What have we been up to? Working on that canter. Don't get me wrong - Riva knows how to canter. Me...still learning. Riva and I together...making progress! Have I stated lately how much I love my greenie mare? She still has her mare moments - I told my husband that is part of her charm :) But she tries hard.
My lovely talented daughter has been trying to get out once a week to ride the Diva and give me a lesson. This has helped tremendously in several ways. One - I am a visual learner and watching Lex while I listen to her instructions gives me a clearer idea of how to achieve the same results. Two - Riva will try to avoid work with Lex the same as she does with me (at least I know Riva is not just pulling stunts on Mom!). And three - Lex is getting quite good at instructing and her riding ability has improved more than I could have imagined in the past year.
So the canter...I am doing better at asking correctly and getting the depart fairly promptly. Keeping the canter going - some days are great, some not so great. Something new that we have been doing the past week and a half is warming up and cooling down around the 'galloping tract' at the barn.
Now you see how dry it is in Indiana!Alexis took Riva around it about 2 weeks ago and then walked beside me while I rode Riva around it. I used to hand walk and long line Riva around this tract a lot before she was started under saddle...of course, that was awhile ago. Lex assured me Riva was perfectly capable of calmly going around the tract and it would be good for her brain. It is fairly flat - except for the back side which has a slope.
Now we are up to 2 laps as a warm up. We walk the first half, trot the second half on lap 1 - then trot the first half and canter the second half on lap two. YES - we CANTER outside of the arena! I love it and Riva seems to enjoy this. My ideal would be to have more places like this to work on canter. Riva goes forward easily and maintains the canter until I ask for trot or walk - which means I am relaxed and going with the motion.
Then we get in an arena. Be it the dressage or the jump arena, I just can not seem to get that same canter (except when Lex is giving us a lesson and I think that is because Riva is afraid Lex will wallop her if she breaks gait!). But, I am not worried about it. Just like trot, we will get there. Speaking of, trot work is going very well and I could not be more pleased with the way Riva is going.
I only have to look back one year to know how far we have come. This time last year - we were working toward getting her feet correct and her knee healthy. Heck - I only have to look back at our show pics from April to see the progress we had made by June.
Looking forward to two schooling shows in September and our continued progress - we are going for that Intro C test!