Monday, March 31, 2014

monday musings by shyloh #126

You know what is better than a nap?
ah. . .the life!
A nap in a bed of hay, under the sun, with your favorite minions, with leftover hay still in our mouth.
Yeah, nothing is better than that!
Clutch and Notch nap time
Reba nap time
You know what is not so fun? Getting woke up from my most awesome in the hay, under the sun, minion loving, hay tasting nap to go for a super short bareback jaunt.


Saturday, March 29, 2014

learn to relax

That is what I need to do. . .learn to relax. 

I rode sassy Shyloh today. It had been a few weeks since I last got on her, so I had reverted back to nervousness again. 

Why? I have no idea! There is no reason to be nervous on that mare. Especially when we are in a round pen. Shy has done nothing since I have started riding her again for me to be nervous on her. Yet I am. It is frustrating. 

But the more times I ride in a row and the longer I stay on her, the less nervous I am. After our lesson a couple weeks ago, I so so relaxed on her and we just putzed all around the arena. Now, I just need the weather to cooperate. And school to be over (two more weeks!!). I think once I get some solid riding time in, I will get over this nervousness. 

It is funny, because Shy has been so so good. She can read me so well and she knows when I am nervous. She does take care of me, doesn't do crazy things, and stops when I lose balance. But Shy also tests me by trying to go where she wants to and stopping where she wants to stop and turn which direction she wants to turn. Little things, but I have to work hard to win these little things with her. As Jaime says, shy needs to know that I can lead her so she can trust me to keep her safe, just like I need to trust her to keep me safe by not being crazy.

I am also more comfortable on Shy bareback. Strange, right? Something about being in the saddle makes riding much more "official" or something. I don't want to do anything incredibly awesome with Shy, just have fun and trail ride. 

What are your tips to ease any nervousness in the saddle?

Friday, March 28, 2014

indiana haflinger sale preview

I took the day off of work and traveled over to Indiana to check out the Spring Haflinger Sale that is held every year. I had never been to this sale, but Friday there is a tack sale/auction, a fun show, and a drill team performance. 

I picked up Beth and Haley on the way west and we headed to see the Haflingers! The tack sale was a bit disappointing, as they had practically no vendors and we did not stay for the auction. Instead we took a short trip to Shipshewana Harness to check out their store. They are at a ton of shows and we always talk to Bob the owner, but it was cool to see the store and all the driving stuff they have inside. Bob was there and has such a vast amount of knowledge he is willing to share with his customers that it is always educational to talk to him.

But on to the Haflingers!
Baby! He was curious, but scared. And so cute!
This funny guy kept curling his lip when he was being brushed.
Forelock envy
This baby was a month old. He was so cute and fuzzy!
Me (Allison) and stallion Allison of the Valley.
Allison of the Valley, he was very handsome!
This filly is a sister to one of Haley's horses, whom she bought three years ago at this auction. Her name is Butterfingers.
Driving part of the fun show, we got to see the horses that are for sale driving, riding, and in hand.
This horse went up in the cart, then came down and fell. When it was falling, a shaft broke. Luckily, the horse remained calm and stayed down, but the driver got out to keep the horse down to others could unhook and remove the cart. The audience and other horses in the arena were very calm about the situation. It was scary, but handled well and the horse was unharmed and fine. 
A team hitch
This was Nieman Marcus II. I like how he parked out. 
It was a fun day. I talked with a couple Haflinger people, got to see a bunch of Haflingers, and hang out with Beth and Haley. Kinda wish I could have taken a Haflinger home though. . .perhaps Allison of the Valley?

Also, I totally, unintentionally made a stallion ejaculate by scratching his head. It was unexpected and gross. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

hump day haflinger series #12

Walnut Ridge Farms is home to some of the Haflingers that participate in the Ridden and Driven Drill Team at Equine Affaire. If you have seen it, you know that it is pretty amazing! It is pretty much my favorite part of going to Equine Affaire. And since Equine Affaire is a mere 15 days away, today, I am highlighting the fantastic Haflingers of the drill team!

A drill team is a group of ridden or driven horses that have choreographed their maneuvers to music. The riders and drivers spend a lot of time practicing and learning the routine. They must have the pattern memorized and be in exact synchronization with the rest of the team.

The ridden drill team, called the Frontier Riders Drill Team, has:
Like A Charm KCH, a 14 year old mare
Gabby RVM, a 7 year old mare
All American Ladd, a 10 year old gelding
The other seven Haflingers that are part of this team are owned by Walnut Ridge Farm's Amish friends. 

Performances (ridden):
  • 2013 Fantasia at Equine Affair in Ohio
  • AHR's Spring Sale
  • Various other venues

The driven drill team, called the OHA Driven Drill Team, has:
Noble B S-SN, 16 year old gelding
Mackinac RM, 16 year old gelding
Augusta ABE, 9 year old gelding
All American Ladd, a 10 year old gelding
The other six Haflingers are owned by other Ohio Haflinger Association members.

Performances (driven):
  • 2008 Fantasia at Equine Affair in Ohio
  • 2012 Fantasia at Equine Affair in Ohio and Massachusetts

Walnut Ridge Farms became involved with the ridden drill team when Betty Miller asked the farm if they wanted to participate. She puts together a variety of drill teams, some with Haflingers and some without. Of course, the farm said YES! and they worked out a plan to start practicing. Lou Sutton (of Walnut Ridge Farms) and Andrew Yoder are the organizers of the driven drill team. Betty participates in the driven drill team and runs the ridden drill team.

The people and horses got together for a total of ten practices that were two hours each. They had to trailer the horses two hours away to Windy Hill Farm in Millersburg, OH to practice the choreography with the other drill team members. 

All the work and travel was totally worth it! They have a ton of fun and always look forward to the next time the drill team is back together. The drill team will also be at the Haflinger and Draft Pony Sale in Indiana this weekend. 

It is very cool to see the drill teams perform in person. The precision of the horses and people working together is a sight to see. A couple of the Haflingers that participate in the drill team will also have their own highlight, because they are that awesome.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

new animals that are not horses

With nicer weather comes. . .mud! But the mud will go away and we can still have fun even with the mud. But wait. . .after the mud comes more freezing. What the. . .?

The other weekend, Terry's friend, Michele, came out to the barn. She got her first "lesson" in driving as we had Terry hook Meatball up (she is still trying to learn all about the harness) and drive him around the driveway. Then Michele took him for a spin. As spicy as Meatball can be in the pasture, he is such a good driving pony.

Later that day, Kyle and Terry rode their big black horses bareback around the driveway and did some jousting. I got a chance to jump on Clutch bareback, but he is soooo much bigger than Shyloh and his movements are just so much more, I didn't stay on long at all. And he has no mane to hold on to!
Slowest jousting ever. . .although Terry almost fell of from laughing so hard!
Shy has been sassy as can be lately! She sure is feeling the spring, even though it is still cold. We had a lesson planned for last weekend, but cancelled because of the cold. Wimps, I know, but after experiencing some weather above freezing no one wants to brave the below freezing weather!
Remember when I just said my horse doesn't like to get dirty? Then I show up to this? Which really isn't that dirt compared to the others.
In other news, I got some new pets.
That is NOT a sailor hat on her head.
Meet Whitney Houston the Barred Plymouth Rock. She will be living at the barn with all the other chicks. (All of the chickens have famous people names, like Paula Dean, Roy Orbison, Mary Poppins. . .)If she is a hen, I will get brown eggs from her. I hope she is a hen!

I also got Otto von Bubbles and his sidekick Blitzkrieg the snail. I was moved into my own office at work and it is so lonely, so I got some company. Plus, the kids who come see me should enjoy them. 

And. . .vote for us in She Moved To Texas' March Madness Semi Finals! We cleared the first round. 

Saturday, March 22, 2014


I don't think I have ever shared Reba's story. Sherwoodshire Rosie aka Reba is a seventeen year old Shire mare. She was living in a pasture with a Shire gelding, Joker, and a Clydesdale mare. Her previous owners couldn't take care of the big horses anymore and were looking to sell Reba and Joker. 
Reba in the snow
One day in July of 2013, me, Jaime, and Kyle went to look at Reba. She was an almost exact match to Clutch and it was thought that they would make a good driving team. But when Jaime saw the deplorable condition that Joker was in, she had to take him, too. 
Top: Joker then and now
Joker was emaciated. And his feet were more than terrible. After dragging Jaime around the pasture and displaying aggressive behaviors, Jaime reached out to some people in the local equine community. They found a previous owner of both Joker and Reba. This previous (not most recent) owner and another agreed to take on Joker together. Turns out that he had huge abscesses and foundered. He went through a lot of rehab, but is in much better shape today.

After getting Reba back home, Jaime discovered just how bad of a condition that both horses were in. They hadn't been vaccinated or seen an equine dentist in years, if ever in the years that her last owners had her. Reba was chunky, but her feet speak for themselves. . . 
Reba's first day home, feather shaved off because of infection underneath.
Reba stayed on at Jaime's barn. Jaime got her vet care, dental care, worming, and farrier care. She was shod in the front since her front feet were so sore from their lack of care. Jaime took her to a vet a few hours away that specializes in leg and hoof care and got her legs x-rayed. She barely had sole. 

Jaime switch her feed, gave her supplements and medicine to help with her hoof pain, and paid attention to her. But she soon realized that four drafts take a lot of time and dedication. With a baby that needed to be trained, she didn't have the time Reba deserved. So she was thinking of selling her to someone that would have the time for her. 

In walked Terry, at just the right time. Terry needed Reba just as much as Reba needed Terry. Terry began grooming her, then riding her a bit. It was love. By October, Terry bought Reba to be her very own horse. Terry has Reba on a regular farrier schedule with my farrier, who is actually Reba's former farrier. Her feet are coming along nicely and her shoes have been pulled for a while now.
Reba's hooves a few weeks ago. Feather is put up with vet wrap.
In her quest to find Reba's papers, Terry came across Ellen who owned Reba and Joker at one point and was the previous owner who took Joker back. Ellen told Terry a lot about Reba and the three colts she had, one of which she lost. One of Reba's colts is the famous Preatorian from the TV show Full Metal Jousting that was on a couple years ago. His actual name is Rudy. 
So happy!
Ellen also told Reba about the lady that she sold her to after she started driving minis. Jane was the last registered owner on Reba's papers. So Terry got in touch with Jane. Terry shared recent photos of her with Reba and Jane was so happy for them. They agreed to meet and get the papers straightened out. Today, we pulled up to Jane's house with Reba in tow.
Shyloh went to keep Reba company in the new trailer
Makes my heart smile
Jane was beyond happy to be able to see Reba again! It was so heartwarming. Jane was one of the nicest ladies and was just in awe with the big, black horse. I think Reba remembered Jane and the place she used to live. Jane was so happy that Reba is in a good home now and that she is doing fun things like showing, driving, riding, and having fun. She is even going to come to some shows to watch Reba and Terry.
Play jousting with lunge whips
I love a happy ending! Reba is staying at our barn with Terry for good and two of her previous owners who took care of her (they are both older ladies who could no longer handle the big drafts due to health or husband's deaths) are invited to come and visit with her any time. Reba is happy doing the amount of work Terry has her in and Terry has a big, huggable draft to take all of her stress away. 
Reba does give good hugs

Friday, March 21, 2014

spring is in the air!

I have a very sassy, springy pony! 
What other smells are in that fresh, spring air?
After being stuck in traffic for 2 hours trying to get down to the barn tonight, Shy was less than snuggly. In fact, she was down right trying to avoid me!

I took the shedding blade to her and gave her a good grooming. I expected her to be much muddier since Jaime sent me this video during the week. Quality isn't great, but you can kind of see Shy zooming about.

But, Shy was relatively mud free. This pony has the ability to stay so clean! I love it! And I may be bragging just a little. . . She has no qualms about walking through mud or puddles, but she won't lay or roll in them. Good pony.

After that, I took miss sassafrass for a walk in the back fields. We hadn't been back there in a while and I want to get Shy comfortable before we start riding back there. She was totally fine and was still trying to find soybeans. Her and those beans!
Digging for beans
It was nice to walk in fresh mud so I could see Shy's hoof prints. She was tracking up really nice, back prints right in the front prints. Now that bitter cold, snow, and wind are gone, we battle the mud. 

I took Shy to the round pen and made her move around. She was being so sassy! I didn't have my lunge whip, so I used a branch (well, more of a twig, it was shorter than my forearm) and Shy started moving out. . .and tossing that head.

I had no purpose to making her lunge for a few minutes, just to get her to move, but not too fast because the ground was wet. Then we just hung out and did nothing. I didn't want to ride because I tweaked my neck sleeping funny, but I am hoping to ride this weekend. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

what's in your bucket blog hop

More blog hop from L at Viva Carlos!

So, What supplements and other feeds does your horse vacuum down everyday? 

Shyloh is a Haflinger and needs minimal calories to maintain her weight. I think I have said before how Jaime is just amazed at the little bit of hay she eats and still stays plump. Of course, if Shy could talk and you were to ask her, she would say she needs ALL the hay! But we know that is not true.  This blog hop was timed perfectly, as we just had Shy's hay tested at the MSU Stallion Expo.
Hay snack
Shy gets two flakes of hay in the morning and one to two flakes at night, depending on if she got an afternoon snack or has been on the round bale. The flakes also depend one weight, if the flake feels light, another one will be given to her.  Her flakes are grass hay. 

The breakdown of her hay is:
8.8% Crude Protein, which is considered average
34.7% Acid Detergent Fiber which is considered low (which is good)
56.5% Neutral Detergent Fiber, with is considered average (low is good)
809 kcal/lb or Equine Digestible Energy, which is on the low end, but perfect for a Haflinger in no work.
My hay!
I am going to break it down a little further, since acid and detergents sound like something you never want your horse to eat. 

Crude Protein is simple, it is the amount of protein concentration in the hay. Grass hays have the least amount of protein, legume hays have the most.

Acid Detergent Fiber is made up of components that are poorly digested. So if your horse has a lot of hay pieces in the poop, this number is probably high. The lower the ADF number is, the more digestible the nutrients in the hay will be.

Neutral Detergent Fiber is made of of insoluble fiber. These give the hay the bulk and make it filling to the horse. You also want a lower number for this.

Equine Digestible Energy is how much energy is takes to digest the hay, self explanatory. 
Free treats!
That is the Shy hay breakdown. Since she needs so little hay to survive, she must make up the rest of her nutrients by a ration balancer. Shy used to get a vitamin crumble, but I have not been overly pleased with it. It did the job, and we just finished the bag, but now we are switching. Shy is getting ADM Stay Strong. It is a metabolic mineral pellet (has the vitamins and minerals, plus pre and probiotics) and if formulated for easy keepers and starch sensitive horses. So no extra calories and no oats, corn, molasses, or alfalfa. I am interested to see how she does on this.

Shy also gets loose salt, just because when she was pasture boarded I bought a 50 lb bag of salt for her to make sure she was getting enough and she will eat all 50 lbs of this bag, dammit! In 20- years, when that bag is gone, Shy can just get a salt lick in her stall. 

In addition to the salt, Shy gets Magnesium. I started her with Magnesium and B vitamins when I first got her. I had done some research and  because she was so jumpy I wanted to try something.  Later, I took her off the B vitamins and continued to keep her on the Magnesium because there is some research that claims it helps prevent laminitis.  It's not a high dose, so it can't hurt her. Plus, it is banana flavored and she likes it. 

Shy also used to get raspberry leaf from a local herb store for her nasty squirting issues. Either it lost its effect or just being around Isaac is more that the raspberry leaf can handle. . .I ended up taking her off that. 

A little before show season, I start to feed Shy Healthy Glo, also from ADM. It is a fat supplement (I do not give her a full serving), but it adds a little shine to her coat.
Shiny pony
So to recap: grass hay, ration balancer (vitamin, mineral, pre and probiotics), loose salt, Magnesium. I buy it all in bulk (it is cheaper that way) and bag it up myself. Fun! Oh yeah. . .and whatever dropped grain that she vacuums up for me when we clean stalls. But I don't count that. And treats, but those don't count either.

What does your horse eat?

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

hump day haflinger series #11

The Heuerman family has always been great fans of Haflingers. They are a great clan of Becky Hall, her mom and dad, and her five nieces and nephews. If there ever was any doubt about how great Haflingers were with kids or whether they made a family horse or not, just see what this family does with their ponies. 
Becky and Alliecat, Fulton County Fair 2012
Becky can’t say enough about what a great family friendly breed Haflingers are.  She grew up with Appaloosas and Quarter Horses, but now will never consider anything other than Haffies for her family.  They are so smart and challenge every level of handler.  They aren't always the best option for everyone though as they crave structure and rules and will test you if you don’t understand them.  They will also come up with their own ideas of “work” if you don’t provide it for them.  Any age range can connect with the breed because of their versatility.  They can do anything you ask them to from the youngest of kids doing their first riding class to grandparents doing a Jack Benny cart class. Haflingers really show their pride and connect with their humans.
Kids and ponies!
More kids on ponies!
The kids have been around the horses from the day they were born.  Maddie started showing at 5, Cody at 3 or 4, Megan and Tyler (twin sisters) when they were 2, and Dylan when he was 1.  They all started showing in the Lead Line division at our local show and are all growing into very competent, kind horse people. Becky does a great job of being an aunt and encouraging the kids to help get their horses ready for all the shows and events that they do. The kids are all well behaved and know seem to realize the responsibility of owning a pony. They are really great kids with some equally great horses.

Haflinger: Burt, Haflinger/Welsh cross
Age: 19 year old gelding
Height: 51.5 inches
Favorite Food: Peppermints
Personality: Abercrombie is a laid-back, smart, and playful horse. When he is giving lessons to kids he tends to be more slow and relaxed, but when Emilie rides he unleashes his energy!
Likes: Burt loves kids and is distant from adults. Burt’s favorite things to do are leisurely rides through the orchard with Cody as well as just hang out with his kids.
Cody and Burt
Discipline: Mainly a lead line pony in the youth division at shows.
  •  1st place at the 2012 GLHA (Great Lakes Haflinger Association) show in the Youth Pleasure Driving class
  • Won several awards at the 2013 Henry County Fair in Napoleon Ohio with Cody
Dylan and Burt. . .matching tongues!
Burt is the starter pony for all the kids in the family. Santa delivered Burt to the family 11 years ago. He know how to ride and drive but due to a past cart accident and him getting very stressed out while in harness he is semi-retired to a riding only pony. Burt competes in classes like showmanship, walk trot and lead line, trail in hand, and ridden trail.  He has also been shown at the GLHA show the last two years in the draft pony classes. Burt is owned by Cody Heuerman (12 years old) and is shared with Cody’s younger cousin Dylan Heuerman (3 years old). He loves to catch the kids off guard to initiate them into the Burt club…..steps on their foot when he has decided he will let them keep hanging around him.  He always makes you smile when you need it the most.  If you are having a bad day he always does something silly to change your mood. 
Cody Line Driving Burt through an obstacle course
Dylan and Burt, GLHA

Haflinger: Alliecat
Age: 8 year old unregistered mare
Height: 53.5 inches
Alliecat and Maddie at Fair in 2009
Favorite Food: Sour Patch Kids and donuts
Personality: Alpha mare, she has to go outside by herself because she likes her space.
Likes: Her favorite thing to do is being driven in the cart.  

Allecat with Maddie on the lines
Discipline: Pleasure Driving
  • 1st place at the 2013 GLHA Show in the Youth Pleasure Driving class with Maddie 
  • 1st place Team Pleasure Driving at the 2013 GLHA Show in the Youth Pleasure Driving class with Maddie 
  • Daily High Point Lead Line exhibitors twice for the 2013 Northwest Ohio Driving Circuit (NWODC) with Tyler
  • High Point Lead Line exhibitor for the NWODC 2013 year end awards with Tyler
  • 1st place in Jack Benny Class (age of horse and driver had to be more than 55) in 2012 with Grandma Heuerman and 2013 with Grandpa Heuerman
Maddie and Alliecat
Alliecat is a great pony and Becky would take 20 of her in a heartbeat. She came to the family in 2008 with an unknown history. She rides and drives both single and double.  She is shown pleasure driving and knows her job well.  She is shown by Maddie Heuerman (13 years old) in the Pleasure Driving division and Tyler Heuerman (7 years old) in the Lead Line division.  Maddie shows Alliecat locally at the Northwest Ohio Driving Circuit shows as well as through 4-H at the Henry County Fair in Napoleon Ohio. As shown by the variety of drivers in the family (Grandma and Grandpa were first time drivers), she adjusts easily to whoever is working her.  She challenges them in a way that allows them to grow in their skills.  She has taught their family so much and is so patient with all of them. She gets them as occasional treats but due to her history of foundering they are very cautious of her diet.  Alliecat does drive team and is very tolerant of it but prefers to be alone in the cart.
Tyler riding Alliecat, Maddie leading at GLHA
Haflinger: Jasmine or Jasi or Stinky
Age: 5 year old unregistered mare
Height: 56.5 inches
Baby Stinky!
Favorite Food: Gatorade (she will tip her bottom lip out for you to pour it on her mouth)
Personality: Jasmine is a tomboy and likes to be a stinky pig (hence the nickname). She is known to lay down at the trailer around 3:30 every show for a nap…’s hard work being a show pony.
Likes: Smiling for treats
Becky and Jasmine at Williams County Fair in 2012
Discipline: Draft Driving 
  • Reserve Champion Halter Mare in 2013 for the NWODC
  • High Point Lead Line exhibitor at one of the NWODC shows in 2013 with Megan
  • 3rd place in the Lead Line Division for 2013 NWODC
Jasmine and Megan
Jasmine came to the Heuerman family at 4 months old and has been raised by the family.  She drives single and double and is broke to ride…just needs finishing.  Cody has been the one to break her to ride and is determined to be the one to finish her.  She is shown by Becky and Megan Heuerman (7 years old).  Jasmine is shown in classes ranging from halter, showmanship, trail in hand, ridden trail with Megan, lead line, and cart classes. Maddie also took her as a secondary 4-H project to the Henry County Fair in Napoleon Ohio. .  Jasmine loves to work and was born that way.  Even when she was little she was curious about the cart and wanted to be a part of it.  We started breaking her to line drive when she was six months old because she wanted the challenge.  She doesn’t seem to have one thing she prefers she just likes to be part of whatever is going on and gets very upset when not included.
Megan on Jasmine with Becky leading at GLHA
Haflinger: Marino MCHF or Freckles
Age: 5 year old registered gelding
Height: 57.5 inches
Favorite Food: Gatorade (she will tip her bottom lip out for you to pour it on her mouth)
Personality: Freckles is a laid back dude and a ginormous flirt.
Likes: Flapping his lip against his tongue when he gets bored.
Cody and Freckles
Discipline: Draft Driving 
Freckles joined the Heuerman family in October of 2013 from the AHR (American Haflinger Registry) Fall Sale.  He was bred and raised by family friends Carl and Binnie Ann Masters.  I grew up showing light horses with their daughters Amy and Ann and Binnie Ann was my judging coach.  Freckles is broke to drive single and double and does have some saddle time but does need finished.  Becky will be taking that task on once spring arrives.  Freckles was purchased for Cody as his next project.  It is going to be really fun to see the two of them develop into a team this year. . .Cody better beware though because cousin Megan is claiming Freckles as her second pony!
Freckles in the snow!
All the kids have some excellent goals that they want to meet this year with their Haflingers. Cody wants to start learning how to drive a four up (that's four horses at once and he is only 12!)….now it’s a matter of finding someone to give him those lessons.  Cody would also like to finish Jasmine so his younger cousins have a safe riding pony. Maddie wants to try and qualify for State Fair with Alliecat and keep learning how to drive team. Megan’s goal is to make Jasmine work hard so she can start riding by herself more. Megan also wants to win a High Point director’s chair (which is the high point prize for the NWODC shows).  Tyler’s goal is to keep learning how to ride Alliecat by herself and try to win another high point director’s chair.  Dylan’s goal is to be able to show Burt in Trail In Hand all by himself. 
Megan and her director's chair for 2013
Burt and Megan in a costume class in 2011
The whole Heuerman family at Orchard Trail Farm is looking forward to a great year of enjoying our Haflingers! I am looking forward to seeing the kids and Becky show at our shows and county fairs again this summer. They are a great bunch to hang out with and a ton of fun!
Maddie and Alliecat at their first fair