However, I think I've been with both mares long enough for me to have some idea of reasonable expectations and I think I'm still competent enough to organize them (at least a little).
For the sake of moderate organization I'm breaking them down into Goals for Me, Goals for Prairie and Goals for Pia.
Let's start with Prairie since her goals are a bit more tangible than Pia's and I don't want to do mine yet:
- Attend at least one recognized dressage show in 2013.
We stayed at the unrated shows in 2012 but since atmosphere doesn't seem to phase the mare a ton I think we'd be ok to try our hand at the fancier shows. I don't really plan on chasing qualifying rides, but I do actually own a dressage coat and white breeches again. Seems a shame to keep them locked in the closet.
- Break 70% at Training Level and 65% at First Level. Also, show First Level 3
I am reasonably confident that Prairie could smash Training Level on an average day now that we have our canter figured out a bit more, but we have some work to do on First Level and I'm scared of FL3 :)
- Get our changes 80% of the time
I don't expect Prairie's changes to be "auto" this year, or even 100%, or even respectable in a Dressage court, but I would like her to get them often enough that we're competitive in the Hunter Ring. This means that swapping the front first totally counts :)
|Our Best "Hunter Impression" in 2012.. And it's only getting better...|
Admittedly this falls on my shoulders not Prairie's, but this year is a great year for us to really get out. No weddings or other major life events to get in the way, so let's make hay while the sun shines.
- Move Up to 3' Adult Hunters
Really I want to show the 3'3" Amateur Owners, or the 3'3" Adults- but to be conservative, I'm setting the Goal at 3'. Prairie does better over bigger fences, and realistically I give her a better ride to them. We just need those damn changes.... I'll save the 4' divisions for later...
|Loved 2012 with this mare...|
Now for Miss Pia:
- Safe and Consistent W/T/C without Bucks
I would say that she's 90% there, but she still has the odd kick out to outside leg and throws minor tantrums. I think they are diminishing, but they need to be 99% gone. I feel like her regular routine will get us closer.
|A happier, more relaxed start to 2013...|
Committing to out of arena work is something I want to do for P1. I think it helps her brain and I want to stretch her mental flexibility as much as possible. Trips back to Summer Camp or down to a Mountain Trail Clinic would be ideal.
-Attend TWO Schooling Shows
Not for the ribbons, but to get her out and in new places. I don't care if they are H/J or Dressage I just want her out.
- Passably Perform First Level Tests at Home
Pia's lateral work is already coming along without the stress or tension it had in 2010. I know she can physically do everything in first level at this point, it's just the focus and consistency of being able to string it all together for 5 minutes straight. That's the sticky wicket there.
|We have thankfully, seen NONE of this recently, a reminder of how far we have come...|
And finally, the obnoxious goals for self -
- SHORTER REINS
If there's one thing I don't need a trainer for, it's to be told to shorten my reins. They are long, they are always long. They are long almost immediately after I shorten them. They are long over fences, they are long on the flat they are long even when I'm not riding because they are in a perpetual state of too damn long. This year I will shorten my reins and then staple them to my hands in the appropriate place (so help me god).
- Lighten My Seat
I don't want an ineffective "perch," but my go-to defensive move is to sit deep, lean back and drive, drive drive. I need another tool. Namely one that doesn't totally freak out both my mares. :)
- Continue My Dressage Education
I am SO happy with S. So, so, so happy. I trust her, I like how she rides, I like how my horses react to her, I like how I react to her as well. But I also know that I am getting sucked into the H/J vortex like a moth to a flame. I missed jumping. I know that now and I'm having so much fun getting back into it (even without cross country). But I can already tell I'm getting less committed to my Dressage work and I don't want to lose ground. Prairie has more levels in her and I will need to up my game to get us there. There are two trainers in the area who I really enjoy and I need to average hauling out at least once a month to see them.
We're well underway on all these goals, and even if the path deviates a little (or a lot) I'm really looking forward to lots more time with both these ladies this year. Yeehaw.