Penny st johns1

Make a Little Birdhouse In Your Soul

(no subject)
Penny st johns1
pambennett
Down in working student land yesterday I lunged and rode Penny, who was fine. I really think I'm missing something as far as communicating with her is concerned. Something is just not there. Then I rode R. Riding these big dressage horses is like learning a foreign language. I could not get R to trot. He takes the contact with the smallest cue, but getting him to move? Not so easy. I know it's just a communication problem, he obviously knows how. With help from JM's hubby S and a whip I got him moving. And oh, did we move. I thoroughly enjoy that horse. I remembered on my drive home that R's saddle has some of those flexible stirrups on them and when I had normal irons I didn't have an issue. Will be switching them out next ride to see if things go better.

Z's owner wants me to ride him on the days JM doesn't and DC's owner would like the same when she's out of town. I'm definitely not going to turn down a ride on DC, the Grand Prix horse. He's said to be a tough ride, but it's a technical tough as opposed to behaviorally. It couldn't be the latter, as his 87 year old owner does just fine with him.

(no subject)
Penny st johns1
pambennett
Penny and I have been in serious training for months. Yesterday I decided I needed a pseudo day off where I didn't ask for much. I got on and had a lovely, rhythmic, calm pony. She was using her body, her neck long, if not all pretty. I'm perfectly happy with straight out in front of the withers right now, because she didn't bring her head higher than that until we started jumping. And yes we finally jumped as I brought my standards down. Definite downside of dressage land: no jumps hanging about. Penny was still my awesome "steer and hold on" pony, taking me to the jumps like she does. I also made JM's day because she loves to jump, but has focused on dressage for so long she doesn't get to do it much. She took Zaya over a tiny, tiny jump, perhaps the first jump he's done in his life. I'm trying to get her to bring Rialdi to an event this summer. And darn, I'll have to jump Rialdi too to prepare him.

Darn rules!
Penny st johns1
pambennett
Whoopsies. I inadvertently lost my amateur status in the horse world by lunging horses for JM. I don't necessarily consider lunging training (it can be of course, but what I was doing so wasn't,) but USEA does. Which means that I was being compensated (in lessons) for training a horse. So, now I'm not an ammie anymore. I was pissed at first, but now I'm thrilled. I was hamstringing myself trying to keep amateur status, having to turn down schooling rides because I'd be being compensated. Now I can ride all the fancy horses and get paid in lessons to do it. Today I rode Penny, her boyfriend Zaya the trakehner, and the always awesome Rialdi. It was awesome.

I cannot count how many times I read the Amateur section of the Rule Book, yet I still screwed up. Oh well.

Caviar next?
Penny st johns1
pambennett
Penny Pony has expensive tastes. First it was the Black Country saddle. We tried ten different saddles and it's the only one that worked for both of us. Now it's a Herm Sprenger Aurigan bit. She so obviously prefers it to any other bit. We've tried others and she just doesn't go as well in them. She gave JM her nicest ever canter depart yesterday. Crossing my fingers for a sale somewhere.

Opinionated Pony
Penny st johns1
pambennett
"I want to go forward!"
"We're standing here."
"I don't want to stand still."
"Well, you're not going to go forward."
"Fine, then I'll go backwards."

Five minutes passes, with Penny backing up and up and up and up. All I did was sit there quiet, reins proper length, not letting her go forward, since that's what she wanted, above all else to do.

Pony stops moving.
"Is that enough?"
"I'm standing here, aren't I?"
"Yeah, you're standing here, but you're acting like you're going to take off any instant."
"Fine."
Pony relaxes.
"Okay, now we can move forward."
"Finally!"

In other, freaking awesome pony news, today I discovered Penny has no poll pain. Nada. Zip. Zilch. I scratched her poll and if she was a cat she would have been purring. So, it's pretty much confirmed the improper riding/body carriage caused it to begin with. I suspect it will take some time to convince her braiding and bridle path trimming won't hurt, but it will happen.

So many pretty ponies...
Penny st johns1
pambennett
Like many horse lovers I have a habit of looking at for sale ads. My current go to place is Warmbloods For Sale specifically the sport ponies section. So many pretty ponies and they could be mine! I have an empty stall, shouldn't I fill it? I visit the websites of my local horse rescues and even went to one recently to look at a pony. Cute and sweet but I wasn't in immediate love. There's another one, broke to ride, but is night blind. They will be assessing soon if he's rideable in an indoor or not. If he is I'll probably try him out. I want to help out my rescues, but I can't compromise what I need wither.

When it comes down to it though, I really don't want a second equine right now. I want to put all my time and effort into Penny. I relish my opportunities to ride other horses, but I'm glad I don't need to worry about them the way I do my own. Or spend money on them, since Penny is not a low maintenance pony. I know if I wait the right pony will fall into my lap like Penny did, but it's still fun to look.

Giant Horse!
Penny st johns1
pambennett
It hasn't been very often in my life that I've gotten the opportunity to ride a really nice horse. JM is now letting me ride her Oldenburg Rialdi. He oozes awesomeness.



He's so big, especially compared to Penny. I can feel each muscle move when Penny's are lost because her pony body is always moving so fast (even when we're going slow.) Rialdi there's almost pauses in between things. I've been on him twice and I love being able to practice the things we're teaching Penny on a horse that knows how to do it. I'm still figuring things out, because let's face it, I'm a horrible rider compared to what he's used to. He's being patient and kind with me and giving me things I really have no right to even consider. Today we did extended trot. That's about the most fun I've ever had doing flatwork and never before have I done it.

I'm all grins when I'm on him. How could I not be? And then I forget when I'm getting off that the ground is really far away :D

(Sorry about the Giant Picture. I can't figure out how to change the size at present.)

My part
Penny st johns1
pambennett
I've been posting lots about Penny and not much about me. I am doing my part, I swear!

On October 4th I got a breast reduction. It was absolutely essential (even though my insurance wouldn't pay for it.) My surgeon made me take eight weeks off afterwards. The day I was allowed to bounce again I went for a run for the first time in years. I didn't bounce! It didn't hurt my neck! And I could breathe! I cried as I ran down the driveway (our driveway is about 1/2 a mile long, so to the mail box and back is roughly a mile.) I think I ran more of it than I ever have. Oh, and for those of you thinking a mile is nothing I'd like you to note my house is at 7000'. Everything is harder at elevation. I really like to run and not being able to was a hole in my life. Plus I now have a way to increase my lung function, so I should be able to get around a course without thinking I'm going to die.

The next day I sat on Penny for the first time in almost three months (the two months post surgery and the month after I fell off her (broken finger) and she was lame.) I sat in the saddle and my shoulders just went back where they're supposed to be. For the first time in years my body didn't want to lean forward constantly. I had an awesome ride. And, like when I was running, I can now breathe.

I still need to get in better shape. I gained some waist in my three month layup that I'm less than pleased about. I'm trying to remember to run on the days that aren't too cold or windy. I'm starting yoga on monday. Agility restarts this next week too. I'm getting non-fat milk in my frappuccinos (getting rid of the frapps is not an option :D ) They taste almost exactly the same, so it was an easy substitution. Sometime soon I'll start hiking (weather permitting) since I'm also getting in shape to hike a Fourteener (14,000' mountain.) Lots to do. But there's this nice comfy couch...

Onwards
Penny st johns1
pambennett
Penny continues to improve down at Boot Camp. She's finally listening to my legs and wants to stretch her neck down. On Monday she did a lovely, huge and balanced trot with JM. Definitely improving.

Our weather has been so good we could almost go to Las Cruces in February, though I'm not holding out a lot of hope.

A Day Off at Pony Boot Camp
Penny st johns1
pambennett
Penny got to play around with Tommi the Mini today.










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