Thursday, November 29, 2012

through the woods. . .

. . . a-line driving we will go! But first. . .

Shyloh had a visit from the farrier. Same farrier, but the first visit at the new barn. Funny how the new barn doesn't seem new anymore. Anyway, Shy's hooves are doing great. Being outside all the time has been good for her. I asked about the changes in her hooves and he patiently answered me. He said it would not be a normal visit if I didn't have questions, ha! Basically, when she was at the other barn, her heels contracted a bit, but now that have gone back to normal. And that is from being out 24/7. It makes me happy and lets me know that I am doing the right thing by her.

Before the farrier came, I had not been out to see Shy in a few days. Wild pony! Not only is she super shaggy, but her mane was a mess, her tail braid was coming all out, and she just looked wild. With her being out, I can't seem to contain her mane. It flips over on both sides, then all flips on one side, then flips back over to the other side. Crazy.
After a few freezing cold, windy days we are having a sunshine-y break. It is wonderful. I can handle the cold if its sunny and not windy. Or at least not windy.

I've said before, I feel like sometimes I am the MacGyver of the barn. I do not have a ton of resources available to me, so I have top make do with what is around me. I have been working on homework assignment #1, #2, and #3. 
Front view
Rear view
We practiced our line driving and when I felt I had nice contact and we were doing good, I took us to "nature's cones."

I used the tress and weaved in, out, and around them. We could switch up the pattern as often as I wanted. We did tight turns and wide turns. Shy would duck under low hanging branches and was not bothered when the branches brushed up on her back or sides. 

Shy did great, even though we did have a short argument about whoa/stand. We even got more foamy mouth, but green this time because she had eaten green stuff before we started. 
She was chewing a lot, too
After our line driving session, I put Shy in a paddock to hang out with her. Shy's first order of business. . .roll off all signs of having been worked.

Then we messed around with this old truck tire. I got Shy to trust me and she put her front feet in the tire. Yay! I feel like I am making some really big strides with Shy. The weekend is supposed to be nice, so I will be spending it at the barn! I hope I can get a header so we can do some tire dragging.

Monday, November 26, 2012

monday musings by shyloh #64

Shyloh's take on Friday's events, as they unfolded. . .

Hey. . .who is that over there?

What?!? Two leggers who know what they are doing! I've seem them before. They have Haflingers, too. Is this what I have been waiting for all morning? Oh no. . .I smell trouble!

What have you got in the back of that truck? A tire set up? No! I hate tires! And. . .and. . .a cart? Noooooooo! It's really scary! I promise I am so scared. . .okay maybe not all that scared. But I sure am going to pretend to be terrified!

Now I am unhappy pony. See my angry ears? I know I have to work. And I know I won't be able to get away with my usual shenanigans because Allie brought in reinforcements. Two leggers who have done this before. And these two leggers are on a mission. A mission for me to drive! Angry, angry pony!

This can't be good for me. Not at all. 

After the day's events. . .

Whew. It's done. And I survived. But I have a feeling that this isn't over yet. . .


Friday, November 23, 2012

we're hooked!

What gives a Haflinger a foamy mouth like this?
Foam, a rare sight
Partial credit goes to the new-ish O-ring french link snaffle.
The main credit goes toward pulling a cart!! Yup. I said it. Shyloh pulled a cart!

My friends from the shows we did over the summer came up from Ohio to help me and Shy today. Did I ever mention how awesome, nice, and helpful everyone is at those show? 'Cause they are!!

Becky and her nephew Cody drove up with their tire set up and practice cart. Becky helped me get Shy's harness put on right. . .it was a little far back. Then I did some practice line driving around the property. 

We practiced with the tire pull first. Becky let Shy see and touch the tire and chains before she was hooked. And of course Shy freaked a little bit when the tire hit the gravel, but with two headers (me and Becky), we were able to keep her under control and calm her down. After a few initial bouts of Shy wanting to run forward and get away from the fire breathing, horse eating tire, she relaxed. Becky kept the gravel to a minimum until Shy was comfortable pulling the tire, then we added the gravel part. One of the best pieces of advice that Becky said was to really stroke Shy's ego. She said make a big deal with the smallest of things because Haflinger's love praise. So as Shy was walking (at the pokiest of paces) and licking and chewing and had her head down, we praised her and let her know she was doing a good job. When Shy was asked to whoa, more praises and pets. 

Cart time! I love how Becky was so calm and relaxed. She had Shy see the cart, touch the cart, walk around the cart, but she wanted Shy to do it when Shy was ready for it. Next, we asked Shy to walk forward in the shafts of the cart. Shy did good and was not bothered by the shafts touching her at all. I backed her out and we hooked up the cart. Shy stood really good for this. Better than I thought she would.

Then Becky asked Cody to get in the cart. Gotta love little kids, right? But seriously, Cody is a pro, he has done this before. Becky and I were at Shy's head. I could tell Shy was a little nervous, especially when she takes those initial steps. She wants to run. But we held her, talked to her, calmed her down, and Shy was great. Just every time we stopped, when we started again, we had an issue with the first few steps. Then Shy was fine. . .licking, chewing, foamy, and head down. 

My turn in the cart! I had one moment of panic when Shy wanted to take off when she took her first step, but Becky and Cody had Shy. We walked a little. I probably had the dopiest smile on my face! I was so happy! Then Becky told me to back her up. She backed pretty good, but when asked to walk on, same stuff. So we did it again. Much better. 

That was it for the day. It was a lot for a Haflinger to take in. But little Shy did much better than I thought! Becky said that Shy was real smart and she likes to work. She could tell by Shy's eyes. They were bright. And Becky said Shy knew what she was doing, perhaps she had a cart accident that scared her? 

The next best piece of advice that Becky gave was to let Shy think all of this is her idea. Right now, it is something that I am asking her to do. But the goal is for Shy to want to pull a cart. Or ride. Or whatever.

I am so proud of Shy! And so thankful to Becky and Cody! Becky let me borrow her wooden tree and tire to practice with Shy over the winter, but with the promise I will always have someone head Shy when using it. And I got some homework:

  1. Keep practicing the line driving.
  2. Work on keeping contact. I tend to be very light in the reins so I need to work on that.
  3. Get some cones or other obstacles to practice with.
  4. Get some PVC pipes to put together and act as shafts.
  5. Find a cart!
Added later because I forgot. . .
  1. Get a driving whip.
  2. Sing to relax both me and Shy
So, we have some work ahead of us, but Becky thinks we should be driving by summer! Any volunteers for my header?
Go pony!!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

happy thanksgiving survey

Cob Jockey had a survey on her blog. It looked like fun, so I joined in! 

Enjoy and have a Happy Thanksgiving! I know I have much to be thankful for . . . my husband, my family, my friends, my dogs, Shy, my job, my home, my fellow bloggers, and everyone who has helped me with Shy! Thank you so much!

Splurge or save:

1) saddle: save, I have no problem buying a nice, cheap, used saddle. As long as it fits me and Shy, we are good!
2) board: save. I don't mind paying for Shy's care, but I like to be able to work some off!
3) halter: I would love to splurge on a nice leather one, but I save on the regular ones.
4) bit:  Save, again, I don't mind buying used. And I don't want to splurge on something that might not work/fit. When I find the right one, a Mylar perhaps, I'll splurge.
5) bridle:  again, save. Shy is so hard to fit.
6) saddle pad: save.
7) trailer: save. But I won't sacrifice safety or quality for a little bit of money. I guess the moral of the story is that I am a saver! I don't mind used stuff. 

First thing that comes to mind: 

1) Haflinger: Shy of course!
2) Quarter Horse: Ryleigh
3) Thoroughbred: Racing
4) Warmblood: big, fancy dressage horse that I'll never own
5) Welsh Cob: Conner over at Cob Jockey

This or That:

1) english or western: Western
2) tall or short: short
3) trail ride or beach ride: both! But I really want to get out on the trails!
4) long mane or short mane: long
5) hunters or jumpers: Neither
7) outdoor arena or indoor arena: Outdoor
8) trot or canter: trot
9) canter or gallop: let me get the trot down first!
10) paddock boots, tall boots, or cowboy boots: cowboy boots
11) horse shoes or barefoot: barefoot
12) saddle or bareback: saddle, even though I don't have one now.

About you: 
1) How long have you been riding? Less than 2 years, I think. I'm a newbie.
2) Do you own or lease a horse? Own
3) Breed? Age? Height? Name? (if you don’t own or lease, you could talk about your lesson horse) Haflinger, 6, 13.3hh, Shyloh
4) Do you have any other pets? Two dogs, Cooper a golden retriever mix and Maggie a pit mix. And a bunny

5) If your horse was a person, what kind of voice would they have (you can use a celebrity for an example) Hmmm. . .I think Shy may have a lower voice, she makes low sounds.
6) Does your horse have a “color”? If so, what is it, and what do you have in that color? Shy is generally a navy blue horse, but for shows we are currently doing teal and purple.
7) Does your horse do any tricks? Yes! Shy can wave, smile, give me a kiss, honk a horn, take something from my pocket, and stand on a mark.
8) Have you ever dressed your horse up for Halloween?  Yes

1) Breed? Haflinger!
2) Discipline? Driving and trail riding
3) Coat color? chestnut with a flaxen mane
4) Famous horse? Pippin, the Haflinger that won the Extreme Cowboy Race
5) Horse race/competition? I don't really watch any.
6) Brand of tack? None in particular
7) Thing to do with your horse?  Everything! Teaching tricks, learning to ride and drive.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

dinner time

When I got to the barn today, the horses were eating. Early. I found out why they were fed early; the lady who feeds has the flu. Darn. I didn't have the heart to pull Shyloh out and prep her for the big surprise Friday.

What is this big surprise? You will have to wait and see. . .but know that I am pretty pumped up about it! Hee hee. . .

So instead of work with Shy, I decided to just hang out with her while she ate. But, Shy would rather run around so I can't touch her than eat. Awesome. . .makes me feel great. I finally convinced her to stop (with a peppermint) and brushed her a little and picked her hooves. I am so glad the farrier comes next week. I have so many questions about her hooves, they have changed so much!

While Shy was eating, I messed around with the newly found panorama feature on my phone.

These are some of the herd eating their dinner.

Then I just snapped a few of Shy eating with her buddies. Shy doesn't mind sharing.
Crazy mane! I can't keep it even on both sides anymore.
Shy and Tony
Shy and Jessie
Til Friday, my blogging friends! I hope everything turns out well. . .

Monday, November 19, 2012

monday musings by shyloh #63

I am wild pony! Hear me neigh!

I live in the woods where no two legger dare enter. I use the burr bushes as my cover and  for protection. I need to work on my mud camouflage . .  .I have to remember to stay in these woods and not be lured out by the crinkle of a delicious treat. I already know the difference between a candle wrapper crinkle and a leaf crinkle. . .fool me once. . .  I must maintain composure over the sweet taste of my sugar free candies. Branches can be just as yummy, right?

I think Allie has something big in the works and I don't like it. Not at all.I must stay in the wild woods!


Sunday, November 18, 2012

the little pony that could. . .

. . .do anything and leave me utterly amazed!

A girl at the barn (she used to board where I leased Mia) offered to try some of her saddles on Shyloh. I said sure, why not? The first saddle was an eventing saddle. It fit Shy great. So I asked if she wanted to ride Shy. Chelsea said yes. 

Chelsea has a Mustang Arab cross that she trained herself named Treasure. She did a great job with him. I told Chelsea all about Shy's little quirks - the scooting, rough transitions, hates the mounting block, how she can be a little uneasy at first, everything I could think of. Chelsea was still game to ride Shy, but she did want to lunge her first. I don't blame her. . .this was her first interaction with my horse. 

Shy was great on the lunge. Chelsea commented how Shy was real keen on verbal commands and listened really well. 

Then Chelsea hopped on Shy. At first Shy put her head high, eyes wide, ears on Chelsea. I thought I hope this goes well . . .

Shy was a dream! She walked off good, set her head and completely listened to everything Chelsea asked. Chelsea remarked that Shy was incredibly in tune to her seat and leg aids, she didn't even have to use the reins. When Chelsea asked for a trot, Shy made a smooth transition. I was jaw dropping amazed. Shy has not been ridden in months! Shy did spook once that resulted in a scoot, but it was minor and Chelsea rode it out without a problem. Chelsea also did some dressage moves with Shy. I was so proud of my girl!

Next it was my turn. . .now remember, this was an eventing saddle. I have never been in an eventing saddle. It was different. I did not feel secure and the stirrups were so short. I asked Chelsea to walk next to me, just in case. We did a walk around the outdoor arena. It felt to good to be on my horse even in the strange saddle. 

After Shy's "hard" work, I put her back with the herd. She rolled her day away.

Oh, and I have to include this photo of the barn manager's grandson riding Tony! Too cute!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

open bridle experiment

With the advice from fellow bloggers, I have decided to try an all open bridle sled dragging session. We  have done open bridle stuff with the sled and line driving before, but always moved into the driving bridle. . .maybe too quickly.

And a bonus. . .I got to use Shyloh's new western bridle! I tacked her up and got right to dragging the sled. This went on without a hitch.I figured as much, since we have done this before. So, I thought, let's do some other things with the sled to show just how not scary it can be.

I present: Sled torture!
Sled on my head
Sled on Shy's back
Sled on this side
Sled on that side
Sled  underneath. . .by the way, see how fuzzy she is?
Shy was amazing and tolerated sled torture very well. She didn't run off, or spook, or anything really. I could tell she was not the most comfortable and she kept her ears on the sled, but she let me do everything to her. 

Then the best part of the day happened. . .I got a volunteer to head Shy! Brenda, who owned big Buddy the Belgian offered to help. I was so happy and grateful to have a helper. Brenda walked at Shy's head with the lead rope, and I walked behind, line driving Shy and dragging the sled. Shy was a great! There was only an instance where Shy was noticeably uncomfortable, but she recovered quickly. We did a short walk and I called it quits.  Short successful sessions are best. And the open bridle experiment was a success. We just need to transfer this success to blinders.

Afterwards, I let Shy graze some. She grazed like she had never had grass in her life! And she knew where the good grass was.
The best grass is under the trailer

Friday, November 16, 2012

burry good pony

I arrived to the barn to find myself with a burr covered pony. . .again. What does she do? Where does she get them from? And why does she keep going back to the burr place?
They really are tiny and all on the side of her face, too. Her forelock was a tangle! 
I de-burred Shyloh. I am so glad I had been working with her and her ears. She lets me touch them now and was fine with me picking burrs from them. Then, I tacked her up in her harness. I am bound and determined to conquer this fear of something dragging behind her. I got out the sled, which coincidentally makes it very convenient to carry my grooming bag, the tack, her supplements, and whatever else I need in one trip. She went straight for the sled and touched it. she knows if it is not moving, it won't turn into a horse eating mountain lion. 

We went for our walk around the property. I am sure the other boards were thinking. . .there goes that crazy lady and her horse, dragging that damn sled all over the place. Oh well. . .We walked for about forty five minutes. Shy was great! I even drug the sled over the grates, so it made a different noise. The first couple times, Shy tensed up, but after that, she could have cared less. 
Dragging the sled on dirt ground. . . 
Dragging the sled on gravel. . .
Dragging the sled over grates. . . 
I made a discovery today, one that does not really work in my favor. Shy is completely comfortable with me at her head. The problems seem to occur when I am not at her head. She tends to get a bit nervous. This is not going to work if I am going to be driving her from behind. 

I did some testing and slowed my walk (which was practically turtle pace, Shy is so pokey!) so Shy could not see me. She slowed and turned her head to make sure I was still there. Then I thought back to when I was line driving. Every time we stopped, Shy would look back. Was it to make sure it was still me back there? Do I provide her with some sort of comfort? Or is that just wishful thinking? How do I fix this?
Wishful thinking :)

Monday, November 12, 2012

monday musings by shyloh #62

I have been trying my very best to make Allie not want to work with me! Twice now I have covered myself with burrs. Itty bitty burrs, too.
I think I laid on a burr bush
So small and hard to see through the fuzz. . .
Everywhere. . .

I got burrs everywhere! Mane, forelock, legs, belly, armpits, chest, barrel, face, neck. Like I said, everywhere. And since they were so small and my hair so fuzzy, I knew it would be a pain to get them out. This was a master plan and was sure to work, right?

 But instead of Allie turning back into the wild, she picked them off of me. I was really good for her though, I even let her get the ones off my ears. I was not successful. . .she had to do work.

The next step in the no work plan was to hide from Allie in the deep woods. I saw her looking everywhere for me, but I was super quiet and still.
Hide n Seek
And I had a guard horse to warn me if Allie was coming, just in case I dozed off. 
Jessie, the new Paint keeping watch
But eventually, I was found and made to do work. . .with a horse eating sled!  What's a girl gotta do to be wild and free?

Oh and meet Marshall.

He is an Amish pony. He has a stall, but most of the horses don't like him, so I was asked to spend some time with him. I like him! And he likes me. And we are the same size. 


Sunday, November 11, 2012

training to drive

Gotta take the bad with the good, right?

I would call today successful overall, but with one major mishap. Shyloh got away from me. Again. But we got through it.

I got to the barn early to enjoy this beautiful weather! I cannot believe how nice it is outside! I got Shy and gave her a mini spa treatment. . .coconut oil on the hooves, Healthy Hair Care Moisturizer for the mane and tail, and some new braids. Then we ran through the exercises we have been doing all week. See the sled, click and treat, go around the sled, click and treat, move the sled, click and treat, walk next to the sled on both sides in the halter, click and treat. Shy was acting like a pro!
Whachu doin back there?
The next step was to drag the sled with the blinders on. I put the driving bridle on, showed Shy the sled was not going to eat her, and we went on our merry way. I was still walking next to her at this point. Shy was unsure for about half a second, then it was no big deal. She did spook once, but it was more of a start. It seems that when people just appear in her line of vision, especially if she can't hear that they are coming, she starts. It is in place and stops her, but she recovers quickly. I did the sled dragging with the blinders on while walking on both sides. Shy was amazing!

So I decided to take it to the next step. But first, I gave Shy some down time. I knew she was not physically exhausted, but I thought she might be mentally tired from doing new-ish things. We took a break for a while.
Why you down there sittin on the sled?
Then I went over line driving. Shy can gee and haw without me even using reins. She knows what she is doing. We went through our trouble spot from the days before with no issue. We went through the outdoor arena and the manure spreader, a tight squeeze, no issue. Lots of people were at the barn, horses were being ridden, golf carts were cruising around, barn machinery was making noises. . .no issue. I was so proud of my pony! 
You sure you wanna do this?
Then I decided to try and drag the sled behind me while line driving Shy. I prepared her that it was going to happen. She took it very well. Yay! We were going around and someone walked in Shy's line of sight. She started. Then a golf cart was going by. And a truck pulling a trailer in was coming through. And more people were walking by.  Shy pulled forward. I stopped her and made her back up. Perfect. Then she pulled again. Stop and back up. It was too much for Shy. Too much going on at once. Since she was a superstar all day, I thought she could handle it. . . I thought I could handle it. . .but she pulled hard and took off. I got rope burns (bad me, no gloves. . .I hate gloves!) I am so glad the sled was not attached to her. She didn't go far and some people caught her and I went to get her. She wasn't huffing or puffing or stressed in any way. I had left the sled and we went back to line driving.

Shy was not going to get out if this. If that was her game, I was not playing. I line drove her through the spot she took off at, past the sled, and all around the property again. No problems. Then we went back to the sled. I showed it to her then let her know I was going to drag it again. We were going to end this on a good note. Not once did Shy try to take off this time. She did keep stopping, but I'll take that over a bolt any day. I had her go back to the cross tie area, stopped her, gave her a ton of praise and untacked her. I think we can do this!
Shy's got this sled thing!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

horse eating sled. . .

. . .turns out to be not so scary. Yay! 

Don't get me wrong, the horse eating sled was super scary at first. But only once at the first encounter did Shy back away quickly from it. I came prepared for this reaction though. . . 

Touch it!

Click and treat. Touch, click and treat. Then I moved the sled around. No backwards movement got clicks and treats. When I got no more high head and wide eyes, I walked Shy around the sled in both directions. Walking close to it got clicks and treats. 

I felt we were sufficiently prepared for the next step. . .dragging the sled. I try not to make the same mistake twice, so I knew enough not to hook the sled to Shy. I was going to drag it just in case she flipped out. That way, I could release the sled and it would not be dragging behind her in case she got away from me. 

I also opted to walk her around in her halter and not the blinders. I think she felt better being able to see that the sled was not turning into a horse eating monster as it followed up. This barn is great for different surfaces. There is grass, sand, hard dirt, leaves and gravel. All these different surfaces make different noises under the sled, which could cause it to want to eat horses, right?

As we walked around the barn, Shy was a bit leery at first, She kept and ear and an eye on the horse eating sled at all times. When we stopped then started, she got a bit jumpy, but not bad at all. Of course, I got all kinds of looks and stopped by a bunch of people asking questions. I don't mind answering questions at all and I love talking about Shy, so it was fun! I got a ton of questions about the G and H on her butt, what I was doing, Haflingers in general and some compliments on my harness and Shy. All the stopping gave Shy practice on her stand and when we started again and the sled started dragging, She was not jumpy after a couple times doing this. Eventually, she put her head down and just walked along next to me, still had an ear to the sled though. Good pony! 

Then I switched to walking on the off side of Shy. I wanted her to experience the sled on both sides. As any horse person knows, what is fine on one side may not be fine on the other! After the first few seconds, Shy conceded to the fact that the sled would not eat her and I just had to battle with being on the wrong side. Shy is a stickler for the "rules" and I really have to convince her it is okay for me to be on that side of her while we walk.

I was clicking and treating throughout our whole sled walk.  

I am very happy with how Shy is doing with her drive training! I feel like we are actually accomplishing something!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

driven to drive

After Plow Days and all the fun I had riding and driving, and since I am out of a saddle, I have decided that I want to really get Shyloh driving over the winter. I have grand plans of working on line driving, then when I feel she is really good with that having her pull an empty sled and working all the way up to pulling me in the sled. My thought is that by the time the snow comes she can give sled rides!

Them other day, I got Shy's harness out of her show box and tacked her up. Shy's patience with me is also amazing. She stood like a pro while I untangled all her lines and got myself ready. I figured I would have some issues getting her going, but she walked on like she had been doing this for years. We went all over, including places I have never walked her before. We even trotted some. At one point I decided to test out Shy's "gee" and "haw." I can't believe that I have to learn more words for right and left. . .I have a hard enough time as it is with that! I wanted Shy to go right, so I said "haw." She started turning left. . . even though I was using the reins to tell her right. Then I said "gee" and she immediately corrected herself. Good pony. Clearly knows more than me. . . I was quite impressed! 

Shy did spook once, but it was so minor and if a spook can be good, I would call this spook good. We were coming up around a trailer and the lady that owns the two Halfingers was sitting on the edge of it. I didn't even see her, but Shy jumped sideways a little. I am just happy that she did not try to bolt or run forward! We worked on whoa and stand and Shy did her typical moving to the left until she was halfway around me. We need more work on that.

Today, I did some more line driving. I am so happy with Shy's progress!  

To be sure that we can be in the big leagues of driving, I have marked Shy so I can get the "gee" and "haw" straight. . .
This is what the pros do, right?
I think going around the barn property and not being inside has a lot to do with this progress. It is not a boring arena. I remember discussing using the outdoors quite a while back and now I have little roads to do that on!  Shy is very curious about her surrounds and got a little side tracked with some new horses she has not seen before. That was the only issue we had today, and I took her past those horses over and over until she walked right through and stopped trying to go up to them. It only took three times.
On the go!
Shy had a terrific whoa and stand today! So much so that she didn't move when I stopped and talked to some friends for about 5 minutes, she even cocked a leg and stood perfectly still!
Not going anywhere!
I worked myself on keeping contact and trying to match my walk to that pokey pony. I think I am getting better. We worked on some more trotting too. . .until I ran out of breath!

Shy did so well, I bought a plastic sled from Target. 

I am going to drag it behind me next time, that way, if Shy spooks at it, I can let go and she won't be dragging it behind her.  Then, I will need one of these. . .