Thursday, May 31, 2012

breaks, braids, and barrels

We started the day on a bad note. . .I had Shyloh running off some excess energy in the arena before her lesson. Since she just wanted to hang out the barn doors and eat grass, I had to make her run. Once I got her going, she was running and bucking and having herself a good old time. So good that she continued running straight through the 2x4 that that blocks the barn doors and off into the deep, deep grass. I got her corralled into a pasture and went to get her. 
 Crazy horse, who does she think she is? Haha! I'm glad that she did not get hurt though!

Before the lesson, I worked on my mane roll. This was the best one yet! Still needs a lot of work and it kinda fell apart near the end, but we are so close to getting it right!

For the lesson, we decided to do something fun. The barrels were out for Markie, so Beth wanted to see if she could make Shy a barrel racer! Fun! But going into this, you have to realize. . .1) Shy can't pick up correct leads consistently; 2) Shy has not yet been taught lead changes, and 3) Shy has never gone into the canter from a stand still.

I present to you: Shyloh the Barrel Racing Haflinger!
I think it is safe to say that she prefers dressage over barrel racing, haha! But it was fun and she was a good sport about it.

I got on Shy next. She was so good, again! I walked the barrel pattern, but attempted the trot at the end. Oops, I had the reins to loose and Shy took full advantage as she tried to exit the arena on her own accord, head in the air. I did get her to stop and we worked on some more turns on the forehand. And I did get her to trot again! She is hard to control when she is trotting. Beth agrees (but Beth has so much more experience, she can handle it) and said it is just something we need to work on. . .balance and control at the trot. 

I am so surprised at two great days in a row riding Shy!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

cloud nine!

Shy has not been ridden in almost three weeks. Beth said that Shyloh will either be really, really good or really, really bad. Guess which one Shy chose to be. . .
New training aid. . .cavesson so she stops putting her tongue over the bit. 
Let's just say that. . . 


It was amazing, even though it was a few steps and only a few times. But she did it when I asked and stopped when I asked. I am soooo happy right now! And, I got it on video! This is the start of a whole new chapter for us.
I purposefully did not want to go too far with her since my steering needs lots of work and I did not want Shy to get too excited and take off. 

Shy had an amazing lesson today. She was dream pony! She remembered pretty much everything she learned so far. And she remembered that legs do not mean shoot forward! There was no boots, no scoots, and no boogies. Shy was so relaxed, set her head, and was just overall awesome. Even though, ever since she discovered that moving sideways is the new fun thing to do, that is all she wants to do. Move forward? Nah, let's go sideways, says Shy. Silly pony. And Beth tried some neck reining with Shy. We are not there, yet, haha!

Funny thing is, I almost did not ride her. I was ready to go, but she was being such a booger at the mounting block I was about to give up. I thought, if she does not want me on her this bad, what will she do once I am actually on her? But I persisted and eventually got on. 

I conquered my far end of the arena fear and rode Shy down there. We did (attempted) turns on the forehand. I worked on using opposite leg/hand to move her over to the rail. I am still shaking from my extreme happiness at how far Shy has come!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


While I was off with family celebrating the Memorial Holiday doing this. . .
Ahh. . .kayaking. So peaceful!
and this. . .
Bonfires on the beach, with S'mores!
Shyloh was having herself a good old time doing this. . .
Goofy looking forelock, from the humidity maybe? Shy likes hose water!
 and this. . .

Rollin', rollin', rollin' in the di-irt
Anyway, on my drive to the barn from work, I was contemplating the show and in particular the trail class. Bear with me, my thoughts are sporadic! 

Why would Shy not back up through the obstacle? Was it a trust issue? I have worked so hard to gain trust with her, what else can I do? Is it because I don't trust her, but only when riding (a whole other issue in itself)? Anyway, I went on and on about trust or the lack thereof. . .hey, I hit construction on the way to the barn, I had a lot of time! I was really bumming myself out with all my doubts. Then I was getting mad. Mad at me for not being able to provide Shy with what she needs and mad at her for what I have to offer not being enough. Ha. . . yes, I am a little bit crazy and quite possibly over analyze everything.

I walked into the barn irritated at both of us. But as soon as I saw Shy's silly face, it all went away. My perfect little Haflinger was just waiting for me. I groomed her, set up a trail obstacle, grabbed my clicker training stuff, and began to tackle the trust.

Turns out, I give Shy much more credit than she deserves. . .Yes, she is smart, perhaps smarter than me, but she is simple. As in, she simply did not want to back up. Going forward was easier. Shy was not understanding why she had to back through it when she could walk forward through it.

After a few frustrating attempts, mostly of her backing the first leg of the obstacle, then powering forward to avoid the turn, success! This mare has amazing lateral movements when she is trying to get out of going backwards. It really is amazing. . .if I wanted her to go sideways. 

So, for the trail judge on Sunday and anyone that does not believe me, here is the proof that Shy will back through an obstacle!
And here is the sidepass that we worked on, too. Pretty good! She can do it without me touching her now. But, is it me, or is Shy actually hitting me on purpose when she swishes her tail?

Monday, May 28, 2012

monday musings by shyloh #39

Well, since Allie seems to have taken a long absence (without my permission), I guess I have to prepare for this weekends show all by myself.

What are your show tips so I can win?
I'll just be munching wheelbarrow hay while I await your tips.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

my sanctuary

The barn is my sanctuary. It is the place I like to go to unwind and relax from my job and life in general. I like that I can be the only person there, surrounded by horses and nothing else. I actually missed the smell of hay, manure, and horse on my work trip! Who would have thought?
Miss this? Never. . .
I may have become selfish with my time at the barn. I choose when I want to talk to people and sometimes it is nothing more than a mere hello or good bye. If I feel like engaging in conversation, I do. Otherwise, I do my thing with Shyloh and leave. Sometimes, after a particularly challenging day at work, the barn is just what I need to recharge myself for the next day. The last thing that I want is the barn to be a place that is stressful. I need my barn and my Shy time. 

Which is why I find it fun to just goof off with Shy on a regular basis. I teach her how to honk, to wave, to kiss. I just hang out with her in her stall. I watch her in the pasture. I take her for little trail walks on the property and play ball with her in the arena. I don't have her take a lesson for 3 (!!) weeks. . .oops. Oh well, we are in no hurry.

From past vacation experiences, I was not under any impression that Shy would be excited at my return. When I went to get her from her pasture, she was near the gate and let me walk up to her and put her lead rope on her muzzle. Maybe not jumping for joy, but at least she wasn't running from me! Improvement. 

We have a show coming up next weekend and I wanted to practice the mane roll. I have a better idea how it is done, but we are not quite there. . .yet.  This attempt was better than previous attempts, but still we are missing some step in the process. I'm going to keep trying. I also ordered a show halter. We are going pro, haha!

This weather is insanely hot! It was 90 degrees today, and it is not even June! I hosed Shy down to cool her off. Silly girl was drinking water from the hose. During her bath, I discovered that she is rubbing her lips on her muzzle and they are getting raw. 
On another note, her whiskers grow fast!!
Poor girl. I made arrangements with Beth to keep Shy in the short, short grass pasture so she can heal from her muzzle rubs until I can figure something out. . .any ideas? This way she will be wit her herd when they go to that pasture and she will still get outside when the rest of them go to the pond pasture.

I took wet Shy in the arena to apply her "fly deterrent". Rolly pony time!
Adding just the right amount of sand. . .
Apply to both sides, and done!
Then we went outside to dry off. And Shy got a chance to perform all of her tricks for another boarder! Happy me. . .I mean us. . .
Wish her mane would grow like her tail
No one wanted to hug her today after she applied her fly deterrent. . .
Now I am going away again for the Memorial Holiday. Everyone have a great weekend! When I get back . . . show boot camp. We will be square and hold our heads up. We will back up through an obstacle. And we will do the best we can!

Friday, May 25, 2012

hobby horse blog hop #14

Here are the rules:
Answer one or all of the prompts. Link back to Living a Dream's post. Visit other blogs. And don't forget to ask a question of everyone else!

1. Imagine that you are once again 8 years old. You have just received the best present, ever. (Ponies and pets are not included on the gift list!) What is it?
At 8, it was probably these: 

Boots and blades. I was a competitive figure skater for many years and I remember these being the best of that time. Eventually, I got a pair, but not until a few y ears later.

2. What kinds of toys do your animals enjoy playing with?
Shy has a jolly ball, but I have never seen her actually play with it. Only when I give it to her. . .I have seen her pick up cones and whips and push a big blue ball. 

3. I know you have seen some sort of recreational activity on TV, or in real life, that you would just love to try. What is it?
Scuba diving!

My question: If you could imagine your horse doing one human sport, what would it be?

Monday, May 21, 2012

monday musings by shyloh #38

Allie said something about Minnesota and Mall of America yesterday. I am taking that to mean she is off traveling and I get to be a wild pony again!  

Which is kinda good news for Allie. See, the cows came back next door and the bull does not like her at all! He has a ring in his nose and a chain hanging from that ring. It also looks like he had udders underneath, but it is not udders. . . Anyway, he grumbly moos every time she comes around! And he makes all the other cows move away. When she leaves, he stops. It's kinda funny! I think he wants to charge her! She better be careful. . .
But back to me and my free week! I love being a wild pony! Oh the things I will do. . .
I made my own version of fly spray! Allie thought she would be "nice" and hose me off to cool me down. It was really hot out. . .but after I got hosed, I promptly rolled. No flies will penetrate the sand barrier that I have created!
What else will I do when Allie is gone? What won't I do is more like it!
Wear my fly mask? Not if I can help it!!
Run barrels? In your dreams!
Eat grass? Now you are speaking my language!
That is more like it!  Too bad I only got a few bites of this deliciousness!  I plan on enjoying my week of wild pony-dom. No baths, no braiding, no working, just fun! 

P.S. Any body who comes to my barn. . .Allie left my special treats right on my door. Feel free to feed me!!

What would you other horses do if you didn't have a two-legger stopping you?


Don't forget to check out my Facebook page for my 50 photo challenge!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

happy-linger: part 2

Of course, I say to myself that Shyloh is happy. Just thinking that she is happy makes me happy. But the logical, part of me wants proof that she really is happy. Actually, I wish Shy could just acquire the English language and speech capabilities to say one compound sentence, "Yes I am happy and yes I love you, too." Is that too much to ask?
Smile? Or a big screw you?
For a horse it is, so I have to look to other signs. The most notable sign lately is her eyes. Shy has gone from frequently showing the whites of her eyes (scared eyes) to much softer eyes. They almost look sad they are so soft. She has relaxed considerably. 
Soft eyes
I have to believe that Shy is happy in her little herd of horses. She has the horses that she likes, the ones she really likes, and the ones she loves. It is so cute to hear her nicker at the horses (Chick, Ryleigh, Casi) that she loves when they walk by her stall. She is funny about her horse friends, too. Chick is her love, Ryleigh is her stall love, Casi is her buddy, Notch is her trailer love, Rambo is her show love (even though the last two are not at our barn). At the same time, Shy does not have a problem being by herself. 
Whoa grass! Shyloh's heaven
Although Shy does not come running up to me when I call her name to get her from her pasture, I think she likes me. She certainly puts up with me and has not tried to purposefully hurt me! Shy is learning that people are not bad and that they are generally an excellent source of food. I hope she looks to me as a leader. On the ground that is not a problem (usually), but she struggles with that under saddle, as do I. We are both working on trusting each other.
Loving the itty bitty grass!
Is Shy happy learning to ride and drive? Well, she likes to succeed and she like a mental challenge. She has not tried to buck me off (knock on wood). The problem arises because she likes to work on her own terms. It is yeah, you can ride/line drive me, but this is how I want to do it and where I want to go. I would have to think that if Shy was unhappy with what we are doing she would concoct some way to get out of it. I don't include the scooting, going behind the bit, and the new getting her tongue over the bit part of this being unhappy. I think if it more as tactics to do what she wants, like not use her rear end. Every time, she stands perfect for getting tacked up, no fuss. And I do really think she enjoys dressage work. . .
Running with the breeze
So based on everything I can think of, the changes I have seen since I got her, and her behaviors, Shy is my little happy-linger! I think that I have created a safe and happy place for her to be a horse and be my horse. She is able to be in her herd and do all the horsey things she wants, yet when it is time to work, she is right there with me. 

And she has not tried to run away from the barn, yet. Ha! But maybe I am just trying to make myself feel better. . .  so, you tell me, do you think Shy is happy?

Friday, May 18, 2012


I often wonder to myself, is Shyloh a little happy-linger? Does she like this barn, these horses, the people. . .me? Is she satisfied with what I have to offer her? With what we are doing? Is she enjoying herself while learning or relearning how to ride and drive? 
Happy girl?
I wonder how can we, as horse owners, tell if a horse is happy? Horses can't speak to let us know, they don't walk around with a smile on their face, and they (usually) are not seen jumping for joy. So, how do we know?

I guess anyone can Google "how to tell if a horse is happy" and get thousands of web pages and forums with people's opinions/research/whatever on the signs of a happy horse. Licking, chewing, yawning, dancing, head height, ear direction. . .you get the idea. And then there is the idea of thought that if horses get all of their basic needs met then they are happy. If that was the case, Shy would be ecstatic since she gets superb care; good hay, clean water, a nice roomy stall that is cleaned daily, weather dependent (no rain, super muddy/icy conditions for safety) turn out on grass pasture, daily supplements and sugar free treats. 

Is this a happy-linger?
All dressed up and no where to go

Haha! She might not think so, but I do! At least she is fly-free and founder-free! Does this mean that she doesn't want to be a wild and free pony? I am sure she does. But I think she is pretty happy. I'll tell you why I think this tomorrow.

How do you know that your horse is happy? In what ways do they show you?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

hobby horse blog hop #13

Here are the rules:
Answer one or all of the prompts. Link back to Living a Dream's post. Visit other blogs. And don't forget to ask a question of everyone else!

Dreaming (lucky duck) got to see Buck and attend a demo! So the Blog Hop is Buck related, fun!

1. As Buck was working with a horse and throwing a rope so it touched the horse all over its body, and tickled its legs, Buck commented that we must prepare our horses for the unthinkable. What 'unthinkable(s)' have you tried to prepare your horse to deal with, and how did you proceed?
This was one of my first orders of business with Shyloh! I did a ton of desensitizing stuff with Shy, I still do to this day. Ropes, pop cans, tarps, barrels, noises, hula hoops. . .the list goes on. Even when I took her on her trail walk during the show, I had her walk at the edge of the path so the branches and leaves would brush against her. 

2. Buck suggested that his assistant "rub bald spots" on the horse. He asked us to think about how a mare would comfort her foal by nuzzling and licking him, and how that might feel. In addition to rubbing your horse, have you found ways to comfort him/her when he or she is tense or needs reassurance?
I have found that Shy licks me when she is nervous or needs reassurance. She also likes to be rubbed right under her forelock, where it meets her head. Saying easy and keeping calm myself has also shown to be comforting to her. 

3. When asked how to make a horse stand still, Buck replied that you really can't. He suggested that the rider "use the energy for a worthy cause" and make the horse move his feet; make the horse 'do' something. Then, after doing that for a time, the horse might be more inclined to stand still. Does your horse stand willingly? What types of exercises might you ask your horse to perform instead of standing still?
I have not really had much experience with making Shy stand still so far. . .standing still is one of her strong suits. Unless she is unsure of being mounted. Then it is just a battle of who is more stubborn. When riding, if she does get scooty or tries to rush forward, Beth disengages her rear end. I like the idea of the rectangles that Buck does!

My question: What one behavior does your horse do that you would like to get rid of?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

the show

Sunday was a long, long day. I was at the barn at 5:30 am, waking up horses and I didn't get back to our barn until 10:30 pm. Whew! We did not take home any ribbons, but it was an experience! I guess this was the biggest turn out that this show has ever had. Aside from constantly annoying me, Shyloh was good. 

For our first class, we did halter. We borrowed a white halter, put ribbons in Shy's mane and tail and went on our merry way. Let's just say that when the judge says to you "Wow, you should have seen the look in her eye when you did that, what a sassy horse," you are in trouble. Shy was not impressed with me trying to square her feet for that class. Strangely enough, when we were not being judged, Shy was able to park her self out very nicely, all on her own. That was the theme of the day. . .when we are not being judged. . .
Show Halter Shy!
So, no placing for halter class. But Jaime got first with Notch! 
Winner winner, chicken dinner!
Next we did trail in hand. Disaster! I was really disappointed in Shy because we had done everything in the pattern before, except for the bridge. We had to start at the trot and trot over poles. As we began to trot and came upon the first poles, Shy stopped and was like what is that and when did it jump out in front of me? Ugh. Why was she acting like she has never trotted over a pole before? After that, we had to back in a U-shape within the poles. Once again, Shy acted like she has never back up before in her life. Argh! We have done this before, multiple times! Things were decent for the next few obstacles until we got to the bridge. Shy put her two front feet on that bridge and stopped. And refused to get on it any more. She did everything in her power to not step on the bridge, including jumping over it. That's fine, we never did a bridge before. 

However, after the trail class was over, I asked to practice on the bridge. Why would Shy have no problem getting on the bridge, standing on the bridge, backing up on the bridge, and even turning on the bridge. Seriously mare? Of course, because we were not being judged. . .
Oh look who is fine with standing on the bridge now. . .
Now it was time for showmanship. I actually think we did much better in this class, even if we did not place. I guess I need to work on keeping Shy's head up as we trot and showing off her hock action. I think Jaime and Notch got second! 

We scratched from the line driving obstacle course. It involved trotting and we (I) fall apart at the trot and it involved the bridge, which we had not yet practiced. Maybe next time. . .after a lot more practice. 

Me and Shy were done for the day, but Jaime and Notch, Kyle and Clutch still had a riding class and some driving classes. Jaime took another first and a fourth, and Kyle got two third place ribbons! 
Draft riding class

Jaime and Notch

Kyle and Clutch
So the show. . .I have mixed feelings on it. That was a long day to be spending with that pony (never thought I'd say that). I did not want to leave her tied to the trailer because we had parked kinda far away and it was so busy.  So I had to take Shy everywhere with me and deal with her diving/digging/lipping all day. Oh yeah, and when Jaime and Kyle were in the riding class Shy decided to call out to Notch. So we had to leave (I did not want to disturb the riders). 

I think Shy was bored because she did not have a lot to do, except stand around and be annoying. But at this point, we are not ready for other classes. Any takers in riding Shy in other classes??

But I had a fun day seeing Haflingers and other horses, watching people ride and drive, and enjoying the beautiful weather. Hopefully we will do better at the next show!

Monday, May 14, 2012

monday musings by shyloh #37

Imagine this. . .

You are a pretty little pony trying to get your beauty rest. Then, in the middle of your slumber the barn light flashes on and you hear your Allie. You scramble up from the floor of your stall and there she is. Whoa! It is early!

But you quickly get over that cause now you have a flake of yummy hay. Allie is bustling about the barn. And before you know it, you have a halter on and you are walking down the driveway and getting into a trailer. Hey. . .wait just a minute here, there is still hay left to eat!

In steps grumpy pony with one mission for the day: Make Allie miserable!
Mare on a mission!
I was a good pony at the show, I really was. But I was also hungry and sleepy. Allie made me go everywhere with her. There was a ton of horses, even more people, and fresh green grass. Naturally, I tried to eat the grass.

My day went something like this:
Flippy lip
Pull on Allie as hard as I could to try and get grass. Get a nibble before getting yanked back up. Try again. Get yelled at. Lip Allie and make her think I am gonna bite. Get my face pushed away. Do the flippy lip. Get told to stop. Spray snot all over Allie. Gross her out. Try to get more grass. Get a chain put under my chin. Chain does not really stop me. Try and get more grass. Get yanked back up. Bite the chain and rip it out of Allie's hand. As she fumbles for the lead line, dive down for more grass. Get yanked back up. Get yelled at.
Why bag, why?
Take a break from shenanigans for lunch! Oh my gosh. . .Allie brought the hay bag. Sad face. So I banged the hay bag on the trailer for a while, then scooted myself over to share hay with Notch. His hay was much easier to get out. Then Allie tied me closer to the trailer, so I started digging at the ground. And then  dumped my water bucket. And knocked over Jaime's grooming box. And kicked the trailer license plate and bent it. That will get her. . . 
Bored me getting into everything within reach!
After lunch, I promptly got back to my mission. I started digging holes to China with my front hooves. Get yelled at. Got told to go ahead, keep digging to China, the people there will eat me. Flippy lip response. Get ignored. Dig more holes. Lip Allie's legs, get popped in the nose. Dive for more grass, don't get any. Hey, what's that? A pine tree? Try to eat it. Not that tasty. Spray snot in disgust. Try the pine tree again. No thanks, spray more snot on Allie. Dig. Lip. Dive for grass again. Success and a yank. Rip lead rope out of Allie's hands. Dive again. Repeat multiple times.
After two attempts, I do not recommend pine tree.
I could feel Allie's frustration. Then she took me for a walk. We went on a real trail! In the woods! It was fun until we got in pretty deep and the mosquitoes attacked! I was a-dancing with all legs kicking up under me to ward off the attack. On the way back, we got to jump over a big downed log! Also, I was not too sure of Allie's intentions of taking me so deep into the woods, so I called out a few times to let the other horses know where I was and that I was still alive. Just in case Allie had malicious intents in the woods.
Real trail walk!
I made it out alive and now I needed a nap! 
Mission: Annoynace makes for a sleepy Haffie!
While we were watching Jaime and Notch, Kyle and Clutch do their cart classes, I stayed strong with my mission of annoyance. I was really getting to Allie, I could tell! I think we were all a little tired. It was a long day. . .
Let's go already! Or let me eat grass!


Friday, May 11, 2012

sabotaging the clueless

Oh Shyloh. . . what am I to do with her? Today, she was the first horse brought outside. After she was let loose in her pasture, Kathy realized it was a grass pasture day (not a barely grass pasture day) and went to get Shy's muzzle and put her in the pond pasture. Well, this mare was having none of it. Shy would not let Kathy catch her to put her with the rest of her herd, so she ended up spending the day in a large pasture by herself. She could have cared less. However, she did manage to somehow do this:
What the heck?
. . .all by herself in a pasture with barely anything in it! How? The answer is clear. She somehow knows that we are going to a show on Sunday and she is sabotaging me. Maybe it is my constant clipping of her excess whiskers and one long chest hair. Maybe it is my awful attempts at putting a mane roll in her hair.

By the way, can anyone do a mane roll? I have watched YouTube videos all day trying to get the concept. I even played/paused a video while trying to get this think in Shy's mane! Unsuccessful does not even begin to describe the disaster that came out of Shy's mane.Somewhere between my brain and my fingers a connection has gone awry. Try as I might, I just cannot get it! Luckily she is a mare and does not NEED a mane roll for the show, but I kinda want her to have one. I am sure if she did, it would look very pretty. 
Got the mane to go on one side!
With the show coming up, so is the anxiety. I have zero idea what I am doing. Basically, we will be winging it and hope we wing it well. We are going to attempt four events and none of them involve me riding Shy. Ha! Maybe one day, but we need a lot more practice for that! I just hope we don't make a total fool of ourselves. . . You know, because when I try to use a stick to move Shy's legs to square her up, she waves. . .

The good thing is that we are doing the draft class and it seems to be more laid back than other shows. Win or lose, as long as we both are having fun, I plan to keep doing the shows. It is a great experience for us. 

We did practice our line driving a bit today. Of course, Shy, true to her inner-Halfinger, gave me a hard time to start. Why is it when I ask her to whoa, she does, then moves to the left, the whoas, then moves to the left, and by the time she is done, she is 90 degrees from the spot where she was supposed to stop? Then, she refuses to move forward. 

But after a obligatory hard time, Shy did great. We did cones, figure eights, circles, back ups, and more whoas. Robin even took a turn line driving her! Then we went outside to practice. Awesome again! Even with Beth's dad moving the lawn!

Tomorrow is going to be clean Shy up as best as we can day! I hope the weather is nice enough for a bath. . .