Thursday, January 31, 2013

Looking for Advice!

Need all my fellow bloggers input on sheets - horse sheets, of course.

This is what I purchased in October, after Riva's first body clip, to use in mild or rainy weather: 
Dura-Tech® AQUANON Turnout Sheet
Not Riva :)

Every time she wears it, she sweats... a lot.  It is supposed to be waterproof and breathable.  Waterproof - check.  Breathable - big fail. 

No, I did not pay much for it and it is a lovely sheet - fits very well - washes up like brand new.  It came from Schneiders Saddlery, where we have gotten all our horse blankets.  This was my first time buying a sheet, though.

I plan to call Schneiders to discuss the problem and ask for their advice on what to purchase.  But would love to hear from all of you - what brands do you recommend?  I would like to stay under $100.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Following Doctor's Orders (for the most part!)

My doc, that is!  Had my epigastric hernia surgically repaired last Friday and everything went smoothly - no ill effects from the anesthia or pain meds.  I felt good enough that night to go out for pizza with my patient, loving hubby.  I go back for my follow up appt with the surgeon a week from today.

Bad news...until then, no riding, no soaks in the bathtub (showers only), no lifting over 10 lbs, etc, etc, etc.  I started crying when the nurse went over the instructions with me.  She was a bit concerned over the crying until husband told her I was upset over the riding part, of which she said 'well, you can go visit your horse'.  Clearly the women is not a rider.

But surely no riding does not mean I can not sit on my horse and walk her out after daughter rides her or husband lounges her...which I did Sunday night...and last night...and it would be so easy to just ask for a little trot...

Riva must sense something is up - she has been very tolerate of my hugs and kisses.  She stands very still at the mounting block for me to get off and on and walks so carefully.  Love my girl!

So for now, trainer Alexis will put rides on the Diva.  She rode her last Friday and Sunday night - husband lounged her for me last night.  She looks great - forward, round, happy.  But it is oh so hard just to watch!

Alexis & Riva - HHP in Edinburgh
Sept. 2012

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Not looking forward to Friday

I always look forward to Fridays...what's not to like?  End of the work week - horse shows in show season - if not, dinner out with my husband and date night on Saturday - some time to relax and recharge.  So why did I schedule my hernia repair for a Friday?

Yes, I have to have surgery...not a happy person about this.  I went to the surgeon my doc recommended and he patiently explained to me all the reasons why the hernia needs repaired sooner rather than later.

So the hernia is a epigastic hernia - which is upper abdomen at the midline or above my belly button.  I asked the surgeon how common these type are, and he said not that common.  Mostly he sees them in construction workers.  I explained to him how I believe I caused this while girthing up my mare - he thought that sounded possible.

But what I really wanted to know was recovery time - how much time would I lose in the saddle?  Surgeon asks me what kind of riding I do...I say dressage...he gets this blank look on his face and says he has no idea what that it.  Sigh.  But he has been to a dude ranch and went trail riding.  More sighs.  After trying to explain dressage in a nutshell and the type of horse I ride;  ie young, crazy, mare - he says I should be back riding within a couple of days after the procedure.  I get home and tell husband this and I get a whole different type of look!

Of course, I wanted to get as much riding as possible in this week, even though our temps have been a high of 15 the past two days.  Last night I went out and had a really good ride.  Tonight - my truck decided it did not like the cold and needed worked on - causing husband to drive home from KY to repair.

Hoping Wednesday and Thursday are better weather wise and my truck decides to stay in working order.  Tonight though, I am sure Miss Riva is not that unhappy about an unexpected night off, although she is most likely wondering where her treats are!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Lesson update & a birthday!

Yesterday morning, we hauled up to JC's for a lesson on a much nicer day than my last lesson in December.  It was 50 degrees and sunny by the time we got back home.  Can't ask for much more in January in Indiana!

No pics or video again - JC's areana has windows up high that cast a glare.  My husband said he could not even see us when we would get to the far end of the arena.

I had a chance to briefly warm up Riva before JC got in to begin teaching.  I w/t/c to the right and she was forward and willing - switched to the left and everything slowed down and her canter got hoppy.  This was good as she does this at home and gave me a clear idea of how to answer JC when she asked how we had been doing.

JC addressed the lack of forward to the left by backing up my leg with a lunge whip from the ground.  She would have me halt on the rail, barely breathe on her with my leg on to ask for trot and then she would tag Riva with the lunge whip.  It only took twice for Riva to get it and step right in to a forward trot when I asked.  We did the same with canter - when JC would tell to quietly ask for canter, she would tag Riva with the lunge whip.  I believe that only took once before Riva understood.

After we had forward established in both directions, we worked on leg yield.  JC would have me turn up the centerline and begin leg yielding by first pointing Riva's nose at the leg we were going toward (establish our line), then ask for bend, then put leg on to move her haunches.  I liked the 3 steps and Riva really understood what I was asking for.  When we would arrive at the letter we were leg yielding to, JC had me trot a 10 meter circle - with 3 steps of staight at the top of the circle.

We also worked on trot lenghenings and extended canter.  I don't know how I will ever sit Riva's extended trot - lucky for me that is a few levels away!  The extended canter was a blast especially to the right.  I felt for the first time, Riva's power coming from the back end instead of her just driving with her front legs.  We even did a few 20 meter circles at an extended canter.

Needless to say, Riva and I were both exhausted by the end of our lesson and she did not take much convincing to get back on the trailer to head home. 

Pic from last September

Also - Today is Alexis's 19th birthday!  We are heading out tonight to TFI Fridays, her favorite, to celebrate.  Last year's 18th, she was in Florida with JC.  It was hard to be away from her on her birthday, but JC made sure she had a party complete with cake and presents.  Will be nice to be with her this year!

Baby Alexis with her first horse :)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Goals for 2013 and Updates

Not only was I late to post my 2012 re-cap, now I am late posting my 2013 goals!  My work life has been very hectic since the start of the new year and does not seem to be slowing.  I am not only behind on posting, but hopelessly behind on reading everyones blogs...which I really enjoy keeping up with all of you and your ponies!

Updates first:

We have been riding indoors, of course, it is truely Winter in Indiana...complete with snow, ice, and cold temps.  I do have to say we are miles ahead of where we were last year, as far as riding in the indoor.  It may take part of my ride, but we always get the forward I am aiming for by the end of our ride.  Riva is so much better at focusing on me this year - she rarely pulls faces at the other horses working at the same time.  I set the tempo and do not back down until I get it - sometimes it takes changing it up by circling, leg yielding, etc - but we get there.

I have been spending one ride a week working with ground poles and just slightly raised caveletti.  Normally this happens on Friday evenings, as I tend to be the only person riding on those nights.  Last Friday, we cantered a ground pole for the first time!  While not exciting to anyone but was exciting to me :)  Riva took it in stride, without trying to jump it, which amazed me.  The ground poles give us both something different to think about.

Every ride, we work on canter and again, we are miles ahead of last year at this time.  I now feel very confident cantering in traffic - we have steering and brakes.  Right lead is coming along nicely...left needs much work.  Thankfully, I have a lesson coming up this Saturday with JC - last one was Dec. 22nd.

I got new tall boots!  My sweet generous husband used his Christmas bonus to buy me new riding boots.  After 3 trips to try on various styles and brands, I purchased Mountain Horse boots (Venice is the style, field boots) at the end of December...spent 2 agonizing weeks breaking them in, only to have to return them last Saturday.  The elastic at the top of the right boot split.  I am waiting to hear from the store where they were bought if the company wants to repair them or exchange for a new pair.  Not looking forward to another breaking in phase if that is the choice. 

2013 Goals:

Show at Training Level - schooling shows only

Each show - enter a minimum of two tests with scores in the 60's

Qualify for and compete at IDS championships in the Fall

First show will most likely be mid-April at the Heartland Show in Edinburgh.  Any fellow bloggers planning on attending that one?  It is not just for DQ' has Combined Training, Hunter/Jumper, even Contesting! 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

2012 Re-Cap

Better late than never!  This was a time consuming post to write, but worth the effort.  I had not only forgotten things that happened last year, but it also showed me the progress we made.


We were waiting on my County saddle to arrive, so spent lots of barn time lunging, doing ground work and in hand work.  When I rode, it was in a borrowed jump saddle or bareback - both did wonders for my conditioning. 

Daughter was in Florida with her trainer all month and celebrated her 18th birthday by riding on the beach.

Riva was on a 4 week shoeing cycle and still losing shoes.


County saddle arrived and we had our initial fitting with Sara Ivie - also got the County girth (which I highly recommend) and leathers.

I was taking lesson with the BO on a boarder's Russian Trakehner.  I was learning to cue and ride the canter.

Lex got home from Florida and started putting training rides on Rifa.

I rode outsie on Feb. 2nd in the dressage Indiana...!

At the end of the month, was still taking lesson with the BO, but on Riva


We did lots of riding outside, in tee shirts or tank tops - very strange weather for IN.

Attended Equine Affair in Ohio for the first time.  Bought a new dressage coat and a few other neccessities.

Lex was still putting training rides on Riva - started working on contact.

I cantered Riva for the first time outside.

We had a barn party and played games on horseback in the jump areana.  Riva and I won the egg and spoon game :)

We attended our first show of the season at CAF in Sheridan - I rode Intro B and Lex rode Riva Training Level Test 1.


I had weekly lessons on Riva with BO all month.

We started using side reins when lunging.

Attended show mid-month in Edinburgh  I showed Intro B and Lex showed Riva Training Level Test 1.

I was struggling with canter work - getting Riva to canter and then stay in canter - steering, etc.


Riva turned 5 this month!

Our strange Indiana weather hit 90 degrees by the end of the month.

We continued to work on canter and rode almost exclusively outside.

Showed at CAF in Sheridan - JC helped me with warm up.


Attended shows at CAF in Sheridan and HHP in Edinburgh - back to back weekends.

I met 3 bloggers at the HHP show! 

We worked a lot with trot poles this month and had our first, and last, jump session.


It was HOT this month!  Canceled several lessons due to heat.  Rode mornings as much as possible and found Riva had much more energy for those rides.

Lex attended event camp at CAF and I was able to audit 3 out of 4 days.  I spent most of my time watching Jennifer Kaiser give dressage lessons and learned tons!

Husband took Riva for a yearly checkup with the vet for her feet and knee.  Vet said no more jumping - ever...But feet were good with the current farrier plan.

I rode out on the galloping track for the first time and loved it!


I stopped taking lessons from BO and Lex gave me lessons.

I cantered for the first time on the galloping track and started gaining confidence at this gait.

Riva injured her left front tendon and spent a week on stall rest.  We cold cast and wrapped daily.  Took her to the vet to have an ultrasound and learned she did not have a tear.  Slowly went back to work.


Showed Intro C for the first time at CAF in Sheridan.

Got dressage sport boots for Riva to protect her lower legs.

Showed Intro C at HHP in Edinburgh.


Had my first lesson with JC.

Riva got body clipped.

Lex competed at Regionals in KY - we got to attend 3 or the 4 days.

Got Riva a pretty new dressage bridle in KY.

Did our first walk / canter transition.


Had 2 lessons with JC this month.

Started Riva on Red Cell - she would not eat the liquid, but the pellets got licked up.

Last show of 2012 - CAF at Sheridan.  Showed 2 tests for the first time - Intro C and Training Level Test 1.


Sister-In-Law got a pony ride on the Diva.

Daylight savings time ended and I played beat the clock to get an outside ride in.

I got kicked by our OTTB and gave myself a hernia tightening Riva's girth - on 2 different days :)

Had 1 lesson with JC and learned when I use the whip, mean it.

Had my first ever Christmas Eve ride.

Show season stats:

I showed 9 times in 2012;  5 times at Intro B, 3 times at Intro C, and 1 time Training Level Test 1.

My hightest score in Intro B - 67.188 (last time showing this level)

Highest score in Intro C - 62.25

Training Level Test 1 - 57.292

Spent lots of weekends with JC's crew watching Alexis show and helping out.  Just a few pics from those weekends:

Looking forward to what 2013 brings!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy 2013!

I had my first snow ride on Dec. 30th!  All last year I read posts of other bloggers going for rides in the snow - the pictures were so pretty and peaceful looking - and I wanted to do that to.

My big ride lasted about 10 minutes and consisted of walking and standing...but we did it!  My sweet husband tooks pictures and hand walked Riva over the icy gravel to get to the snow.  I have this horrible image in my mind of Riva slipping and injuring herself - never mind that she navigates quite fine on her own out in the pasture every day.


Riva seemed a bit confused of why we were out in the snow, but handled it just fine. 
I felt very accomplished...until I read Carly's post of poorwomanshowing about skiing with her horse! Maybe in a few years :)
Happy New Year everyone!