so much grass and she has difficulty eating it with a bit in there. And I discovered that she has a taste for fallen leaves, as she ate several on our walk.
Shy loves to close her eyes!
When we returned, Jaime, a boarder at the barn, helped me out. She has a beautiful Percheron, Notch, that she drives. I asked her if she had any long lines that I could borrow to work with Shy. My thought behind using long lines is that it will help me get my cues and hands correct for when I ride her. Jaime did have some long lines and a surcingle. We did not get a chance to try the surcingle on Shy today, though. But, we did try two of Notch's saddles on Shy. One was WAY too big. I mean. . .the Percheron to Haflinger ratio is rather large! The other saddle fit pretty well. Shyloh is on the petite side for a Haflinger; she is not that wide and not very long. I guess a saddle with full quarter horse bars and a rounded skirt should be the most comfortable for her. We will see. . .I am not to that point yet. 

I think a third goal might be added to my list. . .driving! It looks fun and it is rumored that Shy knows how to drive. So yet again, it will be me doing most of the learning here and making those unavoidable operator errors!
Notch in all his driving bling! Handsome boy!
Very cool!
As I am writing, I hear my husband in the other room cheering for a Detroit Tiger score. I have to throw a shout out for our Detroit Tigers and Detroit Lions (5-0)! 


  1. Shy would look great pulling a cart!! I found out a few months ago that my boy knows how to pleasure drive and I am going for my second lesson in two weeks! It is fun! You should take some lessons. That Notch is one handsome guy....

  2. Notch is beautiful! A real gentle giant. Jaime, from my barn, keeps telling me I need to have Shy pull with her! She even offered to let me work Notch tonight, but I have never done it, so I decline. . .
    I want to hear all about your lessons! Exciting!!

  3. Driving is a lot of fun. I have been doing some ground driving... and need to do more. I've just begun dangling things off of the harness, and soon we'll drag a tire, then I'll add an evener with a tire and then... who knows what! I want to get some sort of sled for them to drag. I love Jaime's sled..it's a 'sled'!!

  4. Dreaming, it is a sled! She has a cart, too, but it is too big for the arena. I think I really would like to see what Shy can do with driving, it will be lots of fun!

  5. Camryn here:
    Rumor has it that I drive too. Mom says maybe we can skijour with a little sled this winter. If we can talk Dad into being the sled guinea pig anyway Hee hee. I'm a grass diver too, Mom carries a small crop (bummer) that sorts me out pretty quickly as it taps on my chin!!!
    Notch is a looker that's for sure.

  6. Thanks for the comment - I am totally A-OK! I'm my usual perky self, well, maybe a bit tired this morning! Tooth...well, the hole where the tooth was, is fine. Stitches come out tomorrow. Shucks, my tongue won't know what to do without them to play with!
    If you think it is tough when Shyloh dives for grass (and I agree - just how can they stuff that much into their mouthes that quickly?!) imagine trying to lead two hungry Haffies! It's a hoot. One will snake his head down, quick as a wink, the other will take three more steps. While I'm trying to yank one head up... the other goes down. Sometimes I feel like they are trying to pull me apart!

  7. Notch is really gorgeous!

    Have fun learning to drive!

  8. Camryn, A crop might be a good idea, if I cannot get the dive bombing under control any other way. Shy is a little scared of them, though. I don't want to her be afraid of me, but she does need to listen.
    A sled would be fun! Over the hills and through the woods!!

    Dreaming, You are very brave, dental work scares me!! And I do not know how you handle TWO Haflingers! One bottomless- stomach pit is enough for me! Food is constantly on her mind. But, two, working together for the fullfillment of their tummies. . . that would be downright impossible!

    Megan, Thank you! I will let Jaime know her boy is loved.

  9. I like your dad's idea of operator error. Most times with horses it seems like it is our errors that cause the problems!

    I had problems with grass diving with my boys when they first came, yet I wanted to hand graze them and I want them to be able to graze in their bitless bridles on rides when I tell them it is ok. I practiced vigilantly with them when I lead them to graze. I tell them "ok" and then their head may go down. When I decide that we are done, I pull them up and say, "that is enough" and walk on - no faltering. It took a few weeks to get this, but now they are perfect about it.

  10. love that flaxen mane!

    and I would LOVE to learn how to drive... if only there were more flat land where I live. Definitely on my equine "bucket list." I know someone 2 hours away who is training a pony to drive, so maybe in the future I'll have access to that world!

    thanks for following, would love to follow you right back! :) Corinna

  11. Juliette, i think I might try that with the grazing. . .although not much matters to a Haflinger when it comes to food!

    Corrina, i hope you get a chance at driving! It sure does seem like fun!


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