Riva is now 16.1 hands and weighs 1150 lbs. She has filled out in the shoulders this past year, developed her top line, more muscle in the neck and rump. Her coat is more brown and white than black and white - every summer she turns more brown like her sire.
Lex and I went out and rode her on Sunday and she was super! Lex is loving trying out all her new skills on the Diva - she gets to ride several young green horses at her working student position and this has made a world of difference. Since last summer when we got Riva checked out by the vet and she had our farrier make shoeing changes and when I got her new saddle in February - we have seen a complete change in Riva. While she still has, and most likely always will have, her opinionated moments...we feel she is enjoying her job and tries to please us.
Lex started working on a few new things last weekend - she got to ride her twice over the holiday weekend. She worked on several new movements in canter - canter circle to canter circle, with a simple trot change at X - moving on and off the wall in canter, while not changing leads, and asking for walk-canter transitions. Lex also helped me with canter and started working with me on 20 meter canter circles. And she had me try the moving on and off the wall in canter - so fun!
I had a lesson last night and for the first time, was able to canter both leads during my warm up! Woo hoo :) I am liking this gait more and more. I really have to concentrate on weighting my right leg when asking for and maintaining left lead canter. I have scoliosis - I wore a back brace for 4 years as a teenager - and have trouble staying straight in the saddle (always looks like I am leaning to the left).
So my trainer had me work on serpentines during my lesson - first in walk then trot. This helped me concentrate on keeping my body straight while asking for change of bend. Riva did not like this exercise at walk - while she is getting a nice walk, it takes me keeping on top of it at all times. When I started concentrating on my body position, keeping Riva staight, asking for the bend - I forget about walking with my body to keep Riva's pace up and she gets wobbly and slow...which seems to appear to Riva that what we are doing is not important so lets just stop or go faster! (including exiting the dressage arena - twice!)
While this was a difficult lesson for both of us - I think mentally almost more than physically - we both needed that lesson. Once I moved up to trot the serpentines, it all fell in to place and I was more aware of my body position. We finished out with canter both ways and my trainer was much happier with my position.
My grown up, 5 yr old girl:
Yes - we are cantering :)