Monday, September 7, 2015

Goals Check-In

After some up-and-down rides lately (or, rather, some up-and-down feelings about my riding), I thought I'd look back to February and see what I thought I could accomplish this year, about 2/3 of the way through it, and see how realistic my expectations were.

1. Get the right lead figured out. He's a left-lead addict. There's nothing wrong with him physically. We've gotten there before, where it wasn't a big deal. We can get there again. This means cantering a lot.

Achievement unlocked. He picks up the right lead now, unless he's having a temper fit and trying to pick a fight with me, but we can work through it in about half a circle.
2. Get the transitions on both leads to happen without a big leap forward or a lot of fuss. I think this is mostly for me to work on.

3. Have a canter I can ride a bit--nothing serious, but steering would be nice. [Are we sensing a theme?]
Donesies. He canters as part of his warmup now, like a normal horse, and is coming round in the canter too.
4. Lose the standing martingale. I have nothing against standing martingales, but he's not going to be a show hunter, and I don't want to feel like I have to have it to keep my nose in place. I'm mostly still using it because the canter is such a hot mess, but once that's all fixed up I think we'll be fine.

The standing has been hanging on a hook in my bedroom for months now.
5. Once he's in regular work again, quit lunging.
Lunging? What's lunging? I only lunge him now if we're off the farm and he's up.

1. Take him to that adorable hunter show at the end of March. I don't care what classes we enter; I just want us to have a good time and for him to settle in.

That show didn't happen, but plenty of others have!

2. M told me the schedule for the spring but I forgot it already. I think we're going to the Maryland Horse Trials twice, the Middleburg HT, and something else. Mo will go in the elementary division, which is unrated. I'm not planning on switching back to eventing, but I think this will be marvelous for his confidence. My goals for these are to get him into and out of the dressage ring in one piece, and to give him a confident ride over jumps.
 I didn't go to all the stuff Mary did this spring, a lot of them ended up not having intro or elementary divisions. But he handled the spring season well, and my fall season starts in a week. Whee!

Okay. So I met all those goals and then some. I think that I set the bar really low because winter was so frustrating that I thought I'd never get any horse training done again. In addition to those things we can:
Leg yield at the trot
Develop a fabulous connection, even if we can't do it all the time, in all three gaits
Pick up a canter on whichever lead and go jump an entire course of 2'6" jumps in a nice rhythm
Jump a grid with a 3' oxer out
Do all the necessary elements of XC

Mo needs some new goals. I'll think about what I want to write down and post something soon.

And now for Red. This isn't gonna be as pretty a picture.

1. Get some fitness on him by hacking out regularly.

Okay, so far, so good.

2. Establish a good connection to the bit in the trot work (he's broke, but he's a jumper, and so his contact can be a little... inconsistent). I foresee dressage lessons with M.
The dressage lessons have been happening. The good connection is REALLY hit-or-miss. I'm pretty much constantly frustrated at how hard this is. Retraining SUCKS.

3. Canter over some small jumps every two weeks or so, once fitness has been achieved.
Ummmmm no.

4. See if he'll go XC schooling or if he'll take one look at the water or the banks or whatever and head for the bloody hills.
Also no.

There's time to achieve the goals with Red, still. And my priorities for him have shifted around a little, so I'm not sure XC is really in his future. I don't know. Until we can get #2 done, the rest of it is moot for me. I hadn't set any showing goals, but I did take him to one show and had a good time. Maybe more of those will happen this fall.

I'm happy with how much farther Mo has come than I thought he would, but Red, not so much. That's the difference between "made from scratch" and "fixing someone else's horrendous training methods." I know many of y'all are feeling me there.


  1. I like how many of these things you've met and exceeded! Can't wait to see what the fall season holds for you!

  2. Mo really has come so far just in the last couple months!

  3. This is what's great about blogging--that ability to just check on on where you were a few months back and realize that yes, you actually are making progress.