Show Season

Show Season

Thursday, April 11, 2013

I Love Her, I Love Her NOT, I Love Her!

Such has been my horse life the past 2 weeks.  Last week, Riva was super - in the bridle, forward, bending, listening - every ride was outside in the jump arena.

Beginning of this week, Diva was at her worst.  She went in to heat with our lovely, launch in to Spring like weather.  She decided that tracking left was a horrible idea and must be avoided at all costs.  She was her normal self to the right - turn her left and she would have a melt down...complete with trying to turn back to the right, little rears, bucks, bolting...basically everything she could come up with to avoid tracking left.

Monday, daughter came out to ride her and give me a lesson.  Riva tried her tricks with Lex also - but daughter insisted and after a few come to Jesus moments, Riva complied.  By the time I got on for a mini-lesson. Riva was super and willing.  So, we concluded this is 100% attitude/heat related, nothing physically bothering her.

Tuesday, I lunged Riva to the left only before getting on and she was perfect - no issues whatsoever.  Took her out to the jump arena to ride and immediately tracked left.  Asked for trot and got a 'Oh Hell No' response.  The more things I tried, the worse it became, including bolting toward jumps.  As I was out riding alone, I didn't feel comfortable working thru this in the wide open, but full of obstacles, jump arena and two other riders were in the outdoor dressage arena.  I jumped off and headed to the indoor.  I remounted in the indoor, took up my normal contact before asking Riva to move off, turned her to track left, sat my butt deep in the saddle and put major leg on.  She put up a mild protest for about half the length of the long side - I just kept sitting the trot with my hands low and leg back and on. By the time we had made a complete loop of the arena she was very forward, listening, in the bridle.  Ok - this is more like it!

I continued at the rising trot, only tracking left until she was light and responsive, then moved in and out of canter.  Canter circles, diagonals, all good.  Took her briefly to the right, then walked her out on a loose rein with lots and lots of praise.

Good horses get good treats!  Riva impersonating a giraffe.  Retired TB's get treats too :)

Wednesday - I went with a plan.  Ride in the outdoor dressage arena and insist on tracking left obediently right away.  Plan almost went off track due to a hail storm on my drive home from work!  Got out to the barn and it had not even rained there.  I skipped lunging and headed straight outside with Riva.  Mounted up, walked her in to the dressage arena, tracked left, took up contact, sat down, leg on, and asked for trot.  She mildly resisted for a couple of strides and then gave me lovely forward trot.  I probably sounded like a lunatic trotting around saying 'Good Girl' loudly, but Riva eats that up!  I kept her at trot to the left for awhile - circles, diagonals, loops - before moving on to canter.  Once again, briefly took her to the right and then tried to run thru Training Level Test 3 which I botched up and it was more like a combination of TL 2 & 3 with no walking, but oh well.

I felt so good on the drive home and talked my husband's ear off (by phone as he is working in KY this week).  I believe this is the first time I have been able to resolve a major riding issue on my own without someone coaching me thru it.  Riva is a tricky one and if I show complete confidence, she accepts that I am the leader.

Today - I Love Her!


Jen said...

Wow, way to stick with her. Mares! I'm with you, every ride we can figure things out on our own is an achievement.

Kate said...

I feel your pain!! MARES! ;)

L.Williams said...

Oh Riva! Mares.. they are like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde!

Carly said...

Alright! Go you!

Lauren said...

Every aspect of horses is a roller coaster, this is my new conclusion.

Emme said...

Goon on Ya Kelly. Isn't it amazing? Somehow these obstacles deepen the love. Amazing job keeping calm and working through it. :)

Hillary said...

Girls... Good for you for "riding" it out. I bet you felt very accomplished! Love that last picture!

Aoife said...

Girls are tricky ones alright, as we know only too well ourselves that time of the month can make us pretty cantacarous...If the left tracking problem persists when she is in heat in othe rmonths it might be worth having a vet or someone check her out as she could be sensitive or uncomfortable in the ovary area on that side - but then again she could just be being a diva and there not be a physical issue at all :p

It does feel great when we can navigate a problem on our own - congratulations and may you have many more! :D

Karley said...

At least you ended on loving her right? lol

achieve1dream said...

Are you sure it isn't physical? Just because she gave up in the end doesn't mean it isn't physical it just means she's too obedient to continue to fight.... the fact that it cropped up at the beginning of every ride worries me... maybe it's just a stiffness or soreness... I don't know. Does she have a chiropractor? I'm looking for one for Chrome... he's not acting up, but I just want to make sure his locking stifle isn't being exacerbated by a back issue... anyway I hope it's nothing but hormones and I'm glad you got her figured out. :D