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!!


  1. Wow, how totally awesome is that. For both you and Shy!!! I can envision your smile as you drove your girl. Congrats!

  2. You must be on cloud 9 - wow! What a fun day!

    1. I forgot the 6th piece of homework. . .sing! To relax me and Shy. Because I know what she is capable of (taking off) I get nervous and she can feel it. I need a good song for us.

  3. Replies
    1. It was amazing! Now I just need to sell a kidney or body part to get a cart, haha.

  4. Woohoo!!! How fantastic is that! Well done to you, Shy & your super friends for helping you!

    1. Everyone in the draft show has been fabulous! I am so thankful to have met them!

  5. Well well, she looks pretty good in that cart all right. :D

    I'd say you're pretty lucky in getting to drive Shy in a snaffle still. I tried with Mitch the other day, put a french-link snaffle on his driving bridle, but he's a bit strong, and the kimberwick gives me some leverage. He didn't try to run away or anything, but he was a bit of a pill. Plus, he was driven in a liverpool bit, I think, in the past and is a bit heavy on the hands. I can feel comfortable riding him in his Myler snaffle, but really prefer driving him in the curb -- someday, might try the Glory bit. If I ever start Jet in harness, I might try and keep her in a snaffle.

    Shy's making strides! Keep on doing good things! I'm getting impatient to get Mitch in front of the cart, and our harness has made it as far as California (it's not too far away) I'll see it Monday.

    1. I am excited for you and Mitch to get hitched up! She responds really well to the snaffle, so if that is all she needs, I plan on sticking with it.

  6. Brilliant progress - well done Shy, well done Allison :-)

  7. That's awesome! Good girl, Shy! I need to get a cart so I can go back to driving Ozzy. He's a blast to drive and I miss it.

  8. I forgot another homework piece...get a driving whip!

  9. That's so awesome, congratulations! The foamy mouth is an amazing feeling :) Hers is even good foam, the lipstick kind that shows they're working the bit properly. Good job!

  10. This has to be one of the best days ever!! That sounds so fun. You have done such an amazing job with her. I am sure you will be clopping along in a cart of your own before you know it. I wish we were in the same part of the world so I could see it!!


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