Friday, May 30, 2014


Another rule was formed at the barn today. . .no cantering in the round pen. 

Terry's sister, Alison (with one "l" and mom to Lily and Tommy) offered to give me lessons if she could also ride Shyloh because she misses riding. Alison has been riding since before she could walk; saddleseat, hunt seat, Western, gaming. . .lots of riding. So of course I said yes! I really enjoy sharing Shy with others because she brings me so much happiness and I want to pass that on. . .and I really need lessons. It's a win win for everyone.

We had our first session today. Alison rode first, getting a feel for how Shy rides. She is sensitive, usually doesn't need much leg to move, but does like contact with the bit. Shy worked really well for her and had her super concentrating ears on, where they are in a halfway between the rider and forward and out to the side. . .like Shrek's ears, but cuter. 

They worked on walking and trotting and bending and flexing. Shy can be super cute pony for a little bit, but doesn't have the strength to keep it up for too long, yet. 

And when she gets tired, she hangs on the bit. They also worked on a little bit of canter. The canter is the Haflinger's least favorite gait (generally speaking). They have a harder time balancing it and keeping it. But I think Alison was so happy to be riding again and wanted a good canter out of Shy that she tried it a few times. Shy picked up her super fast trot but did canter. 

But, her little legs got to moving so quick that she slipped. Poor Shy tried so hard to stay upright but just couldn't. Alison tumbled forward as Shy slid on her side and landed on Alison's leg. Luckily, Shy was really calm about it and Alison was just slightly banged up. She took a minute to assess the damage. Shy was genuinely concerned about Alison, it was very cute. Alison got back on for a few more laps and I was very surprised at how good Shy was, especially after the slip. 

Then it was my turn! I actually look forward to riding now instead of having anxiety attacks. I got on Shy and Alison adjusted my legs. Ah. . .I felt so much better sitting upright with my legs further back. And I didn't feel off balance. Time to make Shy go forward. Nope, Shy was having none of it. Why, oh why will Shy give Alison a beautiful ride, but refuse to move for me? Mares. I did get her going, but she kept getting "sticky" in the same spot. Even through all this testing, never once did I feel she was nervous or getting ready to scoot. Eventually, I got her to the point where I kept her moving through the "sticky" part. Go me and my cheer team of Jaime and Alison!

At one point, I was trying to get Shy to go one way that she clearly did not want to go when she started moving sideways. I said, not sure what she is doing, but it sure feels fancy! as we all had a chuckle. I said, I am secretly a fancy dress-age rider and can make my horse do all kinds of fancy things.  One reason why I can't get Shy to do what I want. . .she makes me laugh too much and does silly things when she should be doing the things I ask her to do. 

But I did get her to go where I wanted and we did laps at the walk around the round pen in both directions. I did a few circles and Shy really wanted to pick up a trot, but stayed at the walk for me. I want to get super comfortable at the walk before we trot. I have a five year plan. . .

Thursday, May 29, 2014

let's make a baby blog hop

Yay more fun from L at Viva Carlos

This week's blog hop is..... If you could/were so inclined to breed your horse 1.. let's not get into the issues of backyard breeding and 2.. let's pretend your horse is a mare if it's not) WHO would you breed your horse to and Why!

I know a few stallions that I would breed Shyloh to, of I ever decided to breed her and if they would let me. I say that because she is not registered (to my knowledge and I don't have her paperwork) and she has some breed faults. 

Stellar would be a great stallion. He is handsome and a great mover. But I think if I were to get a breeding to him, I would have to have higher hopes for the foal than I want. I really have no interest in jumping or dressage or eventing or anything fancy. 

My next thought was Nando, because of his great versatility. And then Waltzing River TOF. But both those horses, gorgeous as they are tend to be taller and more modern type than I want. 

What I would really like is a thicker stallion, not any taller than 14.3hh, with a great temperament. A stallion that passes on a brave and gentle disposition and who is versatile. 
So handsome
And it is hard to find a thick, draftier stallion these days. Armani KHC is a nice looker, he trail rides, drives and passes on his great personality to his foals, which love attention, are easy to train, and want to please. Armani is a Silver Rated Stallion through the American Haflinger Registry. 
Great a trail!
Pretty mover
He has a nice mane and forelock and a the darker chestnut color I prefer. That's my pick without seeing him in person. I think he may be a bit taller, but I could deal with that!

*Photos from

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

hump day haflinger series #20

Eva Roemaat is a horse trainer from the Netherlands. She started riding at the age of seven and always seemed to know about Haflingers. She has her own Haflinger that is quite the character.
Eva and Shilas
Haflinger: Wappard van der Wier or Shilas
Age: 13 year old gelding
Height: 1.58 meters (about 15.2 hh)
Favorite Food: Anything!
Personality: Shilas is very outgoing, present, and cheeky. He is also a smart boy!
Likes: He likes to learn new things with Flip (Shilas' very own minion), and Eva. 
Discipline: Classical Dressage and Trick Training

Shilas is also great at jumping and they go on a lot of outdoor rides. 

Eva started trick training in 2007, after she saw Cavalia. This inspired her to try some things with her horse. Shilas learned a few tricks really quickly and Eva kept teaching him more and more. His favorite trick to do is standing on a pedestal, while Eva likes to have him do a well executed bow. 
The bow
The pedestal
The key to trick training, as with all other training methods is to provide the reward for the behavior within two seconds. This way, the horse can correlate that the behavior he did earned him the reward, whether it be a treat, a rest, a release of pressure, or whatever else works. 

Eva and Shilas, plus the minion Flip, are always fun to watch on YouTube videos. They have a ton of videos that show training and even bloopers. 

Eva's goal is to enjoy the world of horses with her partner, Jesse Drent. She also wants to show everyone the things that are possible with horses, if you are patient enough and willing to work together.  

*All photos were taken from her Facebook page with her permission

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

first show this year

What a weekend! We had our first show with the Northwest Ohio Driving Circuit (in which my horse no longer drives) and I think it was quite successful. I was so busy on show day I took a grand total of three photos, so I am borrowing photos that friends took. 

We loaded up the horses (seven total, plus three carts, four harness sets, five saddles, and a plethora of other necessary tack) and ended up taking two trailers and three trucks. No joke. We go big or go home. 
We left slightly behind schedule, but not as late a usual so we got to the show with time to spare to get horses ready and decorated for halter classes. While me and Shyloh didn't place in halter or showmanship, Shy and Lily got a fourth place! Even Shy's smile at the judge when we were setting up didn't seem to help our chances. Noah showed Meatball for the in-hand classes and got second place in showmanship! And Isaac took home a third in halter.

While we were waiting for the other participants to finish their patterns in showmanship, we could hear Tommy from the stands asking if it was his turn with Cwutch yet. So cute.

For in-hand trail, me and Shy had the best class we ever had. Shy performed every obstacle perfectly. I felt great coming out of that class and we placed second! Beth and Rambo took first place. 

While Shy did great with me, she gave Lily a little bit of trouble for her trail-in hand class. Now we know what we need to practice. 
For this show, I bit the bullet and did the riding class. I mounted Shy near the trailer and she gave me so much hell when I tried to get her to walk away. I almost gave up, but Beth walked me through it and got us to the ring. Once Shy saw Clutch in the ring, I had no more problems from her, my frustrating buddy sour horse. Shy was great during the class, it was walk/trot, but we only walked it since we haven't been working on trot and I wasn't comfortable with it in such a large arena. 

After we did the reverse, Shy thought it appropriate to stop right in front of the stands, spread her back legs, and pee. And not just any old pee, a five minute long pee that was gallons and gallons and gallons. Right in front for everyone to see and comment on. I kept saying, is she done yet and the unanimous response was nope, each time. Classy, Shy. 

Shy did great and even kept her composure when another rider got bucked off from a wasp that was bugging the horse. Luckily, the rider seemed okay and got back on. My only complaint from that class was that she kept playing with her bit and trying to eat the shanks when we were lined up. 

Lily was up next for lead line riding on Shy. And since Shy did so well during the riding class, I decided to sign up for the ridden trail class, just to see. . . Shy took all the obstacles very easily. We veered from the pattern on purpose (I let the judge know), but we did walk over the bridge and do a couple of the other obstacles. 

For the last lead line class, Lily rode Shy through the trail course. I held the lead line loose, and Lily worked her through each obstacle on her own. I only had to interfere once during the back up when Shy was crooked and I just scooted her rear end over. And they took first place! 

Our classes where over, since we weren't driving, but Terry was driving Reba in her first classes and Notch was being driven by Sierra. Sierra took a couple ribbons with Notch and Terry got a first and second place with Reba for driving. 

It was a really fun and busy show. Hidden Creek Draft Horses did well as a team. And I know what I really want to work on with Shy, trot and trail. I think we can do well! And Tommy said that maybe he will get some wibbons next time. 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

show prep

We had our first show of the season! But before we could even think about showing, we had to wash the winter off of the horses. Let's just say that getting six horses ready for a show is no small ordeal.

Jaime gave the big guys their first washing earlier in the week. When I got to the barn Thursday, I got to work on Shyloh's tail of nastiness. I used Goop, which works wonders to get stains out and it is cheap. Score! 

It looked like Shy had been rubbing her hives on the trees, so they were scabby. Yuck. But her hair was still there, so that was good.
Tail bagged to keep clean. 
I took Friday off work to be able to get everything done that needed to be done. Vet visit. . .check. Shy is doing just fine. Then off to pick up a cart for Terry and Reba. Once we got to the meet up place, we quickly found out that the cart didn't quite fit in Terry's truck. Good thing for ratchet straps!
We can do it!
Once we got back to the barn, the washing began. My Mrs. Conn's sponges arrived in time so I could test one out. 
I was really surprised how much soap was in the sponge! I was able to wash all of Shy with the one sponge and it smelled really nice and lemony. The sponge really took away the winter of dirt, grime, mud, being in heat, and every other thing that Shy managed to collect on her. Once she was dry, it was nice to be able to pat my pony without a cloud of dust rising up from her. I have another sponge, they are something I would order again for sure. 

Shy doesn't mind a body washing, but she is less than pleased with a face and forelock washing. 

Even less so when I style it for my amusement. . . 
Terry was getting to work on Reba's feather, trying to get them to white again. She had many products and a plan. It worked pretty well! Jaime and Kyle got Notch, Clutch, and Isaac bathed and ready for showtime! Terry's friend, Michele, and Noah washed Meatball who was wishing death upon anyone that touched him. 

Now, to keep the horses clean from all the hard work. . .sleazy time!

We even packed the trailer ahead of time! Bonus!

Show details to come. . .I took a grand total of three photos myself, so I have to wait for other people to share their photos. But it was a good show for everyone!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

hump day haflinger series #19

When I first bought Shyloh, she had a lot of issues that I was unprepared to handle. In my constant Interweb searches of all the Haflinger things, I found a therapeutic riding center that used only Haflingers in their program. Pretty Pony Pastures is always looking for volunteers to help, as they are dependent on them to run the program. I was up for the challenge!

I met Linda Watson, owner of the farm and all of her glorious Haflingers, 13 at that time, I believe. I was in heaven! I got to groom and work a horse, as well as talk to Linda and a couple of her lesson kids. It was a really good experience. Unfortunately, I grossly misjudged the distance and time it took to get there and could not commit to going once a week after work as I planned. I truly wish I lived closer.
Haflingers in the snow
Pretty Pony Pastures wanted a shorter horse for their therapeutic riding program and discovered the Haflinger breed. They bought two Haflingers at first, found out that they were gentle and had the disposition that they were looking, and from that point on, decided to only use Haflingers in their program. Since they began using Haflingers here, they have also learned that Haflingers are the breed of choice for therapeutic riding programs in Europe. 
Happy rider!
Children and adults with physical, mental, or emotional disabilities can benefit from therapeutic riding. The rhythmic movement that the rider feels when on horseback can increase the rider's flexibility, balance, and strength. Pretty Pony Pastures has riders that are on the Autism Spectrum, have Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, and other disabilities. Their barn is completely ADA accessible and they have a ramp that the riders can use to get on the horse so they do not have to climb steps. Usually, the rider will have three volunteers with them: two people walking on the sides and one leading the horse. As the rider's ability increases, the number of volunteers decreases, as the ultimate goal is for the rider to ride independently. 
Riding class
Pretty Pony Pastures uses five Haflingers in their therapeutic riding program (they also offer English lessons):
Buttercup (I got to work with her)
Riders also learn how to groom, lead (if able), and general horse care. Linda works with the child and parents on an instructional riding plan that starts with learning to mount and hold the reins and can go through advanced riding or have the child ride to the best of his/her ability. Goals and progress are charted for the rider. 
Several of their riders have improved their core muscles from the therapeutic riding program. A couple riders have even moved from therapeutic riding to the traditional English riding classes. Linda hopes to get a sensory pad to put under the saddle to show the riders how they are sitting on the horse. 
In addition to therapeutic and English riding, Pretty Pony Pastures also hosts many events to introduce people to horses. They have Ride with a Friend Day, Ladies Night Out, Test Ride a Pony, Golden Pony Club, and Hero and Volunteer Appreciation Day. There is also a Gift Shop online that helps support the program. 
It is a very neat and well put together facility. I love how Linda has each horse color coordinated with a halter and lead combo. On their rack on the wall, she has identifying marks of the horses, plus a photo of them where their halter and lead hang. It is great for the kids, as if offers them more independence in getting the equipment for the horse they will be riding. I also remember Linda telling me once why she uses English saddles over Western saddles. She used to use Western saddles for their sense of security, but once didn't have on that would fit a child. She used an English saddle and noticed a vast improvement in that child from one ride. After that day, she got rid of the Western saddles and only uses English saddles.
Pretty Pony Pastures is a great place for kids and families to learn about horses and how to ride. Keep up the great work!
Tacking up

Monday, May 19, 2014

monday musings by shyloh #132

Aside from being an awesome pony for my Lily, I went on my first real life, off the property trail ride! And it was so much fun! Allie's friend Anthony rode me because he is a much much much better rider than Allie and has confidence, which makes me feel better about everything. 
Ready to go!
We went out with Kyle and his new horse, King Leonitas (Leo), Terry and Reba, Jaime and Dexter, and Allie and Meatball. I did walking, trotting, cantering, aaaaaaaand galloping! 
Meatball was a jerkface, but that is another story
I went over bridges and through water. Water that came up to my belly!
We did this four times!
We also met some other riders and stopped to chat for a while by the water crossing. 
New friends!
 I did some leading and a lot of following. I stayed with the pack really good and even tolerated the carts. I was not spooked by a single thing. And I liked Anthony. He rode me on a loose rein the whole time and was calm and nice to me. Allie was so happy for me!
Look at me go!
Getting ready to go fast!
Fun times!
Now if she can just chill out we can have that much fun together, too!
And for more of my awesome adventures with my little one, check it out here. My weekend was beyond fantastic!