Wednesday, September 9, 2015

A Late Update

So this post is so overdue. I meant to post this last week. Ugh, sorry. I'm going through and changing my date references, hopefully I catch them all.

Other than finding a kitten the week before last, we had a couple good things with Penn:
  • He went for his first solo trip down to the outdoor arena. He marches off all full of himself and slowly peeters out as he gets going down the road. There were other horses down there, but he had to make the walk by himself.
  • I've apparently installed a "go forward when in doubt" button. Whenever he's unsure, he'll catch himself backing off and start trotting off. While this is not cool- it could lead to him running off- I'm still happy he goes forward instead of stopping or worse, backing up. He's always very prompt when I tell him to whoa when he's on a mission to run off, so I'm not overly concerned.
  • We cantered for the first time since our test ride! It was AWESOME. I love his canter. I never got to really ride it for more than a few strides at our test ride, but a bit of weight, some good riding, and good shoeing, and he's confident enough to move off in the canter. I have to ask him to keep going, but he does without complaint. It kind of feels like how I would think a big front end action horse would feel- like a Friesian or something.
  • He has very naturally uphill trot to canter transitions. He also does them promptly. I asked him for the first one, and he surprised me by answering immediately and really lifting his shoulders.
And Trainer rode him for the first time Thursday night (8/27)!!!

OMG is he going to be fancy. I wish I had thought of videoing it. She got after him about his bulging right side and his tendency to hang on the right rein. She really asked him for things (basics walk/trot/canter but really connected and using himself and straight), and he answered the best he could. She really tried to push his buttons to see how much he would tolerate, and he never fought back. He looked so happy to work, and he never once quit on her or told her NOOO! She asked for a tiny lengthening trot, and he tried to give it to her, but he really had no clue what he should be doing. No fault there though- it was more of a test of "what do you do when the going gets tough".

Something she made obvious was an adorable floaty trot, and that he has a BIG canter for a little horse. And once he muscles up, holy crap, look out dressage rings!

My rides the week before last were about slowing down his tempo to try and develop his trot's float a bit more (bigger, slower steps). Well she blew that out of the water. Of course she did. She's a trainer. I am not.

I do need to start expecting a bit more from him in our work. Not every day, but when we work in the arena for 2-3 of our 5-6 rides per week I need to expect a little more of him. I just don't want to ruin his good attitude!

Being a good lead pony!
Two Saturdays ago (8/29) we went for a big trail ride with 6 other horses. Penn was awesome. He started out a bit looky, but ended up being the leader for 80% of the ride. When he's that looky I push him for more forward thinking, so he ended up out walking the 18h horse that was leading (that horse did slow down after going up the first big hill, haha). I had the big horse take over the lead towards the end of the ride because we had to go through some overgrown elephant ears and I didn't think Penn would be brave enough to be the first horse to push through them. He took over again after the elephant ears, until he realized he was going home and basically sighed, relaxed, and walked slower. A 22 yr old OTTB realized that he was going home, and out walked everyone in the final stretch of trail!

The white horse is the 18hh. My helmet is dirty and my hair wonky. Sorry.
The 22 yr old OTTB is catching up to us! The rest of the horses on the ride: The 18hh Irish Draught, 15hh QH (the size difference is hilarious), another QH, then a green QH, then a baby Dutch Warmblood.
We had a trailer loading session after our trail ride. Practiced getting on the big trailer, and then my smaller one. Penn had a couple opinions about not getting on and I set him straight and then he hopped right on like a champ.

We had to have a trailer refresher because...

The next day (Sunday), Penn went to his first cross country schooling session! He didn't jump anything. It was more about getting on a trailer, being a good boy in public, and seeing how he dealt with horses running and jumping near him.

He was a superstar. 11 horses went, and there was another baby horse who hauled in my trailer. It ended up being a good thing that there were two baby horses just there for the scenery because neither ever got left behind and they always had each other.

I had someone hold Penn while I got on, which was a good thing because he tried to jump away immediately. He handled the warm up alright- he walked quickly and a bit tense while the other horses trotted and cantered past him in the warm up field, but he stayed in his skin. I let him have a trot and canter around when we got to the first set of jumps that everyone circled over. I put my hands in his crest and let him lope around and he was happy to do so.

He didn't care for standing. He tried to back up, paw, reach around and grab the reins, and toss his head. Each time he'd do one of those, I'd correct him, and he'd settle for about 5 seconds before picking another annoying thing to do. I tried to manage the backing up by every few minutes having him walk a lap around the horses that were standing around. When we got to the last complex (the water, which was unfortunately empty and just a gravel pit), he finally sighed, put his head down, and completely relaxed. Just in time to go home.

He got a lot of compliments on how cute he was, and what a good boy and how he wasn't acting like a complete baby.

At the end, I walked him over a tiny log and he stepped over like a champ. Of course he was tired too (standing around is hard work), and it made me wish I had walked him over a couple logs in the beginning, but it was probably best not to push it. We'll be going with everyone again, so maybe next time!

"Hi Momma, I was a good boy! This saddle is shaped funny."


  1. He is so cute. I am glad you are enjoying him so much!

    1. These are all unexciting things I would have done with Mikey, however since Penn's a baby, I get to document them all! I'm really enjoying him. I made mistakes when I restarted Mikey, and I'm excited to not make those mistakes with Penn.

  2. awww that last picture!!! he is just too cute for words. sounds like he's got a ton of potential too :D