Saturday, August 20, 2011

Daughter Training The Diva

Lex rode Riva again on Tuesday and Thursday evening.  This video is from Tuesday - she started her in the jumping arena - but it needed drug...rock hard.  So off to the dressage arena where Riva likes to try and leave :)

Riva was much improved over Sunday - no rearing, a few small bucks and kicks.  But for the most part, was ears forward and happier.

Thursday was much the same - less fighting and more willing.  I rode Riva briefly each time after Lex finished.  On the off days, I am lounging her and working her in hand.  We plan to add one more day of riding after her farrier appointment this coming Wednesday. 

Monday, August 15, 2011

On Courage

I read a quote on another blog this morning that seems to sum up my current state of mind.  It is
"Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear."  Last Friday, I experienced fear for the first time ever on Riva.  I got really shook - physically & mentally.  I had a good long cry.  I did not like my horse when I left the barn. 

I have still been riding every other day - working in hand or taking her for a hand walk on the days off.  As Riva has gotten sound, she is getting strong and fit.  She is feeling good - which is great!  But she now has muscle to back up her melt downs - which is bad.  When she is willing and moving - she feels and looks great.  Her trot is really developing and she is learning to hold and carry herself in canter with a rider.  But, her periodic meltdowns have turned to explosions.  You know when they are coming - she slows down and stops.  If you use the crop of her - cow kicks which lead to huge bucks.  If you spur her, huge bucks.  Growling and yelling - same.  And on Friday - she reared, bucked, and spun - in quick succession.  Somehow, I managed to stay on...but I was rattled, scared, and crying.  I walked her out - showered her off - and put her away.  Cried most of the way home.

I needed back up and a plan.  I emailed my trainer - who was competing at a sanctioned dressage show this weekend - and explained what was going on.  I told her I really don't think a lesson is in order yet, since we are only supposed to be working straight lines until the vet clears her (her appt for a recheck is in mid-Sept).  But I don't want to go back to just walking until then and lose muscle Riva has built.

While waiting to hear back from her, I talked with my daughter about riding her for me.  She agreed to ride her for me on Sunday - suited up in her Tipperary vest and helmet, of course.  Lex is young and talented - and she does not take crap from any horse.  So Sunday Lex got on Riva, after I had lunged her.  Riva pretty much tested her right off the bat.  Lex stuck with it - got nice trot and canter work out of her.  After about a 20 minute ride, I got on.  Lex had me trot her 2 laps around the arena on both reins and walk her out - done for the day.  Riva hesitated on the first trot transition, but did not buck or kick - just thought about it a moment and then went.  Same on the other rein. 

Lex plans to ride her again Tuesday before me and follow the same routine.  She will ride however long it takes to get Riva moving willingly in all 3 gaits.  We plan to keep this up until, hopefully, Riva stops throwing tantrums.  I really believe it is a training, young horse issue to work thru.  She is sound, feels good, and looks amazing in all 3 gaits when she chooses to cooperate. 

Which leads back to my quote - the something else that is more important than fear is my working thru this issue, with help.  I know this will all be worth it.  Oh, and I liked my horse yesterday!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Videos from Penny Oaks Event

The water hazard at Hoosier Horse Park in Edinburgh - I think there were 16 obstacles to jump at Beginner Novice, which is 2'7".  The jump before the water is the only one Henny refused - had to take him at it again.

                              Stadium jumping - Lex and Henny went double clear and loved it!

Pics from Penny Oaks Event

Lex and Henny went double clear in Beginner Novice Stadium

Bit check before Dressage Test

Waiting for stadium jumping turn

Watching My Girls

Lex and Riva that is :)  Lex came home Sunday from her summer working student position and went to the barn with us last night - first time since June 1st!  She was able to compete at Penny Oaks Horse Trials at Hoosier Horse Park in Edinburgh over the weekend - first sanctioned eventing show for her.  Lex and Henny competed in Beginner Novice and did fantastic - double clear in stadium, one refusal in xc (which Lex said was her mistake - Henny took it the 2nd time), and a respectable dressage test.  It was fun, exhasting, great experience.  Pics and videos to follow!

I wanted to see Riva being ridden - no one but me has ridden her since spring and no one but me has ridden her since having her feet issues addressed.  I feel like she is going so much better and forward - but wanted to watch her go.  Lex offered to ride her for me.  I wish now I had taken the video camera...another time.

I warmed Riva up on the lunge - outside in the dressage arena.  She had not been worked since last Thursday - except for a brief lunge on Sunday night when we brought Henny back from the show.  Riva was happy to lunge - forward and listening.  I hoped on her in the jumping arena.  We started in walk - no issues.  First time I asked for trot, she balked briefly and then went to trot.  I had a couple of discussions with her on direction - she wanted to follow Henny, as Lex was riding him in walk in the jump arena.  We got that sorted out and she worked nicely in trot, both directions, and then I handed her over to Lex.

I got on Henny and stood in the middle of the jump arena to watch Riva.  Lex got Riva moving with a nice swinging walk - then moved up to trot.  Lex commented right away on how much better she felt and how much easier she went to trot and kept the tempo.  Lex pushed her to trot faster and Riva went in to canter on the left lead on her own.  Lex was able to keep her in canter, with mild cues, around the first corner before Riva broke to trot.  Lex put her on the right rein and Riva offered canter again, on her own - yeah! (this being Riva's more difficult lead)  Riva picked up the correct lead every time last evening.  And Riva offered a lovely, almost extended trot when Lex briefly sat her trot (so pretty!).

After cantering both directions, Lex gave Riva a bit of a walk break.  When she asked her to pick up trot again - Riva argued...cowkicks, bucks, head tossing.  Lex got after her and got Riva moving again.  Riva cantered both directions one more time and we decided to end on that.

It was wonderful to watch Riva being ridden and see what I have been feeling.  Even though I don't like Riva balking - it was good to know it is not just me.  Hoping it is just a young horse, mare thing that she will outgrow....soon.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Catching Up!

Just realized I have not posted all week...busy with work and getting back in the routine after 4 weeks off.  So - a little recap of mine & Riva's week:

Sunday - lunge work first then rode in the indoor.  My husband was watching from the side of the arena and this seems to upset Miss Emotional Mare.  I guess she thinks he is a threatening horse or something.  She tends to try and snap at him, bear her teeth, cow kick out, etc. as she goes by him...sigh.  Anyway, we worked on getting her forward - trot to walk to trot transitions.  I got her forward enough at the trot to try a straight line canter, but ended up pulling her back due to another rider in the indoor and my lack of steering with Riva at canter.  Will attempt when alone!

Monday - just free lunged Riva in the indoor.  She really likes this and listens fairly well.  Occasionally, she will get fast and throw a happy buck or two, but over all fun and easy to free lunge.  Certainly WAY better than our 2 OTTBS :)

Tuesday - lunge and rode in the indoor.  It was sooo very hot - our temps have been 90+ for something like 15 days - and I intended to make the ride time short.  Riva Diva wanted to argue about EVERTHING, though, so the ride lasted awhile till I was reasonably satisfied.  She was moving great on the lunge work - lovely trot and canter work.  Got on to ride and started her on a to the buckle walk - she liked this and was moving out happily.  I picked up the reins to trot - and she argued.  After some convincing with the crop, she started moving.  We were getting enough forward that I asked for a left lead canter - and got it!  Just 3 - 4 strides, but it felt nice!  I made a fuss over her and thought I would try for the right.  She picked it up, but did not hold it.  Bad thing was she slipped in the footing a few times when we were working on left lead trot and think this may have irratated her 'bad' left knee.  When I went back to asking for trot on the left lead, she refused...hard, ie cowkicks, bucks, head throwing.  But she would happily trot on the right lead.  I thought I better take this as Riva trying to tell me something and quit.  I walked her out - on the buckle with dropped stirrups.  I cold hosed her knee and gave her some Bute.

Wednesday - decided to rest that knee and just took her for a 20 minute hand walk around the pond and property.  I always use the rope halter for this and she knows this means work time and no grass snatching. 

Thursday - needed a change of pace from arena work - so I rode in the outside jump arena.  First, I lunged her in the indoor to check her gaits and make sure the knee was not giving her problems.  She was FULL of energy - and moving well, yeah!  Our temps were only in the 80's today and less humidity - think the horses were likely the weather change.  I walked her out to the outdoor jump arena and got on.  My husband was in there with the tractor getting some weeds out and had the gate open.  Normally not an issue - open gate or the tractor.  Tractor - no problem.  Open gate - lets just say Riva notices everything.  We did some warm up at walk - moved in to trot work with very little discussion.  So,,,she was happily trotting on the left rein - nice and forward - and she picked up a canter.  Well - good!  Felt so smooth - best I have ever rode on her - and we were heading down the long side.  I thought - since we have NO steering - she will break to trot by the corner, no problem.  But noooo... Riva cantered right out the open gate.  She did stop nicely, when asked, and did not tear back to the barn with me on board :)  So, I was so thrilled with the canter I just could not get after her for taking the open gate out.  Turned her around and marched her back in the arena and went back to work.  I got one more left lead canter - this time with a closed gate.  Really good ride - lots of forward and happy horse / girl moments!

Riva gets Friday, Saturday, and Sunday off - daughter is competing in her first sanctioned 2 day event at Hoosier Horse Park in Edinburgh.  She and her horse will be competing in Beginner Novice.  Looking forward to cheering them on and playing show mom!  On Sunday, after the show, daughter and horse will be coming back home - after their summer away at L's working student position.  Looking forward to having her back and getting her to ride my girl a bit so I can watch!