Sunday, December 29, 2013

2013 - Year In Review

I am enjoying reading everyone's year in review posts and thought it would be good to look back over our 2013.  My 2014 resolution is to be a better blogger!  I get so much enjoyment out of keeping up with all of you thru blogging and need to make it a priority.


Actually taken Feb. 3rd - I have no Jan. pictures of Riva and myself

I started off 2013 with a hernia and had surgery to repair this on January 25th.  I am sure I was not supposed to be riding yet on Feb. 3rd...but we all know how hard it is to stay away!  We spent most of the winter working in draw reins to help with contact and keep Riva working from behind.  I lessoned with Jennifer Conour about once a month and Alexis helped out as much as she could.  We worked on getting ready to compete Training Level.


End of a lesson at Jennifer's

Training Level work and lessons with Jennifer continue.  We concentrate on power from behind and exercises to help with bend.  Riva gets very fit and we look forward to show season.

Riva & Cheers get Spring dentals and vaccines


Lesson at Jennifer's

In March, we start talking about moving to KY due to my husband's job.  He had been working in Georgetown all week and driving home on weekends since the previous fall.  We spent the last week of March in KY to check out boarding facilities and for our daughter to interview with Reese Koffler.

Maplecrest Farm in KY


Serenity Farm in IN

April brings weather nice enough to ride outside again - my favorite!  We spend lots of time riding around the galloping track working on conditioning.  Spring brings lot of rain and mud to Indiana and we fight scratches/mud fever on all 4 of Riva's lower legs. We attend our first show of 2013 at HHP in Edinburgh and compete Training Level 2 & 3 with scores of 62.857 & 62.4.

HHP in Edinburgh, IN


Oldest daughter with us at HHP in Edinburgh, IN

Mother's Day weekend we compete again at HHP in Edinburg and my oldest daughter comes to watch us show for the first time.  We once again compete TL 2 & 3 with scores of 63.214 & 67.2.  We also start packing up our house to move and get it ready to rent to a tenant.  I give notice at my job of 7 years and we start saying our goodbyes to friends in Indiana.

Front porch of our IN home


Cheers and Lex at new barn in KY

June 1st, on my birthday, we move to Georgetown, Ky.  We go back the next day to move the horses to their new barns,  Cheers, our OTTB, goes to a private barn and Riva goes to Maplecrest Farm with Lex.

Riding in Riva's pasture which has hills!

Lex begins her new job and I start looking for one as we settle in to living in Ky.


Maplecrest Farm

Riva gets shod for the first time by the new farrier and goes lame.  We spend all of July getting her sound - lots of vet visits and money spent to get her back to the way she needs to be shod.  Our oldest daughter comes for a weekend visit at the end of July and I continue to job search.

Woodford Reserve in KY

We move our OTTB to another boarding facility in July and he goes on 27/7 pasture board.  New place is closer to where we live and has an indoor arena.


Antebellum Farm in KY

We attend our first KY horse show in August and compete TL 2 & 3 - scores of 75.357 & 68.4.  We move Riva to the barn where Cheers is and I start riding 5-6 days a week again.  I have several 2nd interviews for jobs and get closer to employment.

Antebellum Farm in KY


Heritage Farm in KY

We begin schooling First Level and ride outside as much as possible.  I get a job at USEF and adjust to working until 5 pm thru the week.

Cheers get very fat on KY bluegrass


Lex competes at KHP on Wild Angelica

Alexis competes a client's horse at Kentucky Horse Park and gets another Second Level score towards her USDF Bronze Medal - just one more Third Level score and she will have it!  I start feeling more comfortable in my new job and we continue to school First Level and think about attending a November Snowbird Show at KHP.

Paul and me at Keeneland

We go to Keeneland to watch the yearling auction one Saturday and then attend races on another Saturday.  Lex wins big on a bet on Calvin Borel!

First time betting


Scary warm up arena at Kentucky Horse Park

We decide to compete at the November Snowbird Dressage show at KHP - so thrilling to ride there!  Was our worst show ever - but it is all about the experience.  Competed TL 3 and First 1 - scores of 54.2 & 56.724.

Equally scary indoor was not Riva's favorite place to show


Indoor at Heritage Farm

After the November show, we try changing bits as Riva was becoming a pulling machine.  She responded well to it for a few days, then began raising her head, mini rearing, double barrel kicking, backing widely around the arena, etc.  We changed back to our previous bit and went back in the draw reins.  Will continue to work with the draw reins and normal reins for a month or so.  

Riva says hello to the barn cat - ZaZu

2013 has been a year of big changes for our family and I still am adjusting to a new job and environment. Kentucky is a beautiful state with wonderful opportunities for our daughter.  2014 will bring decisions to be made about our home in Indiana and where we go from here.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Hope everyone had a wonderful relaxing Christmas - I know my mare did, as she got a few days off!

We spent last weekend in Indiana to celebrate my oldest daughter's birthday and Christmas with my side of the family.  Got to eat at my two favorite Mexican restaurants (the best Margaritas and staff we have found), go out dancing with our daughter and her boyfriend (miss dancing terribly), and spend some time catching up with my sister and her family and my parents.  

My extended family and growing - my niece is pregnant with twins :)

Christmas day, back in KY, was just the three of us - cooking, eating, and marathon watching of
 A Christmas Story!
Our tree

And of course, presents!  My youngest daughter and husband know just what to buy for me :

My talented husband made the horse shoe necklace holder - it has horse shoe
nails to hang the jewelry from! Love it!

Hope your Christmas was filled with family, friends, and lots of horse related gifts :)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Santa Baby

Like many little girls, I wanted a pony or a horse for as far back as I can remember.

Every December, faithfully, I would write my letter to Santa and ask for one.  Never occurring to me that we lived in town - we had a fairly large yard and a garage...I did not see the problem!  Can't say I was not a little disappointed when Christmas morning would arrive and a Breyer would be under the tree instead of the real thing.

My Grandmother was my babysitter before I started school and we used to take walks to see the horse who lived at the end of town on a regular basis.  He/She (not sure!) was a Palomino and I would try and coax him over to feed treats to and touch.  I even remember drawing pictures of this horse.

Over the years, my parents would occasionally take me to a rent by the hour trail ride place in a town near us and when my husband and I were first married, we went several times to one in Illinois.

When Alexis came along and inherited my Breyer collection and then a love for the real thing, I could not have been happier.  Sharing this passion with my youngest has created a bond that means the world to me.

My husband surprised me with an adorable filly, that I had been mooning over, six and a half years ago and made my childhood dream come true.

Riva did not appear under a tree on Christmas morning, she is not a golden Palomino, and she is a Diva, but she is a gift that would be hard to top!

Enjoy your holidays and may all your dreams come true!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Life Lessons

Imagine life is a game in which you are juggling five balls. The balls are called work, family, health, friends, and integrity. And you're keeping all of them in the air. But one day you finally come to understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. The other four balls - family, health, friends, integrity - are made of glass. If you drop one of these, it will be irrevocably scuffed, nicked, perhaps even shattered. And once you truly understand the lesson of the five balls, you will have the beginnings of balance in your life.” 
― James PattersonSuzanne's Diary for Nicholas

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Off Season Riding

Catch Up First, as once again I am failing at keeping up with posting!  Riva and I went to our first schooling show at KHP last Saturday - Snowbird Dressage Series.  They have a show in Nov, Dec, Feb, & March and hold them in the old covered arena - if you are familiar with Kentucky Horse Park.

We hauled in on Friday evening to get a bit of schooling in, which was a good idea, as this arena is kinda spooky.  Thankfully, two other riders stalled their horses overnite and right next to Riva, so she was totally relaxed in the barns.

There is alot to see at KHP and even though it is November, still a busy place - Dressage Finals was happening on the same weekend.  This was great, as we got to see several of our friends from Indiana and watch Alexis's former trainer/boss compete a lovely mare in the Open Training Level Finals - of which she took Reserve Champion.

We competed in two classes last Saturday - Training Level Test 3 and First Level Test 1.  This was our first attempt at First Level and in the end, the First 1 went much better than TL 3.  During our first warm up, Riva was Very distracted and behind my leg.  Here is just one of the new sights Riva saw during warm up:

Lovely, yes - what you want to see coming at you during warm-up, No!  
My husband got this shot standing on the opposite end of the warm-up arena.

As we headed in for my first test, my confidence was low - I knew Riva was not paying attention and was behind my leg and even with Alexis's coaching, I could not get this turned around.  Every time I have rode Training Level Test 3 over this year, our score has went higher...was not the case this time around.  Riva was very spooky in the C- M corner of the arena - did not want to go forward toward the judge, wanted to jump into the arena in that corner, did not want to pick up canter and once she did, it was not pretty.  We ended with I think the lowest score we had ever received in TL 3.  At least I kept trying and we got an 8 on our final halt!  Probably because Riva knew it was over!  Oh, and I didn't cry until later.

Warm up for First 1 went far better.  We decided to school in the outdoor next to the covered warm-up and arena.  I was much more successful at getting her forward and listening.

Even though our score was not much higher for First 1 than Training 3, I felt much better with how I rode.  I was much more confident and insistent that Riva pay attention and keep her mind in the ring instead of looking around. I know we have many things to work on over the winter - canter conditioning is at the top of the list.  Working over her back, pushing from behind and into the contact - always a work in progress.

Cold day, but the colors were lovely around KHP!

Would I rather have blue ribbons hanging on my horse's halter and scores in the 70's?  Of course!  Are we always going to have a great show - no...although when you work hard at this 6 days a week, it will always be discouraging to have a less than stellar show.  More to work on and strive for.

I was extremely proud and happy with Riva's behavior at a new busy show grounds when walking to and from the arena and how well behaved she was in her stall.  And as always, very grateful for a supportive and involved husband and daughter.  They make this so much more fun!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Sunshine Award!

An Award!!!  Thank you to Karen at finalchapter-karen for nominating me!

I have been such a slacker at blogging since we moved - but I am still out there riding 6 days a week :)

So on to The Questions!

Mares or Geldings?
Will have to go with Mares, in part because the Diva would be very angry if I did not!

English or Western?
Only Western I have ever done is trail riding at rent by the hour stables when I was younger.  I did show a couple of times in Western Pleasure classes back when we were leasing a POA for my daughter - did not have a clue what I was doing.  So will go with English!

Do you prefer Younger or Older Horses?
We have had a variety - purchased Riva as a yearling, Cheers as a 7 yr old, and Hennessy as a 13 yr old.  They all have their advantages & disadvantages, but I like that we have been able to train Riva from a very young age.

Have you Trained a Horse from Ground Zero?  
Yes, if you make ground zero a yearling.  We purchased Riva just after she turned one - and she had not been taught anything prior to that...had not been trailer loaded, bathed, any ground manners, etc.  It has been a learning experience - being green on green!  

Riding or Ground Work?
I spent two years doing ground work with Riva - lounging, ground driving, in hand, before I sat on her the first time. I prefer to ride, but still lounge as needed and work some in hand.

Do You Board Your Horse Or Keep Him/Her At Home?

Board.  We have never lived where there is land but we would like to at some point.  I am under no illusion though!  I know it will be a tremendous amount of work and it may never happen.

Do You Use All Natural Products or Commercial?


All Tacked Up or Bareback?

Sorry, but this question made me think of the Gretchen Wilson song - All Jacked Up!  Random pic of me with the queen of Southern Country Rock:

Anyway, tacked up.  I do occasionally ride the Diva around with no tack and she is very comfy - nice wide flat back and I can finally canter bareback!

Equestrian Role Model?

My daughter/trainer!  She has come so far and pushes me every time she gives me a lesson.

What is Your One Main Goal While Being in the Horse World?
It changes all the time!  To keep learning and progressing in Dressage.  To be the best horse owner to Riva I possibly can be. To someday ride a freestyle dressage routine in competition.  That was 3, but oh well!

Five Blogs I nominate for the Sunshine Award:

Jen at Cob Jockey

Emme at I Pick Crazy    ipickcrazy
Carly at Poor Woman showing       poorwomanshowing 
Jessica  at Hopeful Jumpers    jessandprinceofthieves
Mona at Panic and the Pony    panicandthepony

Go check out these great blogs and the wonderful women who write them!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Ky is growing on me!

What a great weekend it was - filled with all things horses!  Kentucky Horse Park was host to the Festival of Champions last week and over the weekend - in addition to the Fall KDA Horse Classic, which my daughter competed in.  We were able to watch the US Dressage Team compete Grand Prix on Friday evening - complete with a gorgeous sunset over the Rolex arena (no pics as my husband didn't think about bringing his camera).  We were able to stand ringside and watch the likes of Steffen Peters warm-up - simply amazing and inspiring.

Saturday morning, Alexis competed Second Level Test 1.  She needed one more Second Level score towards her Bronze Medal.  She competed a sale horse from the barn where she interns.  The mare is a Freisian / Tennessee Walking horse cross that Alexis has not spent much time on.

They scored high enough to earn the score she needed for Second Level toward her Bronze.  Just one Third Level score to go and she will have her first medal!  So proud of my daughter!

Saturday night was the Freestyle Grand Prix for the US Equestrian Team and this time, my husband had his camera ready.  We were privileged to get VIP seating and dinner, courtesy of a friend of my daughter who competed in the Brettina Cup Finals and had extra tickets.  Was so fun to enjoy dinner while looking out over the Rolex arena, with the sun setting, and then watch the Freestyles.

Steffen Peters was my favorite, along with the crowd favorite!  And he won :)

Sunday morning dawned with fog laying over KHP - so very pretty!  Sometimes I have to almost pinch myself to believe we live just a 15 minute drive from this awesome facility.  I am so looking forward to competing here with Riva.

On Sunday, we also got to watch Karen of finalchapter-karen compete Second Level with her lovely horse, Hampton.  They were amazing and very photogenic!

My daughter competed the same test on Sunday and a prospective buyer came and watched her ride.  Have not heard if the person is interested.  Anyone out there looking to buy a lovely young dressage horse?  She is for sale :)

Watching all that dressage over the weekend only made me anxious to get out to the barn and work more on First Level.  Plan to compete Training Level Test 3 and First Level Test 1 on November 2nd at the Snowbird Dressage Show at KHP.  Anyone else going?