Thursday, October 15, 2015

July Show - August Show...and a new Farm!

So much to catch up!

July Show
End of July was the IDS schooling show and the first time to have my trainer, JC, school us the day before and warm us up day of show.  It was the hottest most humid show weekend we have ever attempted and it was rough.  Riva ended up dehydrated the next week - coliced - several vet visits.  Needless to say, we will now be monitoring her water intake carefully at shows and giving electrolytes religiously during and following shows.

We showed First Level Test 1 and Training Level Test 3.  Focus for schooling was forward, forward, forward - along with focus.  We went thru First 1 several times in multiple rings and even worked on how to get from the warm up ring to the show ring.  On show day, I felt good about First 1, but very tough judge.  JC said she did not want to see the comment 'needs energy' on my test - no problem there...we have several canters moments which should have been trot, several trot moments that should have been walk.  But it was forward!  Score was 55%.

Training 3 was much better - Riva and I got on the same page for a score of 67.273% and 1st place!

August Show
Two weeks later, we attended the Noblesville schooling show and again entered First Level Test 1 and Training Level Test 3.  First one went much smoother this time around with a score of 67.407% and 2nd place.  Another super hot humid day (electrolytes were used!) and a long wait between tests, left Riva and I not quite on our game by the time our second test came around.  I had a major fail, and a first for me - Riva picked up the wrong canter lead and I counter cantered her the entire right lead canter work.  It was so smooth and balanced...I didn't realize it until my daughter told me as we exited the ring.  Still kicking myself for that one...but, the judge did write 'Very nice counter canter' on my comments :)  Ended with a 61.59% and a 5th place.

A New Farm!

While I qualified for Training and First Level Championships for IDS, we ended up moving that weekend and I decided not to compete - would have been more stress than I could handle!  So...we bought a farm!  Farm is my term - house and barn on 5.2 acres.  We casually started looking over the summer at properties in our area just to see what we could find.  I think we looked at 5 properties - nothing was right until this one.  We made an offer - seller accepted - we listed our house - had an accepted offer day two it was listed!  What a whirlwind it has been ever since!


House just needs some minor changes to make it our own, but they will wait - barn and property renovations began on day 2 that we moved.  Outdoor dressage arena construction will begin next Monday and interior barn work is well under way.  Goal is to bring the horses home soon!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

June & July Catch UP!


Show # 2 of the 2015 season was first weekend of June - combined schooling show at Foxton Farm.  While I have been a show mom at this venue several times, this was Riva's first time at Foxton.  I don't know if she just loves to travel or she has way more trust in me than I think, but she barely blinked an eye when she walked off the trailer and into a strange barn/stall. 

Alexis drove up on Friday evening to school us in the show ring which was a good thing - Riva spooked a bit at several areas of the arena on Friday evening but took it all in stride on show day.

Good school on Friday evening - Riva was up and forward.  We focused on bend and getting deep in the corners, geometry for the 15 meter circles, aiming for some show of lengthening in the trot diagonals and canter down the long sides for First Level Test One - we have a long way to go on both of these movements.

Saturday, our First 1 ride time was before TL Test 3.  Warm up was a bit crazy as there was just one warm up ring for dressage and stadium.  Riva feeds off jumper energy so I don't mind this set up as long as riders are courteous - call out jumps, etc.

First 1 was a definite improvement over our first attempt in April and our score reflected this.  We scored a 62.778% for a 3rd place.  Still very little lengthening shown and we lost a lot of energy once we stepped in the ring.

Training 3 was also better than April - scored a 63.636% for a 4th place.  Same - warm up was super but flat in the ring.

Always grateful to my trainer daughter and photographer/videographer/groom/do-it-all horse show husband.  Without them,  I would not have as much fun and talking it all over with them always helps me put everything in perspective.


Since moving back from KY, I have taken a once a month lesson with JC.  I think 3 lessons were on one of her client's horses - a fabulous 3rd level Arabian stallion, and the rest on Riva.  This past Saturday, I had one of those life changing riding lessons on Princess Diva and we have turned a page.

The lesson started normally - Riva being behind my leg, leaning on the bit, just giving the minimal effort.  After trying to work thru this, JC had me hop off and did a bit change.  While the bit is not dressage legal, she wanted to take away the leaning on the bit to see what happened.  Prior to this, JC had believed Riva biggest problem was a weak left shouldar and we had been focusing strength building on this area.  After the bit change, there was a switch to this horse has a head/neck/bit connection issue.

We spent the rest of the lesson getting Riva responding to extremely light leg pressure to walk, trot, canter - and to keep the gait until instructed.  I was also told I had to limit my use of the whip - not that I was not to use it, but when I did use it - I had to mean it.  I think Riva quickly got the message that life as she knew it was changing.

All week - I have been very consistant in following how JC instructed me to ride...and the difference is unbelieveable to me.  We also made a bit change - still a legal dressage bit, but new to Riva. 

Next show is last Sunday of July.  For the first time for us, JC is going to school us the day before at the show grounds and help with warm -up, if her schedule permits.  Here's hoping I will be better at posting in a more timely fashion our show re-cap!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Eight is Great!

Riva turned the big 8 yesterday and let's hope the saying holds true!

Where we started -

Where we are - 

This mare is the reason for this blog and I don't know what I would do without her. I am not good enough with words to express how blessed I feel each day to own Riva - when you have wanted a horse for as far back as you can remember, and then get the opportunity at 40, you never take it for granted.

I owe a lifetime of gratitude to my husband and youngest daughter for their constant encouragement and support.  Riva and I learn together everyday - on the good days and the bad days.  It is all a journey. 

Friday, May 1, 2015

Happy Friday!

Thanks to my husband for capturing moments like this!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Rolex 2015!

This was our 2nd Rolex and it did not disappoint!  We only attended Friday & Saturday - next year, thinking about trying for 3 days.  What is not to love about Rolex?  Where else can you watch Dressage, X-Country, and Stadium Jumping, be surrounded by horse lovers, run into fellow bloggers and friends, and shop all things equestrian?

Friday was a gorgeous day - had me wishing we had reserved open air seats, but you don't know months ahead that is not going to rain.  Since I had watched live stream Dressage all day Thursday, I knew the test but it was great to watch in person.  We spent some time warm-up side to watch, up close and personal - as well as lots of seat time.  I kinda missed the commentary though of watching on my computer.  The daughter and I could not resist getting in a little shopping (scored one of the Smart Pak Piper T-Shirts for 20% off!  Love), plus some free wine tasting from two local wineries, and a little beer sampling from local craft breweries.  Great that the daughter is now 21!

My amazing husband took these dressage photos from the stands - row X - which if you have been there is almost to the top of the covered seats!

Friday night was spent at dinner with a couple of former boarding barn friends at Red State BBQ - seriously, miss that place.  We made some life long friends in our one year of living in KY and it was
so fun to spend time catching up.  And the food...wonderful :)

great to see them!


Saturday the forecast was rain, rain, and more rain with a chance of severe weather.  We were prepared with rain ponchos and water-proof boots - so it did not stop my daughter and me from shopping and watching the x-country action on the jumbo tron in the covered arena.  Scored a boot bag for my tall boots, a schooling whip, a pair of Noble Outfitter socks, and some treats for Riva.  Signed up for all the drawings and picked up some sample products.  My husband was out taking photos of the x-country action till about noon...then joined us since he was soaked despite the rain gear.  We did go out and walk some of the course after the last rider went - thankfully the rain had stopped for the moment.  Amazing to climb those jumps - gives me a whole new appreciation for eventers!

Despite the rain, he got some incredible pics!

Saturday night was just the 3 of us at a Georgetown local bar/restaurant - Galvin's.  They have a good selection of local craft beers on tap so we relaxed with a great drink and food.  If you like craft beer, you gotta try Country Boy - Shot Gun Wedding if you get to Rolex next year.


Sunday morning, we stopped at a Georgetown McDonald's for breakfast before heading home.  Could not believe our luck that our former boarding barn owners were there having breakfast before they headed to a reining show!  We got to talk with them and catch up on how their horses are doing - great couple that we miss seeing on a daily basis.

Heritage Horse Farm - Georgetown, KY

For those of you who have never been to Rolex, I highly recommend making the trip.  We have been to Equine Affair in Ohio once and many times to our local Hoosier Horse Expo, but everything at Rolex is for the Dressage, X-Country, Stadium enthusiast.  Georgetown / Lexington, KY is a wonderful place to visit!

Until next year...

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

First Show of 2015!

The Good:

1)  The weather.  Gorgeous!

2)  Daughter/trainer was there to coach me in warm up and read my tests.

 3)  My husband takes amazing pictures and I can see all my position flaws (and yes, that is a good!)

4)  Riva was totally in tune to my every will see this again on The Bad list!

5)  First ever show that Riva never spooked at Anything!

The Bad:

1)  Those amazing pictures show that I kept my left spur in Riva's side almost the entire time and counter bent on the left lead.

2) Riva was listening to my every aid - and I gave way too many!

3)  My scores - judges were fair, so not complaining.

4)  I was way too tense and nervous during my tests - esp. First Level Test 1.

So The Good outweighed The Bad and I it was a good learning experience show for me - probably the best ever.  I have to find a way to ride my tests like I schooled Riva the night before - relaxed, not micro manage her.  Lots of work to do before the next show!


Heartland Pony Club Combined Show - Edinburgh, IN

First Level Test 1:  54.815%  and Fifth Place

Training Level Test 3:  62.273% and Third Place

Also, we always get nice compliments at shows on how pretty Riva is...I can say this without seeming vain since I did not breed her, so I am not responsible for her prettiness :)   When I rode her up to the show office to check in on Friday afternoon, a woman I don't know flat out offered to buy her - pretty sure she was serious!  Another woman on Saturday as we rode down to compete our first test said 'You have my dream horse!'  Another comment heard was she has the most fabulous tail.

Booty shot!


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Equine Insurance Recommendations Needed!

I have put this off for too long and seriously just need to get it done!  But would love some input from those of you who have equine insurance for your fabulous ponies. 

What company do you use?  Why did you chose this company?

Thanks in advance for any help you can send my way!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

County Connection Dressage Saddle For Sale!

My lovely very comfortable 2012 County Connection is now for sale.  It is a Wide 17.5 seat with regular leg flaps covered in Bull Leather.  I had it made in 2012 and this saddle has only been on Riva.  It has been checked every 6 months by the same County Saddlery rep and reflocked as needed.  I have all service receipts and our County rep said she would be glad to speak with anyone interested in purchasing this saddle, should the potential buyer have questions.

It has been kept covered in climate controlled tack rooms when not in use and regularly cleaned and conditioned with Oakwood products.  The left side billets were replaced in January 2015.  Saddle comes with County cover.

I love this saddle!  Only reason I am selling is Riva has gotten a bit wider since it was purchased and when I demoed a Wide/Xtra Wide in January, she went much better.  I am also getting a smaller seat size and short leg flaps.

If anyone is interested, please let me know!  And feel free to share with anyone you know shopping for a dressage saddle in excellent condition!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Lesson Saturday!

I had my second lesson on Wajur today, the lovely Arabian stallion, and got to ride one more flying change!

Makes me look forward to riding them on Riva someday!

My lesson was great, as usual, with the main focus being on learning to relax my wrists and give. Sounds like a simple concept that I should have learned way before now, I know.  JC had a wonderful analogy for me (which she is super at).  She related it to dancing, which is another love of mine.  She said your hands & wrists should be expressive in dance, not locked and rigid.  And suddenly, I got it!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

A Little Fun in the Snow!

Last Sunday brought 30 degrees temps to the frozen tundra of Indiana so we headed out for a
 quick ride.

Alexis joined us and got on her first - I thought Riva might be a bit of a Diva considering the horses had been kept in for the better part of the week, but she was super!

This was my 3rd time riding Riva in the snow and our first time to canter in it.  So fun :)

After cantering I told Alexis and my husband, "This is why we have horses!" 

Riva wears shoes year round so we kept the ride short.

Many thanks to my amazing husband for the beautiful pictures and standing around
 in the snow for us!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Flying Changes!

Last Saturday I had the good fortune to take a lesson on a 3rd level horse with my trainer, JC.  Wajur is an Arabian stallion...that's right, a stallion.  And he is a gentleman!

Riva was stuck home with lameness issues and I did not want to give up my monthly lesson spot.  I know Wajur from my daughter's working student days with JC when she showed him a few years back at Second Level.  Wajur's owner won the AA First Level IDS Championships on him last fall as well. 

We started the lesson by working on a serpentine exercise with a change of bend at X.  JC had me begin at trot with a transition to walk then halt at X.  Next I was to change the bend and ask for a few steps of leg yield then transition to trot with a direction change at the wall.  Once I had run thru the exercise several times, we then moved up to trotting the entire serpentine.  This exercise was super to make me think ahead and expect promptness from Wajur.

Next JC had me move on to trotting down the long side of the arena with a halt by a pole with a turn toward the wall to change direction.  The goal was to not move past the pole while completing the turn.  This exercise made me concentrate on using my aids correctly to control the haunches and shoulders.

We moved on to trotting the arena, turning up the center line and leg yielding to the wall.  JC quickly saw I can reasonably accomplish leg yielding to the left but struggle with the leg yield to the right.   So of course, we did many many leg yields to the right.  With Riva, I know I tend to get in the habit of leaning the direction I want her to go and not shifting my seat bones.  With Wajur, I had to use of seat bones and leg correctly or he would just keep heading straight down the center line.

Before we finished up, JC had me canter a 20 meter circle to the left.  Once she talked me thru asking for canter from the hind legs at the transition I felt the most amazing canter on this horse!  I could not help but smile and know this is what I am striving for with Riva.  After a few canter circles, JC had me change the bend at X and ask for a flying change.  I did not get a clean change the first few tries - all my fault, of course!  But we had one that felt really nice!

As I walked Wajur out, JC talked about the lesson and that she would like me to take my next lesson on this horse as well.  I am already looking forward to it!