Friday, January 29, 2016

Ride Log 1/25 & 1/27

I have no new media of Penn, so you're getting Mikey media.

Monday 1/25

Penn was super weird Monday night. I pulled him out of his stall and put him in cross ties then went back down the aisle to my trunk, pulled out my brush box, helmet, whip, and DSBs. They're the same things I always get out. I walked up to him and he started snorting and backing away from me. I set everything down and let him have a good sniff of everything I brought over, one item at a time. I think it was the boots that set him off? Weird.

Either way, he kept being spooky until I got his boots on his legs. Even after our ride, he was snorty and spooky. There's a little bit of construction going on because BO is moving lockers and building more lockers (a reason I keep my stuff in a trunk). I led him around the other barn aisle so he could have a good look at the stuff over there and that set him off pretty nicely. He did remember some of his training though- something would scare him and he'd go to back up and remember he's not allowed and then he'd take a couple steps forward (to the point I had to stop him from actively touching power tools). I let him say hi to Fiction so he knows that side of the barn isn't all bad, and then put a much more relaxed horse back in cross ties.

Our ride was good. I'd say it was great if his canter work wasn't so sketchy. His trot was INCREDIBLE. I actually got on and rode him, insisting on being uphill, no laying on my hands, and yes, you have to follow proper bend. Instead of really picking at him, I picked at me- make sure my seatbones are saying what I want them to say (he responds immediately to seatbone cues) and make sure my shoulders are up and back and part of the half halts instead of just being there. Really paying attention to what my body was doing instead of actively trying to fix him helped him the most- instead of worrying about trotting and trying to jump into canter as a possible answer to "trot better please", he was able to stay relaxed and so his trot became incredible. Up, through, and big. I don't know if slogging through the snow helped his trot and its steadiness, but there was a marked improvement from my trot work Friday night in the indoor to Monday night in the indoor. In the videos in the snow, he was much more deliberate about where he put his feet (aka no noodle legs). Hopefully what I felt was that carrying through to footing he's super comfortable on, and therefore he got big and bold!

I messed with my new clippers on Monday- which there seems to be a problem with because they were running super slow (and after I got them on him, depending on how I cut the hair they'd speed up and zoom for a while). New batteries didn't help, so I donno. Either way, Penn held his ground and let me trim his nose, goat hair, and bridle path! Every now and then when I'd move around his head, he'd get funny again and I had to remind him to stay put. Still, it was a success because he is trimmed and looking snazzy for this weekend.

Speaking of a snazzy horse, look at this guy!

Wednesday 1/27

Penn was still weird when I put him in cross ties, but less weird than he was Monday. Got him to the arena, hopped on, walked a lap around and he promptly spooked at a front corner and tried to run across the arena. I made him go into the corner and the issue seemed to disappear as long as I kept his mind working.

Which meant I developed a plan on the fly. I only wanted to revisit training level movements this week since we're showing Sunday, but that doesn't make him think. So I spent a while in walk making him round and through and trying to get him to stretch his neck.

Then I added in leg yield right from K to centerline (near X but no goal letter on CL), track left at C, shoulder in down the long wall (towards scary corner), into the corner, across the short wall, F to centerline leg yield left, at C track right, then shoulder in down the long wall, repeat. I haven't worked leg yield in a while, and I'm keeping a lot of that lateral stuff to walk right now so he gets comfortable with it and doesn't worry.

I worked that pattern twice each way, then changed the shoulder in to 10m walk circle, starting haunches in on the last quarter, and haunches in down the wall. Repeat many, many times. The lateral work bending right is a lot easier for him than the work that bends left. Which makes sense because right now he's protesting left leg to right rein when tracking left.

Towards the end, I changed my leg yield to baby half pass. I think of half pass as haunches in on the diagonal, but with some shoulder in positioning so the shoulder leads. Complicated, I know. But the thinking lets me get the idea of half pass across to him without blowing his mind- so he did his baby half passes and got lots of praise. Not to worry, after every movement he was getting lots of praise already.

Off to the trot! I did some circles both ways to get him moving, and then put him back on the previous pattern with leg yield but no lateral movements on the long walls for the first time through each way. He responded well, even if his hind end was lagging behind a little. Then I added in the shoulder in, then changed to haunches in like before. He wasn't as good in trot as he was in walk, but that's ok.

I spent a long time working that exercise. Penn's trot work became nice and strong and he was light in the bridle (yay!). I made sure to pay attention to me, and how I was asking for things, so he responded and was great.

I then did a small amount of canter on a large circle in the middle- enough to enforce I am in charge, Penn must be round, no laying on my hands, and no speeding off. I made sure to keep my seat in the saddle by "pulling" my elbows down and keeping my shoulders engaged in the half halts, and put Penn on a 15-18m circle. I had a couple good canters each way, so we came back to trot, did a stretchy circle, recollected, and walked. He worked very hard!

Oh right leg, You never did learn to stay at the girth.

I'm riding tonight, then tomorrow I'll buy shavings for the trailer, watch some lessons, ride lightly, braid Penn, pack the trailer, and get some sleep, cause Sunday is a horse show! FYI there are 17 riders in my Training 1 class. Seven-f'ing-teen.


  1. 17 is a good some world. Good luck!

  2. wow that's a lot of riders.... sounds like Penn's doing super well tho, esp that trot! hope you have a blast at the show :)