Friday, August 21, 2015

Life with Penn

Short hack Tuesday evening with newbie OTTB Dix.
First ears picture!
He's an interesting horse. He wants to be good and do what's expected of him, but sometimes he just doesn't know what that is. Anything bad that he does is done with a kind eye and immediate "I'm sorry." Like breaking out of the crossties.

So far, he's done it 3 times. The first time was Wednesday when I was doing up his girth. He likes to reach around and get mouthy when you put up the girth, never with ears back though, but I still don't care for the behavior (for now I'm ignoring it as long as his feet don't move). He had been shifting backwards a bit as I got him ready, then turned his head, and I think he felt the pressure of the cross ties and flung himself backwards... right into Trainer. Not a good move dude.

After he got his scolding and came back up to where the cross ties were, we reattached the baling twine that holds the ties to the wall and hooked him back in. He stood stone still. I was happy, thinking that was the beginning of the end of those shenanigans.


Wednesday night hack. He was the leader! Good boy!

I brought him in last night to pull his mane, bang his tail, and trim down the fuzzy hairs on his dock. Just do an in general grooming clean up.

He busted out twice last night. The first time, I was still brushing. He shifted back, I went to move him forward again, then he pulled against me, hit the end of the ties, bam, out he goes. More pony scolding.

I hooked him back in, kept brushing and correcting his backwards stepping, then moved on to pulling his mane. I don't think he actually cares about the pulling. His shoulder area is ticklish... I brushed and pulled, he twitched... One of the girls came by to watch me pull to learn how and I think between her moving quickly, lifting the cross tie and applying pressure with it, an already twitchy shoulder on top of one scolding, he panicked and busted out again.

I don't like giving up, but I don't want to continue to make a big deal about cross ties and destroy his confidence standing in the isle. So I opted to put a chain on him and go over some give to pressure (he understands very well when it's lead rope down pressure).  I then had him ground tie for the remainder of our evening. He was perfect. He didn't move his feet and he let me reset his head whenever he got distracted and looky at whatever was outside. He really settled when everyone else had left and it was just me and him in the barn.

Looking like a grown up baby horse!
I think I took just as much hair off his tail as his mane!
I like the pulled tail look, but I don't like pulling the tail. Last year I bought a comb that razors off random hairs (you just brush where you want the hair to be shorter), and it slims down the hair on the dock without you having to pull it. I used the same comb on his forelock to get rid of some of the sun bleached hair.
So much better looking baby horse! And he didn't mind all the fussing and pulling and poking and prodding. Good baby horse!

Our other adventures include misbegotten (I really like that word) saddle fitting. I love my Jaguar. It actually doesn't fit Penn that poorly, but it is too wide. I'm not about to sell it and go buy another saddle though because Penn doesn't have any muscle. I'll buy a new one, build his muscle, then end up with a too narrow saddle and no Jaguar! I actually think it'll fit him quite nicely once he gains some weight and muscle. For now, we're going to pad it up and see what happens. Sorry baby horse!

So much saddle for such a little horse!
Mikey's girth is just too big to use on him with this saddle. I used it with my trainer's Bates for our first ride at the farm and it seemed fine, so I didn't think anything of it. My Jaguar has much longer billets than the Bates however, so I ordered Penn a 20" neoprene no slip Ovation girth. Tiny pony! Why can't you fit into Mikey's expensive Total Saddle Fit girth?! I will not be buying you your own expensive girth for a year or more, fyi!

I opted to swap out the saddle pad order to how Mikey liked it- fleece half pad under the quilted square pad. That mixed with a 22" girth that Trainer has, the saddle stayed in place and seemed to fit better.

Penn is getting hind shoes today! And having his fronts reset. We haven't done any arena work because getting down there is just too ouchy for his feet (walk on a dirt/gravel road), and the arena is pretty hard surfaced and there's no reason to abuse the creature when the farrier is already coming out in a couple days. We're also hoping it alleviates some of his mounting block issues too. It's gravel by the mounting block, and we can tell he wants to stand there, but he gets nervous and he starts acting up when he sets himself as the rider gets on. He still needs to learn to stand, but we can be kind to him too.

We've got to get to work because...

Baby's first entry form!
Penn is going to his first horse show! Bahaha.

There's a local schooling show on Sunday, same location as the last show I took Mikey to. Trainer is bringing Dix and another green bean baby horse as two "why the hell not" entries (in addition to her 2 or 3 other rides), and she said, "Why don't you bring Penn too?" Trainer and I are going to face off in Open Intro on green bean baby horses! Penn is soft in the bridle, very well behaved (knock on wood) in new places (he's lived at 3 farms in 2 weeks), and he walks and trots and steers. Sounds like a good Intro Level horse! Trainer and I had a good laugh about what we'll say when we talk to the judge at the end- "So tell me about this horse?"

Penn: "Well I've had him for a week and this is my 6th ride on him."
Dix: "Well I've had him for about 2 weeks and he ran his last race at the end of June and he started working again about a week ago."
Caesar: "Well this one has been under saddle for about 2 months."

We're just out to have some fun walking and trotting. And if he does have mini melt downs about it, Trainer will sit on him. I don't see that happening- he's actually been quite brave under saddle and the things he's balked at haven't really been his fault since he was only ridden in an indoor. He's actually only upset when the footing gets super soft and squishy and when he's near puddles. He has a half installed go forward button (I kick and use my seat in a way that he can't back up and he listens immediately by at least taking one step forward, but it sometimes doesn't have the desired full effect and we have to repeat).

I also look forward to seeing him in braids! And I'm going to pull those braids over to the right side of his neck, then they're going to stay in for like a week to get the mane started on training it to the right. I can't stand it being on the left!

As I was grooming him last night, I noticed some things:

He has quite a bit of white hair speckled throughout his tail. None in the mane though.
By the way, he also has a speckled butt hole. Like, black skin with some white/pink speckles.

Then he has this creepin' sock.
He also has some white hairs flecked throughout his coat. I guess his body was thinking about being a roan? Either way, it's pretty cool. And Mikey had the same thing. White hairs in the mane and white hairs flecked throughout the coat. I'm taking it as a sign. Of what, I donno.

Maybe future silliness like this?


  1. Might as well get intro out of the way while steering is still exciting. ;-) His hair looks great!

    1. I swore the next horse would go straight to training level. And here I am doing intro. At least in doing the open division, I don't want to compete against AA/Jr riders who are working hard at that level. Not fair to them. But I will show AA at recognized shows.

      And yes, definitely do intro while steering is exciting haha!

  2. Aw baby horse! Lookin so fancy! Can't wait to hear about your adventure! :)

  3. he sure cleans up nicely!! very exciting about the show, hopefully it's a fun low pressure environment. my mare also has random roaning in her coat, tho it was actually passed down by her sire