Saturday, June 30, 2012

Trot Poles and...

Jumps!!! jumps but when you have NEVER done it - they count!

Warning:  if you do not want to hear our awesome conversations in the videos - turn on some nice music :)
After a frustrating ride on Monday (of which I should have just given her the day off), I decided to switch things up on Wednesday and work on trot poles.  Tuesday, Riva did get the day off - I went and watched Lex have a jump lesson at CAF.

There were already 4 trot poles down in our jump arena left over from someone else's lesson.  My husband repositioned them for Riva's trot stride and once we were both warmed up - away we went!  We have not went over trot poles since...can't remember when...and have never done more than 3.   It took us a few attempts to get our act together - which I figured out to stay in a half seat and just keep a steady contact.

After a few good passes thru, something unexpected happened...Riva cantered away after the last trot pole!  And it was light, smooth, and forward!  I had to stop myself from jumping off and doing a happy dance!  I went with it and let her canter back around to approach the trot poles - slowed to a trot - and let her canter away.  This did lead to Riva deciding if canter away was a good thing (and she heard all those 'good girls), then canter toward the poles would be even better!  I wasn't quite sure what to do about that, so I just went to my normal posting trot over the poles instead of a half seat.

Thursday our heat index was something ridiculous like 107.  Riva and Cheers both got a spa day - cool baths and hand grazed in the shade trees around the pond on the property.

Friday, we caught a break in the weather - a little storm quickly passed thru and dropped out temps quickly by about 20 degrees - just as we were heading to the barn.  Cool enough to head back to the jump arena and work on trot poles again.  Riva was just as game to go as the first time and cantered away several times.

Which leads to this morning!  Alexis had the day off and offered to come ride and give me a mini lesson.  I told Lex that several times when working Riva over trot poles, she would lock in on other jumps set up around the arena.  Lex said it won't hurt her to take her over a low crossrail or vertical - we are talking 18' max.  We set one up and after a few times thru the trot poles - over they went!

Lex had me get on and work over the trot poles several times.  She then dropped one side of the rail to the ground and had me walk Riva over it, by getting into 2-point just before the 'jump' and moving my hands up her neck.  Next time thru we trotted it and jumped! 

After trying this a few times from both directions, as I came around for another turn, Lex had set up the jump as a cross rail.  And we jumped this!

I know these are tiny - but I am old and have never went over anything more than a trot pole before on any horse, let alone the Diva!  I was thrilled with Riva - she was loving it...never slowed down, tried to stop or duck out, never bucked or kicked out - love her :)

Happy cantering pics from today also:

That is the jump we jumped!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Rest of the Story

Yes, crazy horse showing woman I am, found us at Edinburgh over the weekend for a dressage show.  This time just the husband, the Diva, and myself (daughter arrived on Sunday in time to help me in warm up).

Saturday was of course blazing hot.  Lots of watering was going on to tamp down the areanas.  I have never seen it so dry at HHP.  The only tuffs of green grass weres under the shade trees near the barns.

I spent quite a bit of time schooling on Saturday late afternoon.  Was able to get Riva in both warm ups and the ring we were to test in.  She was very UP and looky, but kept it together enough to get a good work out going.

My test time was not until 1:25 pm on Sunday.  I took Riva out for a couple of hand walks in the norning and then got on to warm up 30 minutes prior to my test.

My daughter the coach!

Coats were waived but I only had my sleeveless shirt with me - put on the coat at the last possible second!

 I felt good about the test - of course, some movements more than others.  Riva was very forward around the ring before the bell and did not think Halt was a good that was our lowest mark.  Circles were decent - we are just now schooling good shapes at home with bend.  Free walk could have had more stretch.  I liked our transitions and her tempo was steady   Final halt was square.

I tried to smile a lot during the test :)
We received a 67.188% - new personal best!  That gave us a 4th place ribbon in our class.  Of course now I am really being encouraged to move up out of Intro by everyone at our barn. 
Other than that score, the best part of the show was getting to meet 3 bloggers!!!  And watch them show their lovely horses.  Jen of cobjockey was showing her sweet Connor, Austin of  
guineaforaguinness with her beautiful Thoroughbred, and Sarah of  theunexploredlandofadulthood showing the awesome Rocket.  I loved getting to chat with these women and meet their horses.  Looking forward to seeing more of them this summer.


Monday, June 25, 2012

More Show Photos to Come!

Yes...another horse show...
two weekends in a row...
90+ degrees, yet again...
what was I thinking?!

Friday, June 22, 2012

I Feel Good!

Our area received a few droplets of rain yesterday afternoon which caused the temps to drop about 10 degrees fairly quick.  The horses are on night turn out and you could sense the excitment in the air as the BO prepared to let them out for the evening. 

We are normally gone for the evening by turn out time, but must have been running late yesterday.  Husband was able to catch some cell phone video of the mares getting turned out. 

The bay without the sheet is the dressage schoolmaster I took lessons on over the winter.  She has a lot of spunk for an old retired girl!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Show Photos Blitz!

We spent our Father's Day weekend at a Dressage / Horse Trials at CAF (my husband should get Horse Dad / Horse Husband of the year!).  Show was on Sunday, so we had all Saturday afternoon to load up, arrive, and school.  Hotter than Hell on Saturday - gotta love Indiana weather - but we survived.

We went thru all this for me to enter one Dressage which my daughter's trainer / boss asked:
 'Why did you not enter another class?'

Me:  I need to work on Canter.

Trainer / Boss:  Pssshh (or something resembling that noise)...just kick the Mare and get thru it.

She was threating me before she left that I will show Intro C this coming weekend, of which I am NOT signed up for, or she will call the show secretary and enter me.  Gotta love her.

Daughter did not show, but was around most of Saturday & Sunday due to two other riders from the barn where she is a working student, were competing.  Lex drove the diesel and gooseneck with the competing horses to the show - backed it up and parked it - fairly straight!  Just one of the many new skills she has aquired.

Schooling went well on Saturday, as daughter came for riding boot camp refresher course on Riva on Friday evening.  Concentrating on 'Yes, Mare, you can bend and do a 20 meter trot circle'.  Followed by reminding her she can 20 meter circle in canter.

We schooled in the actual dressage arena that we would compete in on Sunday, plus briefly schooled in both indoor warm ups.  On Sunday, my ride time was not until 12:28 pm.  Temps were very warm so I opted for no more than a 30 minute warm up.  I did get her out and hand walk her around the show grounds on Sunday morning - let her graze a bit and relax.

I got tacked up and in the indoor warm up at noon - to which I hear over the speaker that the Dressage ring is running 15 minutes ahead.  No worries - I was going to take my time and if I was not ready until 12:28 - then that is when I would ride my test.  This is the first show that I have felt semi relaxed and confident (big step for me). 
 Warm up:

When I felt Riva relax and settle - we had circled, went up centerline and halted softly - we headed over to the outdoor warm up.  A few riders had went ahead, out of order, but I did a few transitions and circles and made sure I had Riva's attention before I said I was ready.
Riva's reaction to entering the dressage arena to test:

Riva deciding she WILL go in:

During test:

My very bad decision to switch my whip during free walk (will not do that again!)

What our free walk COULD have looked like across the entire diagonal:

Final Halt:

Happily walking back to the barn (can ya tell the daughter very rarely wears shorts?):

I did not know our score yet, but felt really good about the test:

And...where did my black & white horse go?  Can you believe she is on night turn-out?

Lots still to work - stop leaning to my left, dropping my left shoulder, left foot/toe sticking out (can I just get a replacement left side of my body?), elbows need to stay bent and back, more giving hands and arms, the list never ends.
I put off going to look at my score since I was afraid it was not as good as I thought - but I got a 65.313% - our personal highest score!  And...our first blue ribbon!
Ok, is on to Intro C we go. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012


It's funny that growing up I spent summers on the lake, not on horseback (even though I would have preferred the later!)  I do love water;  swimming, boating, relaxing on a beach.  My husband and I met as teenagers at a lake where our parents both had summer homes.  When we got married, we both assumed that down the road we would do the same - spend summers on a lake, or at least have a boat to haul around from place to place.

 Instead...we have this:

  To haul this:

And occasionally this:

So instead of spending our free time playing in the water and staying cool - we spend our time getting dusty, dirty, and sweaty!

On to lesson updates:

I have had 2 lessons with my trainer since my last post and sadly, none with my daughter.  Show season is in full swing so her time at home is limited. 

Last week's lesson was a continuation of working on staightness.  We concentrated on center line entries from both directions, square halts, and riding off staight.  Trainer had me briefly work again on serpentines in trot only this time and then some canter at the end.

Entering at A on the right rein is easier for me than the left.  I lose her right shoulder when we enter on the left rein, but it is getting better.  Halts went smoother when I can remember to not fidget - I tend to try and 'fix' Riva with my hands instead of setting her up thru the trot before I ask for the downward transition to halt.  Something to continue to work on every ride.

Yesterday's lesson left me a little sore this morning - which tells me I need to do more stirrup-less work!  My trainer put me on the lounge, sans stirrups, to work on walk-trot-walk transitions.  I was to use mainly my seat, with leg back up to ask for transitions and maintain the gaits.  I did pretty well at this and Riva was on her game and listening.  This helped me work on my straightness in the saddle - I found it easier to keep my weight even and not lean to the left without my stirrups. 

We did the stirrup less work in the indoor and then moved outdoors to work on canter.  Two other riders were in the outdoor dressage so we headed to the jump arena.  Maybe because it is big with jumps scattered about, Riva forgets her brain and I do not have much steering in the jump vs the dressage arena, or maybe the dressage arena makes me THINK I have steering - regardless...we addressed steering at the canter.  At one point in the canter work, my trainer thought Riva was going to launch over a roll top instead of turn and continue around it!

We started with right lead canter - this being my easier of the two normally.  Riva always picks up the correct lead to the right and usually is easier to keep going, steers reasonably well, etc.  Steering was sketchy at best last evening but we got better by staying at one end and staying (more or less) on a large circle.  When we switched to the left lead - this being our difficult lead...she was awesome :)  We got the correct lead every time I asked and I felt balanced and with her.  I still need to work on keeping her in the canter gait on the left lead, but I was happy with the progess we made last night.

Happy rider & happy pony!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Heavy Heart

A blogger I follow had to make the painful decision yesterday to let her horse be put to rest following an injury.  Chelsea at huntseatcruizer lost her lovely gelding Cruizer and she is weighing on my mind this morning.  Please consider leaving her a messages.  I know my daughter was comforted by many of your words when we lost Hennessy. 

Monday, June 4, 2012

More Lovely Pics!

Daughter competed this weekend at Foxton Farms in Romney, IN and Dad took a few lots of photos!
New ride this time - big gorgeous Fresian mare named Guinevere. She took her first 70% on a test :)  Busy weekend spent doing what I Love...watching and helping out at a horse show!  Plus my birthday was Friday and my husband took me out for Mexican and got me a yummy cake...hard to beat that!

Lex and her trainer in warm up - the Fresians are owned by the same couple