Saturday, January 28, 2012

Several bloggers have commented that I need to post more pics of Riva (and this was my only New Year's Resolution), and I plan to do this.  Some tax return money is ear marked for a fancy new camera.  In the meantime, we have lovely cell phone pics!

            Please pardon the muddy lower legs, eeiiree glowing eyes, and general bad arena lighting!

The lovely, very fuzzy dirty, Riva modeling her brand new County Connection Saddle!

Was so excited to see a large UPS package waiting at the barn last night when we arrived.  Love the smell of new leather!  I purchased leathers and a girth from County also.  Just need to save up for new stirrups...and a few new bit...the list could go on and on. 

For now - totally LOVE the saddle and Riva agrees.  My rep will be out one day next week to final fit it to Riva, which is included in the purchase price.  I lunged her in it first, did some in hand work, then hopped on.  Feels great - very comfortable!  I have not rode Riva in a dressage saddle for 3 months, so it took a little getting used to.  Basically, once I got myself oriented, it was much easier than riding in the jump saddle.

Riva's walk was great last night in the new saddle - very swinging - and her halts were much quicker and smooth.  We have been working a lot on walk to trot transitions and she felt good with those last night.  I did not canter yet - I am still working on myself in canter and will most likely wait until a lesson.

So the concensus is...well worth the waiting and saving to get a custom saddle.  Most of the boarders at our barn ride in Countys, so they were very excited for me, as well. 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Saddle Day - Training Update - An Award!

My daughter texted me this morning with this message "Happy Saddle Getting Day!".  Only a fellow equestrian would think to do that...thanks Alexis!  The long awaited  County Connection Dressage Saddle is on a brown truck on its way to our barn - at least according to UPS tracking (of which I have been stalking for 3 days). Tonight, I get to test drive this  - happy dance!
Connection | County Saddlery

I have been so fortunate to ride in a County jump saddle, not sure which model, since mid-October.  I have very generous barn owners that allowed me to borrow one of theirs till I was able to get a saddle for Riva.  Riding for 3 months in a jump saddle or in a bare back pad has done wonders for my position and posture.  I am excited to ride in a dressage saddle again and see if the changes stick.  I know my leg has 'lenghtened- can tell that by the holes I have been able to move to in the leathers.
I will get some pictures this evening of the Diva in her fancy new 'clothes'.

In training news, Riva and I have begun to go from this -

to this  -

This past Tuesday, I felt Riva's back lift up under my seat, while in a stretchy trot, for the first time ever.  It was the coolest feeling!!  And I had a witness (just in case I was imaging it).  My husband was watching and confirmed what I was feeling. 
I am feeling the benefits of the lunge and in hand work we have been doing - it is finally carrying over to the under saddle work.  Riva is getting very sharp on the lunge, responding very quickly to just voice commands.  Since I posted the lunge video, she is now coming down - almost immediately - to walk when asked.  Her canter is faster and more uphill, which carries over to the trot.

I also began incorporating in hand work, in to our warm up, about 2 weeks ago.  Just basic walk off briskly when asked, trotting in hand, yielding to pressure at the girth, turns on the forehand, halts and backing.  I have to give much thanks to my husband for help with the in hand - he is better with this than I...with Riva's height, I struggle to hold both reins and keep contact on the outside rein.  I have 'handed the reins' to him, the past few days, for the in hand work.  He is great with Riva and really has gotten her responsive again.

Which has all led to the improvement under saddle.  We struggle with indoor arena riding.  Riva doesn't like it - I don't like it.  But we live in Indiana - the land of rain and mud in April  January!  So ride indoors we must.  But this week has been a week of change, for the better.  Riva is responsive and forward - happy ears and attitude. I did have to adjust her attitude once last night by jumping off, doing a quick 'listen here'! in hand work, but got right back on and continued working...with a Very forward Riva. 

On to An Award!

Thank you to slowandsteadysmilerwinstherace for honoring me with the


Love Amy's blog and we had the opportunity to meet this fall at a show.  Her Steady is a handsome guy and very talented.  Can not wait to see them out and about at shows this season.

Liebster means “dearest” in German, and the award is intended to help up-and-coming blogs get the attention they deserve. Here are the rules:

1. Copy and paste the award on your blog.
2. Link back to the blogger who gave you the award
3. Pick your five favorite blogs with less than 200 followers, and leave a comment on their blog to let them know they have received the award.
4. Hope that the five blogs chosen will keep spreading the love and pass it on to five more blogs!

I, too, tried to pick blogs that have not already received this award. So here are my five fav blogs, in no particular order:

My daughter's blog :)  She is the reason I have Riva and my # 1 trainer.  Watch for updated posts from her in February, when she gets back from Florida.

I just know Emme's mom and I would be the best of friends if we were at the same barn!  She and her daughter share a fab mare and I always enjoy reading the latest.

Even though Mona rides an Arab and I ride a Warmblood, they are both Mares...need I say more?!

Rose and Riva are the same age and of similar breeding.  Always something relateable to me on her posts.

Suzie's blog is one of the first I started reading...and now I am a certified blog stalker :)  Echo is black and white - and I have a real thing for any animal that is black and white.  (just ask my family...I soooo want a black and white chicken!)

Now...will 4 pm ever get here today?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Lunging for transitions

Riva is easily bored in the dreary months of Winter.  Both Riva and I would much rather ride in the outdoor...but we do live in Indiana.  I try and think of new things to do in the indoor to keep the Diva's mind engaged.  She easily gets used to any type of rountine and then, constantly anticipates what I am going to ask of her.

My trainer worked with Riva a few weeks ago and the first thing she did was lunge her.  She did things differently than I had been - she constantly asked Riva for transitions up and down during the lunge lesson.  She specifically made sure Riva was quick into the transition - as soon as she asked.  I realized in watching the lesson that I had gotten lax about this. 

I have been lunging Riva for a few weeks now - not every time I ride, but at least every other time.  Riva likes this new 'game'.  She still tries to anticipate and guess what I am going to ask for next.  Here is a bit of what we have been working on:

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Lex's Journey

My youngest daughter, Lex, (of the blog is in Florida for 6 weeks with her trainer as part of her working student position.  They left on Dec. 26th and will return on Feb. 3rd.  While I am sure she will post about it when she returns, she is allowing me to write about some of her experiences so far.  She did not take her lap top with her, but promises me she is keeping a log so she doesn't forget anything!

Lex and her trainer are staying at Daytona beach and the 8 horses they took down are boarding in Deleon Springs.  The horses are staying at a farm across the road from Michael and Sharon Poulin's farm -  Lex will be taking a few lessons from Sharon Poulin while there. 

I can't believe all the things Lex has already gotten to do while in Florida and they are only on week 3!  At least once a week, they take the horses to a nearby beach to ride.  For those bloggers who get to do this on a regular basis, this is not a big deal.  To those bloggers, like me, who live in Indiana...very big deal!  So far, Lex has ridden Emerald, a 4 yr old Warmblood cross, on the beach and Theo, a older been there done that Warmblood.  Both were a thrill for a first time riding on the beach 17 yr old girl.

Last Thursday, Lex's trainer made arrangements for her to have a lesson with Karen O'Connor...KAREN O'CONNOR!  Lex was beyond excited about this opportunity.  She and the trainer's daughter had a 2 hour stadium jumping lesson with Karen at the O'Connor's Ocala farm.  They had planned to stay overnite and have a cross country lesson the following day, but had to leave due to one of the horses they brought along becoming ill.  I don't have any pictures to share yet, but Lex's trainer will be sharing some with her.

Today, Lex was having a lesson with Kate Poulin-Neff of Poulin Dressage and was going cross country schooling later in the day at  I have not talked with her yet today to see how the lesson and schooling went.

While spending every waking hour with horses is great, she has gotten to do some fun, new, exciting non-horsey things, too.  On New Year's Eve, she took a trapeze lesson in Tampa.  Yes, my daughter who is fearless on a horse is scared of heights.  But she did this!  In the video, she is the one on the right side of the screen:

She also went to Sea World and Discovery Cove.  At Discovery Cove, Lex got to swim with the dolphins.  Something Lex has always wanted to do...she had a blast!
Not sure what else is in store for Lex for the remaining time in Florida.  For all the wonderful things she is getting to do, there of course is lots of work involved - no different than everyone one of us horse owners experiences on a daily basis.  But what a journey she is having!  I miss her terribly but so very grateful for the opportunity her trainer is offering.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Video Now Working!

I am technology challenged so my husband had to fix the video on my last post.  So, Sprinkler Bandit - you can watch it now, if you like.  And no, I am not tall - 5' 3 - vertically challenged also!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Happy 2012!

I am not a New Year's resolution kind of person...but I did make a blogger resolution to take and post more pictures this year.  Someone please tell that to the Diva!

Arrived at the barn to quickly clean up the girl for an outdoor pic before it got too dark.  Get all my stuff out and take my unhappy with me mare away from her evening hay.  Walk her out of the stall only to hear 3 horse shoes hit the concrete.  Great - wonderful mud sucking Indiana claims another shoe.  Riva made it thru the last 6 week shoeing cycle without losing any and her feet were looking so good.  We are now on week 4 of this cycle and when I checked her shoes on Sunday night, they were on tight, with no missing nails.  Husband made a call to the farrier, who can not make it out until Friday. 

Well, you don't need 4 shoes to take a picture anyway!  Put Riva into Cheer's pretty and mostly clean bright blue halter and lead rope and walk her out front to pose.  She walks out calmly enough, gets very tall and snorts a bit - like she has never been out front in her life...then proceeds to only stand still for micro-seconds.  Luckily, husband shot a couple of quick videos because the stills are awful.

So here is the Diva on January 3rd, 2012!

She is now 4 1/2 yrs old - will be 5 at the end of May.

We measured her today and she is now 16.1 hand high and 1149 lbs.