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