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


  1. "connecting with you on a new level"

    Do you mean assaulting you with the Jolly Ball?


    Naughty pony!

    1. Haha! Connected with that left hook! Too funny! I was stunned, but then couldn't help but laugh.

  2. Neat trick with the board! I also like the way there's a random dog walking through the video :D

    1. Barn owner has 4 dogs!
      And thanks!! Shy likes her tricks :)

  3. Her mane is looking fantastic, by the way!

  4. I second the mane compliment. The stretches are really interesting.

    1. Thanks! It naturally falls on both sides, but during show season, I got it over on one side for easier mane rolls. Now that it's cold, I put it back on both sides. I feel it keeps her neck warmer :)

    2. There are more stretches, but I can only get a photo of the ones she can hold herself.

  5. Rofl! I already loved shy but I love her even more after the beating. She's a hoot. Horses like her that take a long time to bond with are amazing. She sure sounds like she loves you. You are doing amazi work with her.

  6. When an aloof horse finally bonds with you, it's like the greatest gift ever! As you know, Estes is rather stand-offish, so any sign of affection will make me happy for days. Funny, though, her daughter, Meeker is one giant cuddle bug.


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