Sunday, September 30, 2012

barn fun day

Today, my barn held a Barn Fun Day! It consisted of a pot luck and a horse obstacle course, designed by yours truly and built by Beth and Jim. We had a great day! All the horses were so good going through the different obstacles. We hand walked our horses through first, then some people rode. I could not muster up the courage to ride Shyloh through, even though she walked the course like a champ, even though she wanted to eat grass the whole time.
We even had the Great Arabian Down and Back Sprint!

I took Shy through the course a bunch of times, then cheered on my fellow barn friends as they went through and Shy grazed.

I have a ton of photos to go through that I want to share off all the horses going through the course, but I am too tired right now. I promise to share soon, though!

Friday, September 28, 2012

hobby horse blog hop #30

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!  Click on the Hobby Horse icon to go to the original blog post at Living a Dream.

1. Are you up-to-date on your shots? 
Probably not. I hate shots. I loathe them. I am terrified of them. I am sure I need a tetanus shot, but those are very painful, so I'll take a pass. I just got over the flu, so I am not getting a flu shot. Well. . .I wouldn't get one even if I didn't just have the flu. Not sure what other shots are out there, but I probably won't be getting them.

2. What about your animals? What are your feelings about annual vaccinations?
Shyloh is up to date on her shots. The vet will be coming out soon to do fall shots. Since I am unsure of her vaccination history, I have been getting her all her shots, as recommended. And we board, so I don't know what all the other boarders vaccinate against and some of those horses travel. And since we travel, especially to another state, I want to protect her. The dogs. . .I don't think they are up to date on some shots. Rabies, yes, but not sure about all the others. They don't go anywhere and Cooper is older, so I don't think we need them. 
My feelings on vaccinations. . .a necessary evil that I am sure is way over done. A pharmaceutical conspiracy. But, if I did not get the shots, I am sure all the worst would happen. Isn't that how it works?

3. If you could travel anywhere... where would you go? What sort of things would you like to do or see? 
Australia! I would love to see the Great Barrier Reef, kangaroos, the outback, everything! I would also like to go back to Germany and then visit other European countries. See the famous sites in France, Italy, and England and check out all the other interesting and historical sites Europe has to offer. 

4.What are your preferred ways to travel?
Car for sure for going distances! I actually hate driving everyday, I think it's the traffic. But a car will not get me to Australia or Europe, so airplane it is. I do have my sea legs, so boat or ship would be fine by me as well! We really need to get working on some sort of teleport device. It will free up a bunch of time and reduce travel related stress!

My question: What yearly check up stuff do you have your vet do on your horse?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

frustrating mare

Oh Shyloh, Shyloh, Shyloh. . .

I asked Beth to watch me lunge Shy in her spirals and give me some advice because Shy was giving me a hard time. When we do small circles, I am able to keep her moving forward, but when I open the circles up, I cannot keep Shy at the trot. Frustrating. 

I had only walked Shy a few circles when Beth came to watch. I was warming her up, so I did not have side reins attached. Beth asked me to trot Shy. . .I did and immediately Beth said "She is still off." Ugh! Frustrating.

But then Beth clarified and said she is tracking up okay, but her movement in her left rear is not fluid, it is jerky. Beth asked to try something with Shy. My answer was of course! Beth attached the side reins and adjusted the lunge line in a different position. Then she had Shy do very small circles and asked her to step her inside leg underneath her at a criss cross almost.  
Kinda like this. . .make sense?
At first Shy would only do a step or two with bringing her leg underneath her. This horse just does not want to use that rear end! All the other exercises I have been doing, Shy figures out ways to get around using that rear end. She ends up compensating in various ways to not drive herself from behind! Frustrating.

Eventually, Shy was able to do more than a few steps in each direction. Each time, I let the lunge line out some to give her release. And she began to keep a forward trot when I let the line out! Beth said she noticed Shy was moving better after using her legs, so maybe she is just stiff at the start of her exercises and loosens up when used. Frustrating.

How long has this been since Shy has been off? Too long! It is frustrating to me that everything I try, Shy figures out how to get around it. But this new exercise seems to really put Shy to work. She was not sweating after our workout, but she was breathing hard. We did not work long, Beth said it was hard work for Shy. So. . .we will add that to our routine. Frustrating.

Question of the day. . .Why does Shy have all these pool noodles on her back? Find out Sunday!

Monday, September 24, 2012

monday musings by shyloh #56

Being a Haflinger is a hard thing to be. Nothing fits quite right. . .

I tend to be in the exact middle of cob size and horse size.  My saddle fit is not the normal extra wide Haflinger size, either. . .I take a medium wide. And these shipping boots. . .

Allie tried them on my and they fit length wise, but not width wise. Funny how my little legs are thicker than Dulce, the Quarter Horse who uses them! But this size will have to do. . . once Allie finds gets some of our own for next years show season or better yet, trail rides!!

And then there is the bridle issue I have been having. My bridle is just barely wide enough for my forehead, but it is the perfect length. With use, the brow band has stretched out, but Allie is afraid to invest in a new one. All the horse sized bridles seem too long, but a cob or pony sized bridle is way too small. Ugh! All a horse wants is a pretty bridle to show off in, right?

Show season is over. That means I won't be seeing my big boys, Notch and Clutch for a while or my Haflinger love Rambo. Allie wants to let my mane fall on both sides of my neck again. And I can grow out my whiskers and my magical piece of chest hair! It is like a piece of mane hair that grows out of my chest!

Being a Haflinger is a hard thing to be. It means being forced to move in unnatural ways. . .like with your rear end. It means not being able to eat all the grass in the world because you might get hurty hooves and real fat, real quick. But it means wanting to eat all the grass and not caring out hurty hooves or being fat! Conundrum! 

Being a Halfinger is a hard thing to be. . .it means not belonging an any one category either. Not horse (even though we are), NOT pony, not draft. . .

According to this recent discussion on Facebook on the American Haflinger Registry group, we are not actually classified as drafts! Do you believe that?  This is the link to the whole discussion, starting off with a horse that was somewhat like me when I first came to live with Allie. She needs to find a good home like I did. I hope you can see it. 

I've been lied to my whole life!! I thought I was a draft. Guess not. . .what do you think? And then, to muddle things up even further, this article was in the Warmbloods Today magazine! According to this article, I am a Warmblood! Can you imagine? Me, a Warmblood? One of those expensive-y dressage horses? Ha!

Being a Haflinger is hard. To me it means having a nice home, lots of food, and a good person to love me. What does being a Haflinger mean to you?


Saturday, September 22, 2012

autumn fun day!

Today is the first day of autumn and Shyloh and I had a fun day! We did do a little bit of work. . .spirals on the lunge line in the arena. It was raining all day! But after that, we had a lot of clicker fun!

And Shy was featured in the Stale Cheerios blog for the Almost Wordless Wednesday this week! It is a blog on clicker training and it has a ton of great resources for anyone who wants to try it. 

For our Autumn fun day, we. . .
  • Did a lot of at liberty clicking, see, no halter, no lead! Shy was amazing. She walked right up to her "new" mat without a problem. The old mat was leaving chunks all over the arena. The new mat is a little too narrow, but that didn't stop Shy!
On the mat!
  • Played with cones. Lots of cones. Shy was all about cones today! I was trying to get her to hold them for longer so we can work on more tricks. 
There is something on my butt. . .
    A cone on the butt. . .a cone in the mouth!
  • Kicked the ball and licked the pole. I was trying to teach Shy to kick forward, but she likes to kick back. Something to keep working on.

Then we got some horsey friends out and played with them. Casi and Robbie wanted to play way more than Shy did!

And. . .I found another toad!
Toad on Shy's butt
Toad on Shy's head
Shy liked the toad so much she tried to eat it. I had to pull it out of her mouth! Poor toad. . .I put it in a safe place, far away from Shy's chompers. 

The first day of fall gave me and Shyloh some good old fashioned fun, even though we were stuck inside because of the rain.

Friday, September 21, 2012


If a Haflinger was a plant, what kind of plant would she be? Maybe a fern? A Venus Flytrap? An Hibiscus? I don't know, but Shyloh seems to grow a set of roots whenever it is convenient for her. Sometimes, those roots seem to take place right on my foot!

Today started the day of lunge lining. Beth gave me some feedback for the horse that will try anything to get out of using her rear end. And lunge lining was part of the solution. And I can't stand lunging. Part of it has to do with my lunge line. Upon its purchase, I had bought it to color coordinate with the lunge whip. . .a pretty turquoise, because matching is the most important part of equipment, right? My pretty turquoise lunge line is thick and heavy and not suitable for my clumsy self. It makes it hard for me to wind and unwind as I am using it. Luckily, Kathy had a nice, light, lunge line for me to borrow. 

I took Shy to the round pen to get started. I opted for the round pen over the arena because the round pen is outside and it was so nice out. I warmed Shy up, then attached the side reins (brought out a notch) and did spiraling at the trot in each direction. I felt Shy did good, she kept up a nice forward motion and she looked good to me, but she still needs to get more impulsion. 

After our session, which wore me out more than her, since I had to keep driving her forward, I decided to treat her for a walk down the street. I thought it would be nice to get away from the barn. . . it had been a while. I forgot to take into consideration that Shy has never walked down the street by herself. We have always gone with a buddy. 
I am a trillium!
So, off we went. . .for two steps. And Shy planted herself. I got her moving for two more steps, then plant. Two steps, then plant. It was frustrating, but I was bound and determined to make it to a certain point down the road. 
This was our end point!
We finally made it. . .after Shy planted her self to watch every car pass, near and far, planted herself to sniff the road, planted herself on my foot when climbing up a ditch to check out some corn, and planted herself in the middle of the road just for fun. 
This road looks like a good place to set roots. . .
Corn! And a bit of grass.
The way back was a different story, of course. We had no problem going toward the barn. Shy was a dream with a nice pace, no planting, and no spooks. But there were not any spooks on the way out, either. Yay!
On a mission to get back to the herd!
When we got back, Kathy asked if we walked two miles. . .um, no! Just to the corner and back! I guess planting is much preferred to bolting, though!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

hobby horse blog hop #29

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. How do you deal with a shaggy winter coat (on your horses!)? Do you blanket? Do you clip? Do you have a special clip you prefer? Do you let the coat grow to keep the horse warm on its own?
We go au natural. No blanket. Last year, we had a pretty mild winter, but Shyloh grew a coat so thick I would snuggle up to her to stay warm! Her body was always warm. I plan on doing the same this year. As for riding. . .uh. . .we are sporadic to say the least, so that is a non issue at this point. 

2. What's the most recent sign of fall that you have seen at your place?
The weather is changing, the nights are cooler, the days are shorter. Everyone I know has been or is getting sick. 

3. Do you change decorations for the seasons? If so, has fall come out in your home?
Not really. We do put up Halloween decorations, but it is too soon for that. After Halloween, we sometimes have the straw bale, cornstalk thing going on. 

4. Does your community have any special fall activities that you enjoy?
Yes! We have an AppleFest the first weekend in October that we love. It is like a fall street fair, but has kettle corn, apple bread, and just all kinds of fall goodies. 

My question: Sorry, it is not fall related, but goes with the ongoing rear end issue of Shy. . .What lunge line exercises do you find helpful in driving a horse forward and getting him to step under himself?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

ground poles in the round pen

Here are two short videos of Shyloh going over a set of ground poles. . .

This one is with no side reins.

This one is with side reins attached.
Any thoughts? I notice (since I have seen the whole thing in live action) that she seems to keep a more forward trot without the side reins. She also seems more willing to go over the poles. I am thinking it might be because she is using her head to help balance herself over the poles. 

With the side reins, she hits the poles a lot more. Not sure exactly what that means. . .

But, on a more positive note, we did hills the other day and they seem to be getting a whole lot easier for Shy. We did five sets, which we ran pretty much continuously. . . which means not stopping on the top of every hill to see all the land.

Is this the beginning of some muscle??

Look closer. . .

Stop looking at my butt!!
Anyway . . just more of the same, alternating between ground poles and the hills. Hopefully I will have a book review soon, as soon as they get in! And some new exercises to try.

Monday, September 17, 2012

monday musings by shyloh #55

I am so close to escaping! Soon. . .soon. . .
I will get out of my stall and be able to come and go as I please. See here and here and here for my most recent attempts at escape. Allie thinks it is cute and that I am just trying to get food. Fool! Although that is a bonus as I test the strength and durability of my stall guard.

What would I do when I finally break the barrier? I have a pretty good set up at my barn, but a Haflinger just needs some socialization and more grazing time. And I don't mind helping out when needed.

I would visit friends. . .
Hi Chick!
And boyfriends. . .
Kisses to Baby Bob
Have important discussions with other horses. . .
Me, Louise, and Casi discussing the state of affairs
And get to know some of the horses I don't hang out with. . .
You are one big horse Remy! 
Check out the new horses. . .
Maverick, looking good with some weight on you!
Make sure all the barn equipment is in tact. . .
Does this tire need air?
Help clean the hay off the floor. . . 
I'd get every last piece up, I promise!
Ensure everything is in tip top shape. . .
All items in the bucket are accounted for!
Then I would go outside and graze.
Mmmm. . .grass, just outside that door.
Well deserved after such a hard day's work!


Saturday, September 15, 2012

equestrian team meet

Kathy and I mucked stalls at the speed of light today so we could go watch the high school equestrian team meet at the fairgrounds. Dulce's owner, Jillian is riding Dulce and Caesar for one local team (at the high school I attended!) and Louise, the reiner is riding for another high school. 

It was fun to get out and watch all the kids ride. We saw some bareback riding, jumping, trail, reining, and gymkhana. Sadly, we did not get out in time to see Jillian ride Dulce in hunt seat, but we did see her do trail with Caesar.

For the second week in a row, poor Casear is scared of the mailbox. But with practice, I am sure he will overcome this fear. 

Then we Louise do her thing in reining. Since she is a pro, it is no surprise she took first in her class! She was the only horse that did an actual sliding stop and executed near perfect spins. Louise really is such a good horse!

Kathy really liked this horse and his coloring. He was a nice looking horse. 

It was nice to get out and have a relaxing Saturday around horses! I can't believe how many high schools have an equestrian team these days. When I went to high school, we never had such a thing, and it wasn't even that long ago! There is one more meet left this season, unless the team qualifies for regionals.  I think Shyloh wants to be on the team next year. . . what do you say? I just have to find a high school kid to ride her. . .

And I found this at the barn today! Always an adventure in nature!
Praying Mantis!

Friday, September 14, 2012

dancing feet

Shyloh was a dancer today! She was dancing on her mat and dancing over ground poles! She makes me laugh!

First, I tacked Shy up and took her to the round pen where I had laid out some poles. I had a set of three and another set of two. I think I can see some improvement! She did a great job going over the poles! She seemed to me to be really lifting her legs and placing her feet well. I took video, but it was horrible, since I had the camera set on a stool outside the round pen. I can't even pull a good still from the video. You will just have to take my word that she looked good.

After I fed all the ponies, I pulled Shy out of her stall to do some clicker training. Fun stuff after the hard work of trotting over poles. I got out the mat to start with, but I forgot the clicker, (duh, most important part) so I went back to get it. I figured Shy would go roll or something in the few seconds that I took to retrieve it. 

Nope, she went straight to the mat. I missed the click! Fail on my part. I did a bunch of at liberty work with her and the mat. Shy kept dancing on the mat. I think she likes the noise her hooves make when they step on the wood. Either that or I am continuously clicking when she steps on the board and I need to be more mindful of that. But it sure looked like she was dancing! And sounded like she was tap dancing!

We did some backing, too. Shy did very well again. So I gave her a treat of some timothy pellets. Shy LOVES soaked timothy pellets. While I was soaking them, she did everything in her power to try and reach her bowl.
Over the stall guard. . .
Under the stall guard. . .
And, Kathy found a toad!

Yeah, I got peed on. .  .

Thursday, September 13, 2012

hobby horse blog hop #28

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. What do you like to do on a rainy day?
Sleep in and watch movies is my number one thing. Although, one time we were camping and it started to rain, Mike and his friend tried their very best to keep the fire going, including standing over it with a sheet! They wanted to cook later! It worked. . .the rest of us stayed as dry as we could in the tent.

2. Is there a favorite food you enjoy in the fall?
There is an apple orchard and a AppleFest we always go to the the fall. Fresh made donuts and apple cider are my favorite! They also have apple bread. So good!

3. How do you manage your horses on a rainy day?
Well, since I board, Shyloh almost always stays in a rainy day. My barn owner had a mare that was in a terrible pasture accident involving mud, galloping horses, and a collision that ended horribly, so she is reluctant to turn horses out in rain or excess mud. If it is a weekend and I am there, I might put her out if I don't plan on working her. She doesn't mind the rain at all. 

My question:  What is your favorite fall activity?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

the hills are alive . . .

I spent the weekend on the beautiful west coast of Michigan for my friend's wedding. We stayed at a wonderful Bed and Breakfast, it was so cute. Wrap around porch and balcony, dainty little library under the stairs, gorgeous grounds. . .it was a dream! The reception was also at this B&B and the wedding took place on the beach of Lake Michigan. It was quite the mini-vacation for me and Mike.

On to Shyloh. . .Based on previous experiences of me not seeing Shyloh for a number of days in a row, I was under no impression that I would be warmly greeted with nickers and neighs. Shyloh did not disappoint. As I went to get her in the pasture, this was her response as I called for her. . .
I got a bigger greeting from Robbie :(
I brought Shy in so I could groom her and get to work on that rear end. And of course, Shy had somehow managed to get hurt in my absence. 
Somehow, it is on the inside of her left rear. This is after I cleaned it up.
I warmed Shy up in the round pen, with her new saddle pad. She was not impressed. After a few warm up walks and trots each way, I stretched her legs out.

Now she matches her boots!
Then we moved on to the hills! Hills, hills, and more hills! These hills are not alive with the sound of music, though. Just the sound of mini horses and dirt bikes and cows. But, I got some video. 
Does it look like Shy is using that rear end? After that, I hosed her rear end off and started bringing other horses in and feeding them. It is getting dark noticeably earlier now. Sad face. 

We are sticking to the plan of hills and trot poles until I can see some improvement in her rear end. Then we will take it from there. Does anyone know how long it takes for a horse to build muscle?
Long legs on the shadow photo!

Monday, September 10, 2012

monday musings by shyloh #54

I got a few new things I wanted to share. 

The first is a new grooming bag. It is very cute! Allie got it from thirty-one and it has my name on it! Allie wanted to add Haflinger Extraordinaire (of course), but it would not fit. The bag is a nice size to carry all the tools that make me even prettier, with pockets on the outside, too. The inside looks like it will wipe down easily and Allie can probably throw it in the wash to keep it nice and clean.

What do you think?

Allie also ordered a dressage saddle pad from SmartPak. It was on sale and  I need my own. . .I was tired of borrowing one.  Of course it is blue and now we can work in style, since I can't seem to get out of work! 

It would be nice to get my name embroidered on the saddle pad, too. But soon enough it will be decorated in all the tiny chestnut hairs that I  am shedding. My coat is getting ready for winter! I am shedding another Haflinger baby, only this one is made of much shorter hairs. We shall call this one Tiny. 

Aside from a new shipment of the same supplements I get, I have no other new things. Allie would still like to get a bit for me (she is using a 4 3/4 inch french link snaffle) that we can call our own, since the snaffle is Beth's bit. Allie would also like a driving bit, but she is not sure what to get for that yet or what I will like. And a nice Western saddle pad is in our future. We am currently using Kathy's, when Allie does ride (which is like never anymore). That is about it for our list of need very soon things!

What new things have you recently gotten for your horse? What do you need or what would you like to get?