Thursday, February 4, 2016

This Week's Happenings

Thank you everyone for your comments about Nickels, I really appreciate them. We knew he'd have a much shorter life than a normal cat, so we tried to spoil him and give him as much special treatment as possible. We didn't expect it to be this short though. He was ready to go though- I knew the look as soon as I saw it Tuesday morning. I think Penny misses him a lot. She didn't like him going into the carrier and tried to go with him out the door. She has always had him around, even if they weren't buddies. Now, she's walking around the house as if on patrol, going into "his spots" and looking for him. She's developed a very low tolerance for Sophie, who doesn't quite get it and just wants to play. Penny has also become very clingy and needy, which is ok. We're happy to pick her up and give her hugs and pets, because we're clingy and needy too.

Look what muscle is growing at the top/base of his neck!! Can't wait for the bottom one to get smaller and go away.

Life has to go on though, and I went out to the barn for horse therapy. Penn got an extra long grooming time and hugs and treats and thought all that was great. His clip needs to be refreshed though, he's starting to look a bit shaggy. Normally I wouldn't this late in the winter, however he has two more winter horse shows to go to. I'll probably do that next week one evening. I would do it this weekend, but there's usually a lot of activity at the barn on the weekend and I need him focused.

We had an OK ride- he's developed some issues with contact- he keeps jumping on and off it and nodding his head excessively in walk. I tried to remember some things like riding him forward into it and creating a steady place for him to be, and that worked until he got so wound up that he was curling and getting heavy. Surprisingly, canter has made a turn for the better. I guess I haven't screwed that up yet!

I started with shoulder in and haunches in at the walk, trying to remember to not put too much angle into it. Little horse and Mikey's angle is too much angle. Penn did very well at it both directions, and off to trot we went. The starting work was good and steady, and then he started bouncing off the contact. I think I messed him up last week when I was dealing with his random spookiness.

There were trot poles out down centerline at X, so I did some 20m circles with straight sections between the poles. I eventually made him halt in between poles because he has a habit of shifting into the halt and out of it (probably my habit). That worked well, especially in making him trot-halt-trot with no walk steps. So I decided to make a fun little pattern: trot a 20m circle, halt in between poles, trot 20m circle, instead of halting, pick up the canter and canter a 20m circle, go between the poles and trot after, go down centerline and actually trot through the trot poles, change direction at C, shoulder in down the long wall, repeat in the new direction.

I had partially fried him already before stringing it all together. He got nervous and tense and his happy place was curled and BTV and on the forehand. I was still pleased with his canters, but the trot work is leaving something to be desired. I think he might be protesting carrying himself and a higher balance (he likes long and low), but I'm sure I'm doing something to mess him up too.

I stopped after a particularly good canter and got off and messed with his passage thinking steps in walk. They're really coming along! He's starting to take bigger longer steps when I ask for it, instead of bigger "normal" steps. Either way, he's walking differently on cue. I'm sure it would be different if I was sitting on him to prevent the longer step and someone else was on the ground prompting the bigger step.

I'm looking forward to riding with the second instructor at winter barn- normally I'd hit my own Trainer up for an ad-hoc lesson since I'm not sure where to go with Penn, but she's south and not available. I'm sure a video would do though! Either way, I'll give second instructor a try. I haven't ridden with her in years, and she just didn't click for me all those years ago.

I've got my show wrap up coming, as well as a trailer update since I've got pictures now, but work has been super crazy (we're talking 5+ hours of overtime this week and Thursday isn't over yet) and with Nickels' death, I just haven't felt like writing about those things yet. Facebook also keeps showing me things from a year ago- which happened to be the week Mikey had surgery. Sigh. Too many animals have been lost lately.

Nickels in his XS dog blanket that I got for him when Mikey was out at OSU for surgery.


  1. Facebook always has the worst timing on memories for me. Hopefully your week gets better.

    1. Thanks! I'm just riding it out at this point. Oh well.

  2. Ugh FB memories can go stuff it. Sounds like Penn is coming along - some things get better, some things backslide. Ah, horses (or is it Ug, horses?)

    1. Normally I like Facebook memories. They dredge up pictures that I haven't seen in ages.

      He really is coming along- this contact thing is throwing me for a loop. His canters have gotten better, enough that I'd be willing to try a first level test. The backsliding trot is now the hold up! I won't actually ride a first level test until April or May, but by then I think everything will be good!

      And it's, "Ahh, Horses!" :-)

  3. ugh that curling btv stuff is my mare's happy place too... frustrating! i'm sure he'll figure it out tho. again very sorry about nickels (and what terrible timing for those FB notifications!)

  4. Yah FB needs to take a hint and not remind us of bad things!

    That's too bad about the contact, TC went through that phase this fall and it was so frustrating. Fingers crossed it gets better quickly!

  5. I noticed that muscle on Penn in an earlier picture and was like HOLY CRAP. That is a big muscle. I am jealous of it!