Thursday, February 28, 2013

piss and vinegar

Shyloh was quite the spunky pony today! But I can't blame her. . .most of her pasture is flooded (at least the part all the horses prefer to hang out on, strange) so I am pretty sure she has been mostly stationary for the past few days.
Minimal mud
Surprisingly, Shy was so clean! The rain/snow mix made her mane so white! Only the very bottom of her legs where a little muddy. Yay! I had decided to lunge Shy since I had not done that in a loooong time and I had not really worked her in a couple weeks. The reason behind that is I think Shy needs her teeth floated. She is dropping food and had been holding her head funny with a bit in. The equine dentist comes next week.
Flaxen mane
Anyway to the arena we went. . .the following is my internal (and possibly external) thoughts:
-Wow, Shy is looking good, she is walking very forward.
-Oh, she wants to trot. Well, I need to ask for it so I will bring to to a walk. . .Walk. . .WALK!
-Now she can trot. I can't believe she wants to trot so bad.
-Shy is tracking up really well. She is holding her head in position for short amounts of time. Pretty good for not working in a while.
- Hmmm. . .keeping up the trot. Going faster. I will try asking for a canter. Shy hates canter.
-What horse is this? A canter that I don't have to keep her in? Correct front and rear leads the first time?
- I think she wants to buck, yeah, she wants to buck. . .but she is keeping herself together, just going faster. 
- Shy is looking good. I think this living outside is really benefiting her.
- Time to stop and switch directions. Whoa. . .whoa. . .whoa. . .Whoa. . Whoa. . .WHOA!!
- Let's try that again. . .and again. . and again. . .no not faster, STOP! Dang this horse is feisty today!

The opposite direction was pretty much the same, but when we switched directions again Shy was listening better. But she was a trotting machine! A fast trotting machine!

After our lunge session, I did some stretches on Shy. What is the best way to tell if your horse likes being stretched? When she is already holding her legs up when you get around to that side! She looves her some stretching!

Then Buddy the Belgian came into the arena for his riding lesson. As big as Buddy is, he can be a scaredy-horse. He was afraid of the back corner of the arena and making the "thinking noise," which can also be referred to as the scared noise. Shy, who never had a problem with the arena, was feeding off of Buddy's vibes and perked her ear and was jumpy. Weirdo. 
Buddy is a giant Shy!
We finished our day with the Tour-de-Hay, which includes the Tunnel of Hay and all the other hay spots around the barn. Shy knows them all and I let her lead the way. 
nom nom
When I put her back in with her herd (minus her buddy, Jesse, he moved, so sad) Shy even gave a little attitude to Lukas! That was a shock! Sassy pony is feeling that tomorrow is March!

Monday, February 25, 2013

monday musings by shyloh #77

The snow and ice are taking over! I have to be super careful not to slip when I walk. Luckily, my home is pretty ice free, but when Allie takes me out. . . slippy doo! Allie does try to walk me on the grass where there is no ice, but sometimes it is unavoidable. 
I can't see you!
When Allie announced we were going to walk through the trails, I thought she was nuts! But once we got to walking, the trails actually have no ice. It was fun and I demolished a bunch of small trees. So tasty!
Looking through the woods
Fresh air!
We saw a bunch of different kinds of tracks. . . 
Possibly raccoon? Looks like they are little fingers in the snow
Geese going into the creek!
Small deer?
And followed them for a while. Then I hopped between two fallen logs to nibble at a tree. 
Mmmm, branches
Hungry horses eat anything!
Then I hopped back over and tangled myself into a little tree as I tried to eat it. 
I'm all up in this tree!
I also found some leaves to much on. I am such a hungry Haffie!
Yummy leaves on the branch! It's like a delicatessen! 
We walked over fallen trees and through low hanging trees. I considered this exercise since I had to lift my legs to get over the logs. But I didn't duck when the tree limbs were hanging, I just plowed through them. . .and then they bounced back and smacked Allie in the face and scratched her hand! Haha!

By the time we got back to the barn property I was a sleepy girl, but Allie was not done with me yet. She got out a bucket. I kicked the bucket away. She got the bucket back. I moved away from the bucket. She moved it closer, so I kicked it away again. And again. And again. Eventually, I lost the bucket fight and Allie climbed on the bucket and swung a leg over me. I didn't care. . .I let Allie hang all over me, tap all over my sides and butt with her feet, and just be overall a bother. Like I said, I was sleepy. 
Sleepy eyes
But I wasn't too sleepy to try and steal carrots out of my grooming bag!
If they are in my reach, they are fair game!
After Allie had her weird sense of fun, I headed back to my horses and hung out in the shelter with Tony and Shea. Nap time!
And Jesse's nose in the front.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

northwest ohio driving circuit

Last summer, Jaime had finally convinced me to do take Shyloh to some driving shows. I was completely against showing Shy, just because I have been through recitals, competitions, meets, and some form of judgement my whole life. I just wanted to enjoy my horse.

But I was convinced to go to a clinic held by the Harry Hughes Youth Equestrian Center.

There were a bunch of Haflingers there and everyone was so nice and very helpful with me and Shy. So I went to a show. And I had fun! There was a lot going on, but I was in the draft division with Shy and stuck mostly with those people. I did not feel any pressure, it was a great experience for me and Shy, and we learned a lot. Even though we didn't win any ribbons, I met some new friends which are way more important to me than ribbons.

Because the Harry Hughes circuit is growing, and the draft division is growing as well, those of us with draft and/or driving horses decided to split into our own group. We are having our show days on different days than the rest of the circuit, we picked our showbill, set our rules and we picked a new name and logo.

We are the NorthWest Ohio Driving Circuit or NWODC. We decided to open our circuit up to draft and pleasure driving, which would include any other horse, pony, mini, mule, or donkey that wants to participate.  We had created a new logo to represent us. And Jaime found a place nearby us that will customize shirts and car decals. Here is my hoodie!
I got teal writing because it's one of our show colors and Shy's name on the sleeve!
The logo depicts a draft, a mule, a Haflinger or Gypsy, and a mini.
It has been fun helping to found this new group. We just had our third meeting today to put together this show. I think all the work we have put in will really pay off. We also have Adult, Youth, and Pee Wee classes, so if anyone has a kid I can borrow that wants to use Shy for some lead line or simple stuff, let me know!

Check out the Facebook group Northwest Ohio Driving Circuit. There you will find the showbill, the rules, and entry forms for the shows that can be pre-filled for show day.

Harry Hughes will be holding a clinic on May 4th and May 5th. The clinics are free and open to everyone! May 4th is the light horse day which covers Showmanship, English Equitation, Trail, Western Horsemanship, and has a Cowboy Mounted Shooting Demonstration.

The Draft/Driving clinic is May 5th and starts at 9am. It covers Braiding and Decorating Drafts, draft Showmanship, Safe Harnessing and Hooking, Hitching Single Cart, Working Obstacles, and then there is Open Work Time. It's a fun time.

If anyone is in the area that has a draft or driving horse, or wants to get involved, please come join us! The competition is friendly, the atmosphere is wonderful, and the people are amazing! Feel free to join the groups or email me with any questions! I am really looking forward to showing this year, especially since chances are good Shy and I will be in the cart!

Friday, February 22, 2013

kick in the ass

Shyloh is working on her assertiveness skills. When she first moved into the herd, she would run from all the horses whenever they would look sideways at her. I always knew she is not one to pick on other horses or start anything, but she won't take another horses' crap for long.
Shy can smell the green!
Let's back up to this morning. I woke up to snow. Lots of snow. I was not expecting this, especially since I don't watch the news or much TV and I don't listen to the radio (I heart iPod). I find it very inconvenient that Detroit sits atop one of the larges salt deposits in the world, yet we can't seem to get the salt trucks out to keep the roads safe. My drive to work consisted on a top speed of 25 miles per hour on the free way with cars spinning out everywhere. We have gone through a freeze/melt/freeze cycle that has left ice over all surfaces, including the barn. 
See Jesse waiting for Shy in the background?
The pasture horses are mostly fine. Since they are out all the time they don't get crazy and they only have one really icy area that I saw in their pasture. But the barn property is another story. Ice is hidden under the snow and you don't know it is there until it is too late. 
Tunnel of Hay. . .bet it would be real scary if it wasn't covered with yummy hay!
I didn't want Shy to miss her dinner, so I didn't want to chance hooking her to the cart for a short time and I didn't really want to drive her in the arena. It is small and boring. So we carefully walked around the sand covered areas of the barn looking for some edible grass under the snow and hay dropped by people.
Foraging for anything green!
We only hit a few icy patches (oops) but we both stayed upright. I chatted with another boarder and he spoiled Shy with some more hay and a few treats. We discussed his horse, who he felt was getting thin and how he was supplementing him to put some weight back on. I commented on how Shy seems to be doing good food-wise in the herd and how I did not notice her dropping weight. He said that was because Shy hooked up with Jesse, one of the more dominant horses, and he has seen her kick out at other horses when they tried to get her food.
Can't even tell she has a trimmed bridle path! Digging through snow for grass.
What? I have never seen Shy do that! I frequently get comments on how Shy is a little firecracker out in her pasture, running around like a nut. Every time I see her she is standing still. Or napping. Very rarely, she is laying. But never kicking or running! I miss out on all the fun.
After I put Shy back in the herd, she usually walks down the fence line with me. . .sometimes I give her a treat or two. Sometimes, the other horses know this. . .Today, they did. And it is usually Lukas, Tony, and Rainy Day (the highest three in the herd) that follow me and Shy. Today, Tony the donkey must have felt he was entitled to something because he went right up to Shy and bit her on the crest of her neck. She ducked away but came right back. Tony had it out for Shy and went for her again, but Shy was having none of that. She turned around and aimed a kick right at him. And she got him. Go Shy! Way to stand up for herself! Tony wasn't hurt but he did leave her alone. Now if Shy can just stand up to Lukas. . .

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

food and naps

I got to spend a whooping twenty minutes with Shyloh the other day before it was time for the feeding frenzy. But, it was the best twenty minutes of my day! I gave Shy her supplements, groomed her, and picked her feet. While Shy was eating, she knocked her bowl over. Again. This is a new behavior that she has been doing for the past week or so. At first, I thought it was an accident, like she was pawing, but now I am pretty sure it is intentional. Weird, because she never did this before, but if she wants to eat from the ground instead of her bowl, I don't care. 

After, climbed on a bucket and leaned over her. At first, Shy was like, nah. . .I'll pass and stepped away. But then she just let me hang all over her. My thinking is she needs to get used to someone being on her back because eventually I will get a saddle and start riding. Eventually. . . But I do have to say, Shy was just fine with me draped over her back, swinging my arms all over her. 

When I heard the Gator drive up, I knew our time was over. I put Shy back in with her herd to eat. She is so good and I am very grateful for that. She wasn't pushy to get in the gate and get to the hay, she stood nicely while I took her halter off, it's nice to see my horse can have manners. 

Here she is eating with the top dogs of the herd. Shortly after this, she did walk off and find her own hay pile, but it is nice to see that she was not run off. I love watching the herd interact, especially at feeding time. I don't know if this is a hard herd to get into, but I do know they had to move two horses that where at the bottom of the herd to a paddock with a shelter because they weren't getting enough to eat. Shy seems to have worked her way towards the middle of the herd. I think she is pretty comfortable in her spot.

Over the weekend, I walked into the barn and I saw the herd up in the sandy tree area. But I did not see Shy. Strange, I thought, until I saw this lump on the ground start moving. Shy was flat out sunning in the snow. I wish I would have been close enough to get a photo, but she got up when she saw me. Later, after we did some work, she took a standing nap. I was hoping she would lay down, but she didn't. Shy did work her butt right up until she was touching Tony's butt then dropped her head for a nap. It was funny watching her. Shy's head would start to drop, drop , drop. . .then she would snap it up again. It reminded me of falling asleep in school where your head keeps dropping then you jerk awake. 

Notice in this photo how there is snow. . .it was gone the next day. Other horses have begun the shedding process. Not Shy. She is holding onto that fuzz! I do think my fluffy pony is super cute, but I am ready for my sleek and shiny mare. Hopefully with some muscles. 
She looks like a Shetland pony with all that hair!
I am hoping the ground dries up and flattens out from the tire tracks. My plan is to ask someone to head Shy so I can get in the cart soon!

Monday, February 18, 2013

monday musings by shyloh #76

Interview with a Haflinger. . .me!


Friday, February 15, 2013

bag of scare

I do not know what has gotten into Shyloh lately, but she is being hard to catch again. And to top it off, Shy is being super sassy about it with that head toss!

Once I finally caught her (peppermints are less and less effective), I put her to work. I had a plan.  I had a bag. 
bag of scares
In my bag, I had items that make lots of noises. 
Items of doom : 1. tub of candy from the movies 2. horn 3. paper bag of taffy 4. jingle bell 5. plastic bag 6. chain
I want Shy to be comfortable with noises coming out of nowhere that she cannot see. So I hooked her up in the indoor arena (did I ever mention is she amazingly still when being hooked?) and I took her around the arena. Her commands where spot on. 
Then I started with my noise makers. First I crinkled the paper bag with the salt water taffy in it. Shy acted like she didn't even hear it. So I shook the bag. Still nothing.

Next I took out the horn. I gave it a gentle honk, I really didn't want to flat out scare her. But the biggest reaction I got was a flick of the ears back on the noise. 

I took out the tub of candy and shook it. It was loud. Shy kept moving so I kept shaking. She finally stopped. She was probably wondering what the crazy person behind her was doing. With a "walk on", she continued on. 

I got the jingle bells out. I knew Shy wasn't afraid of these, she had worn them before. And I was right, jingle bells jingling behind her were not a problem. But then I got an idea. . .I remembered what had happened with a barn cat ran out in front of Shy one day when we were line driving. Shy got startled. So I tossed the jingle bell in front of Shy.

I knew she was going to be startled, but I was not expecting her reaction. . .let's just say that she stopped so hard that if I would have been riding in the cart I would have been launched forward, probably onto Shy's back and landed on one of those silver things (technical term) on her harness saddle. I don't want that. Sounds painful.

Instead, I was walking behind the cart and I ran into it. I wish I would have got that on video.

That was a big reaction, but not the worst reaction that I can think of. So what was the most logical thing to do next? Yup, get Shy moving and do it all over again. Hey, I had four jingle bells! Each time I tossed one (I threw them on both sides of her, too), her reaction was better and better. Plus, she was not scared of the actual bells and had no problem walking up to them as I steered her to pick them up and do it all over again. Just the sudden appearance of the bells in her line of vision was startling. I wouldn't even call it scary. 

To continue my session with Shy, I got out the chain and tapped it on the wood and metal parts of the cart. She didn't care. Plastic bag flapping? No worries. Jingle bells tossed ahead of her again? Super stop! I tossed all the jingle bells again and when Shy showed the slightest reaction, I ended the lesson. Each time she did stop, but the stop was less and less abrupt. So, now I know what we need to work on, mainly objects coming into her range of vision when she is not expecting it. I am thankful that she never tried to bolt!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

winner winner

. . .chicken dinner!

We won something!! Shyloh's horse shaming was the randomly selected winner at Kate's blog. We did not win by popular vote, but, hey, we won! I have to say, there are some pretty bad horses out there! Take a look at some of the entries. . .I am glad Shy just has a bit of an attitude. Kate is going to do a watercolor portrait of Shy. I am so excited!!

As for Shy, I went to see her today and oooh was she being a sass. Just attitude! I wanted to see her without doing any cart work today. I am trying to work on a new trick with her. I saw a Haflinger do it last year at Equine Affaire and I just remembered it over the weekend. I am not entirely sure Shy gets what I am clicking for yet. The trick involves fine motor movements, so it is hard and I have to time my click just right. We will get it, it will just take us longer than any of the other tricks we have done. 

Take a look at this sassy pants with her poof ball forelock:
Troll hair!
like a boss. . 
Keep that tongue in your mouth missy!
nom nom

Monday, February 11, 2013

monday musings by shyloh #75

The sun was shining this weekend and I was feeling frisky! Allie pimped me out again for some sled rides. I didn't mind too much, like I said, I was feeling frisky!
Tryin' to hide
I took two little kids on  rides and boy do they not have any balance. They could't stay in the sled! I had to keep stopping so they could get back in.  They kept yelling faster and faster!! and this is awesome!! so I was trotting faster and faster then, bam! They would topple. But it was all in good fun.
Then I took a big kid for a ride. I guess she works with Allie or something and she brought the little kids. She has fun too! I got to trot lots, but kept getting distracted and stopping. There was a lot going on around me and since I can only see a little bit with my blinders on, I had to stop to take it all in. It wasn't scary or anything, I was just being nosy. 

s you can see, Allie barely touched me to keep my trot up, but my butt was feeling super sensitive that day. I have a fickle butt, sometimes barely a tap will send me flying other times nothing will get me to move. Ha!

I am hopeful that the temperatures continue to climb and the sun keeps shining. Plus. . .if the snow melts, I don't have to give sled rides! But then I have to deal with mud.

Allie took my tail out. . .look how long and lovely it is! Back up it went, cause I kept stepping on it. Now if only my gorgeous forelock would grow longer instead of thicker, I would be the most beauticious horse around!


Sunday, February 10, 2013

haw haw haw

What a day! Terry was meeting me at the barn to get her horsey fix in and I had planned on having Shyloh all ready to go when she got here. But, as all things Shyloh go, Shy was not in on my plans at all. I saw Shy out in her paddock taking a snooze standing up, so I got her cart and harness  all ready to go. By the time I made it to Shy, she was looking like this:

All out nap, eyes closed and everything. I would have snuggled up next to her, if Shy would have given me a chance. But she saw me coming, got up, and took off. . .head tossing and everything. What the heck? This was the second time Shy gave me a hard time catching her. 

Sassy pony was on a mission to cause me grief today! She took me all around the pasture, through thorn bushes (where the bush attacked me, I got wounded in the finger, and got my clothes thorned), over fallen trees, around bends, here, there, and everywhere. By the time I gave up, I reached for my phone to check the time. 

The phone was gone. Crap! It fell out of my pocket somewhere while chasing sassy pony. I left the pasture, grabbed a peppermint and borrowed another boarder's phone to search for mine. Bust. I couldn't catch Shy or find my phone. I resigned to wait for Terry.

When Terry got there, we both looked for the phone without luck. By now, I just resigned myself to going to the Sprint store after I left the barn to get a replacement. Then Terry and I both came at Shy from different directions and she realized she was at a loss. 

Terry is very interested in the whole driving thing, so she helped me hook Shy to the cart and she was my honorary header. This was our first time doing some carting outside. And since we have already completed new homework assignments 1-7, I think it was time. I have no photos of our session outside, since my phone was still lost. And aside from almost falling on my ass, Shy was good. Having to pull the cart doesn't bother her, the cart noises don't bother her, and I really think she is good with having to pull the cart. Now we must refine our commands.

I got in a huge fight with Shy about going haw (left) today. She would start to turn, then decide nah, she wanted to go gee (right) instead.  This went on and on and on. That is one stubborn pony! I think she was having some miscommunication with her body. Shy wanted to be very bendy and not cross over, but when she was bending the shaft would hit her and have her want to go the other way. Terry stepped in at Shy's head and helped us go left, although Shy still fought it at first. After that, Shy just needed a few reminders of stand and we was great! Terry even got a chance to line drive her!

I put Shy away and looked for my phone again. I figured a horse, probably mine, pooped on it and I began to kick over fresh looking piles of poo. Nothing. Ugh.  I hung out at the barn with Terry visiting and watching people ride. Then Marlene (she owns a beautiful Belgian, Belle) offered to help me look one last time. I agreed. And lo and behold, I found my phone! Yay! 

Friday, February 8, 2013

hungry herd

I worked my fuzzy pony in the cart today, all by myself (pat on back). She stood perfectly still when I hooked the cart on and stepped off very nicely. Good backing up when asked, great stops and stands, and nice gees and haws. Yay Shyloh! This may be easier than I thought. Aside from a bit of unasked for backing in the beginning and being a little tough on the right rein, she was awesome! I think it is time to get out of the boring arena and take our cart to new destinations. . .being the roads on the property.
Fuzz almost hides the girth!
Good pony!
A perfect stand!
When we finished with the cart, the herd had just got their hay. . .oops! I untacked Shy real quick and threw her in with her buddies. I think it's cute how they form their own groups to eat and stick together. Shy is no longer at the bottom of the herd. I saw her move off two horses just a pin of her ears. I took a bunch of photos of dinner time.
Mane is so clean from the snow!
Silly Dancer, you have hay on your head!
Lukas, Tony, and Rainy Day make a trio of eaters.
Pretty Zanna eats by herself
 I took Shy's tail out for the night
Jessie and Shy share