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!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Dressage Regionals in KY!

Be prepared for lots of pics and proud mom rants!

Alexis and Emerald
Training Level Jr Division - 5th place Champions!
In the Rolex Arena - getting their ribbon for the Championship class
Training Level - Jr Division Victory Lap
What a great 3 days in Lexington at Kentucky Horse Park - would not have missed it for the world!  Wish I could have been there all 4 days.  Lex competed twice a day, Thursday thru Saturday, and then her Championship class on Sunday.  She competed her Trainling Level Test 3 every day and First Level test 1 and 3 on Friday and Saturday.  She earned two more scores towards her Bronze medal in First Level.
Lots more pics, videos and posts to follow!  So very proud of Alexis!  Emerald has been her project horse for the past year at her working student position.  She qualified for Regionals at her first sanctioned show in May.  She worked so hard to get to this point and all the hours paid off!


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Crazy Week...leaving soon for KY!

Been swamped at work this week...husband working out of state all week...has left very little blogging time.  Plan to catch up on my posting and reading when on fall break, after we return from Kentucky.

Can hardly wait! Leaving Friday morning for Kentucky Horse Park to watch Alexis compete at the Region 2 Dressage Championships.  She qualified for Training Level, Junior division, on Emerald.

Hoping to do a little shopping, sight seeing, and eating around Lexington while there...course, knowing me, we won't leave the horse park all weekend!  Will post all about it next week!

And in Princess Diva news...we have had great rides this week with lots of cantering.  Love my mare :)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

A New Move!

Riva had Sunday totally off - did not even make it out to the barn to  annoy fuss over her.  Fortunately, the nice fall weather held out another day so I could get an outside school in on Monday evening.  Warm up was good around the galloping track, with smooth rolling canter (so fun).

We then schooled in the outdoor dressage arena and I was happy with everything from walk to trot to canter.  Riva was forward and full of energy.  So, I decided to try something new and asked for a canter transition from walk, on the left lead...and she did it!  I was so excited I just about fell off :)  Maybe it was a fluke, I thought, so I tried it again...success!  We ended with lots of praise on that note.

On Tuesday, all the horses got their fall shots, so we took it a little easy.  I lunged Riva briefly and then did a short dressage school in the indoor.  (Boo to too much rain to ride outside) 

Wednesday - still too wet to ride outside, although we did warm up and cool down with a walk around the pond.  The horses were switched over night to day turn out, but it did not seem to affect Riva's energy.  We had a good dressage school in the indoor after some discussion about going forward with contact in trot.  After we were getting quality trot, we worked on canter.  Love to work on left lead, because it is so much easier.  We even managed a canter across the diagonal, maintaining left lead - with a transition to trot at X.  I think that is a movement in Training Level Test 3? 

My husband was with me last night sideline coaching - reminding me to keep contact, sit back, ride off the rail, etc.  I had already gotten one walk to canter transition earlier - not on purpose, just a little too much leg asking for trot.  So I wanted to show the husband our new move!  Riva did even better than Monday nights attempts - went right in to left lead canter from walk both times I asked.  Love my mare!

Hoping to get outside for a hack only this evening - bring on the sunshine!

More show pics - I have lots!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Show Video

First time I have had a test video taped!  Thank you to my husband :)

Monday, October 1, 2012

She looks good in Blue!

As my trainer/daughter stated "Great way to finish your season!".  So very proud of my Diva girl!

Please excuse my helmet hair!

We took 1st place in Into C at Edinburgh last Saturday with a score of 59.75%.  We had several 7's - free walk and medium walk (I told you all walk was our best part!).  While the halt at the start of the test almost didn't happen, I was able to let that movement go and move on.  I felt overall this test was much better than our last show three weeks ago - energy was better, rhythm more consistent, rounder horse, transitions smoother, canter that I was able to just sit up and ride.

Many thanks to Austen of guineaforaguinness for sticking around after she was done showing to cheers us on!  Austen had 3 super tests on Saturday - her and Guinness looked lovely!  Also thanks to Ella (she is not a blogger - but a student of Alexis's trainer) - she also stayed later to support Riva and I.  Ella shows a lovely Curly mare that is beautiful.  Also was able to chat a little with Sarah of mybrainonhorses over the course of the day - Sarah was super busy showing multiple horses and the tests I was able to watch her ride were stunning, as always!  Showing is much more fun the more people I meet - and blogging has given me the opportunity to expand that circle. 

Much thanks to my husband and Alexis.  Lex drove up on Saturday morning to school Riva and I and read my test for me.  She is wonderful at seeing what I need to focus on and getting me relaxed and prepared.  My husband is right there every step of the way - and a great photographer / videographer.

Not only did I get a pretty ribbon, I also got to pick out 2 bars of yummy smelling homemade soap!  Love gifts :)

Riva got a much deserved day off on Sunday.  I am sure she enjoyed her pasture time on a beautiful fall day.  Monday we are back to work - I plan to school Training Level over the winter.  My goal for the start of 2013 show season is to show Intro C and Training Level test one.  I also plan to take a few lessons with Alexis's trainer over the winter, along with weekly lesson from Alexis as her schedule permits.

Kinda sad that our show season is over for the year, but so looking forward to cheering Alexis on in Kentucky at Area 2 Dressage Regionals in two weeks!