Monday, December 31, 2012

Belated Dressage Lesson Post - #4 I think?

So very far behind...with the holidays and the battling the cold from hell, I have put off posting about my 4th lesson with JC.  And sorry, but no pics or videos...only my random commentating!

Week ago Saturday was my latest lesson with JC.  Started off with temps in the low 20's when we loaded up Riva, in the dark, to head to JC's.  Riva has been having trailer loading issues - as in 'lets see if they are serious about me getting in that rolling box' - for several months.  We are not sure why, since this summer, my husband had her self loading.  So we went back to using the rope halter to load her and she did better.  Took about 10 minutes to convince Riva that loading up and getting to munch on yummy hay was better than slipping on the ice and freezing her ears off.

Arrived at JC's a bit behind schedule, due to lovely Indiana roads in December, to hear from working student daughter that JC was running late too.  Chatted with Lex while I tacked up and learned she would not be riding with me in my lesson.  I was a bit nervous since Lex had rode with me in our previous lessons, but it turned out to be the right decision.  (Daughter is getting a trainer's mind!)

Pic not from my lesson - from Christmas Eve ride - but I need pics in my post!
JC talked with me about how things have been going while we warmed up and I told her I feel like we have been going backwards since having to ride in the indoor at home - due to cold, wet weather.  Riva sucks back, avoids contact, and just does not willing go forward in the indoor at home.  JC put the draw reins back on and we got to work.
It was a good decision to ride in the lesson alone because without a horse in front of us, Riva was less forward (more like home Riva!)  JC zoned in on this and started showing me ways to get Riva forward.  We did lots of turns on the forehand in walk, into the wall with a very small circle following the turn , then a promt trot transition.  Once in trot, she had me several times use the whip rythmically 3 times and then leave her alone. 
JC also told me not to nag with the whip - give Riva a good whack when I use it, not a tap - and then go on.  This really came in to play when we moved to canter work - which was the majority of the lesson. 
We worked on insisting Riva pick up canter as soon as I asked for it.  If she did not, good whack with the whip.  I have trouble keeping the contact and using the whip, so JC had me put the reins in one hand and be ready to back up with the whip as soon as Riva slowed or thought about dropping to trot before asked.  Normally she slows in corners, so that was the main concentration.
Wish I had video!  The first few times of canter with one hand, and backing up with the whip in corners - Riva certainly expressed her opinion, as in bucks on the fly.  I perservered and once Riva knew I meant business, her whole attitude changed.  I had light, forward, willing Riva and it was great!
More Christmas Eve pics - Riva was a good sport for the hat session!

As I cooled out Riva, JC and I talked about being ready to back up a request immediately and then leaving her alone.  I know I tend to ask, ask, ask - and I have to change that to ASK and go on.  Last year at this time, I could not even canter Riva.  Now I know I not only can ride the canter, but one handed.  Starting to feel like a rider!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas from the Wood's!

Merry Christmas Everyone!
Riva was such a good sport on Christmas Eve - excuse the glazed cold med eyes on the human!
Cheers would rather snuggle with Paul than wear the hat!
Husband and I went out to the barn on Christmas Eve - no one around except the BO and her daughters.  I have been battling a cold for a week, but had to get in a ride!
I had my 4th lesson with JC last Sat. morning - my BO said we are officially hard-core dressage people...temp was 14 degrees when we loaded up Sat morning to leave for my lesson.  Lesson was great - will post about it later.
Few pics from my Christmas Eve ride:
Off from work/school for 2 weeks and plan to catch up on everyone's blogs. The weather report is calling for blizzard like conditions for us looks like I will have lots of time on my hands. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Visit to the Doc

All day Tuesday, I wanted to cancel my dr appt...I was convinced this was a waste of time and I would have to skip the barn (never mind that Riva was over due for a day/night off).

I only went to the appt because my loving husband insisted I get the bulge in my abdomen checked.  It was noticably smaller than when it appeared on Saturday morning - not nearly as painful to the touch. 

Doc comes in and we go over my abnormality - me telling him I think this is nothing and it is going away on its own.  He still makes me get up on the table to take a look.  Right away tells me it is a hernia and he is referring me to a surgeon. 

Conversation goes something like this:

Me:  'No, really, this is nothing and it is going away on its own!'

Doc:  'No, it will not go away on its own.'

Me:  'But it is getting smaller and doesn't hurt anymore (ok, lying just a little).'

Doc:  'I am scheduling you an appt for a consult with a surgeon.  In the meantime, no flinging 50 lbs bales of hay around.'

Me:  in thoughts only - I don't do that anyway!!!  At least, I never fling them.

Dr. office called yesterday and my consult appt with the surgeon is not until January 9th!  Guess doc is not too worried about me.  In the meantime, back to my usual life!

Thank you all for your comments!  Waiting eagerly for Emme's of ipickcrazy blog post about her homemade girthing tool.  And I did get that sucker to where my County rep wants it last night on my own, thank you for much :) 

For those of you interested...the rogue cow is still on the loose.  Maybe tonight, Riva and I will round it up since temps are supposed to get in the upper 40's.  That is good enough for me to get an outside ride in!

Pic from last lesson with JC - next lesson is Dec. 22nd (yeah!)
And if we had that arena where I board - I would be HAPPY to ride inside!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Indoor riding and injuries

First injuries.  Riva is fine - you can all now breathe a sigh of relief.

     I would be the injured one - no, I did not fall.  

First, Cheers, our retired TB, nailed me in the thigh with a back hoof.  Luckily, he is only shod on the front right now.  Me, being used to Riva who gives plenty of warning before she even thinks about being naughty when being groomed, was going about de-mudding Cheers one evening.  When Cheers gets groomed, he relaxes (if you have a gelding, you know what I mean).  His sheath is over due for a cleaning.  Trouble is, we have to coordinate that process with a dental or something that requires sedation.  I took it upon myself to try and do a tiny bit of private area cleaning and Cheers fired without a millisecond of warning.  So I have a growing bruise on my thigh, sigh.

Second, I believe I pulled a muscle in my stomach or gave myself a small hernia.  Doc appt tomorrow afternoon if no improvement.  And I think I did it by tighening Riva's girth - you may now laugh!
Sara Ivie, my wonderful County Saddlery rep, informed me that I should have Riva's girth a lot tighter than I was adjusting.  I literally have to stand on top of the mounting block and heave upward to get to the proper holes.  This is the only thing I can think of that would have resulted in the bulge in my abdomen...sigh.  And I thought I was in pretty decent shape!

On to indoor riding - grrrrrrrr!  Riva is no happier about this change in scenery than I am, but wet cold weather has arrived.  Moving at a glacier pace is the Diva's answer to the indoor and forget round, soft, and into the bridle.  Something had to give and it was NOT going to be me!

Time for a trainer tune-up ride.  That is how Alexis and Riva spent Saturday night - which is supposed to be the Diva's day/night off.  Not this time, missy.  While the husband and I were enjoying Mexican food and margaritas on Saturday night - the mare was getting remind that she can work in the indoor as well as the outdoor arena.

I rode last night and saw improvement in speed and working with contact - not that Riva was perfect and made it easy for me.  No - still had to work very hard at it.  But once we had it - the work was decent.  I hope over the winter we can get the movement indoors that we can outdoors. Hey, we are at least better than last winter when Riva would randomly refuse to move forward!

Now look at her - only too happy to give a 'pony ride' to my sis-in-law!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Raise your hand if you have OC disorder!

Not only does OCD affect my home and work life, of course it affects my barn life.  They say horses like routine...mine should be estactic!

Since DayLight Savings time ended, it has gotten worse.  As I have mentioned over and over again, I like to ride outside.  Given our very mild Indiana temps thus far for Fall, I can still ride outside.  Problem is, I play beat the clock (or sunset) to get in a decent ride.  All the stars must align for this to occur.

*  must do all errands that are home related before I get to work in the morning

* leave work on time

* quickly change clothes at home, grab carrots & a snack, and get back in the truck

* 30 minute drive to the barn - 35 if I have to stop for a coffee to go!

* arrive at barn hopefully to my mare being in her stall finishing her dinner
   (if this star does not align, most likely will not make it for an outside ride)

* get out tack, grooming box, helmet & gloves, dressage whip

* pull Riva out and do a minimal grooming - tack up

* of course, no talking to anyone at the barn because that will cause the stars to misalign

If all the above goes smoothly, we get about 40 minutess of ride time before it gets too dark.  Makes me tired just thinking about it!  And this occurs 5 days a week.  Saturdays are a day away from the barn and a well deserved rest for Riva - unless we have a lesson or show.  Sunday is more relaxed - no job to hold me up.

Riding at dusk

My husband's sister and her husband were with us for a few days and indulged me by going along to the barn with us on Monday afternoon / evening.  I even talked my sister-in-law into sitting on the Diva - after I wore her out first, my horse that is!  We had a great visit with lots of wine on Monday night and margaritas at my fav Mexican restaurant on Tuesday night.  They live in Bahrain and we had not seen them for 5 years! 

Was so happy with Riva - for a 5 yr old, she gives awesome 'pony rides' :)