Friday, February 24, 2012

She Just Keeps Getting Better!

Or maybe it is me...lessons just could be helping Riva and I.  Lots of factors have led to this week being a good one.

 - Last Friday - Lex rode Riva for me and gave me a mini lesson

 - Saturday - Riva's day off (date night for the humans)

 - Sunday  -  I worked Riva lightly and concentrated on getting lateral flextion

 - Monday  - rode outside!  My personal favorite.

 - Tuesday- lesson with my trainer on Riva (details later in this post)

 - Wednesday - rode outside again!  Can not belive our mild Indiana February...but I'm thrilled with it.
 - Thursday - 'day off' for Riva...just lounge and in hand work

Lesson with my trainer on Tuesday went very well.  This was our first lesson with 'C' - 'our' meaning with Riva.  I was a bit worried that Riva would get tired, cranky, irritated - but she was a trooper and did great.  We started with a brief lunge session.  C was happy with Riva's obedience and response on the lunge.  The only thing she wants me to add is working on getting more bend on the lunge.

We worked on 10 meter walk circles, trot work in 2-point, trot work while standing in the stirrups, and 20 meter circles in trot.

I have really struggled with 2 point on Riva - she always slows down majorly.  Once C refined my position, Riva kept going!  Amazing how that works :)  I was actually able to relax my ankles and feel the motion.  Made me feel like a jockey on a slow racehorse!  Who needs a thigh master when there is 2-point?  That was my only slight soreness the next day.

I was proud of Riva all thru the lesson - she was trying so hard and kept a good attitude. Can't ask for more.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Last Friday Night's Rides on Riva

Lex was able to come out to ride Riva for me last Friday night and give me a mini lesson on her.  Lex really focused on getting more bend out of Riva and she caught on pretty quick.  She instructed me on how to achieve more lateral flexion also.

Lex on the Diva:

If you have your sound up, pay no attention to what we are saying!  Mothers and daughters talk about all kinds of things...even when riding!

Me on Riva:

Always fun to watch Lex ride her - we paid her by taking her out for Mexican food afterwards...gotta love cheap labor :)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Videos of Lesson on V

Finally got videos uploaded from my lesson on V from Valentine's Day night!

Still to come...videos of Lex riding the Diva on Friday evening and some of me riding with instruction from Lex.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Happy Belated Valentine's Day!

After a hectic, stressful day at work evening could not have been better.  Why?

  Because I: 

     #1)  Had a great lesson on V the schoolmaster

     # 2)  Fed my Diva treats and gave her hugs and kisses, on her day off

     #3)  Went out for a relaxing dinner with my wonderful husband...and the restaurant gave us
              2 cute little bottles of bubbly

Sarah at rounderdressage posted about her mare who has an adorable upside down heart on her side.  Riva has a heart on her neck - ok, it only looks like a heart when she is turned a certain way.  Her breeder always told me it was an angel's kiss...more like a devil's mark on some days! 

Baby photos of the Diva:

Look at that shorty tail!  I know, I know...must take more new pictures.  Husband is still camera shopping. 

My lesson on V last night gave me several new things to work on -

     *  10 meter circles at the walk - focusing on using light aids to achieve the correct size and shape

     *  Leg yield at the walk - again, using light aids

     *  Canter - specifically getting me comfortable with the gait, going with the motion, giving with
          my hands

     *  Trot work - controlling the tempo with my seat only;  some 2-point;  some long and low on
         the buckle

LOVE this mare - she is kind, makes you ask correctly, has a lovely trot that always makes me smile. 

Only complaint after a lesson on hips and thighs are slightly angry.  V is a semi retired wide Russian Trakehner.  Her owner has a new horse so V is only used for lessons for myself and another boarder.  My trainer rides her for tune thinking V could use a few less groceries. 
Next week's lesson will be on Riva.  My daughter is coming out to ride her for me on Friday evening.  Will try and get some video of the ride.

It was good to be in a lesson again - my last one was in November.  I plan to have weekly lessons, one week on V the school master and the next week on Riva.  I am planning on taking Riva to a show in late March. 

(Day late posting this!  Still working on getting video uploaded from my lesson.)


Thursday, February 9, 2012

It's Logical!

The Logic Girth | County Saddlery

'The Logic Girth is anatomically designed to provide clearance for the elbow and line up with the billets, thus preventing the saddle from being pulled down and forward into the withers when the girth is tightened. Achieving more comfort for the horse and a more elegant look for the rider is simple, when you apply Logic.'

Seeing is least when it comes to believing that a girth and saddle change could eliminate the girthiness in my Diva girl.  Mona at panicandthepony posted a video displaying her mare's reaction to being girthed.  While I don't have video proof, I can attest to the complete change of attitude toward being tacked up with the County saddle and Logic girth vs any other saddle and girth I have used on Riva.  When I re-read the above description for the Logic girth, it makes sense the changes I am observing in Riva's reaction (or lack of reaction!).

I have been using the new saddle and girth for just shy of 2 weeks and each tacking up has shown the results - Riva has gone from throwing her head up, trying to nip at the girth, pawing, cow kicking (ok, that behavior has been gone for quite some time, due to me not tolerating), to zero reaction.  She stands in the cross ties with her head lowered, soft eyes, get the picture, while having her girth tightened. 

Love that girth!  I really believe I should get a commision from County Saddlery for gushing, ya think?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Super Weekend!

We live in 'Small Town USA' - but happen to be located about 20 miles outside of Indianapolis...home to the 2012 Super Bowl.  If I hear 'have a Super day!' one more time, I might lose my mind.  You can not turn on the news, walk down the street, or talk to anyone without some reference to the Super Bowl and all things leading up to it.  Not a football fan and I only know who is playing because of being undelated with references to the big game on a daily basis.  We have not ventured into the Super Bowl Village that was created in downtown Indy - looks pretty crazy on TV.  And I really don't like big crowds, except if it is to attend something that really interests me.  So, I will most likely watch some of the game tonight, mainly for the ads (because isn't that what everyone talks about the next day anyway?).

My Super Weekend has nothing to do with football.  I normally only post about Riva on the blog or my daughter - I did start this blog as a journal to all things horses.  And that is my main passion.  But.....I do have another redneck / rebel / hillbilly side.  My mom was born and raised in KY, so maybe it is in my blood.  I love driving my F250 diesel, wearing my cowboy boots, and Jim Bean t-shirt.  You would think I would have taken up Western Pleasure instead of dressage :) 
Next to spending most every moment outside of work at the barn, my other fav thing to do is country line dance.  My husband and I go most Saturdays night to a country bar and dance, spend time with friends, drink beer.  Rarely do I want to go to the concerts that are put on by local radio stations.  But we did go this Friday night to see Justin Moore.  As we were walking out to get in the truck to leave for the concert, I was whining that I would rather be riding my horse - what with the unseasonably warm temps we have been having and my obession with getting to ride outside.  But - I got in the truck and went.  Had a blast!  Got to go backstage with a girlfriend and my newly turned 21 yr old daughter to meet Justin Moore!

Here's a little clip from the concert, too:

Part 2 of my Super Weekend was this 'little' girl coming home from Florida:

Lex got home early this morning and will go back this evening to her little house - back to normal working student Indiana style routine Monday morning.  She looks great - little tanned - and more toned and fit than when she left.  Love getting to spend some time with her and hear lots of stories from their 6 weeks in Florida.  Hoping she will do some blogging about it soon.

If you are in to football - enjoy the game tonight.  Me...I am going riding :)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Follow Up Saddle Fitting & February

Last evening was my follow up saddle fitting with my County saddle rep, Sara Ivie.  She first checked Riva's back briefly for any soreness.  She said her withers area was a bit sore, but said it was most likely left over from the Kieffer getting too small for her.  She then put the saddle on Riva's back without the pad to check the fit.  I told her the only thing I had noticed was the cantle area bouncing a bit when I rode.  She had me tack her up and then checked the fit with me sitting on her, then had me start riding.  Sara watched as I warmed her up, from all angles.  She decided the back needed some more flocking to stop the bounce in the cantle and one side needed a bit more flocking to create the best fit for Riva.  She took the saddle out to her truck and made the necessary adjustments, and once again had me hop on so she could watch me ride.  I thought the saddle fit great before the appointment, but now - custom fit to Riva - awesome!  It just feels so solid underneath me while I ride.  LOVE :)

After Sara left, I put Riva on the lounge to work on her transitions and to sharpen up her responses to cues.  I rode her again briefly after the ground work.  I worked on some spiraling circles - started at a 20 meter circle and spiraled in to a 10 meter circle, then back out to 20.  She did well with this - her balance is improving since I have been asking her to step under herself by doing turns on the forehand and haunches.

Tonight...I rode outside...on February just a fleece jacket and breeches!  When we pulled into the drive at the barn this evening, I saw that two riders were working their horses outside.  The BO had groomed the outside dressage arena and the weather could not have been better.  I moved really fast getting Riva tacked up since the sun was starting to go down.  By the time I walked Riva outside, the other riders were finished and headed back in to the barn.  Riva grew to about 18 hands as I walked her to the mounting block - you would think she never gets to go outside!  But she was a good girl and stood very still as I got on. 

I headed her for the dressage ring and after one walk lap, put her in trot.  She was lovely!  No Spring sillies for this girl just yet.  She was listening, forward, and energetic.  We worked lots of diagonals and figure 8's.  I also worked her in the spiraling circles again.  After finishing with the circles, she offered a very nice forward trot down the long side before we finished up.  Just wish I had pics and or video!  My husband was talking for most of my ride to new boarders at our barn.  They had test rode the Kieffer I have for sale and were discussing with my husband.  Fingers crossed the saddle works for them.

So the ground hog saw his shadow today and that means 6 more weeks of Winter.  As my husband said tonight, though, if we have 6 more weeks of the weather we have been experiencing - that would be wonderful.  More outside rides please!