September 20, 2014

"Train without pain" Whips-a-Daisy

[Note: The Whips-a-Daisy is newer to the market, and the company sent me three of them in different sizes to review and test out.  This will be a three part series: The review itself, a training session w/ Ypke, and a training session w/ Jethro.]
As you all know by now, I am an avid clicker trainer and am not a fan of the common "get rough and tough" training attitude that many people adapt to whenever their horse (or donkey) acts up.  When I found out about Whips-a-Daisy and their epic slogan, "train without pain," I knew right away that they were my kind of company.

The Whips-a-Daisy comes in three sizes: bat, training/dressage, and lunge.  Originally the plan was that they were just going to send over a training size one, but they kindly threw in the other two sizes as well!  They are super nice people and you can tell just from talking to them that they truly believe in their product and think about things through the horse's perspective.  On top of that, the products arrived within a week.  Great people + speedy shipping!

Now, you are probably looking at the picture above and thinking that it looks rather unique.   Your normal whip is typically black and "bland" looking if you will, and they also don't make noise until they make contact with the horse.  On the other hand, the Whips-a-Daisy is the exact opposite, it presents a noticeable visual aid and the streamers on the end make noise without having to come in contact  with the horse.  On top of that, I also did a test: I smacked myself on the leg with a normal crop (not as hard as I could) and then repeated the same thing with the Whips-a-Daisy (using a lot more force than the with the crop).  The crop provided my poor leg with a momentary sharp pain that lingered for a couple of seconds while the Whips-a-Daisy didn't even come close to hurting the slightest bit.

The Whips-a-Daisy seems to be a well made product for sure!  It is comfortable to hold and not awkward to use.   The streamers are well attached and don't look like they have any intention of falling off.  

On top of being a well made product, it also serves as a magical wand.  The purple Whips-a-Daisy I was sent was able to turn Jethro into a purple fairy.  

**Disclosure: Whips-a-Daisy sent me their products free of charge for review purposes.  While I did receive these products at no expense, all thoughts expressed in this review are based off of my own experiences.  Despite my experience being positive, I cannot guarantee their products.**

September 15, 2014

Colorful Equine Custom Fly Masks

Last week Colorful Equine kindly sent me one of their fly masks.  It was super fun looking through all of the possible customization options, and it was difficult to decide on just one mask.  With 47 trims, 10 meshes, and 10 "Dazzle Me" patterns to choose from, you have 4700 possibilities to choose from.  Decisions, decisions! 

After a lot of thought and some concern over what I should choose, I finally reached a verdict.  The next day (Friday) I received an email that the fly mask had shipped, and on Monday afternoon it was delivered!  All I can say about that is wow seeing as how that is insanely fast for any item, not to mention a customized item.  On top of that, the owner of the business replied to me via email with lightening speed.  Really, this is just a speedy business.

Custom horse fly mask

Once it arrived I wasn't sure what to expect when I opened the package.  Things had been going so great, and I was worried that the mask might not live up to the awesome customer service.  Upon opening it up, I was pleasantly surprised!  The fleece is very soft and I felt myself getting the urge to bury my face into it (yeah, I'm weird like that), it reminded me of a fuzzy onesie that's fresh out of the drier... so soft and warm, oh-so soft and warm.  On top of that, the mesh seems to be of good quality and the stitching seems sturdy.

As far as sizing goes, I would say it fits her just as well as her other fly masks.  My one small complaint is that it gaps out some near the ears.  That being said, if you know in advance that your horse has a unique shape, Colorful Equine will tailor the mask to fit your needs.  Just send them your horse's measurements.

Custom horse fly mask

This mask is really just too cute, and it will be her official show and photoshoot fly mask.  Ypke is rather rough on her turnout gear, and I am worried that this lovely thing would get stained if it was an everyday mask (pasture pictures were taken purely for modeling purposes).  Due to this, I can't comment on how durable it is, but it is definitely very solid as far as stitching and quality of the materials.  My main concern is just staining! I would rate this a solid 4.7 out of 5, Ypke approved!

**Disclosure: Colorful Equine Custom Fly Masks sent me a fly mask free of charge for review purposes.  While I did receive this product at no expense, all thoughts expressed in this review are based off of my own experiences.  Despite my experience being positive, I cannot guarantee their products.**

September 14, 2014

What time is it? Adventure time!

Jethro is seriously up for anything — be it being brushed and cuddled with, getting dressed up as a fairy, or going on a fierce adventure through the elements. Allow me to tell the greatly exaggerated story of Jethro's Journey.
Miniature donkey

It started out as a normal walk, and we kept to the trails as usual.
But alas, typical routines are boring, so we decided to go off the beaten path.

Miniature donkey

We ended up in a deep, dark, heavily wooded forest. Despite getting lost, Jethro bravely marched through the thick underbrush without a care in the world. 

Miniature donkey

We came to a ditch that had to be crossed and stairs that had to be walked up, and the brave little donkey did just that.

Suddenly, we realized that the stairs went off to Lala Land and we fell ran down a steep, grassy slope.

Miniature donkey

As we were running uncontrollably down the hill (read: Jethro was galloping and bucking about and I was getting dragged by the 100 pound beast), it struck me that at the bottom there was a 10' cliff that ended in jagged rocks before becoming a raging river.  Whoopsie.

Miniature donkey

I slammed on the brakes and with all my strength reeled in the dreadful donkey.  We charged up the hill (read: Jethro galloped and bucked about up the hill while I was getting dragged) only to find ourselves in the middle of a lush field.  The little donkey was shocked and dove right into the grass.

Horse rearing

But then the human made him go home and the donkey became dreadful once again.

September 6, 2014

Soul selling and other shenanigans

Really, it is no lie that Ypke was awesome at fair as far as riding goes. That said, there was one huge tad issue though that posed a threat to the general public's safety — she refused to enter the barn.

I can't say I blame her — the barns were HOT even with all of the fans, and she had never been stalled for a week straight before. In true Ypke manner, she adamantly refused to do something she didn't want to do. Seeing as how we were constantly taking her in and out of the barn, we had a problem on our hands.

Throughout the years of owning Ypke, I have found that she is a very intelligent beastie who senses patterns easily and knows how to put two and two together. This proved to a be a problem when all 1100lbs. of her decided to go barreling back 30 feet into a sea of people... all in an effort to avoid the dreaded toaster.

First we did a simple trick: having her follow a steady eddy horse nose-to-tail.  It worked...once.  Then the madness of her flying back happened.

Then THEY came, like vultures swooping in to devour some sorry animal. By "they," I mean the people who think they are God's greatest gift to man kind — the wannabe trainers who get all up in your face with their "training" advice.

It is almost like people just assume I am a complete idiot who hasn't tried any common sense tactics, and I received many:
"Have you tried having her follow another horse?"
"Have you tried treats?"
"Have you tried lunging her when she doesn't go in?"
"Have you tried backing her in?"

I also received many comments such as:
"Just use a whip!"
"If nobody was around, I would give her a beating she would remember."
"Have you tried a stud chain?"
"Don't let her back, PULL!" Hahaha, like I can out-muscle a Fjord of all horses.
"You will never get her in."
"You aren't being tough enough with her."

Then of course, the one I always dread:
"Let me try!"

To up the ante, there was constantly children surging up behind Ypke wanting to meet the horse from Frozen. The inattentiveness of some parents never ceases to amaze me.Yes, let your kids try to run underneath a misbehaving horse! Great idea! Then, of course, there were some snobs standing around, enjoying us struggling to get her in the barn. Fun! Luckily my 4-H group is awesome, and they really did help us out a lot.


After a while, someone brought out this epic sweet feed that is practically like crack for horses, and Ypke waltzed right into the barn. She wouldn't go in for her usual grain, peppermint treats, carrots, apples, or hay.  However, she was willing to sell her soul for this mystical brand of sweet feed. Yup, I found out the source and proceeded to stock up on our own supply!