Monday, April 29, 2013

We Are Moving!

In just one month, we will be living here...

Georgetown, Kentucky!  Some readers already know this, or suspected it, but I did not want to officially post about this until I gave my notice at work.

My husband is being transferred by his employer - he has been working in Georgetown since last fall, and just home on the weekends.  His company made the decision to relocate him about two months ago.

Our trip to KY in early April was to check out boarding barns, homes, and for our youngest daughter to interview for a new working student position.  Lex got the job (yeah!), we found a fab barn for our OTTB, Riva will board where Lex will be working, and we found a house to rent.  It was a wirlwind 4 days!

Lex will be a working student for Reese Koffler-Stanfield of Maplecrest Farm and Riva will reside at her barn.  Lex will ride Riva a day or two a week and I will be able to ride whenever I want, plus take lessons with Reese.  Great opportunity for Lex, Riva, and me!

Reese recommended a private barn for our TB, Cheers, that is not far from Maplecrest Farm.  The owner is just taking on a few boarders - we are her first customers - quiet, lovely property with lots of area to ride out.

We found a sweet small house for rent, just a few blocks from the historical downtown part of Georgetown.  We really want to live in the area for awhile before we look for a house to buy.  We will be renting out our own home in Indiana - put it up for sale when we find the right place in KY.

So, this month will be busy!  I am going to the May 11 show in Edinburgh with Riva - Training Level test 2 & 3 again.  Other than work and riding, my time will be spent packing!

Monday, April 22, 2013

First Show of 2013!

Saturday was our first show of the season at Hoosier Horse Park in Edinburgh and it was the first for many things for Riva and myself.

    *  First time showing Training Level Test 2 & Test 3

    *  To ride two tests at Edinburgh in the same day

    *  For Riva to not act snarky toward other horses in warm-up (no pinned ears, snapping, etc)

    *  For me to be relaxed and focused only on Riva and myself in warm-up

*  To be able to walk Riva on a loose rein and chat with another competitor during warm-up     (thanks to Sarah of mybrainonhorses!)

     *  To smile almost all the way thru 2 entire tests & enjoy myself

My awesome, super supportive husband arrived home from a week in KY for work on Friday afternoon only to turn around and haul us to Edinburgh on Friday evening.  Despite cold temps and drizzling rain/snow, we tacked up and headed to school right after we arrived.

Riva is very familiar with HHP and although very up and alert, we had a good schooling session that evening, with just 2 other riders in the ring.  We kept it short and focused, then put her in her home away from home for the night.  Riva immediately made friends with all her neighbors - esp the super cute gelding stalled to her right, so that husband & I could head to our favorite Mexican place for margaritas and fajitas :)
My rides times for Saturday were 1:03 and 1:59 so for once we did not have to rush out of the hotel at dawn to prepare!  We still arrived about 7:45 am to feed Riva and watch other competitors.  So happy I got to watch a few rides and chat with some fellow bloggers!

Amy of slowandsteadysmilerwinstherace was there as trainer/show mom for her lovely young daughter who was showing her adorable Halflinger in their first combined test - we got to watch her jump round and talk with Amy.  Also watched Sarah of mybrainonhorses compete her project horse for the first time and watched their jump round.  I didn't get to watch her dressage tests on her other horse as her test times were right after mine.  We also ran into the barn owner where we first boarded our OTTB when we adopted him and where Alexis worked her first job - manly Western barn (Alexis worked several summers as a camp counselor and taught beginner lessons for two years). 

TL Test 2 was up first with 11 in our class - I felt very good about our warm-up and headed into the ring with a smile.  Riva was the most forward I have ever felt at a show but focused (maybe 6 is the magic grown-up age!).  I was worried that she would break to canter for the trots across the diagonal, but she did not.  The only problem we had was when I asked for the right lead canter transition, she shook her head hard and kicked out, bucked into the canter, and veered toward the center of the ring while breaking to trot.  I got her back on the circle and back into canter - so we lost points in the transition and the circle.  But I kept smiling and did not let it rattle the remainder of my test (that was a first also!) 

TL Test 3 went much the same, without the 'yeehaw moment'.  While obedient and forward, she just was not quite as up for this test.  I was late asking Riva to transition to trot from the canter diagonal - but other than that, all went well.

Results:  TL Test 2 - 62.8 %  and a 4th place
                TL Test 3 - 62.4% and a 5th place

Thank you to my wonderful husband for being my fill in trainer, photographer, groom, and best friend all weekend.  I could not and would not want to show without him there!  And another thank you to my thoughtful youngest daughter who surprised me by showing up just before my first test on Saturday - she had to work in the afternoon, but managed to run down and warm me up and read my tests for me.  I started crying when she showed up out of the blue on Saturday!



Thursday, April 11, 2013

I Love Her, I Love Her NOT, I Love Her!

Such has been my horse life the past 2 weeks.  Last week, Riva was super - in the bridle, forward, bending, listening - every ride was outside in the jump arena.

Beginning of this week, Diva was at her worst.  She went in to heat with our lovely, launch in to Spring like weather.  She decided that tracking left was a horrible idea and must be avoided at all costs.  She was her normal self to the right - turn her left and she would have a melt down...complete with trying to turn back to the right, little rears, bucks, bolting...basically everything she could come up with to avoid tracking left.

Monday, daughter came out to ride her and give me a lesson.  Riva tried her tricks with Lex also - but daughter insisted and after a few come to Jesus moments, Riva complied.  By the time I got on for a mini-lesson. Riva was super and willing.  So, we concluded this is 100% attitude/heat related, nothing physically bothering her.

Tuesday, I lunged Riva to the left only before getting on and she was perfect - no issues whatsoever.  Took her out to the jump arena to ride and immediately tracked left.  Asked for trot and got a 'Oh Hell No' response.  The more things I tried, the worse it became, including bolting toward jumps.  As I was out riding alone, I didn't feel comfortable working thru this in the wide open, but full of obstacles, jump arena and two other riders were in the outdoor dressage arena.  I jumped off and headed to the indoor.  I remounted in the indoor, took up my normal contact before asking Riva to move off, turned her to track left, sat my butt deep in the saddle and put major leg on.  She put up a mild protest for about half the length of the long side - I just kept sitting the trot with my hands low and leg back and on. By the time we had made a complete loop of the arena she was very forward, listening, in the bridle.  Ok - this is more like it!

I continued at the rising trot, only tracking left until she was light and responsive, then moved in and out of canter.  Canter circles, diagonals, all good.  Took her briefly to the right, then walked her out on a loose rein with lots and lots of praise.

Good horses get good treats!  Riva impersonating a giraffe.  Retired TB's get treats too :)

Wednesday - I went with a plan.  Ride in the outdoor dressage arena and insist on tracking left obediently right away.  Plan almost went off track due to a hail storm on my drive home from work!  Got out to the barn and it had not even rained there.  I skipped lunging and headed straight outside with Riva.  Mounted up, walked her in to the dressage arena, tracked left, took up contact, sat down, leg on, and asked for trot.  She mildly resisted for a couple of strides and then gave me lovely forward trot.  I probably sounded like a lunatic trotting around saying 'Good Girl' loudly, but Riva eats that up!  I kept her at trot to the left for awhile - circles, diagonals, loops - before moving on to canter.  Once again, briefly took her to the right and then tried to run thru Training Level Test 3 which I botched up and it was more like a combination of TL 2 & 3 with no walking, but oh well.

I felt so good on the drive home and talked my husband's ear off (by phone as he is working in KY this week).  I believe this is the first time I have been able to resolve a major riding issue on my own without someone coaching me thru it.  Riva is a tricky one and if I show complete confidence, she accepts that I am the leader.

Today - I Love Her!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Spring is in the Air!

Finally - temps in the 70's!  Heck, I'll take 50's, but not going to complain.  Rode outside every day last week - heaven. 

Super Husband was able to play photographer for me last Friday afternoon!
We spent lots of time cantering last week.
Funny story to tell about last Thursday.  Went out to the jump arena to ride - as we had done every day last week (dressage arena footing was not groomed to Princess Diva standards) and as we came down the long side, headed towards the back of the arena, Riva wanted to spin and go back the other way.   
Turned her around and kicked her forward - this time she did a little rear and almost seemed to say 'Danger, Danger!'.   
So I jumped off and proceeded to hand walk her towards the back - the farther we went the more she snorted and jigged around.   
   Then I saw it...
               cue scary music...
                      someone had stood a jump gate up and leaned it against the fence (the nerve).   
 As we approached the out of place gate, Riva spun and jerked the reins out of my hands and started trotting towards the front.
All a could see was her new bridle snapping and thought to yell 'Stand'.  (the cue I use to get her to halt when lunging) 
Amazingly - she stopped...right then...even a square halt!  Took me a minute to believe she actually stopped :)  Walked up to her and sweetly told her we are walking by that gate - which she did but really didn't want to. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Spent a few days in the Bluegrass State!

My husband has been working in the Georgetown, KY area since last fall - he comes home on weekends.  I am on Spring Break for 2 weeks (I work at a school), so the youngest and I joined him for a few days and did a little sight seeing. 

Green Grass coming up!  Sadly brown still in Indiana.
We visited a local winery - Equus Run Vineyards, and sampled their wine (also came home with a lovely bottle!)
At the winery
Also visited a distillery - Buffalo Trace - and tasted some Kentucky Bourbon
(sorry, pics are on husband's cell phone!)  But it was impressive!
Toured a few barns
Ate at some very good restaurants, visited four (I think) tack shops, including one that hand makes their leather halters, some antique stores, and spent every evening in the hotel hot tub!
  The people were friendly, the weather cooperated and was spring like and sunny, and things just seem to move at a slow, more laid back pace. 
Georgetown is a great town and I am looking forward to going back!