Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Year of Pretty Awesome Happenings

2016 has been a busy and awesome year! Much better than last year's, "Year of Major Events". Let's recap, mostly through pictures.


Jumped right into 2016 with a schooling show. He rocked it (the firsts were from the previous show in November 2015, which he also rocked).
Husband added more outside lights to the trailer (which have been INCREDIBLE).
He also updated the truck cab and cleaned up the camera system :)
We did some work in the snow.
We finished the month with another schooling show, which went well!


February started out horrible. We had to put our almost 5 year old cat, Nickels, to sleep because of a large tumor that was preventing him from eating or drinking (liver tumor suspected).

We had a lesson with Dressage Trainer. It seemed to go well... (no picture)

I decided to stay at Winter Barn, so it became Home Barn!


We had our worst show ever shortly after our lesson with Dressage Trainer. I'm fairly sure we needed a tune up that I couldn't get before this show, but I decided not to lesson with DT anymore.
We started Quiessence to try and curb some of Penn's nervous behavior.
Penn turned 7!
We rode with Stephen Birchall for the first time and he made some effective and lasting changes to our work!
Trainer came home at the end of March! We missed her.


Hawk and I left beautiful weather behind for a sudden snowstorm that covered the truck in minutes.
Penn wins Training 1, Training 2, and Training 3 champion of the winter schooling show series, as well as excellent placings at the last show of the series!
The next day, Penn tried to break his face and he got a face x-ray.
I tried turnout boots, which Penn had a huge reaction to and his legs swelled like crazy.
We go to ride for a second time with Stephen Birchall! We worked on first level movements for a show the next day.
Penn's first level debut at the end of April went well! The scores weren't high, but he was champion anyway!
April left with a big kick in the pants. April 30 would have been Mikey's 17th birthday and it hit me kind of hard.


We went to another schooling show to practice first level again... and we got over 70% for the first time.
Then I pulled Penn from the second test of the day because he didn't feel right.
We spent a large portion of May busting out an abscess. It put Penn's first recognized show in jeopardy.
Penn went to his first recognized show! It was kind of sloppy.
I rode some stuff like shit.
I rode some stuff well.
We got to meet Austen and Guinness!
And we had a successful weekend and got one qualifying score for Championships!


June jumped right into the show ring as Penn went to his second  recognized show.
Where he promptly won both his classes, had the high score for first level, and the reserve high score of the day (sadly they gave out wine glasses for winning classes instead of big ass ribbons for champion stuff!).
We also got the second score needed to finish qualifying for Championships!
Oh, and I finished my First Level Rider Award!
June was heavy on the showing because we were showing again the next weekend at another recognized show.
Penn continued to get good mileage and showed he was well on his way to being a pro at shows.
He cleaned up at this recognized show!
Penn's new, wider tree, saddle arrived in record time!
Penn also got a new bridle, a Flexible Fit bridle!
At the end of June, we added a new baby to the family, Felix!
Snuggling with a big bear while we were at work.
Felix gets three pics because CUTENESS.


We found out that tarps and things do not bother Penn at all.
The shit kind of hit the fan riding wise- we had an emergency lesson because Penn started reacting poorly to the next step in our training... which eventually led to him trying to bully me in the next lesson, and us popping a weymouth in for a brief ride. It did the trick and I was able to use a pelham for a couple rides, and then never again since Penn regained his manners and was willing to try again.
Project Bubble Wrap commenced in July. (Championship nerves set in early yo)
I found boots that allowed his legs to breathe well and I didn't have the swelling problem I had before!
The super fancy awesome Fairfax girth arrived from England (ebay purchase for half price). Drool. It's so nice.
Oh yea, I guess the more important thing is Penn seemed to like it.
The shit almost hit the fan in July. (just had to reshare the pic, but it's true, July was tough for us training-wise)


August started much the same way April ended- a sucker punch to the gut. The one year anniversary of Mikey's death happened first thing. 
We had an obstacle trail adventure, and Penn handled it all perfectly!
August 15 celebrated a more fun anniversary, the first anniversary of Penn's gotcha day!
Penn got his inner model on at the last schooling show of the year.
All of the tough times in July paid off with much better work at this schooling show.
Champion again! High score for level, and with a score over 70% again!


We went back to VA to play with Austen at another recognized show, and I made my very first solo driving horse show trip!
Things went very well at the show!
Penn did his very first flying change, right here in Austen's indoor arena.
Then we went for a trail ride.
But not before a horse swap!
September was once again horse show crazy- a week and a half after visiting Austen we trekked down to NC for Region 1 Championships!
Penn tried hard all week.
And we got some solid scores, as well as a goof score in a test that just didn't come together for us.
Penn delivered his best ever test for our championship round. The score may not have reflected that, but he felt AWESOME and just kept trying.
We got a couple good ribbons, but the classes were huge and scores around the 65% mark were not placing.
We did get first level reserve for the regular show's high point!
Penn also finished his First Level Horse Performance Certificate.
Penn started learning his flying changes in September. OMG YAY!


Things slowed down in October, the biggest thing we did was the Survivor Run 6 Miler mini-endurance race.
And we got two FABULOUS browbands from Dark Jewel Designs. I still oogle them!


Penn made a huge trip to the land of NQR- his hind end stopped working well. He saw a traveling chiropractor who put everything back in place and got him moving again.

Penn got his first clip of the season and handled it fairly well.
We traveled to lesson with GP Trainer before Thanksgiving and had an eye opening time. She set my sights on Third Level for spring 2017. Hard work ensued for the next few weeks.


In between hard dressage schools, we made time to have some obstacle trail fun at the barn Christmas party.
Penn saw the dentist and I had an immediate improvement in his mouth and jaw.
We went back to GP Trainer's to check our progress. She was happy with it!
We finished the month with a lesson with Trainer, which took me a bit of time to sort out and get her thoughts meshing with GP Trainer's thoughts.

Not a bad year Mr Penn!