Fly Mask Fashionistas (picture happy post :o)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Don't forget the back to school giveaway!
If you haven't already entered, you can toss your name in the hat by adding our fundraising widget (top left) to your blog, page, or forehead (still kidding), follow us here and like us on Facebook (top right), or tweet your favorite post. Donations count for two entries ('cause we need 'em :o) Drawing will be on Friday, August 26 and the winner will be announced on that weekend's post. A special thank you to "The Old Geezer" <--not my choice of words) for getting us to 100 followers - Woo! Definitely worth checking out (love "The Green Thing" post). In case anyone is wondering, I did not finish my office before school started, but I did get a little closer. Meh :oP We still have to construct my ginormous craft table; it's going to [hopefully] be a masterpiece. I'll letcha know. *grin*
Sarabear has had some trouble recently with her eyes. They were kind of goopy, puffy,and very watery and even with the fly sprays the gnats were making her crazy. She started rubbing her eyes on the wood around the stalls which was, in turn, causing me to develop a nervous twitch in my own eye. I just knew she was going to poke her eye out, get a splinter, or something. Eeek. We decided to try a fly mask, although I admit I had some doubts as to whether or not she'd actually wear it. Sara had been sent to a very abusive trainer early in life - not by us - for the halter show ring; she's an Anglo-Arab. Whatever he did, and that's all I know is it was a male trainer, caused her to be extremely head shy and she is still very afraid of having her ears touched. We're working on it :o)
Instead of starting with the mask right away, I let her see it first and then just hung it on the stall and put her halter on because I wanted to start with success (above photo). Then I took the halter back off and asked Sara if we could try the fly mask (after we gave it a good snuffle or two of course):
This is where a real relationship is invaluable. You can see that we are "outside", so Sara is free to leave. This means there is absolutely no pressure on her, other than what she is willing to accept. The other girls are still in their stalls (this was right after supper) so there is no one to bother us. In addition to the greed factor [treats], the horses genuinely seem to want my attention and approval, which just blows me away with stuff like this. When I lifted the mask to put it on, Sara said she wasn't ready (Photo below L) by raising her head high [fear] and flicking her ears back and forth [uncertainty]. I dropped it back down so she could think about it a bit more (below R).
Right here is often the point where horses and humans part company (at least for me). The internal urge to just "show" her it's no big thing by putting it on is huge and I have to fight it every stinkin' time. We just want to go ahead and do it so they will see that it's not a bad thing at all. Horses don't work that way, though. It's a thousand times better in the long run to let them decide on their own when they are ready, and they really will tell you provided you have good communication going between you (you'll see it with Rina further down). In reality, it takes far less time to drop it down and give Sara another minute than it would to chase her head around anyway (or worse, cause her to stress to escalate to the point she leaves). That extra minute was all she needed - what a good girl Sarabear. You stylin' it now sistafriend! *laugh*
Since DD was available for a bit to shoot a few more pictures after Sara, I was curious to see how the other girls would react to the mask; they were still in their stalls. I asked Rina if she wanted to try it on...She gave it a good sniff (below L), then said "nuh-uh" by pulling her head back partway into her stall (R): 
I'll add that I am sure I could have gone into her stall and gotten her to put it on, but I opted to go with the flow and move on to Taya (you'll see why in a minute ;o) 
Taya was curious too, and happy to let me put it on her. Good job Taya!
Bella had about the same reaction as Taya - ummm...ok - What a good girl!
Now, here's the part that really fascinates me. After I let everyone out, guess who came marching back up to me and wanted to try on the fly mask? Yep, it was Rina. Is that cool or what? Horses are just too awesome for words sometimes (and yes, I was so tickled with her request and willingness to put the mask on that I let out a happy little whoop and clapped for her...forgot I wasn't at elementary school [work] just then. HaHa. Silly me, I know. ;oD

Miscreant Max and I have started our home school lessons; otherwise we couldn't have played around for the camera here - he would have broken my nose for sure. It took me two solid weeks before I was able to give him a reward. Not kidding. Sometimes you need a magnifying glass and an awful lot of time to find that one positive thing. He'd do something that mostly passed for "good" (Max has a sliding scale ;o) and then immediately do something completely obnoxious and render me unable to give him a reward. It was making me crazed.  
We have had several chats about broken stall boards (one of umpteen patches visible in the photos), picking fights, spatial relationships, (you can see in the photo above he's not much on that stuff) crawling under fences, climbing up the stall wall (literally), general obnoxiousness, attentiveness, and just trying to behave a little better overall. Max has come to the conclusion that being a good boy is not nearly as awful as he thought it was going to be, so he is going to try his very very bestest to do it more often and stay out of trouble...
Have a blessed week everyone, and a wonderful back to school experience this year! Kids too ;o)


  1. I love the pictures and the commentary about the horses' reactions to the fly mask. Epic Farms looks like a fun place to be!

  2. How do they see through that? It looks like their eyes are completely covered.

  3. What a great play-by-play post.
    All of your horses are beautiful - with and without the mask!
    And... of course, the spontaneous reaction is priceless.

  4. the leopard print is so on trend right now! :)

    the horses look happy... I love happy horses!


  5. Val: Thank you so much; that means an awful lot. I mostly feel like a serious nitwit doing my normal stuff in front of a camera. You ought to see the delighted (and seriously dippy) expression on my face when Rina stuck her head out for the mask. I was morally obligated to crop out most of me, as I look like a total doofus *giggle*.

    Grace: I had the same thought, but you can see through it. It's a lot like looking through a screen; the closer you get the better you can see (although it's not as clear as going without one).

    Dreaming: Thank you so much; what lovely compliments. It's amazing how well "playing" with stuff works; I've done much the same thing with saddles and pads (you wouldn't think they'd stay to do it, but they do :o)
    Spontaneous is exactly right, and I still can't believe I did that... what an idiot *laugh*. I guess that's what happens when you spend large parts of your days with little kids that need lots of encouragement. I will say that I see an awful lot of parallels between training with horses and teaching in elementary school ;o)

  6. Corinna: Welcome... Happy to have you here for a visit. I have to tell you that I had myself a good laugh over the leopard print trim; thought it was too funny. Saying that our horses look happy is just about the best thing I can think of to hear (well, read ;o) Thank you!

  7. a fly mask huh? I was wondering the same thing Grace was but you already answered it.
    Always a fun time coming here :)

  8. Ann: I'm thinking I might try to take a picture of what things look like from the "inside" just to see what I get (I did look through it before putting it on Sara though ;o)
    Glad you're enjoying your blog visits (I always have fun at yours!)

  9. Maybe Max needs an IEP and a behavior plan. Ha! Love the pics, but poor Sarah :-(


  10. Krystal: Hey girl! Sara is just fine now; wearing the mask during the day and spray at night seems to have solved the problem. All I can tell you is that I sure am glad I wasn't eating or drinking when I read your comment. What's that word again? Oh yeah, spew. Bwah-ha-ha-ha :oD

  11. You are always such a busy busy person ~ always doing something!!! Love the facial expressions ~ of everyone!

    Happy Saturday Jen!

    xo Catherine

  12. Catherine: Sometimes just thinking about all the things I need/want to do totally wears me out ;o)
    I had some confusion over your comment, as I had just published this week's post when it popped up in my email. First thought was GEEZ she's quick, then I saw the "love the facial expressions on everyone" and went uhhhh...Huh? Took me a minute to catch on. *laugh*

Your comments really brighten my day!

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