Monday, July 10, 2017


Before I write about GP Trainer's visit (which was a total blast, and totally exhausting), we've got some low key fun stuff going on in between training.

Like BABY GOATS!!!!!! The farm has 4 baby goats on the ground (two sets of twins) and at least two more babies on the way soon! The 4 you can see here were born on July 4th (foreground) and July 5th (background).

National Pony Cup - Small Horse Division

So this was some super exciting news I found out- National Pony Cup has Small Horse awards! You have to get your small horse measured by a vet and fill out a form and pay the fees, but that's it! All of the scores you earn in that competition year count, so you don't have to get the form in before you show. Penn isn't registered anywhere, so I thought this would be fun to do en lieu of a breed registration. They add "degrees of difficulty" to the percentage score (the number of percentage points depends on the test ridden), and then average all of your scores at each level.

Part of getting him registered for this was to get him officially measured. He was originally supposed to be 16.2 (per his breeder) as a 6 year old, but the sale barn called me when he arrived and said he's more like 15.3. When he came home, my vet measured him at 15.1 with a tape (which was one week later). I measured him at 15.2 3/4 at the wither and 15.3 at the rump with the barn's stick sometime between Dec 2015 and Feb 2016. So basically we had no idea how tall he was- no one could agree. It didn't matter, I showed him as 15.3 and that's the end of it.

Well, the vet measured him at 16.0- 162.5cm officially. He's allowed to be up to 163cm with shoes for the Small Horse Division. Whew, he barely made it! I thought she was crazy though, there's no way he was 16 hands.

Well, Austen was right when she told me back in May that I should stick him again because she thought he grew.

We pulled out the barn's stick over the weekend and measured him again... 15.3 3/4 at the shoulder and 16 at the rump. Slightly downhill, but he's grown about an inch in the last year. He grew an inch as a 7 year old. I mean, part of me is jumping for joy ("He grew!") and then the other part of me was like, "Oh shit, he grew!" I'm glad he doesn't need to be measured for Pony Cup again though- his form is considered final since he's 8 this year. Growing explains some of the gait problems he's had in the last year too (aside from just a strength issue).

Have you ever seen a boar get a belly rub? I have!
And when Penn spooks the boar, I totally get it now.

New Experiences - Riding Bareback!

I also rode him bareback for the first time this past weekend! I've been putting it off since a) I rarely rode Mikey bareback because spine and shark fin withers, b) I haven't done any serious bareback work since leasing my QH Jasmine and that lease ended in 2004, and c) Penn wigged about me not riding with tall boots- full leg contact was a bit much. How was he going to deal with complete contact? But I want to ride Penn in GP Trainer's swimming pond when M and I go back in a couple weeks, so I have to be able to ride bareback, haha!

I used to be much more confident riding bareback. And bridleless.
Oh to be young and indestructible again!

Penn stood like a champ while I scrambled on. A friend stood by his head to make sure he didn't move (the transition from block to back is the one place I thought he'd have a good chance of dumping me), but he just stood and let me scramble. We walked and trotted, and it was fun as soon as I pulled myself out of the fetal position, lol. The first time I asked him to trot he was like, you don't really mean that... and then broke into this western pleasure jog, lol. Maybe next time I'll canter. I have to learn to sit up again though- I could feel I was tipped forward and afraid to sit on him.

We went for a little trail ride with M and her mare when she was done with ring work. Next time, I'm using my 5 point with my bareback pad! It immediately slipped way back on the first hill... Penn was really super on the trail as well! He watched his own feet and took everything super easy- no power walking. There's a step mucky section that he usually walks a bit quick through... he sat down and took teeny tiny western pleasure steps down it. I have to say, he usually trips a couple times when we trail ride... he didn't trip once. Someone had to watch his own balance because I couldn't watch it for him!

Basically I need to practice bareback a lot more. It's much easier than no stirrup work (so much easier to get my leg around him). It'll be fun now that I know Penn will take care of me a bit! It seems we both need it, lol!

Bareback ride with sleepy ears! Such a good boy.

We've had a fun low key week! Good thing too, we're busy for the next 3 weekends (then I'm busy on the 4th weekend!). I think I'll use bareback and trail rides during the week as something low key that we can do to chill.


  1. Those baby goats 😍 I hope mine are that cute this fall! Haha. And riding Penn bareback sounds like a blast -- I can't wait to hear about taking him swimming once you have a chance to do that ☺

    1. Those baby goats are smaller than my cats! They're so cute! He's much more fun bareback than I thought, and I absolutely cannot wait to take him swimming!! Now just to find a waterproof box for the phone so we can take pictures!

  2. BEHBEH GOATS!! Penn sounds like a great horse to ride bareback!

  3. crazy that he grew but he definitely looks bigger and more substantial these days!

    1. I figured he just looked bigger because he has a ton more muscle. But no, he's bigger in all directions, haha!

  4. Really cool to hear the still grew! Now I really want to measure Katai again too.

  5. I want to steal those baby goats. I didn't know horses could still grow at 7, that's cool.

    1. I want to steal them too! And yea, some breeds will grow until they're 7 or 8- it's why you can't get ponies permanent USEF Pony Cards until they're 8 and have been measured at least twice (I believe they have to be measured twice to prove they're not still growing). It's also why the Small Horse division requires new forms every year until the horse is 8. I'm kind of hoping he's done growing now!