Friday, August 31, 2012

hobby horse blog hop #26

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. The big, black beasties have gone back to their home now. I miss having them in the paddock. I've never had a black horse before, and I was in awe of how they glistened in the sun. If you could get another horse, or house pet, what color/breed might you be attracted to?
I would get another Haflinger, no questions asked! I do like Paints and the big drafts, too. As for dogs, I have always wanted a Husky or a Bloodhound or a Border Collie, or. . .or. . .or. . .  

2. Ugh, I really should stop working on this post and get out and water the trees and our gardens. It certainly isn't a difficult chore, it is just time consuming. What chore(s) do you find distasteful for whatever reasons?
Does all chores count? I am definitely not very domestic, but I do clean because I have to. I absolutely hate dishes and cleaning the bathroom. I don't mind laundry or vacuuming. I also don't mind cutting the grass.

3. Shorter days, cooler nights.... fall is certainly on its way. What are your plans or goals for fall?
My biggest goal is to get Shyloh's rear end in shape! I have started in hand walk/trots over poles. I plan to start riding her over poles soon. I really, really want to have her in shape and confident, as well as myself by next summer so we can go out and do some trail riding! Personally, my goal is to lose weight and get in better shape. I will be doing my yoga DVD and taking a deep water swim aerobics class. I should really be taking the dogs on daily walks, too. . .oops.

My question:  What elements are in your perfect trail ride?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

and stretch

I got a few stretches to do with Shyloh to help her relax and looses up her rear end muscles. I want to be extra careful, though and not over stretch her. First, I walked her in the arena each way a few times, just to warm her muscles up. I don't want to stretch cold muscles, it is not good for them. 
Wait. You wanna do WHAT to me?
Then, I took her front legs, picked them up and did three circles with them. With the back legs, I pulled one forward, did three circles, pulled it back and did three more circles. But, I was cautious not to actually pull, I just kind of lifted, just to see where she is at. I think Shy really liked it because by the time I got to her back legs, she had her hoof cocked and waiting for me to lift! 

After the warm up and stretches, I took Shy back into the arena and did some in hand walking over poles. Shy likes to walk over poles, so this was easy for us. I did an in hand trot twice, in both directions. 
Blurry walking!
Then I tried some at liberty walking over the poles. . .
Is Shy gonna do it?
Is she hiding behind the standard or veering off course?
Ah ha! Something much greener caught her attention!
Shy likes grass waaay better than walking over poles!

And that pretty much sums up our day. We will increase our walking and trotting time over the poles and ease back into riding soon. Shy is scheduled for a massage sometime this week. 

Oh, and a nearby city granted our barn permission (pending our signatures on some document so we don't sue if our horses get hurt) to use their hill for some hill work! Exciting!

Monday, August 27, 2012

monday musings by shyloh #52

Dr. Dave, the chiropractor came today. He had terrible news. Horrible! It was awful, I tell ya, just awful. 

He said. . .
Super sad face
He said. . .

He said basically that I was fine and I needed more work (!) to strengthen my muscles, especially my rear end muscles. They were very, very tight. More work! Riding work! Trot poles! And a massage to boot.  He told Allie that I was passively using my rear end, but not actively. So I was always prepared for it to be painful and expecting pain, even when there was none. He sure figured me out. He had not one good bit on news for me, except the massage part. 

My back is fine and I won't be seeing Dr. Dave for six weeks. Good, I say! He brings me bad news!

Bad news all around today. Allie kept talking about a fun and special trip we were going to go on today. At first she wouldn't say where, but she did say my buddy Casi was coming, too. Then it rained all day and we didn't go anywhere. Allie told me that we were gonna go to the lake nearby, where they have this bay and we were gonna try to swim! But this was the closest we got to swimming today. . .
Puddle at the barn
Oh well. I also got to work on standing on my mat. I got a ton of treats for that! I am so good at it.
Looking for dropped pieces of grain
So I guess I need to come up with more ways to get out of work. I have a feeling I will be getting into shape in no time. I am open to any ideas to not work! Poor poor pony, I am.


Sunday, August 26, 2012

because you can't get enough

. . .of the super exciting round pen videos. Right?

Here is the video from today. We spent a short time in the round pen. Shyloh did not seem up to it today. Definitely not the canter-y and buck-y Shy from last time!
How does she look? I have my suspicions, but I am not sure if I am being extra paranoid or what. . .Chiropractor comes tomorrow. . .it seems like forever away.
Wind in the mane!
Also, I need a clone. It is so difficult to take pictures and video while I am trying to work this horse! I need my own personal recorder. Ha!
I wanna stay here and eat grass! I promise I was not pulling hard at all!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

hobby horse blog hop #25

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. Has your horse (dog, cat, other) ever "tattled" on you?
Shyloh has tattled on me many times to my husband when I bought her new things. . .he would notice in a photo or something that she has a saddle, or a new halter, or whatever else.
Is that new?
2. Tell about a funny thing you caught your horse (dog, cat, other) doing.
My dogs are always doing silly things. They like to lay in funny positions, Take Maggie, for example, likes to roll like this in her sleep. . .
And Cooper likes to curl up in a ball. . .
Shy is a hoot! She has such a natural curiosity that she is always getting into something!
Caught in the bucket!
Caught stealing  SweetTarts!
Caught in the hay closet!

3. Has your horse (dog, cat, other) ever gotten caught on/in something?
Shy was not caught in this, but it was pretty cute! 
Can't fit out this way. . .
Cooper used to not be allowed on the couch, he got caught napping on them when we came home one day. 

My question: When your horse/dog/cat/animal gets caught doing something funny it is not supposed to do, what is your reaction?

Friday, August 24, 2012

what's in your grooming box?

Laura over at The Horse Talker tagged me in her post about what she uses to groom her horse, Trooper. She had a great idea to compare her grooming kit with those other bloggers who are from all over the world. 

In Shyloh's box (well, it is more of a bucket) I have:

Mane and tail brush, hard brush, soft brush, hoof pick, and face brush. All items are in need of a good cleaning!! We need a new mane and tail brush. . .blue to match!

Other products that I use often are:
Infusiom 23 and Healthy Hair Care Moisturizer for her mane and tail, sunscreen for her blaze and pink nose, coconut oil for her hooves, and fly spray.

When I give Shy a bath, I use:

Mane 'n Tail shampoo and conditioner, a brush with bristles on the edges and a spongy part in the middle, Ultra Super White shampoo (it is purple) for the white parts, and a sweat scraper to get rid of excess moisture. I also have a fine (pictured) and coarse curry comb, but I don't keep them in my groom bucket. No rain means no mud.

For first aid, I have Bag Balm, Vetricyn, Fung-a-Way, Corona Cream, and silver spray band aid. Oh yeah, and vet wrap. 

So I ask you, dear readers, what is in your grooming box? Any must have items that  I am missing?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

semi at liberty

After working with Shyloh on the mat clicker training the other day, I just knew that there had to be a better way. While she did stand on the mat, I had to prod her, and tap her legs, and basically make her get up there. So I did some research. . .and I found this website. Aha! I just knew that there was an easier way for Shy to learn the mat!

When I got to the barn, I got Shy ready for our clicker training session. I even used a handful of grain - a prime treat - to reward her behaviors. I kept her lead line attached and called it semi at liberty because another horse was working in the arena and I wanted to have something to redirect Shy with if she lost interest or got distracted. 

Holy what a difference Batman! I clicked Shy for stepping closer and closer to my new mat, a piece of wood I found at the barn. Being the curious horse that she is, this was an easy task for her. Click and treat. Then when she put a hoof on, click and treat. Then went she put both on, click and treat treat treat! No whip, no pulling, nothing. It was all on Shy! She was doing it because she wanted to do it. Awesome!
My apologies for the video. . .heads cut off, sunlight gleaming in. . .I could have chosen a much better spot to practice! And all of Shy's smiles got cut off.

When she started pawing at the mat, I would walk her away and start over. It was so much fun to watch her work through what was wanted of her! Of course, she went through her repertoire of tricks, checking to see if each one was the desired behavior to get her the precious grain. It was amazing when she finally got it! I stopped our session and gave her a break.

Then a while later, I went back to it, giving Shy even more freedom. I sat at the mounting block and clicked when she chose to step on the board all on her own! Yay pony!! But then Beth got the hay cart out and Shy was highly distracted and kept trying to walk out of the arena. So I had her stand on the mat, clicked and treated, then put her in her stall. I am so excited about this new work we are doing! And so glad that Shy is figuring it all out. 

In off-ness news, I think the news is good. I put Shy in the round pen with just her halter on and had Beth watch her. Shy walked/trotted/cantered/bucked! Ha! Beth did not believe that she ever bucked! At a slow trot, Shy was slightly off, but Beth also noticed that she seemed to twist herself a little to compensate for something. And with her canter to the right, she would often switch up her back leads. But when Shy had a nice forward trot both ways, she was fine. Then Beth had me tack her up with the surcingle and side reins. Immediately, she was off. But not off off, if that makes sense, more like a guarded off. We are back to our initial thinking that she is protecting any would-be pain by stepping short because she is using muscles she is not used to using. When she is without tack, she is able to compensate by using other muscles. 

So, the new plan is to round pen forward trots and walks with the side reins and not use transitions. Let Shy know and feel that forward movement is not painful and work the muscles that she needs to do those movements, while still keeping a close eye on her for and more short tracking up. If she does well with that, then slowly move on to transition work. 

I feel good with this plan, as Shy has no heat or swelling in any legs, hooves,  hips, or back. The chiropractor comes out Monday and I will double check the plan with him and get his opinion on her status. Whew!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

the mat

I am so glad that I read this post from Shannon over at It's Quarters for Me. She uses clicker training for her two horses and I needed something new to do with Shyloh, since she is out of commission for now (more on that later).  Shannon discussed using a mat as a mark for her horse Gwen to stand on. I have also seen this at Equine Affaire, I believe with Double Dan Horsemanship. It was just the thing for me and Shy to work on.

Since I didn't have a mat handy, I dug up a cardboard box and flatten it. Tada! Mat! I put the "mat" on the ground, grabbed some almonds, my clicker, and Shy and got to work. 
Can I eat it?
At first Shy refused to step on it. She stepped around it and over it. Then she tried to eat the cardboard mat! With much prodding and pleading, I finally got her to put a hoof on it! Click and treat. The other hoof was proving much harder for her to put on the mat. So I went and got a dressage whip so I could tap her legs and place them where I want them.
Almost there. . .
Backfire. I had initially used the dressage whip to tap her legs to teach her to wave. So I got a waving, pawing pony and a messed up piece of cardboard. Good thing we have tons of empty SmartPak boxes. Ugh. Because of her hoof antics, the cardboard made it difficult for her to stand on it. . .sometimes she would flip the cardboard up and one hoof would be on it and one hoof under it. 

But eventually Shy got it! Every time she got both hooves on the mat, click and treat! When she finally got both hooves all the way on the mat, click and lots of treats! We have more work to do on this new behavior, but we have a start!
Fuzzy photos. . . 
It is hard to take a photo, hold a dressage whip, and click at the same time. I finally gave up on holding the lead line, she was staying put just fine!
As far as Shy being lame. . .I have no idea. Beth thought maybe it was a stifle issue (she had been reading up on it for one of her horses and thought Shy fit the bill), but she does not have any swelling. None of her legs or hooves have any heat or swelling. She is showing no pain reactions. I think she is faking. . .just kidding. I am still thinking it may be sore muscles from being asked to use her rear end for movement, but Beth thinks that would not cause lameness. She shows no lameness at the walk, so I am reluctant to bute or keep her on stall rest. She does not run in the pasture. She really shows no signs of pain and never fought going into the trot even even she was tracking up short. The chiropractor is coming out Monday, so I will see what he thinks then. Other than that, Shy is off work, once again until I have some answers. 
Smiles! Proud of herself for doing a good job! I promise I was not asking for smiles while we were working on this!

Monday, August 20, 2012

monday musings by shyloh #51

Well folks, I lucked out. No show for me. It was bittersweet. See, I did not have to do any work and I got to stay home with my buddy Robbie and graze, but I missed all my horse show friends. . .and that delicious Ohio grass.
Picking at the teeny bit of grass
Allie shared some photos with me of the great time that she had at the show. Good for her, I say. 
Jaime and Kyle in the riding class. Jaime took first!
Art and Sierra. Art can do this funny lip thing. And Sierra took first!
Kyle and Clutch
A mule! But sadly, no donkeys at the show.
Terry's first time driving! Notch was a champ!
A mini!
Notch and Terry again. Notch is taller than the van!
Kyle and Clutch in reinsmanship
Jaime and Notch in cart class
Beth and my show love Rambo. Isn't he handsome?
All my draft buddies!
I am sure I will be perfectly sound from here on out. . .ha!


Saturday, August 18, 2012

getting ready

How To Prepare A Pony For A Show

1. Brush incredibly dusty pony. 
Dirty pony
2. Pick poo from rock hard hooves.
3. Clip whiskers and bridle path. This should be an easy task but for some unknown reason the ho-hum of the clippers make this pony want to eat them. 
Smooth as a baby's bottom
4. Attempt to clip ears. This pony is completely anti-ear clipping. Give it the old college try, then give up.
5. Even out hair near the coronet band so it is not shaggy.
6. Use Utlra Blue on all parts that should be white. On this particular pony it is the legs at the pasterns, one little sock, and a blaze.
7. Whiten mane and tail. Make sure to get all parts, since the thickness usually prevents this.

8. Wait a bit (but not too long, purple ponies are frowned upon) then rinse.
9. Shampoo the rest of the pony. Attempt to wash the face while evading killer looks from the pony. 
Notice the pony's protest of the bath. . .stepping on the hose
10. Condition the mane and tail. Rinse.
11. Use sweat scraper to remove excess water.
12. Take pony in the sun to dry off. This is two-fold. By not turning pony out, we ensure she does not roll in dirt and erase all your hard efforts and pony gets to graze.
Pony's favorite part
13. Brush mane and tail, spray Healthy Hair Care Moisturizer liberally.   
Shiny pony!
14. Use coconut oil on hooves to shine and add moisture. 
15. Enjoy clean pony and hope she stays that way for the show!

Friday, August 17, 2012

check and check

To recap my check list:

  • bathe and clip, whiten that dirty mane and tail (not yet)
  • practice the mane roll (nope)
  • practice our line driving (eek! harness has not been hooked up in forever) (check!)
  • practice our golf club turns for halter and showmanship classes (uh. . .no)
  • clean tack (kinda sorta, brushed off dust)
  • pack for show (check!)
So, two-three-ish out of six is. . .pretty bad. The good news is that chances are I will be showing in the Pleasure Horse/Pony class instead of the Draft Class because Shy has a light harness. So Shyloh does not need a mane roll. Also, I have no idea what Pleasure class does and what halter class pattern is (there is no showmanship). I hate uncertainty!
That sky is pretty!
Before I put Shy's harness on, I worked with her in the round pen. She had been doing so well lately. Today (of course today was the day I brought my video camera), Shy was decent. And off. Just slightly, but off. Why??

Can you see it?

After a short time in the round pen, I put Shy back in her pasture for a while. When it was time to bring all the horses in (I was feeding and bringing horses in tonight) I got Shy ready in her harness. Poor mare, I think I ruined her!

Does this look like a worried Shy or what?
She had worried eyes and eye wrinkles :(
Shy is still very unsure of herself with the blinders on, but she was decent again. After our initial fighting for her to stop and stand without swinging sideways, Shy was responsive to me, but a little tough on the right rein. I took her outside to practice and we came upon a horse eating moldy bale of straw. Shy was so unsure of it, but eventually we got up to it. Then Shy decided that she could eat it (gross) and was not scared anymore. I had to rip the pieces of nasty moldy straw out of her mouth. I do not need a sick horse!
Tomorrow I will check off bathing and clipping, practicing more line driving, and practice for halter. . .I hope!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

show to-do list or round penning instead

Here is my list of things that I would like to accomplish this week before I take Shyloh to this show:

  • bathe and clip, whiten that dirty mane and tail
  • practice the mane roll
  • practice our line driving (eek! harness has not been hooked up in forever)
  • practice our golf club turns for halter and showmanship classes
  • clean tack
  • pack for show
Today is Tuesday. . .how many of these things have I done? A big, fat zero!
Super curious girl!
Instead, I pulled Shy out of her pasture today and tacked her up for some round pen work. When we were walking down the aisle, I stopped to chat with Kathy and Terry. Shy was so curious today! She was sniffing a muck rake that was hanging and it fell on her. Shy backed up, but I still had a loose lead in my hand. She did have wide eyes and flared nostrils, but she was not trying to get away. I think that is a good thing.
New halter!
Shy was amazing in the round pen! She was really focused on me and following my non-verbal cues like a champ. And then she got some spunk in her.

It had rained recently and while the grass was not wet and the round pen was not muddy, the ground was a little softer near the entrance. Shy stumbled a few times in that spot and I guess she got tired of it. After I got Shy in a nice working trot, I decided to test my luck and ask for a canter. I generally do not ask for the canter in the round pen for a few reasons. One, I want to get Shy's walk to trot transition to be very smooth; two, I am not ready for her to canter with me on her; and three, asking for the canter in the round pen usually means me chasing her until she gives me a few steps of canter then breaks back into a trot.

Today, for some unknown reason, Shy decided she wanted to canter. And canter she did! It was beautiful and I just stood in the center of the round pen watching. She must have been feeling really good because she let out a few mini bucks, but only in the spot where she kept tripping.
She looked so pretty! Of course, I did not have my video camera on me!
Round and round Shy went at her canter. I started wondering if she was being wild, so I decided to ask for a walk. I gave a non-verbal cue and Shy walked. Just like that! Wow, good mare! I turned her around and had her canter the other way. Shy decided to canter that way too, without much prompt from me. I stopped her and she was breathing hard. It takes a lot for Shy to breathe hard!

I wanted to walk her around the round pen to cool her down. But this horse knew our walk to trot to walk transition drill. She would walk about five steps, trot about five, then walk again. Repeat. I must be way too predictable for her. . .

By the time we got done, Shy was actually sweaty! I put her back in the pasture with Robbie, even if it was only for a little bit before it was time to come inside. She really deserved it!

I really need to get to work on my show to do list!!