Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Weekend Horsing and Pokemoning

The shit almost hit the fan Friday night.


I ended up riding Friday night instead of Thursday. I was excited to use the snaffle again. It didn't go as well as I hoped it would. Penn just didn't cooperate. I rode him inside to cut down on distractions and I'm guessing it helped, but he wasn't my usual good boy. He was bouncy off the contact and unwilling to find bend. I had none of the sensitivity that I had with the pelham.

However, a drastic improvement was his ability to accept my input. I could half halt in trot and put leg on and he'd attempt to balance himself instead of trying to run away. It would only last for a step, but he at least answered me. I could put my inside leg on and send him to the outside rein, even if it was shitty and tense. All of his work was much more uphill, which I'm sure contributed to his unwillingness to work with me ("What do you mean I have to uphill AND connected to the bridle??"). I had to be very sure of my core, shoulders and elbows. Everything in trot had to come from core and elbow, or else he'd blow through me. He tried to give me a big fancy show trot, which was a nice thought, except he's not strong enough to hold it, so he'd end up laying on my hands and getting on the forehand. Then he'd be offended when I'd ask him to carry himself.

The trot was a shitshow, but the canter was actually halfway decent. All of the arguments from trot went away, as long as I made sure to manage every step from walk to trot to canter and support with that core/elbow feeling. No excuses, just connect. I was able to get him to stand up and get off his inside shoulder, and have a smidgen of adjustability. The right was definitely better than the left.

Always breaking something and putting it back together huh? To be honest, he feels like a more uphill version of the horse I bought last August. The only downside is that he was so much steadier before we asked for more collection and uphill. It was bound to happen, I'm not upset by it. We need to more collection and uphill movement to keep moving forward in his training.


After morning barn chores, I trail rode with Hawk and another girl on Saturday. Penn is so super about the trails. It's really great because I can relax and do some Pokemon hunting while we walk.

Husband has been hard at work on our driveway's new retaining wall. The old wall fell apart (old railroad ties) and it had a weird non-paved or supported section behind the side parking spot. Since we have too many vehicles, Husband is walling that section in too.

The back wall is now 5 timber high.
The side wall steps beautifully down from five timers to three. At the moment, with it all dug out, it looks like a very welcoming XC fence and I have the urge to jump it!

Can't wait to show you guys the final product! He has to pound some more rebar in this week, then he'll start filling in with gravel. But the wall itself it set, minus some rebar, and it's beautiful!

Team Mystic is the best!

Saturday night was fabulous- Hawk picked me up and we went on a locally organized Pokemon Go Bar Crawl. Hawk and I are super nerdy, so this was a ton of fun. Picking up Dragonites at the starting bar, getting team wristbands (go Mystic!), meeting fellow trainers and gym battling on the street, sampling various Pokemon themed drinks, hunting down the elusive Mewtwo cocktail, and catching more pokemon of course! So. Much. Fun. We met some awesome people. The players on the crawl were just so happy and friendly.

The incredibly tasty Mewtwo. I had two of them and they were strong!
My Snorlax is the bomb and enjoys body slamming rival pokemons and beating them in one hit.
He was in charge of a gym a couple times Saturday night! He's CP 1845 now though.


I was out way too late Saturday night. A 2:30 bedtime doesn't help you get to the barn for morning chores at 8:30!

I decided on Friday/Saturday that Sunday would be a ground driving/long lining day. Penn can't fight me there and we have to use a snaffle bridle.

I started off by working Penn on a large square. He didn't want to find inside bend (like always), so the corners really made him. He decided to be spooky and looky at the indoor arena doors, but I was able to get after him with huge half halts on my outside rein combined with taps on his side from my inside rein. He wanted to run away (like he does under saddle), but my half halts were big enough that he had to lift his front end and move to the outside rein and find inside bend. We had some lovely leg yields back out to the wall/track. I did this to the left first. After a few rounds where he decided he'd be willing to focus and listen, I sent him out around me to lunge him with double lines.

Mikey working on the lines after he was cleared to go back to work.

I love lunging with two lines. There's a direct communication with each side of his body. When I lunge with just one line now, I feel cut off of unable to communicate with him. Unable to half halt, move him in and out on the circle (a whip won't move him out, he'll just run).

Anyway, I started with the outside line behind his rump, and he gave me some lovely uphill trot work. No fussing, no shenanigans. Lovely.

I moved on to canter- no reason to drill a good trot when he's getting a good workout anyway. He found his sassy pants when I'd kiss for canter- it's hard holding yourself up into canter. Especially when he wants to invert into it. He'd have a little tantrum where he'd try ripping the reins out of my hand (silly horse, I'm not sitting on you!) and then giving his head a shake before standing up and cantering like a gentleman. It isn't the best canter work by far, but he is carrying himself. He can't go more than a circle, so I plan appropriately and bring him back to trot on my own terms in a balanced transition. I can't get the outside line to stay just above his hocks in canter; it likes to slide up and be under his tail where it can rub his dock (bad). So at this point, I flicked the line over his back. I don't like doing it this way because it allows him to travel more on his forehand. We did a couple more canter transitions and I let him stretch out on the circle in walk to catch his breath.

From over the winter when I was sick and couldn't ride.

Changed directions, repeated the square. Little bugger was spooking harder to the back door of the arena going to the right, and he got a couple sharp reminders about inside bend and leg yielding towards the door. He still wanted to react every time, but each time he got away with less. We repeated the trot and canter work, then I let him quit. He only worked hard for about 20 min, but it's more consistently hard work.

Barn owner's daughter has always wanted to learn to long line, so I handed her the lines and said, "Off you go!" He was more than capable of cooling out in walk while she tried to get the hang of it. He tried to spook and step in at the back door with her too, and she over over corrected it, much to Penn's dismay. I was cool with it though because she kept her half halts working and Penn sat the hell down and lifted his front end and poll in walk. He could probably do with some more of those to get him even lighter and thinking even more sit.

He walked her around at the beginning- she had trouble getting the hang of steering and making him stay on the wall, and keeping the right feel in the lines. I told her to manage every single step, just like you would riding, and don't drop the contact with him since you'd never drop it riding either. She said it's a lot harder than it looks! I sent her off walking a teardrop pattern- go around the short side, 10m half cirle E-X, get straight and back to the wall and ride your corner, repeat B-X. I love this exercise because it works everything- steering, getting straight, getting into the corners, getting straight again and again and again. She got the hang of it and had a lot of fun. She said she really got the feeling of using her core for the half halts and keeping her elbows bent and tucked in next to her sides (which is something she struggles with). Penn is super easy to long line and knows the job very well, so kudos to whoever taught him!


I have a lesson tonight. I'm hoping our snaffle ride on Friday and long lining Sunday sticks with him and he's more agreeable today!

When I came home Saturday to get cleaned up to go out, Felix was passed out like this in the cat tree.


  1. Ugh those Mewtwos did me in. I really want the recipe tho. They were fantastic.

    1. I think I might message the bar that had them and ask. Then we should get the adult wine glasses/clip-able no spill cups that I've seen around, fill them with Mewtwos, and then go trail riding!

    2. The bartender replied to the one recap thread on the bar crawl page. You could message her directly!

    3. Awesome! I bet she could make them in her sleep at this point- she had how many 2 liters already made up, ready for the rush? Haha!

  2. I finally got to do some pokemon hunting while riding and it's so fun. Plus tons of kms for hatching eggs.

  3. I feel so out of the loop with this pokemon stuff. I do know that my work building is a gym (no idea what that actually means besides random people sit in the parking lot and creep me out). I need adults so I can drink and trail ride (although that sounds like a terrible idea with Stinker...maybe borrow a steady Eddie).

    1. Haha! I was super into Pokémon as a kid, so this is awesome for me. I try not to camp out like that at Pokémon gyms, but just know they're not out to get you, just each other! There's a gym in the park next to my building. That's good because I'd be battling all day from my desk otherwise! No adults at your barn? Def borrow a steady Eddie to drink and ride on! You don't want to be worrying about Stinker while you're having fun.

  4. Hahaha, love your description of Penn's disgust at being asked to be more uphill and balanced. Something new is SO HARD. Until it's not... and then you add something else. He's looking great!

    1. Exactly! It's why we let him get away with it for a while. It was going to be ugly, so we needed to be not showing for several months while we fixed it. And thanks! I was looking at him last night in the cross ties, and the horse has some serious muscle bulk happening. Lots of good building happening!

  5. He's looking like a beefcake!

    I'm loving Pokemon too!! I missed the craze when I was young but I friend got me into it now and it's so much fun :)

    1. He is so bulky, that pic doesn't do him justice! And I'm caught up in the new craze, just like I was the first time around!

  6. I <3 your cats haha. Also glad Penn is working well on the lines!!!

    1. Haha I love them too. I'm so glad that the lines are a good place to work Penn. I actually think I'm going to do that again this Sunday, but more of a tutorial on how to get them started and I'll record using my helmet cam, and hopefully I'll get something useful!