Goals for the rest of the year

So almost a week ago (was it really only Saturday that the ponies moved?!) I was perfectly content. Content with what my plans were for the next six months, content that perhaps I won’t have a dressage lesson until very late in the fall (probably winter), content that I probably wouldn’t get to jump until late August or maybe September.

After Sunday’s cavaletti work, a few things became clear to me: I want to start educating her to a little more jumping now that we have a new arena, and that it is going to be very difficult to dressage in a not-dressage saddle.

For the first one, while my position needs a lot of work, and Amber and I need to work on more lean muscle for her than sprint muscle, she just might be ready to begin introductions to slightly higher crossrails. She judged the majority of the grids very well. But I think the height for them at the trot and that she needed to stay trotting coupled with that fact that she’s also just not that tall was tough for her. But considering how willing and focused and content she felt at the cavaletti clinic, I think we’re both ready for the next steps in learning and developing and growing, and that something she can jump over will be easier.

I don’t think we look half bad; it’s more jump position but we’ll work on it

I also realized that since I’ve really never dressaged in my life (though I’m used to longer stirrups and deeper seats from western) I am going to have to fight myself a lot if I try to dressage in a jump saddle. Not that it couldn’t be done, but since I’ve never learned to ride dressage, I think I’ll get very muddled if I try it in my jump saddle. It’s really what kick-started my search for a dressage saddle as well as reworking some goals I’d made.

About a month ago, I had a big working cow horse goal. There’s a new show – only 2 or 3 years old now – that is specifically for the colts that were trained and sold through CSU’s Legend of Ranching program. The goal was I’d enter Amber in the maturity class in reining and working cow for perhaps a little money, and to get in touch with the people who sold her back to me as well as have a good look at colts going through the sale that year.

But CSU is 12 hours away. And the show wouldn’t be until the end of April 2018. And I’m really excited about eventing right now. I originally thought to do all the western now because then we could focus on eventing with those goals out of the way, but what if we only do eventing for 3 years? I can absolutely go back to western and start more cow work and plan to go to the maturity show when she’s 10. And I actually like that idea better. If she can’t do it for more than a few years, now we’ll have a different plan and set of shows to go to so I’m not sitting there after eventing thinking “now what?”

Oh haaaaay

So, now I’ve been reworking my goals. Which is actually really really strange for me. I absolutely hate writing goals down because it makes them feel so….permanent. Like if you don’t do them you’re a failure. But I’ve been really trying to change the way I think about them, like they’re more reminders of what you’re working towards. Which is how most people probably view them but I look at them and sometimes it feels like MUST DO THEM OR YOU FAIL AT LIFE.

Goals are why I hate those work questions of “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” And I try to Adult and be diplomatic and not say, “Who the hell knows, because I sure don’t. I could tell you what I’ll do with my horse in 5 years, but for myself? No idea. I just want to make enough to support my addiction.” Which, you know, that’ll never fly. Soooo….

True story

I’ve made attainable goals for myself to help the “look where you’re going” instead of “this is mandatory” to hopefully complete by the end of the year:

  • Fix my FEAS. This is Fixed Elbow and Arm Syndrome (it’s not an official thing, but just go with it). And boy do I have that bad. Part of it is because of western – hand low in front of the pommel to neck rein, other arm up in horsemanship position. But the really bad aspect of this is that when I get to English, I hold my hands at the base of her withers (ick) and flap my elbows out to (somehow) help me balance as we canter (double ick). So I desperately need to fix that. Can I raise my arms and have them independent of me for western? Sure! But the two arms together for English are horribly uncoordinated. Work on that will start PRONTO.
  • Head over to a friend’s barn and have some super fun on their mini jump course there by late August perhaps September. Not as many times as we can, because let’s face it I have no time, but at least once.
  • Get my position to where I can independently go into correct 2 point without leaning on her neck with my hands. I’ve noticed my old hunter habits coming back and I don’t think I was always challenged to keep my hands independent when I was younger so lots of work on that.
  • Get a dressage saddle.
  • Potentially enter a local club’s h/j show. The very low divisions and potentially start schooling those classes to get her familiarized with it.
  • Really work on both of our fitness.
  • School a dressage or western dressage show. Or both. I know, whaaaaat? Well, you know. Show miles and all. But since we’ve done a lot of reining, I feel that although her head is low we’ve got some of the basics down, so why not?
  • Get a dressage/jumping lesson and sign up for the Master Dressage webinar series. Mary Wanless is absolutely amazing, and I love their way of teaching/riding/training dressage.

This is quite a tall order for me, but I’m going to take it one day at a time. These all seem pretty attainable to me, and even if life gets in the way and one or two of these don’t happen, that’s fine. I’m thinking the things that might not happen are the shows because of life and money, but I’m actually kind of excited about this. We’ll see how it all goes.


3 Comments on “Goals for the rest of the year

  1. good luck! lots of good goals there! fwiw i started learning dressage in my jump saddle, and actually so did most of my friends. even at most of the shows we go to, a large portion of the competitors do all three phases in the same saddle and bridle. a dressage saddle is useful but it hasn’t necessarily been a difference-maker for what we work on for eventing.


  2. I tend to fix my arm too, its a big thing I’ve been working on for months, little by little. I also hate those interview questions.


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