Tuesday, October 30, 2012

brrr. . .sandy. . .eye. . .brrr

Captain Obvious says. . .It's cold!! We are experiencing the effects of Sandy here in Michigan. High winds, rain, cold. . .but I do have to be grateful that we were not hit directly. I have been thinking and spending good thoughts to all my blog friends over in New Jersey and that area. I pulled up to the barn and this was pretty much the extent of the damage that I saw. . .
Pine tree down. . .driveway to the barn
I had been freaking out about Shyloh and how she would do during this whole storm. I though I should run out to the barn, put her halter on with an ID tag and braid another ID tag in her tail. . .just in case. But the all the horses held out well. My barn has been great about this storm, too. They put the pasture horses in a smaller area than their normal pasture so they could have more grass. It was nice that the horses got more grass so they could use it to keep their bodies warm. And Shy was warm! 
Nom nom hay!
There is a new horse in the pasture, too. I am not sure who it is, but Shy has been bossing him around. And I caught her grazing near the mean mares, Rainy Day and Shy. Now that there is another new horse, they are picking on him. 
Shay, Rainy Day, and Shy
They took Analeesa, the horse under Shy in the herd, out of the herd because she kept getting run off of her food and had started to lose weight. I am glad that they keep an eye on things like that.

And speaking of eyes. . .Shy either ran into something, got a branch dropped on her head, or kicked right above the eye. Poor girl has a few marks and her right eye looks a bit swollen. I opened it and looked around and didn't see anything. She seems fine, but is kind of keeping it closed. I opted not to call a vet out, it just seems swollen and she did not seem to be in any pain. I could touch it with no problem. 
Hard to see, but it's there
I think I can say Shy is officially comfortable now. She thinks she is a wild and free pony, as predicted. She was running from me as I came to get her off the grass. It kind of made me happy, she looked good trotting away and she looked happy. But I caught her and spent some time grooming her. 
Go girl!
It's too early to be this cold!!

Monday, October 29, 2012

monday musings by shyloh #60

Finally Allie had to walk all the way back to get me. . .
Video in hyper speed. . .

And i didn't make it easy on her, either. That's what I do.

Then when Allie was done with me, I trotted off and took the shortcut through the woods, just in case she changed her mind and wanted to work me!

More hyper speed

Saturday, October 27, 2012

compliments are the best

One of the best parts of going to a new barn and meeting new people. . .all the love my girl gets.
"Look at that tail!"
"My, she is a pretty color!"
"What a cutie!"
"Your horse looks good!"
"Love the blonde hair!"
"She is beautiful!"
"What a nice mover!"
"Shy is so sweet!"

It makes my heart smile. I put a lot of time and effort into Shyloh and it's nice for other people to enjoy her as much as I do. But now that I am surrounded by a whole new group of people, I also have (yes have) to point out that I do not own a pony. 

The herd waiting for dinner
One of the worst parts of being in a new barn with new people who don't know our history is the constant asking. . .

"Do you ride?"
"Are you riding today?"
"What is she like to ride?"
"Why aren't you riding in the trail?"
"What are you training her for?"

So then, I have to explain where Shy came from and her current lack of muscling issues. And now my lack of a saddle. . . It gets tiresome. But keep the compliments coming. . .I love those!!

Shy and Dancer
The people are so nice, too! I met a few new people today and one gave Shy a flake of hay while we were waiting for the vet. It was fall shots with the vet/potluck day. Shy already had her shots, but this barn requires a strangles vaccination. It is intranasal, which Shy was not too pleased about, but gave everyone a good laugh afterwards with her "smiles". 
Yummy hay!
I am trying to get into a routine, so Shy can become more comfortable in her new home. So one day of lunging, a day of clicker training, and then back to lunging. I think She is looking real good on the lunge. I am going to ask a second set of eyes next time I am out there to double check, though. But, the 24/7 turnout has been real good for her! And we got a compliment on our mat training yesterday! Smiles!
Gimme kisses!!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

how to break a saddle

. . .or how to ensure no one will ride you ever again. . .or at least until another saddle is found and bought. . .

Step 1. Run out of tack stall at full speed.
Step 2. Get saddle horn caught on low overhang.
Step 3. Continue running until front of saddle is ripped back and you are freed from overhang.
Step 4. Stop and eat some grass.
Step 5. Run again as two legger gets near, just for fun and because smoke is coming from her ears. 
Needless to say, I am pretty upset over this. For some reason, Shyloh does not care for the tack stall. It really is just a stall with wood flooring. She goes in every time, but does not like to stay in it. I think it might be that she can't really see out of it, but who knows. Usually, she just calmly tried to walk out, like no big deal. Previously, I could tack her anywhere and she would just stand. Here, she is a little more antsy, even during our stretches. I am sure she is still getting comfortable with the place.

I tacked her up just fine and we had a great lunging/stretching session. I actually got sweat! And there was even foamy butt sweat! There was only one other time Shy had foamy butt sweat and it sure wasn't from me lunging her! I can already tell a difference in Shy from one week of being out all the time. It is nice to see and I was looking forward to riding sooner rather than later. . .

And, I asked the feeding lady to leave Shy's hay out since I was getting ready to work her just as she started feeding and she did. Yay. The only downside to that is I have to feed Shy in a paddock and wait for her to be finished, then put her back with the herd. I do really love that Shy has the whole pasture at her disposal, to walk around and explore as she pleases. 
But at the same time, I don't dislike it, but I wish things could be different. For instance, I wish they had feeding spots where they could each go to feed. And I wish I had a spot where I could take Shy and just hang out, like we used to in her stall. Tomorrow, it is supposed to rain all day. So there is no point in me even heading over to the barn. I will have a wet pony I can't work and no where to just spend time with her. It can be frustrating. But other than that, Shy seems to be adjusting well. No major chunks are removed from her flesh. I am going to reserve some thoughts about this place until I get a little more comfortable. Nothing that has to do with the care or safety of the horses or the people, just some personal thoughts about what I want for me and Shy and our future. 

In the mean time. . .anyone have a saddle for me?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

not at the very bottom

I witnessed my first feeding time with Shyloh and the herd. It went much better than I thought it would! The feeding lady put the grain and hay in a bunch of spots around the pasture, opened the gates and the horses each went to a spot. I guess the horses each have kind of a spot. . .
Shy's new home, the gates are red.
Shy and her new buddies, Dancer and Analeesa, go to the far side of the pasture to eat (orange) , the others eat at the near side (yellow). They stay pretty stationary to eat. I thought it was a wild, all horses higher in the herd running off the lower in the herd, squealing, bucking mess. I was wrong. But I did discover Shy is higher than Analeesa in the herd and did walk Analeesa off her hay pile when Dancer walked Shy off of hers. And, for a strange reason, all the horses seemed to eat at a slow pace. . .much slower than when Shy ate by herself in her stall. Only once the horses higher in the herd finished, did some running around start. Shy got bucked once in the belly, but mostly stayed off by herself.
Eating under the shelter
Hay head!
I still have not had to test Shy on being a wild and free pony. I have not had to walk out to the pasture area to get her yet. Today, as I walked through the gate to the pasture, her and Dancer were coming through the woods (blue dashes) and met me at the gate (blue star).
Dancer is not being mean, he is shaking his head
Today was our first day back at normalcy. We lunged. We stretched. I used the outdoor arena to lunge. I felt the footing may have been a bit deep, so I am going to try the indoor next time. Also, it is smack in the middle of the barns and I feel watched. . .

Another thing about this place that is not my favorite. . .they feed on a schedule. Which is fine, except that it does not give me much time to work with Shy by the time I get to the barn from work. Because she is in the pasture, if she is not there for feeding time, she misses out. Unless I bring my own hay to give her. Ugh. Not everything can be perfect, right? I am going to talk to the barn manager and see if I can work something out though,

Monday, October 22, 2012

monday musings by shyloh #59

Allie took me from everything I knew and loved and moved me. At first I was like. . .no! I don't want to leave my barn. But then I saw the trailer and was like. . .yay! I like trailer rides, we go fun places. We got out a a new place and I was like. . .let's check this new place out. I was put in a paddock and I got some hay. It was all good. I was near some other horses. But then Allie took me to another paddock with a shelter and I was not real close to any other horses. I called out! It was getting dark. I was ready to go home. . .

But I had to stay. At least I found some other horses like me that I could see. Allie came back the next day. Then she left me again. Why couldn't I go home?

Allie came back again. She put me in the super giant pasture with trees. I walked around with her for a while, then I saw the other horses. I am not sure I like them too much, so I ran back. But Allie made me go meet them. It wasn't too bad, even though I preferred to stay up front. That is were all the action was anyway. 

Soon, all the other horses came up front and some were mean! I let them know that I don't want to fight or be their boss, but I will protect myself! Then I found some nice horses to hang out with. Allie left and I had a good night. I didn't get beat up, even during feeding time!

And Allie came back once more. This time we had fun! We went through all these trails and I wasn't bothered by anything at all. No spooks!

Woods. . .check!
Fallen branches. . .check!

Trucks with trailers. . .check!
Riding lawn mowers. . .check!
Leaf blowers. . .check!
Halloween decorations. . .check!
Barking dogs. . .check!
Bikes. . .no big deal. Until the little girl who wanted to pet me walked her bike up. That made me step back and snort. But Allie made me touch the bike and it was all good.

We started the ride/walk with just me and two other horses, but then we met up with two more horses along the way. We walked through woods and fields, on the street past houses, crossed roads, and found a MetroPark, five miles Allie said!!. Fun day. . .I think I am going to like it here after all!


Sunday, October 21, 2012


Shyloh survived the night! The only mark she had was a tiny bit of hair missing, which could hardly be seen through the thickness. I felt her legs all the way down to her hooves. . .no heat!

Today, I just spent some time grooming Shy and picking her feet. Her feet! They have changed in the few days that she has been at the new place. Too bad the farrier was just out at the old barn to trim her feet. The weather has been wet and rainy, but the ground is very sandy and not muddy. Her frogs seem softer, something is different with her heels. I am not sure what is going on and if it is good or bad. At the old barn, there had no been much rain all summer, so her hooves were hard as rocks. I might give my farrier a call to see if these changes are anything to be concerned about. I think no, but I am a bit of a worrier, especially about her hooves.

We brushed up on some clicker training tricks: smile, wave, and kiss. Because Shy is not 100% comfortable yet, she was not willing to perform her tricks at first.

Then. . .we went with some other people and their horses on a trail ride!! Okay. . .I walked Shy and they rode, but it was awesome! Over four miles, round trip! My feet hurt.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

in with the herd!

Today was the big day. . .the introduction to the herd!
It did not go quite as I thought it would. . . better actually, but with some mishaps. All the horses were way back in the pasture, past the trees, and around a bend. I started following Shyloh back through the trees, but I eventually ended up leading Shy. She stopped short of the edge of the trees, then galloped back to the front of the pasture. I got her, put her halter on and led her back. When I got within a reasonable distance, I took her halter off and she galloped back again! Whew. . .I was sure getting my exercise today! I tried a third time, but this time I unhaltered her closer to the herd, when they began to take interest in her. 

One horse went up to Shy, there was no drama, so I walked away. Mike had come up to see the new barn and had no idea where I was. I got him and we walked back to see how Shy was doing. She was off by herself grazing, but at least she hadn't run to the front. Tony, the donkey seemed to take a liking to Mike and followed him all around the pasture. It was cute!

As we were leaving the pasture, Shy and Tony followed us back to the front. Shy hung out near the front for a while. In an adjoining paddock was Buddy the Belgian. Shy and Buddy hung out for a while. 

Then, the rest of the herd got thirsty and headed to the front to get some water. This is where the trouble started. Two other mares, Rainy Day, a Tennessee Walker and Shay, a bald face mare  tried to show Shy who was boss (at this point, the other Haflinger, Lucas, was being ridden by his owner). Shy ran away from them, but always came back, and even threw a buck/fart out. 

A few times, Shy even hid out in the woods to get away from the mean mares. . .

After their thirst was satisfied, the whole herd headed back out. Shy followed them. By now, the other Haflinger was back. Him and the two mares seem to be the meanie clique. And Shy had hooked up with a gelding Paint, Dancer and another mare, Analeese. These two were calm and at the bottom of the herd. 

Shy and her new friends went off in one direction and the rest of the herd headed elsewhere. I think Shy will be fine. I will see tomorrow how many marks she has on her. . . 

I also got all my stuff, except for my saddle, in my new tack locker!

Oh yeah. . .and today is my birthday!!

Friday, October 19, 2012

no herd today

The horses at this barn eat on a pretty tight schedule, so the pasture boarded horses know when it is dinner time. And since by the time I can get to the barn after work, they are up waiting at the fence to be let into the feeding area. I didn't want to turn Shyloh out with the herd during this time, so tomorrow will be the big day. 

I have no idea how it will go. . . I am a little nervous, these horses all know each other and seem calm around one another, but they also seem more dominant than the horses Shy is used to being around. Herd dynamics. . .I love it! I plan to go out tomorrow morning and put her with the herd so there are many hours between feeding time for her to get adjusted.

But I did turn Shy out into the huge pasture. The pasture board can be gated off into two parts, and to protect precious grass, the horses get switched out. I am not sure of the schedule with that yet. Shy was so curious. She had the cutest bouncy walk, checked everything out, then burst into a quick gallop. She checked out the two Haflingers that are also pasture boarded, but they stay separate from the bigger herd. She liked them and grazed by them for a while, then came close to me. 

I was really surprised how close Shy kept to me! She had the option to go where ever she chose, but she chose to stay close. That was a new development and not the typical Shy I am used to! After a while, I put Shy in a paddock near the herd she will be with. She went up to the Haflinger, no squealing or striking. The Haflinger is boss of the herd. He kept chasing other horses away from her. I hope they can be buddies!
Two Haffies! What a fatty!
and a donkey! Not the ideal fencing. . .but it is high enough for the horses not to get hurt.
I met the lady who owns the two Haflingers that stay together, Leon and Gem (I think it was Gem). She has been into horses for 40 years and knows a ton about Haflingers! Squeee! She said she was at the barn all day and Shy was hanging in the corner of her paddock, closest to them. She said Shy was real good all day, not calling out or anything. This lady is a Parelli fan and told me Shy seemed like an introvert, but later, after Shy did something with her tongue, she said Shy was definitely an extrovert. I don't know anything really about the Parelli Horsenality stuff. But she said she does a ton of fun things with her boys and I am welcome to do it with her. And she talked about driving and helping each other out! Exciting!

So tomorrow is the big herd introduction day. . .wish us luck! At the very least, wish us no hard kicks!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

we did it!

Two in one day, but when I wrote the other post, I had no idea what the day held for me. I got a text from Jaime near the end of my work day asking if I was ready to move Shyloh today. Like now. Whoa!

Yes!! For many reasons, I wanted to leave Shy's home of over a year now. I didn't feel comfortable going to the barn since I said I was leaving. But I wanted to spend time with my horse. 

So I rushed home, rushed to the barn, packed up my tack, grabbed Shy from her pasture (I was surprised she was out today!), and led her to the trailer.

After I loaded everything into my car. . .
All Shy's worldly possessions crammed into bags, buckets, and bins.
I walked out, haltered Shy, and took her away. I almost started crying (and I am not a crier) as I was leading her through the pasture. And of course, she was in the back. So we had to walk all the way through and I was thinking as I led her to the gate. . .This is the last time I will ever walk Shy out of here, I am ripping her from everything she knows and her buddies. 

It was sad. Once I got to the driveway, I started running with Shy. She trotted with me around the bend. I felt like we were breaking free! It felt good for a second. 

Then Shy stopped. She realized that she was about to leave the property. . .her home, which she loved. Then it was a fight up the driveway to the trailer. A few steps, stop, a few more steps, stop. I wanted to break down at this point. It was clear Shy did not want to go (I really know, she was just being barn sour, but hey, I was emotional). Once we got up to the trailer, Shy stepped right up and off we went.

Once we got to the new barn, Shy stepped off the trailer and I put her in a paddock next to the little herd she will be in. Apparently, the obese Haflinger in the herd is top horse, but there was one mare that kept kicking at Shy through the gate. Shy took it all in stride, didn't strike out in any way, but never stepped back from the fencing. Good girl, standing her ground! Shy was very interested in Tony, the donkey, too.

The barn manager said I could put Shy in the herd tomorrow, when I get off work. So for the night, Shy was given a paddock with a shelter. She was really taking it all in stride, and only called out once when I was leaving because she was looking for other other horses. This paddock was not next to the herd pasture. 

I wish I had photos, but everything happened so fast today. Tomorrow I will have some for sure! I have to say, I am a little bit scared, but much more excited for us!

Oh yeah. . . and the Detroit Tigers are going to the World Series! Sweeeeeep!

the donkey made me do it. . .

I have had a hard couple of days. I have had to make some very hard decisions for both myself and Shyloh.

Upon tons of reflection, internal arguments, and doubt, I am moving Shy from the barn we are currently at to another location. The new place has a multi-acre (not sure how big, but it's big!) pasture for outdoor board, filled with trees, trails, a very slightly sloping uphill land, another Haflinger (!!), and a . . .wait for it. . . a donkey (!!!!).  The pasture is so big that when I went walking around it to check it out, I didn't even see the other horses! 

I have said before, Shy truly loves to be outside. I had doubts about stalling her, but I do believe that was the best thing for her at the time. She has had a stall for a year. I do think she enjoys her stall and I enjoy the time we spent there, but she needs to move those legs. Shy's stall time has had her interacting with people daily, being handled by different people, and she has really come a long way with her shyness. 

Now, I think it is time for her to be back outside. It is a more natural environment and she will be on the move most hours of the day. This will be good for muscle maintenance and her gut as opposed to being stall bound, especially through the winter. I am not worried about her being cold. . .
Look at all that hair already! Winter won't be a problem.
 She will have shelter in the form of a large three sided run in, with just a roof on the opposite side of the run in, as well as natural protection from all the trees. 

My few fears involved in moving are that

  • she won't be handled daily (turn in/out)
  • she might think she is wild and free pony for real
  • I won't be able to find or catch her
But then, I must assure myself that we have reached a point in our relationship that this won't be a problem. I was at the new place around feeding time one day (they feed on a schedule), and the other equines knew that and were waiting (quite calmly and patiently) at the gate to be let in the feeding area. I felt good about that. Shy will come to learn the schedule and rather quickly I am guessing since it had to do with food.

I am hoping this is the right thing to do. I hate to be taking Shy away from her horsey friends, I hate to be leaving my friends, but I know I need to do what is in Shy's very best interest. I feel that this is a good move for us. And, there are trails on the property, as well as a burger/ice cream joint up the road with a hitching post for horses! Fun! And to quote an officer I work with who patrols that area "The burgers are made by Jesus and sent from heaven." 

I am an anxious mess, but I have to remember, Shy takes all horse related things in stride. She probably won't care at all and just assimilate into the little herd like she has been there her whole life. We shall see. . .I am hoping to make the move over the weekend or early next week.

New adventures await us!
Princess Shy

Monday, October 15, 2012

monday musings by shyloh #58

What's wrong with this picture?

I have a saddle on!! Why? What for? I am pony, wild and free! I cannot be tamed. Or not. . .
So sunny!
I am pretty comfortable on the hills. I can see everything, put up a foot, and relax. Here, I was watching the big farm equipment harvest the crops.
Still sunny!
I have mastered my balance on the way down the hills. I always think that there is food for me between all the rocks.

What is this? Why do I have a towel on my head?

Allie says we are training to be like Pippin and Chesna and ride blindfolded, bareback, and bridle-less. Allie has a looong way to go before that happens!

And look! I am in a picture. . .

Haha, well, it COULD be me!


Thursday, October 11, 2012

jolly ball beatdown

What a seriously fabulous day at the barn! Except for maybe the Jolly Ball beatdown. But I can look past that in light of how great today was.

I did my usual spiral lunging with Shyloh. She looked better to me and was really forward. No problems there. But the best part. . .when I ask Shy to stop she normal turns in to me. The other day she took a step forward to me, but stepped on the lunge line and stopped herself. Today, she walked all the way in to me! She has never done that before! And it wasn't a fluke, she did this more than once. 

I think we have reached another new level in our relationship. The last significant level up was in December of last year. . .almost a whole year! Now, Shy is letting me catch her in the pasture without treats (as long as she was not just let out) and it just seems we have morphed into something new and better. 

We lunged, mostly at a trot in both directions. I used the timer feature on my phone to time us, just to make sure I am lunging both sides evenly. Then we went through our stretching routine and I lunged her once more for less time. Great results again!
Shoulder release down and back
Bringing the  hind legs forward
The chiropractor was scheduled to come out today, so I kept Shy busy by working on some clicker training with the mat. I used a new mat and not a piece of wood. Now she does not tap dance on it. 
What a cutie!
Then I tried something new. I moved Shy a few feet from the mat and told her to go to it. She did! I was stunned! We did it a few more times, clicking and treating each time. It was really cool to see her do that!

We were still waiting on Dr. Dave, so I put Shy back in her stall. The Jolly Ball, which I have never seen her interested in, except when I introduced it to her as a click and treat exercise, was not the object of her affection. All on her own, she kept picking the ball up and swinging it around. Then she got me. . .right in the nose on one of those swings! Ouch!! She got me again in the chest. I was stunned! Beat up by my own horse! I was still awestruck by how she was all about the Jolly Ball!

Finally, Dr. Dave got to the barn. Shy was dropping her right shoulder kind of hard, which crosses over to that darn left hip. Shy got her adjustment and was very well behaved for Dr. Dave. He said the lunging, backing, hills, and stretching were the best thing for her. He also said to add stretches where she bends between her front legs (like practicing for bowing), and this will stretch her withers. And then he said to add a saddle to the work. This way, she gets used to the saddle and will have a little extra weight on her. He even said eventually to put sand bags around the horn to add even more weight. The saddle and no rider should also help with her breathing. Shy will learn to breathe, since she trends to hold her breath for a while when we start working. Then she does a series of blows and starts breathing. 

Overall it was a great night! Shy is doing well with her chiro work and her strengthening exercises. And she seems to be connecting with me on a new level. Happy dance!!
Super relaxed pony