Monday, December 31, 2012

Belated Dressage Lesson Post - #4 I think?

So very far behind...with the holidays and the battling the cold from hell, I have put off posting about my 4th lesson with JC.  And sorry, but no pics or videos...only my random commentating!

Week ago Saturday was my latest lesson with JC.  Started off with temps in the low 20's when we loaded up Riva, in the dark, to head to JC's.  Riva has been having trailer loading issues - as in 'lets see if they are serious about me getting in that rolling box' - for several months.  We are not sure why, since this summer, my husband had her self loading.  So we went back to using the rope halter to load her and she did better.  Took about 10 minutes to convince Riva that loading up and getting to munch on yummy hay was better than slipping on the ice and freezing her ears off.

Arrived at JC's a bit behind schedule, due to lovely Indiana roads in December, to hear from working student daughter that JC was running late too.  Chatted with Lex while I tacked up and learned she would not be riding with me in my lesson.  I was a bit nervous since Lex had rode with me in our previous lessons, but it turned out to be the right decision.  (Daughter is getting a trainer's mind!)

Pic not from my lesson - from Christmas Eve ride - but I need pics in my post!
JC talked with me about how things have been going while we warmed up and I told her I feel like we have been going backwards since having to ride in the indoor at home - due to cold, wet weather.  Riva sucks back, avoids contact, and just does not willing go forward in the indoor at home.  JC put the draw reins back on and we got to work.
It was a good decision to ride in the lesson alone because without a horse in front of us, Riva was less forward (more like home Riva!)  JC zoned in on this and started showing me ways to get Riva forward.  We did lots of turns on the forehand in walk, into the wall with a very small circle following the turn , then a promt trot transition.  Once in trot, she had me several times use the whip rythmically 3 times and then leave her alone. 
JC also told me not to nag with the whip - give Riva a good whack when I use it, not a tap - and then go on.  This really came in to play when we moved to canter work - which was the majority of the lesson. 
We worked on insisting Riva pick up canter as soon as I asked for it.  If she did not, good whack with the whip.  I have trouble keeping the contact and using the whip, so JC had me put the reins in one hand and be ready to back up with the whip as soon as Riva slowed or thought about dropping to trot before asked.  Normally she slows in corners, so that was the main concentration.
Wish I had video!  The first few times of canter with one hand, and backing up with the whip in corners - Riva certainly expressed her opinion, as in bucks on the fly.  I perservered and once Riva knew I meant business, her whole attitude changed.  I had light, forward, willing Riva and it was great!
More Christmas Eve pics - Riva was a good sport for the hat session!

As I cooled out Riva, JC and I talked about being ready to back up a request immediately and then leaving her alone.  I know I tend to ask, ask, ask - and I have to change that to ASK and go on.  Last year at this time, I could not even canter Riva.  Now I know I not only can ride the canter, but one handed.  Starting to feel like a rider!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas from the Wood's!

Merry Christmas Everyone!
Riva was such a good sport on Christmas Eve - excuse the glazed cold med eyes on the human!
Cheers would rather snuggle with Paul than wear the hat!
Husband and I went out to the barn on Christmas Eve - no one around except the BO and her daughters.  I have been battling a cold for a week, but had to get in a ride!
I had my 4th lesson with JC last Sat. morning - my BO said we are officially hard-core dressage people...temp was 14 degrees when we loaded up Sat morning to leave for my lesson.  Lesson was great - will post about it later.
Few pics from my Christmas Eve ride:
Off from work/school for 2 weeks and plan to catch up on everyone's blogs. The weather report is calling for blizzard like conditions for us looks like I will have lots of time on my hands. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Visit to the Doc

All day Tuesday, I wanted to cancel my dr appt...I was convinced this was a waste of time and I would have to skip the barn (never mind that Riva was over due for a day/night off).

I only went to the appt because my loving husband insisted I get the bulge in my abdomen checked.  It was noticably smaller than when it appeared on Saturday morning - not nearly as painful to the touch. 

Doc comes in and we go over my abnormality - me telling him I think this is nothing and it is going away on its own.  He still makes me get up on the table to take a look.  Right away tells me it is a hernia and he is referring me to a surgeon. 

Conversation goes something like this:

Me:  'No, really, this is nothing and it is going away on its own!'

Doc:  'No, it will not go away on its own.'

Me:  'But it is getting smaller and doesn't hurt anymore (ok, lying just a little).'

Doc:  'I am scheduling you an appt for a consult with a surgeon.  In the meantime, no flinging 50 lbs bales of hay around.'

Me:  in thoughts only - I don't do that anyway!!!  At least, I never fling them.

Dr. office called yesterday and my consult appt with the surgeon is not until January 9th!  Guess doc is not too worried about me.  In the meantime, back to my usual life!

Thank you all for your comments!  Waiting eagerly for Emme's of ipickcrazy blog post about her homemade girthing tool.  And I did get that sucker to where my County rep wants it last night on my own, thank you for much :) 

For those of you interested...the rogue cow is still on the loose.  Maybe tonight, Riva and I will round it up since temps are supposed to get in the upper 40's.  That is good enough for me to get an outside ride in!

Pic from last lesson with JC - next lesson is Dec. 22nd (yeah!)
And if we had that arena where I board - I would be HAPPY to ride inside!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Indoor riding and injuries

First injuries.  Riva is fine - you can all now breathe a sigh of relief.

     I would be the injured one - no, I did not fall.  

First, Cheers, our retired TB, nailed me in the thigh with a back hoof.  Luckily, he is only shod on the front right now.  Me, being used to Riva who gives plenty of warning before she even thinks about being naughty when being groomed, was going about de-mudding Cheers one evening.  When Cheers gets groomed, he relaxes (if you have a gelding, you know what I mean).  His sheath is over due for a cleaning.  Trouble is, we have to coordinate that process with a dental or something that requires sedation.  I took it upon myself to try and do a tiny bit of private area cleaning and Cheers fired without a millisecond of warning.  So I have a growing bruise on my thigh, sigh.

Second, I believe I pulled a muscle in my stomach or gave myself a small hernia.  Doc appt tomorrow afternoon if no improvement.  And I think I did it by tighening Riva's girth - you may now laugh!
Sara Ivie, my wonderful County Saddlery rep, informed me that I should have Riva's girth a lot tighter than I was adjusting.  I literally have to stand on top of the mounting block and heave upward to get to the proper holes.  This is the only thing I can think of that would have resulted in the bulge in my abdomen...sigh.  And I thought I was in pretty decent shape!

On to indoor riding - grrrrrrrr!  Riva is no happier about this change in scenery than I am, but wet cold weather has arrived.  Moving at a glacier pace is the Diva's answer to the indoor and forget round, soft, and into the bridle.  Something had to give and it was NOT going to be me!

Time for a trainer tune-up ride.  That is how Alexis and Riva spent Saturday night - which is supposed to be the Diva's day/night off.  Not this time, missy.  While the husband and I were enjoying Mexican food and margaritas on Saturday night - the mare was getting remind that she can work in the indoor as well as the outdoor arena.

I rode last night and saw improvement in speed and working with contact - not that Riva was perfect and made it easy for me.  No - still had to work very hard at it.  But once we had it - the work was decent.  I hope over the winter we can get the movement indoors that we can outdoors. Hey, we are at least better than last winter when Riva would randomly refuse to move forward!

Now look at her - only too happy to give a 'pony ride' to my sis-in-law!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Raise your hand if you have OC disorder!

Not only does OCD affect my home and work life, of course it affects my barn life.  They say horses like routine...mine should be estactic!

Since DayLight Savings time ended, it has gotten worse.  As I have mentioned over and over again, I like to ride outside.  Given our very mild Indiana temps thus far for Fall, I can still ride outside.  Problem is, I play beat the clock (or sunset) to get in a decent ride.  All the stars must align for this to occur.

*  must do all errands that are home related before I get to work in the morning

* leave work on time

* quickly change clothes at home, grab carrots & a snack, and get back in the truck

* 30 minute drive to the barn - 35 if I have to stop for a coffee to go!

* arrive at barn hopefully to my mare being in her stall finishing her dinner
   (if this star does not align, most likely will not make it for an outside ride)

* get out tack, grooming box, helmet & gloves, dressage whip

* pull Riva out and do a minimal grooming - tack up

* of course, no talking to anyone at the barn because that will cause the stars to misalign

If all the above goes smoothly, we get about 40 minutess of ride time before it gets too dark.  Makes me tired just thinking about it!  And this occurs 5 days a week.  Saturdays are a day away from the barn and a well deserved rest for Riva - unless we have a lesson or show.  Sunday is more relaxed - no job to hold me up.

Riding at dusk

My husband's sister and her husband were with us for a few days and indulged me by going along to the barn with us on Monday afternoon / evening.  I even talked my sister-in-law into sitting on the Diva - after I wore her out first, my horse that is!  We had a great visit with lots of wine on Monday night and margaritas at my fav Mexican restaurant on Tuesday night.  They live in Bahrain and we had not seen them for 5 years! 

Was so happy with Riva - for a 5 yr old, she gives awesome 'pony rides' :)


Friday, November 30, 2012

Thank you readers!

I have the best readers who always come thru for me!  Of all the great comments I received to my last post asking for help with getting the Diva to eat up Red Cell liquid, one that jumped out was from Carly of poorwomanshowing.  She suggested contacting Smart Pak for a free sample of the Red Cell Pellets - before I go to the expense of ordering them.  I promply emailed Smart Pak - they emailed me back within 2 hours and have a 3-day sample on its way to me!  Check out Carly's blog - one of her posts this week had me laughing out loud!

I really do not want to keep adding sweet stuff just to get Riva to eat up the Red Cell liquid and syringing it is a good idea...but, we already give de-wormer that way every 3 months and if she should need oral meds, I don't want to make her hard to give meds by mouth.
Hoping Riva will like the pellets - easiest solution in my mind.

I have been trying to incorporate one day of longeing only into our schedule - Riva gets one day a week completely off (normally, Saturdays, since that is husband and my date night), but every other day, I ride.  Sometimes the rides are short, 15 -20 minutes, sometimes they are longer, 45-50 minutes.  I do mix it up as much as possible - outdoor dressage ring, outdoor jump arena, galloping track, indoor arena ( only when weather forces me!).

More pics from last Saturday's lesson with JC

The past two times I have longed Riva, I feel that we are finally getting it.  I am able to get her to stretch over her back and go long and low, with voice commands.  I can bring her up to a good speed well balanced canter.  I can get her to bend and keep an eye on me on the right lead (that lead she used to counter bend and come in on the circle).  And the best part...Riva had a foamy mouth afterwards!

Riva and I were tired at the end of my lesson - Alexis and Lamiro were still going strong!
On a random note, there is a 'wild' loose cow roaming around the barn where we board.  The neighboring farm has cows, but this one is outside the fence and not that farmers.  I guess the County Sherriff has been called, but this cow has been wandering around all week.  Makes for interesting rides in the outdoor!  Riva wants to keep one eye on that cow and I try and convince her otherwise.  We spent the first half of the ride with me feeling like a giraffe jockey!  I just kept trying different exercises that I have been working on in my lessons with JC until I got Riva's full attention.  My ride lasted a little longer than I anticipated - it was dark when we ended.
Don't get me wrong...every ride is not sunshine and roses...but I can see and feel the progress.  I now know when Riva is behind my leg and not on the bit.  I used to think if her speed was up, all was good.  I feel I have learned exercises to get her working correctly - sometimes it takes multiple ones to get the results I am looking for, but I don't get frustrated like I used to and give up, chalk it up to a bad day.  I work thru it and end on a good note.
Random pic from this summer...just because :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Red Cell Question

My trainer recommended putting Riva on Red Cell supplement for added energy, which I am not opposed to trying.  Riva normally is not a picky eater....but she is turning her nose up at this supplement.  Has anyone used this product and had trouble with their horse eating it?

I picked up a gallon of the liquid Red Cell at my local feed store and tried giving Riva 1 ounce of it, mixed with a small portion of her feed on Monday....she took a bite and flipped her lip up, smacked her lips around, and walked away from it.

Tuesday, I mixed up just a 1/2 ounce with a small amount of her feed and drizzled molassas over it (which normally gets her to eat anything!).  She tried it again and walked away from it.

Red Cell does come in pellets that I can order, but thought I would poll my blogger friends first and see if anyone has used this product and had trouble getting their horse to eat it.  I don't want to resort to giving it orally with a syringe.

Thought I would try it in applesauce tonight and see if Riva will go for that...

Red Cell®

Monday, November 26, 2012

Saddle Adjustment & Lesson # 3

Busy Thanksgiving Weekend!  Riva did get Thanksgiving Day off - we traveled to Northern Indiana for dinner at my sister's house.

Friday was our saddle adjustment appt with Sara Ivie of County Saddles.  I last had it adjusted in May and we were definitely ready for another appt.  I had noticed the last several weeks that my saddle was shifting to the left and forward.  I have scoliosis with my curve mainly in the lower back so I naturally have more weight in my left seat bone.  I work hard to compensate for this and always try to keep in my mind - weight in the right stirrup.

Here are some visuals for you - lesson on Nov. 4th before saddle adjustment:

Lesson Nov. 24th after saddle adjustment:
Sara had to take wool out of the right rear panel of the saddle - this was causing the shift to the left and forward.  She also told me to tighten the girth more - major improvement!  Riva's saddle fits again!  Lex was with me for the appt and rode Riva after our appt and gave me a quick lesson.  She noticed the difference in Riva right away, esp in the canter.  Her balance was back and I was sitting more balanced.
Saturday morning was my lesson with JC at her barn so no sleeping in for us - in order to make it on time for my 8:30 am lesson, we have to leave our house at 6 am...early cold start to our day. Oh, but it was worth it!  I had the most fun, productive, exhausting lesson yet :)

After a brief warm up and discussing what has been going on since I was there last, JC decided to try draw reins on Riva for our lesson.  I  know some people are very opposed to draw reins, but never having used them, I had no opinion one way or the other.  They were strange at first and took some getting used to, with much instruction from JC. 
Lex rode in the lesson with me on Larimo - the horse she showed this summer and earned two scores towards her Bronze medal in Level 2 and Level 3.  Riva had to move out to keep up with Larimo, which was great - she really feeds off other horses energy and Larimo has plenty!

We did some walk / trot / canter transition exercises -JC had us walk along the long side and then walk a 5 meter circle back to the wall, then trot off.  The other exercise was to trot the long side, trot a 10 meter circle back to the wall, then canter in the corner.  We also worked on leg yield from the quarter line and shoulder in, in trot, along the long sides.
The other canter / trot exercise was to canter in the first corner of the short side, across the diagonal at the next corner, canter 6 strides on the diagonal to X, then transition to trot while turning on a half circle the other direction (concentrating on pushing the hind quarters out on the half circle).  Riva really liked this exercise. 
We finished up with some trot extension on the diagonal - of which on one of them, JC said 'I believe you are getting some extension!' and then medium canter on the long side.  Now Larimo, who we were following in our lesson, has competed up to Grand Prix - this horse can move.  So Riva and I had to really step in up to keep up - and it was a blast!  She was light and up and moving faster than I have ever went - it was a rush!
Wonderful husband took a few videos and many, many pictures:

Alexis got to show off her Tempi changes while Riva and I were cooling down:

Sunday was a nice ride outside just before a lovely November sunset - peaceful and pretty.  I am stretching these outside rides as long as possible.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

In Thanksgiving

I have many people and things to be thankful for, but my family is at the top of the list!

I am truly blessed with a wonderful husband, Paul, who is always there for me.  He puts me first, tries to give me everything my heart desires, and loves me unconditionally.  He has made my dreams come true more than once.
Paul & Riva as a yearling
God blessed me with two lovely daughters, Bree and Lex, and for this I am very thankful.  Now that they are grown women, we have a different relationship than we did just a few years ago.  With Bree, I get to share my love of dance and music.  With Lex, the horses.

Bree and Riva - summer 2012
Lex - summer 2012

And since this blog is about the Diva, I am thankful for my green, forgiving, saved my ass yesterday mare!  (she spooked badly at ? in the jump arena last evening, bolted, dropped her head to buck...then changed her mind and stopped...just as I was contemplating my first ever fall)  She is my perfect horse.
Kelly & Riva - fall 2012

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The horse who makes me smile

Indiana weather graced us with temps in the 50's yesterday and granted me another ride outside!  I rushed my husband out of the house to make it to the barn in time to catch enough daylight to get in a ride.  Yes - I had planned to work on trailer loading (the mare who was self loading this summer has decided she would rather not get on the trailer when asked) but could not resist the milder temps and no wind of a November day.

A wonderful advantage of having a body clipped and blanketed horse is how much time I save on grooming.  I love to groom and still give Riva the full treatment after our rides - but it is so nice to pick out her feet, swipe the brush over her lower legs, girth area and back, tack up and get on.

We headed straight to the galloping track and made several tripss up and down the back side - rest of the track was a bit too muddy from our crazy rain/snow mix on Monday.  We spent most of the time cantering, then trotted in to the outdoor dressage arena to school.  Riva was in front of my leg the entire ride - transitions were smooth - there was a nice jump into the canter when cued - just one of those rides where I had a smile on my face the entire time.

My husband helped me with my canter circles at A, which I was making too small and coached me thru several canters across the diagonal with a switch to trot in the corner, pick up the other lead and canter across the opposite diagonal.  Riva loves these!

I was telling my husband on the drive home that I love those rides where Riva and I are on the same page.  But we go thru many a ride where we are not even reading the same book...

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

CAF November Show With More Details!

Last show of the season, for real this time!  We entered and competed Intro C and Training Level Test 1 - our third time to compete Intro C, first time at Training Level.

It was a gorgeous day...warm, sunny...sure did not seem like November in Indiana!  I need not have worried about numb toes and fingers.

Training Level was first for us.  First halt was better than we normally achieve at CAF - the past few times competing there, Riva would barely stop.  Although we started well, we just could not get on the same page.  Our canter work is still in the developing stages so that was a challenge for us.  Our circles were more like small footballs and not the prettiest, but time and practice will rectify this!

In Training 1, you begin the canter in the second half of a circle at A then contine cantering down the long side to a semi-circle from B-E or E-B.  On the right lead canter, Riva dropped out of canter on the long side and I could not get it back for the semi-circle.  Right lead is our weakest and we have much to work on over the winter.

We earned a 57.292  and a blue (we were the only competitors in Training Level Test 1 for Novice Horse).  While this was not my lowest score ever, I still expected more and was disappointed in myself.  I did not get the on the bit work that we have been achieving, but she was steady in both tests.  Riva received 7's for her gaits in both tests and I got 7's for rider position.

Intro C was an improvement.  I felt more confident and tried to ride every movement, prepare for each move, and show that I was physically trying to push Riva out on her circles to get the correct shape.  The judge spoke a bit with me afterwards and said she could see I was making a real effort and my score improved - 62.25  and another blue (this time there were 3 in my class).

I am glad we went - I really like showing, everything about it.  And every show is a learning experience for Riva and myself. We competed in 8 shows this year, showing Intro B, C, and Training Level Test 1.  This show was my first time to compete in two tests in the same day.

I could not do it without my husband and daughter - thank you both for supporting, encouraging, and cheering me on!

Need to get someone to take over the camera for my husband so you all can see him!

Monday, November 12, 2012

CAF November Show

2 Blues for the Princess!

Will post about the show later...still processing.

Big shout out and congrats to Amy at slowandsteadysmilerwinstherace on their 1st place finish in Beginner Novice!  We got to watch their dressage test and it was super!

Also got to see Sabrina's test on Annie of weanieeventer and they looked great also!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Lesson # 2 - More Mental than Physical

Had my second lesson with JC on Sunday afternoon and both Riva and I had a mental workout.  We worked quite a bit on a pole exercise - ground pole that is! 

The object of the exercise was to get Riva to shoulder in over the ground pole.  I had to think first to move her shoulder over, then her hanches over - inside leg to outside rein.  We did this at walk and then later at trot without the ground pole.  Riva got the movement much easier to the right - to the left was a battle of wills.  She could not understand that she had to move the left leg over so the right leg could move over.

We also worked canter and trot - keeping the connection, increasing to medium canter and extended trot. 
I need blue gloves and a blue helmet cover to satisfy the eventer wanna be in me!
Still working on keeping my shoulders back in canter.
Every gait improved after the pole exercise.  It really helped with separating Riva's front and back end and she was much more supple and steady in the connection. 
Alexis was called in to ride in the lesson with me once again.  Riva even got to be the 'steady eddie' horse and walk between the pole and the arena wall a few times to prove to Alexis's horse that the pole was not a horse eating monster :)
Wanted to add a big thank you to the bloggers who left me such kind comments on my last post!  I appreciate all of you!
Show this Saturday - hoping the weather Gods will be nice to me.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Reason number ??? why I love horse bloggers

Reason # ???: 
     Because everyone at my barn is a perfect rider with perfect horses
 and reading blogs
makes me feel better
I am a greenie, my horse is a greenie - I know these things.  But at times I beat myself up because I am still working on riding the canter.  No one else at my barn has that basic to work on (ok, maybe one other person, but her horse is totally not a greenie). 
So I spend many drives home feeling low, even though I know my expectations are sometimes set very high.  I love reading all the blogs I follow, esp those who have young and/or green horses, and reaffirm that others have the same struggles.
I have another lesson with JC on Sunday morning - very much looking forward to it.  And, a show a week from Saturday!  Yes, I said I was done for the season...but who can resist a November Indiana :)  I have entered Intro C and Training Level Test 1 at the November Come Again Farm Show.  Several people from JC's barn are going and the show is offering fun classes that my daughter Alexis is going to participate in.  Hoping my fingers and toes don't go numb!
Warm up pic from show in September at Edinburgh

Monday, October 29, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Just a pic to prove I do occasionally go somewhere other than the barn!

Red Solo Cup guy won the contest and $500 (not bad for a trash can painted red)
Pretty young thing is my oldest daughter, Bree


Friday, October 26, 2012

First Body Clip...

...and no one was injured in the process!

Riva was super for her first body clip.  Thank you, thank you to my daughter for spending her first day off in ages with me at the barn this morning.  She even rode my mare afterwards and gave me a lesson. 


Several people at our barn employ a former groom/barn manager to clip their horses where I board.  Last year, I just didn't think Riva was ready and we were not working that hard over the winter.

This year, I knew we had to go for it and was hoping Riva had matured enough to handle it.  She was a bit nervous at first, but the groomer fed her a carrot with one hand with the running clippers in the other hand and let Riva get used to the noise.  She then let Riva stand up against the half wall in the barn aisle and started on her side.  After a bit of moving her feet around, Riva stood still and let me feed her treats and handfuls of hay for the entire clipping.  She even seemed to like having her belly done - she looked like she was in a trance for a few minutes!

I had the groom do everything but Riva's legs and face - she did shave her muzzle, bridle path, and her ears just a little.  I could not have been happier with Riva's behavior :)

Once the clip job was complete, we got her tacked up and working.  Lex got on her first to see how she is going and was pleased with how soft her mouth was and her gaits.  She even worked on a little counter canter and Riva tried and got a few steps each time.

Lex gave me a lesson - we worked on the box exercise that I learned at JC's last Saturday and we worked on canter departs and keeping a nice steady canter going.  Lex instructed me on working on counter canter a bit, which Riva seemed to like.

Once done, Riva got her blanket put on and turned out with her mare friends.  She was pretty tired - she normally takes off bucking and galloping as soon as you get her halter off and give her the ok.  Not today...she walked off and started grazing...tired pony girl.

Monday, October 22, 2012

First Lesson with JC

Really enjoyed my first lesson with JC and came away with homework.  JC had Alexis ride in the lesson with me to make Riva (and me) more comfortable for our first time in her arena.  I was so proud of Riva - she tried hard the entire lesson and was forward and calm. 
JC started by talking with me about my goals and what we most needed to work on.  I had thought about this, so I was prepared!  Told JC that I want to successfully compete at Training Level next season and that we most needed work on canter, in particular, the right lead. 
So she had us get moving and instructed me to stay up with Alexis's horse, but stay about a horse length behind.  It was kinda like follow the leader, with JC calling out what she wanted us to do.  She told me that she really just wanted to watch how Riva goes and get a feel for where we are right now.
 Husband took lots of pics, but only the still or walk shots turned out -
lighting was pretty low in the arena.
Blurry - but I like our position.
We did lots of cantering - starting with just cantering on the short ends - and progressing later in the lesson to the long sides.  She told me not ot worry about roundness just to keep Riva moving in front of my leg.
One exercise we did that helped get Riva sharp and off my leg was what JC called the box.  She would have us halt on the wall and then back 3-4 steps, then move her off the wall with the outside leg, halt, back 3-4 steps, move her back to the wall (on and off the wall was to be with no moving forward, so like sidepassing), then trot off.  We have not worked much on backing so JC had to step in and do some in hand for the backing and sidepassing.  But after doing this exercise several times, Riva was sharp off my leg and went right into the bridle.
We did lots of change of direction, 10 meter circles, trots across the diagonal, stretchy trot and even cantering on a long rein, which I have only done once before.  Before the end of the lesson, JC had Alexis stand in the middle with her horse and had me trot and canter Riva on our own to see how she did.
We took one walk break, so by the end, Riva and I were beat!  We spent the walking cool down talking about what to work on until my first lesson.  JC wants me to work on lots of canter - not to concentrate on contact in canter, but just moving forward.  She wants me also to work on the box exercise.
Good girl hug!
I liked that we were constantly moving in the lesson, which kept Riva from getting bored.  She did so well for her first lesson in a new place.  Only snorted at a pallet of arena footing that was near one corner, the first time we walked by it, then ignored it.  I think she likes looking at herself, so the entire long side and one short side of mirrors were great.  Love the footing in JC's arena and how huge the place is.  You can get a great full speed (for us!) canter going on the long sides.
Another lesson there in 2 weeks!


Sunday, October 21, 2012

New Bridle

Sweaty mare and me after our Saturday lesson
Will post about the lesson tomorrow...tired from shopping all day at the covered bridge festival!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Lesson tomorrow with...

Alexis's trainer!  We are hauling the Diva to the barn where Lex is a working student to have our first lesson with JC.  Very excited...nervous...etc.  I am trying to get goals set in my head and things I want to work on, because I know she will ask.  I plan to haul up for a lesson every other week and then have Lex give me a lesson on the other week. 

In other Riva news, she is getting body clipped a week from today for the first time.  She is already getting a winter coat and was very sweaty after a couple of our rides this past week.  I plan to leave the hair on her legs and face.  She already has a mid-weight blanket and we can use Hennessy's old heavy weight blanket which has a hood, but need to get a light weight turn-out ordered.

I did make one purchase at KY Horse Park last weekend - a new rolled padded bridle for Riva!  I will try to remember to get a picture of her in it.  I love it and think she goes better in the new than the old one, which is in sad shape.

So you know I am not done with KY pics just yet...

Lex and her trainer headed back to the barn
The Budweiser horses arrived at KHP while we were there!
The Budweiser Dalmations :)
After the last test at KYP - I think that is a smile of 'finally, we are done!'

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

More Regionals Pics!

Heading in to Training Level Test 3 - day before Championship class
Me waiting with Lex before she goes in to receive her Championship ribbon
Walking in to the Rolex ring to be in the victory lap - love that smile!