Thursday, July 14, 2016

Riding Recaps and Horsey Products (Plus Pokemon, tires, and cats)

I've become kind of addicted to this. I finally got to do some egg hatching on a trail ride last night. It was very effective, and informative about how much walking we actually do on trail rides (3-5k!)

Things continue to look up riding wise. Penn learned a lot from the weymouth. The pelham's action isn't quite the same, so he's finding he doesn't has to be as cooperative and it can be tested a little. I try not to let him get away with it, but I still aim to be just as soft as I was with the weymouth. It's working out pretty well, but I'm finding he's starting to get his poll too low/curl in the trot. When he curled with the weymouth, he was looking for me to hold him up and I wasn't there (since that's the whole idea). I think something similar is happening, because the work will get hard, and he'll drop his poll in an effort to lay on my hand, but then I can bump him back up with my inside leg and a half halt from my seat.

He is so sensitive to it that I'm really glad we got our couple rides in it and can go back to the snaffle tonight. There's just something I don't like about how he goes in it- it's like he's afraid of it, yet super willing to go to the bit. His level of uncomfortable with the bridle is something I'm not comfortable with. This bit wasn't the end goal anyway, so it doesn't matter. It's was a helper bit. It's probably the level of sensitivity that I'm not used to. He's always there waiting for instruction and I'm quiet and not saying anything. He loves being told what to do (and busy fingers on the reins), so yea, I bet he was uncomfortable with the silence. We both need to become comfortable with it!

I had a few totally awesome moments when I rode on Monday: I was playing with transitions within the trot like we did in lesson. I got Penn fairly relaxed and trotting around (sitting trot), and then I'd give the biggest half halt ever, combined with my legs bumping his side in rhythm with his hind legs, and really slowing down my seat. He'd respond by shortening his whole frame, bringing his poll up, sitting down, and really trying to collect. He can't hold it for more than 5-7 steps, which is totally fine. Once he realized I'd let him out of it, he started relaxing a bit more and trying harder and fighting me less. I'd send him forward after and he'd be a little more uphill in his working gaits. It was totally cool to mess with.

The canter is coming along- it's sometimes hit or miss though. Sometimes I have nice balanced transitions up and down, and he's well balanced within the gait. Sometimes he's hauling butt within the canter and leaning on his inside shoulder (I can really feel that now!), and I can't quite get it back properly. The downward transitions at that point are not great, but they're still better than in the snaffle. I'm sure I'm doing something in the upward transition that let's him get all wonky. Trainer got after me in our weymouth lesson for giving away the reins in the upwards in an attempt to be soft. Instead, I need to allow him forward, but give it some structure too. Tossing him away entirely is probably what allows wonky canter to happen.

I have three bridles hanging in my locker right now (which is totally crazy): We have the 'good boy' bridle: his new FFE bridle with a HS loose ring french link bradoon bit. We have the 'bad boy' bridle: the black HDR bridle with damaged noseband (sans flash) and the rubber pelham. Finally, the trail riding bridle: the Micklem with the Korsteel equivalent of the HS bradoon.

Late evening trail ride on a 90 degree day. It was nice and cool on the ridge.
The sunset was super pretty too!

Riding in the last week or so has pretty much gone like this: Work day in the ring, trail ride, work day in the ring, trail ride, etc. I'm switching it up by ride, not by day. It gives me a very easy way to even out Penn's workload. A tough mental day followed by an easy trail ride, and vice versa (sometimes with a rest day in between). I'm still trying to make riding days Sun, Tue, Wed, Thu, Sat. The weekends work out well since I work both mornings at the barn now, but the weekdays have been varying a little, which is fine. Doing it this way stops me from drilling him. Yay!

Other fun news:

Fancy white boots!

Penn's Majyk Equipe Infinity Series Sport/Dressage Boots came in, and he's been wearing them for turnout since last Friday night. Knock on wood, everything seems to be going well. When I took them off Saturday and Sunday mornings, his legs were tight and cool to the touch and not sweaty. There hasn't been evidence of sweating or swelling under the boot during the week either (confirmed by BO's daughter too). I'm going to give them another week, then I'll do a review. I'm using them for trail riding too since they cost enough and that way my fleece boots don't get mucky.

#ProjectBubbleWrap commenced last Friday night.
So far so good!

My truck tires are here! I actually couldn't find them after they were delivered because the tracking said, "Left next to front door." And well, they weren't on my porch, or next to the garage door (where all of our previous tire purchases have been placed). You might be asking, how hard is it to find tires shipped to your house? We've got too much stuff in the driveway right now- Husband is tearing out the old retaining wall for our driveway and putting in fresh timbers. No cars can be parked in that area right now because the driveway isn't supported, there's gravel piles everywhere, we have Husband's parent's open trailer (for fetching timbers and gravel), and the old railroad ties and new timbers are hogging up the space by the garage. Also, there's a hole in the ground were we used to park Husband's 1972 Super Beetle. Basically, the driveway has lost all parking organization and we do something new every day based on where we went that day, what was purchased for the wall, what construction went on, and where we're going the next day. That's how I couldn't find my $771 worth of tires that were "Left next to front door." I may have panicked and it's a good thing FedEx was closed for the day because they might have gotten an angry/hysterical phone call.

This is not next to my front door. This is on the driveway, 30-40ft from the house, hiding behind gravel and my truck!
Either way, they're safe and sound in the garage now.

The cats are getting along really well. Sophie and Felix seem to be bonding strongly. Penny is still mostly tolerant (but she does play with him), but she's not a snuggler in general (with humans or cats). When she wants to snuggle, she always seeks out a human. Everybody needs to go to the vet though- check ups for everyone, boosters for Felix, yearly vaccines for the girls, and Penny has been hacking for several days now and it sounds like a hairball that won't come up. I also want to talk to the vet about Felix's... smell. I'm going to try giving him a bath, but he's starting to smell like ass all the time. And it lingers on your clothes and hands after petting him. Anyone have something like this happen? I'm going to change his kitten food- right now he's eating Purina One because that's what the shelter was feeding him. I don't think he's been rolling in the litter box either. We watched him pretty closely as the smell was developing, and he never lingered in the litter box.


I "pulled" Penn's mane last night using a new-to-me method. He doesn't care for regular pulling, so I tried a new method that uses an old clipper blade. Basically, you take tiny sections of hair, tease it back like you would if you were going to pull the mane out, and then you use the clipper blade in a straight down motion to cut the hairs as close to the crest as you can. The hair ends up being cut in a feathered fashion- not straight across. It took me a little while to get the method down because the original instruction giver didn't do a video, just hand written notes. I made it a lot shorter than I usually do (oops) but it'll have a month to grow before I need to braid him again, so we'll see how that goes over in August.

Halfway through. It took FOREVER. I'm not exactly pleased with the thickness that remains. I might use my tail rake on the middle section to try to thin it out. I also probably should have straightened his mane (it's been in training braids for a couple weeks now since his fly sheet pulls his mane over to the wrong side).

As a final, "random other item", I bought this this morning:

Black Fairfax Event Girth

I checked Ebay on a whim this morning and found this girth. I've been eyeballing them for a year and a half now and just haven't had the reasons to justify the money to buy it (I found it for $400 new in the USA). Penn uses a TSF girth that I do like, but I don't know if he likes it anymore. He's gotten really freaking girthy. The saddle fits, he's getting his chiropractor work (his last visit had sternum area adjustments), and was negative for ulcers when I had him tested about 9 months ago (plus did several months of Ugard with no difference), and I did some pressure point testing for ulcers and he didn't react. He actually humped his back up when I put the girth on yesterday. I'm really hoping this girth does what it says and helps relieve pressure points. I thought the final price of around $240 wasn't bad for an expensive girth in excellent condition. I was going back and forth between the regular and the narrow version (for smaller chested horses), but I decided to give this one a try anyway... worst thing that happens is I'll resell it.

I did look into the pop rocks that have probiotics (Abler Abprazole Plus) and I'm debating if I want to give that a 50 day ($105) or 100 day trial ($185) or get Omeprazole paste from Horse PreRace. I'd do a half tube for a month (about $150) since this is more on the preventative side than a problem side. I donno, we'll see. I have just under 2 weeks worth of doses of Omeprazole in the refrigerator at home, maybe I should just pop that into him in the meantime.

I have a bunch of other things waiting to be ordered (sigh), but I'm holding off for now. A couple good coupons came through for things I wanted, so I'm leaning towards ordering them sooner rather than later!


  1. I've been eyeballing those boots for awhile now. Can't wait for the review.

    Stinker has started curling and hanging out behind the bit when he gets tired. When I put leg on and ask him to lift we get invert and shoot forward. Maybe I'll try the half halt then leg. Thanks for the idea.

    1. I'm torn on the boots- I'm pretty sure I know what I'm going to say. That said, I am really happy with them (so far) for the purpose I bought them for!

      The half halts and leg get so intermixed. When he's curling, I add the inside leg first and then 'catch' him with a half halt or two. The working to collect to working definetly has the half halt first, but very strong alternating leg and a ton of seat support (which is why I did it from sit trot). I thought passage in my head and tried to make the body do it.

      I'd imagine that Penn is getting tired too, as he should since I'm forcing self carriage upon him for majority of the ride! I try to keep the sessions super short so they stay positive and fun.

  2. Ahaha glad I'm not the only one who Pokemons whilst riding. I feel like there's less risk of injury as at least my horse is looking where he's going!!

    And, fun fact, valegro has the exact same schedule as Penn so you're obviously onto something good. He alternates between schooling and hacking out day by day apparently!

    Love the girth too! Nice purchase!

    1. I only worry I'll drop my phone while riding! I need an old school wrist strap that goes through a hole in the phone, haha. Penn is definitely more surefooted than I am, so I say it's safer!

      Well apparently we're aiming to be Valegro. We're following his schedule and now going to be using his girth! I have to say the walking days are more exciting due to Pokemon!

  3. Is Felix neutered yet? That could be it. Aside from that, Cooper had the same issue previously and I found changing his food really worked for me. I have him on 4Health grain-free whitefish & potato. It keeps him super shiny, keeps his weight down, and he/his feces no longer smell. Plus it's pretty inexpensive for a nice quality food. I wasn't impressed by their dog food though (gave my dogs dandruff).

    1. He is- that was a key hang up in bringing him home. The shelter had him for about 2 weeks before he could come home because they needed to schedule it and then needed time to check on it after.

      I'll look into that food- however I might see if they have another fish-free variety. Penny is also a Manx and they have sensitive digestive systems and she's also allergic to some foods (I had to remove grains, chicken, and all fish products to get her lips to stop ulcering). She's doing well on Purina Muse Chicken and Pumpkin (which I originally got for Sophie because of a stinky poop problem, but Penny stopped eating her LID duck and green pea and gobbled up the Muse). Long story short, I try to stay away from grains and fish.

  4. Ugh, so not fair that you can play Pokemon while riding. I don't have cell service at my barn and I really want to catch Pokemon at the barn and more importantly, ride around to hatch eggs.

    1. There aren't any Pokemon at the barn (or near the barn). I had to lure them in, so no worries! I won't be catching them all out there! Reception at the barn itself is sketchy, but the trails go to a high ridge in the hills that does get reception and a strong enough GPS signal to hatch them!