Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Today was not a good day in general (silly work), so it gave me lots of time to think. . .and what I thought most about was my decision to board Shyloh inside. I am really struggling with this decision. Living outside is so much healthier, healthier for her hooves, healthier for her respiratory system, healthier for her digestive system, and healthier for her mental well-being. It is just more natural.

I can't think of a worse time to transition Shy inside; it has been constant rain. Since she has been inside, she has only been out a few times. Shy was in all day today due to the rain, although I will be forever grateful for Kathy for turning her out in the arena when she is stuck in all day. Did I ever mention that the people at my barn are the greatest?
Picture sent from Kathy! I love getting pictures of Shy while I'm working!
Since being inside, I have gotten mixed feedback. She does fine in the stall and has not exhibited and negative stall behaviors, so far. Robin said that she is loving the attention of being inside. Shy has pressed her nose between the bars when Robin was in Ryleigh's stall and Shy was grunting at Robin to scratch her nose. Robin also said that she gave Ryleigh a flake of hay and he would take a mouthful, raise his head, and Shy would grab some from his mouth between the bars! I wish I would have witnessed that! Robin said it happened about three times, so she does not feel it was a coincidence. 
Behind bars. . .help I'm in jail!
But today, I spent some time with Shyloh in her stall and she was licking the metal. . . a lot. And I have noticed that she licks when she is anxious/uncomfortable/nervous. And she did this for quite some time. . .
Looking outside. . .longing to be outside?
When I took her out to work, she was ready to go! We did some lunging and she wanted to trot! I did not get a canter today, but I did get her amazingly fast trot. The real disaster started when I hooked up the long lines. Shy would take about five steps, then turn completely sideways. What? She never did this before. Shy was kinda craning her neck to the side. We went around the whole arena like this. . .five steps, craned neck, sideways turn, repeat. I made her go all the way around in case it was an attempt to get out of work, but it could have been anything really. Maybe the bridle needs to be adjusted with the new bit, maybe it was the torrential downpour (sounds much louder in the metal barn), maybe she just didn't want to work. I have no idea. . .
Ready to go!
So, I am going to give her some more time to adjust to being inside, but if it doesn't work, I'll have to re-think my decision. In an attempt to cheer her up some, I dunked her Jolly ball in water and sprinkled some sugar on it. She has not touched it yet, so I wanted to get her interested in it. I think it worked!
Jolly ball tastes good!
Checking it out. . .


  1. I have never kept a horse at a stable, so I am hanging on your posts and enjoying this journey with you & Shy. Can I ask- what is the ground cover in her stall? In the photo, it looks like sand- but I doubt that's what it is. Anytime I'v stalled my horses, I have used cedar shavings or straw.

  2. Deanna,
    it is pelleted sawdust. It comes in bags and the sawdust is compacted into pellets. When Shy first encountered this, she tried to eat the pellets (I can see how they resemble grain)It saves on space and it is easy to clean. We just slice open a bag in the stall, add some water and the pellets kinda pop open. Then spread it.
    It looks kinda sparse in the above pictures, but it's not! She moves it around and it piles up along the edges.
    Thanks for following our journey! I just got a text from Robin right after I posted this about how happy Shy is in the stall and how she is really digging all the attention and how she continues to grunt for scratches. I think I got played tonight by my pony. . .

  3. I understand how you feel. I prefer to have my horses outside, with access to shelter. When I was younger I did have horses who were stuck in stalls... a lot. Now I think back at that and wonder if they were truly miserable. They didn't seem to be. I did work with them just about every day, but now I wonder how they felt, or how other horses at the barn who didn't get daily attention felt.
    When I put bedding in I also use the pelleted shavings. I LOVE it! Pippin's strained his stifles so I'm gonna bed him down for tonight, hoping that will encourage him to rest! (He'll still be able to go outside if that is what he prefers. His stall door is almost always open to the paddock)

  4. I apologize for not visiting my favorite blogs lately, and i promise to do some catching-up with everyone in the next few days. We are experiencing cooler weather starting today (Thursday) and as for myself I'm looking forward to falls return to the Lancaster Pennsylvania area. And are the color of the leaves changing your your way folks as they are mine. Hope everyone has a great weekend and enjoy the beautiful fall season that has now begun. Richard from Amish Stories.

  5. Dreaming, she doesn't seem miserable, just different. Luckily, she is getting some time outside, even though the weather is bad. Poor Pippin! I hope he heals up!

    Richard, It's nice to hear from you! Enjoy the weather!

  6. My horse lived in barn when I was showing him competitively. He would go out pretty much everyday in a paddock with a couple other horses. Once I stopped showing, he can home to my parents' place where he now lives in field with his buddies. I know he prefers living in a pasture, but I think a lot of it is his personality. He isn't a super friendly horse towards people, so he likes to be able to just hang out in the field. I think people-friendly horses have an easier time living inside because the attention they get from people outweighs not being able to play outside. You have to tailor it to your particular horse.

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  8. I'd like to try my horse with one of those treat balls! They look fun!


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