Goals Wrap Up & Cuteness

After a week of mostly lazy riding and reflecting on our horse trial, I think I have gotten enough distance from ER MAH GAWD I LOOOOVE my PONY to actually review the goals I had set ahead of time. (Honestly though, OMG I LOVE HER.)

Dressage Goal: Score below a 35

Done! We scored a 29, which is higher then the 24.2 we got at our last horse trail. Again though, that was from a soft judge, in an outdoor arena, and for a test we had done a few times before. I am super happy about the 29, and the consistent 7s & 7.5s in the collectives.

img_4895-2

Show Jumping Goal: Ride Forward!

Is anyone surprised that riding forward led to a clear round? Anyone? How about any of my current and past trainers that have been telling me to do this for YEARS? Nope. Didn’t think so. We definitely had some bobbles and less-than-ideal distances, but since we were riding forward, May was easily able to sort through things.

img_0543

Cross Country Goal: School the Water

The water was way more spooky then I was expecting. Half in the shade, deeper than expected, a bit of algae, and surrounded by other jumps that made it feel a bit claustrophobic. I kept my leg on, and we went into it without incurring penalties. May got lots of pats and love (and then tried to walk into the drain, and I had to hustle her away from it).

img_0568

Overall Goals:

  • No Negative Self Talk: SUCCESS. Created a plan for the water and SJ with my trainer and executed without hesitation.
  • Utilize visualization: I probably rode through the SJ course in my mind about 5 times. Did it go exactly as well as my visualized course? Nope. But it definitely helped me stay focused on what mattered (Balance, pace, line instead of the perfect distance)
  • Stay Positive: This was easy because each phase went really well. It was a long day, but an unbelievably fun one.

And the Cuteness

One of the girl’s from my barn was featured in Eventing Nation for her adorable helmet cam footage. Before her round, I helped her put on her new galloping boots. During her round, you can hear the whole team cheering her on. Mind you, her round went at nearly 4PM, after we had all been at the show since about 8AM. Did that matter for the riders, parents, and people that came to help? Nope, and that is part of what makes eventing so much fun.

I thought May’s ears were too cute to handle, but this takes it to a whole other level.

The Video

Eventing Nation Article

Is there anything better then a girl and her pony?

Advertisements

08.19.2018 Horse Trial – Goals

img_5764

In 2016, when May and I competed more regularly, I was really, really good at setting goals for each show. This year, as we returned to horse trials, I let them slip for the first one, but I am determined to make this a habit again. Our modest Sr. Starter division has 18 entries, so I am going to be really conscious of keeping goals away from ribbons and onto things I can control.

In writing this list, I realized that it is really a combination of two lists I had done previously: the one before our first BN and the one before our first recognized trial. The former was a BLINDING success in my mind, while the latter still feels a bit like a failure. The hilarious part? I got a better score (by like 6 points) at the recognized event. Just goes to show you, scores do not tell the whole story.

img_4298

Dressage

I am not sure what to even write here. We scored a 24.2 from a very soft judge at the last schooling horse trial, which had us in 4th out of 19. I am going to throw out there that I want to score below a 35. I think our last test was, more fairly, in the 35 range, and we will be doing Into C, which is not a test I have ever done before.

SJ8

Show Jumping

Ride forward. Really. That’s it. If poles come down because May doesn’t respect anything at 2′, then I am ok with that. I will not be ok with crawling over more oxers. If we are going to get back to BN, we need to go forward.

xc-jump

Cross Country

Do the water if it’s an option. I would much rather be out of the ribbons and get a 20, but school the water, then have the same thing happen at a BN recognized horse trial in the future. I don’t need to prove to anyone that we can win. I just need to make sure that my horse and I come through the finish flags as an even better team.

cropped-dres21.jpg

Overall

No negative self talk. I am just going to quote this one from my first BN horse trial:

I am not nervous, I am excited. That is not a huge jump, it is a reasonable effort. I did not screw up; I found something we need to work on. My pony is not a Corgi, she is an elegant gazelle (or something I guess)

Utilize visualization to create positive outcomes before they even happen. This always sounds kind of hippy to me, but it does work.

Stay Positive. At the end of the day, I am at a horse trial with my friends, and I am riding a horse that is genuinely just happy to pop over some fences with me.

img_4436
Anyone wonder why she decided it wasn’t in our best interest to attempt the next jump from a weird stride and awkward angle?

Things not on the list:

1. Clean Jumping Rounds: If we get rails, we get rails. If I try for one of the bank/ditch/water options and get a refusal, that’s not the end of the world. I am truly utilizing this event as a barometer for what we need to focus on going forward. I am going to ride like I stole it and come away with issues to work on.

2. Make My Trainer Proud: Maybe one day I will write a full post on this one. However, I think a lot of riders put a lot of pressure on themselves to not embarrass their trainer. I know I do. Of course, I managed to eat dirt during Marilyn Payne’s clinic in 2016, so I am not sure I could embarrass anyone more. At the end of the day, I work hard, am nice to the other boarders, pay my bills on time, and care about my horse. That’s all my trainer really wants from me.

3. Win: One day, I would like this to be our goal, but after so much time out of the game, it is not our goal on Sunday.

img_4313
Even though I am still a 12 year old kid who loves ribbons. 

The Next Four Weeks…

For probably the first time since May and I moved to KY, we have a real calendar building out for the next several weeks.

Saturday, August 11 – Long Run Woodford Hounds Hunter Pace

Hilariously, this might be the thing I am most excited about. I hunter paced A LOT during my early teen years. I took green horses, babies that were barely backed, school horses that needed their heads screwed back on straight. Whatever was offered to me, I would hunter pace.

img_0008

Other than one pace maybe 3 years ago, I haven’t done it in more than 10 years, and I have never done it on a horse like May. Something that is sensible but game, and a horse that I know like the back of my hand. I am also going with a great group of people, which definitely makes the whole thing a lot more fun!

As long as it’s not raining, I’ll bring the cambox along.

Sunday, August 19 – Spring Run Farm Mini Trial

This barn is actually a barn I looked at to board May at before I moved to KY. It is a beautiful facility that used to host USEA rated events. While it wasn’t the perfect fit for us, boarding wise, I have definitely wanted to take a run at their really awesome XC course.

May

Since the courses tend to be bigger than your average schooling show, we are just going to play it safe and stick with starter. I definitely want to have a solid SJ and XC round in before trying to move back up. (Of course, I accidentally entered BN through their online entry portal, instead of starter. A call is in to the secretary to fix it.)

Sunday, September 9 – Blackhorse Stables Mini Trial

Hoping to move back up to BN here to end our season. I have been told that SJ and XC is a little more forgiving at this venue, and while it’s actually another barn I had looked at for boarding, I didn’t get a great sense of their XC facility when I went there. Luckily I have some time with this one, as the closing date isn’t until the end of the month. Yay schooling shows!

rollarcoaster.jpg

After that? I will probably need to lick my financial wounds for a bit. These things aren’t crazy expensive, but it’s still extra money out of my wallet. I really need to take the time to list some extra items I have for sale this weekend…

What about you? How is your late summer/early fall schedule shaping up?

False Start & Setting Goals

June was a really odd month for May and me. We moved to our new barn on June 4th, had a jump lesson, then a Dressage lesson. Then, this week was widdled away by the need to go bitless for a while, as well as KY showing off its adeptness at late afternoon thunderstorms.Today, I will hop back on with a bit for our last ride until the 2nd week of July.

Maybe I need a break after all the stress around moving (Although,  Michele has it SO MUCH WORSE), or maybe the lack of tangible goals has more of an effect on me than I realize. Either way, I want to come back from vacation with some goals in mind and a better idea of how the rest of the summer to shake out (Because somehow it is already July and summer is slipping through my fingertips).

What are my SMART goals? (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Bound)

1. Get Comfortable at BN Height Again – Due Date September

I haven’t consistently jumped at BN since 2016, and even then, BN stadium was my nemesis. Ideally, this would roll into a mini trial or two in the fall. If the money isn’t there for a HT, that’s ok, but I want to get back to that being our comfort zone (maybe even with some Novice height thrown in there to challenge us). I also haven’t schooled any BN sized XC stuff either, so that needs to get on the “to-do” list.

img_4431

2. Nail Down 1st Level Dressage – Due Date November

That’s right. I want the lengthenings, leg yields, and stretchy trot nailed down. The Training Level Test 3 is easily within our took kit now, and the leg yields can definitely get there. It would be really fun to be able to go to a couple of Dressage shows this winter and do the Level 1 tests.

img_0040

3. Get Fit – Due Date Mid August

Yup, I am a broken record here because life is life and finding time is hard. I have added some pilates and yoga into my routine, and it has helped my core strength in the saddle, but I still wouldn’t consider myself eventing fit. However, do you know how much easier the two goals above would be if I was truly fit? A LOT easier. A friend of mine sent me the EventingFit.com 30 Day Challenge PDF. It looks like a totally doable program, and I am going to dedicate 30 days to doing it to see if it helps me get into a routines. On vacation next week, I do plan on adding a long walk on the beach to my mornings.

What about you? Are there specific goals you are working on this summer?

Thankful Thursday

Amidst all the driving back and forth to the barn, I have had an opportunity to reflect on what I am more thankful for in my riding career. However, the thing I am most thankful for, is the mare that turned out to be much more than she was ever supposed to be.

I have talked a lot in the past about how May was a complete impulse buy. You can read the full story here: A May As Well Purchase However, I am not really sure I ever explained what I was expecting. Originally, when I bought her home, we joked that I had overpaid for her. After all, she couldn’t even do a 20M circle before she popped her shoulder and ran in the opposite direction, a canter took nearly 20 steps of trot to pick up, and I quickly learned that she had never seen a gymnastic.

To be honest, my original thought for buying her was that, if she didn’t work out, I could recoup most of my money and just sell her as a trail horse. She was sane, and sensible, and had color. All the things trail people want. Right? I mean, she could comfortable carry a larger rider for miles without discomfort. Then, we went to our first CT. It was a W/T Dressage Test and 18″ stadium round.

And we had SO MUCH FUN. She was a champion, and I finished with a giant smile on my face. I was hooked on competing this horse, and I think the man in this situation finally understood what it was all about. She never was supposed to be as cool as she is, but gosh… she is really cool…

 

I think she has turned out to be really cool… And I can’t wait to see what more she has to show me.

You Know Nothing, Adult Amateur.

The wisdom of ignorance is a ridiculously important part of doing this thing we call “learning to ride”. I think many of us that rode as kids can think of a time when we really felt like we knew how to ride… like if we had the right horse and enough money of COURSE we could make it to Rolex or the Olympics or wherever. Then, we get a bit older. We get introduced to the “greats”. We read books, we watch clinicians, we LEARN. And somehow, in learning, we learn how little we do know.

IMG_2724

Recently, I was reading one of my favorite blogs. I real OG in my book. A Enter Spooking (If you EVER had a clinic in KY, I need to be there.)

I am not a Dressage rider. My only real Dressage training has come from Eventing riders and that only began in late 2015. During my first Dressage lesson, the trainer asked me to ride the horse into the contact, and I couldn’t do it properly. It was the first day in many days in which Dressage makes me feel like a total fool.

However, I had felt like I had started to grasp how this whole Dressage thing works, at least on a basic level. Then Megan makes a comment about how “the rider should kneel into their thigh”. What…. WHAT? I stopped. I blinked. I read it again. Dressage riders should not sit on their butts. They should kneel into their thighs. Oh… Oh well… That actually makes a ton of sense. So now I was staring at my screen, and I realized that I didn’t even know how to properly sit in a saddle, much less ride in one.

sunset-trot

But riders do not let our inability to do something stop us from trying. The first time you sat in a saddle, I bet that you couldn’t even make the old schoolie trot… or even turn. The first time you jumped, you probably had no idea where your horse would takeoff. And the first time you went a trail ride, I bet you had no idea how to get your horse through that one damn puddle. However, you worked at it. You read books, you tried different things, you sought instruction, and you got better.

Each time we peel back another layer of the “riding” onion, we realized another skill (or set of skills) we do not know. But now, we have something that we know we can learn to make us better. So we try, and we get better, and we master more skills… and learn how much more we don’t know and can’t do. 🙂

cropped-dres21.jpg

Creating a Plan

Back from our honeymoon! It was AHMAHHHHZZZIIIINNNNG, and I promise I’ll post some pics for you all this weekend.

However, I now have a pretty daunting challenge – Getting May back into shape. I rode her on Sunday, after getting back in the country around 1AM, and she was fantastic. We did a lot of walking, then ran through both BN tests for funsies, then more talking. She, fitness wise, seemed fine with it. Tuesday, I showed up to ride, and she was a bit stiff and sore. I am not sure if it’s from starting back into work or from all the mud KY.

Either way, I decided it would be good to set a pretty strict fitness plan for the next month. I know that she does need her hocks done, but I would prefer her to at least have a solid basis of fitness before we inject the hocks again. Last time I did them when she was still fairly unfit, and it was difficult to tell if they helped or not.

With all the hill work and strengthening we did last year (and almost complete lack of jumping and competing), she never showed any signs of needing her hocks done again. Now that I am looking at a competition calendar again, I think it is only fair to call in a vet before the season really gets rolling and get some serious eyes on the whole picture. First though- FITNESS!

February Schedule

Whew! It took actually longer to build this than I thought it would. The rides of walk-heavy, which I think is totally appropriate, and I try to build time before building intensity. Given that February continues to be an unpredictable kind of month, the schedule is flexible. (i.e. today was supposed to be raining and frigid, but temps might be warm enough for a ride tonight instead of Friday)

Of course, I also forgot my stop watch today, so we will see. There isn’t a whole lot of tracking this first round anyway, so I will probably just stick to it as best as I can with my phone.

Since I have never created a plan like this… ever…, I know it will probably take some adjustments along the way. Have you ever laid out a fitness plan for you and your horse? Or are you more of a “let’s see how it feels today” type of rider?

2018 Goals

I (very) briefly considered writing up a 2017 in review for you all, but I realized it would’ve gone something like this: I have no trainer, I have a trainer for 2 lessons, I have no jumping saddle, we did some lateral work, I took May’s shoes off, May’s eye is puffy, I put May’s shoes back on, we did more lateral stuff, I found a saddle. All true, all part of the process, none interesting. SO! I figured I would just jump into 2018 with some goals!

giphy (1)

Riding Goals

  1. Do 1 Clinic: my barn hosts a few clinics with great riders and trainers throughout the spring and summer. All I really have to do is get in shape and sign up!
  2. Do 2 Horse Trials: Whether these are recognized or schooling shows is pretty irrelevant to me. Louisville has a wonderful unrated horse trial circuit, but my barn mostly does recognized events. (as a lot of people are going at least Training level and these tend to top out around Training). Also, if I was going Training, I would probably care if my horse had a real record on USEA. The level also doesn’t really matter to me. I would like at least one to be at BN, but if we decide to start out doing on starter, I wouldn’t be heartbroken.

img_4298

  1. Get in shape: Maybe this should be the number one goal. I’ve already done a pretty good job over the last month of going to the gym or incorporating workouts at home. Although some overindulging over the holidays means that I am not really seeing any results! Oh well, it still feels good to keep active. May, however, has been on a serious vacation since Christmas. With holiday chaos and now temps that are staying below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, she is not in any kind of work. She is turned out about 16 hours a day, and I have been going to see her to give her a grooming and check on her; however, that’s the true extent of her workload right now. However, the sun now goes down past 5:30 at night, so as soon as it warms up a touch, I can start riding at night again. (I am also starting a new job with a shorter commute and more flexible hours, so that should help too!)
  2. Ride 4 – 5 Days a Week: This one is on hold a bit until it warms up, but it is something I really want to commit to in the new year. It isn’t fair to ask May to step up her workload if we aren’t working regularly. 4 – 5 days is usually enough to get her in shape without overloading her and making work less fun.
  3. Plan Out My Rides: I am always envious of those people with calendars on their walls of what “day” it is for their horse. Jump? Dressage? Conditioning? Light Hack? They know before they even get to the barn. I have decided to become one of those people. Starting in February, you all will start seeing my monthly riding calendar at the beginning of each month and a summary of how things went the previous month. It should be a great way to track progress and find a program that works for us.
  4. Get Comfortable Over 3′ Courses: Pretty self explanatory. We were pretty much there in the early summer of 2016, but really haven’t jumped much since then.

img_4469

Other Goals

  1. Blog 2 Times a Week: I have been a terrible blogger. I would like to be a better blogger. This at least sets guidelines. 🙂
  2. Clean Up my Email InboxSeriously, I get HUNDREDS of emails a day from companies. I need to figure out who I actually buy from and unsubscribe from everything else.
  3. Start Meditating Again: I did this for a couple of months in 2016, and it was really beneficial. I need to start it up again.
  4. Do One Thing Every Month That is Outside my Comfort Zone

So that’s 10 things. They should be totally doable, especially since some of them are really a Feb – Dec type of deal. 😉 Are you starting 2018 with any goals in mind, or are you having more of a “I’ll just wing it” year like I did last year?