Thursday, January 2, 2014

2013 Goals (almost) Full Marks!

I don't know about you all, but when I make a list (of any kind), I prefer that it be comprised of items that I can reasonably tick off.

When there's a mountain of chores on the weekend, I never write down the hard ones I know I won't do.  Instead I fill my lists with totally attainable things like "drink coffee" and "fold clean towels."  That way my ability to cross everything off makes me feel super special and efficient.

My horse goals fall into a similar category.  If anything ends up as a huge "reach" it's usually because I did a bad job of guessing where we'd end up, and not because I think that setting super hard goals is really, really motivating.

I'm sure that for some people that sounds retarded and they might argue that goals are useless if unless they require you to really reach - but I prefer to make a nice little trail of breadcrumbs that I can check off, pat myself on the back for and feel great about.

So, bear that in mind as we review my 2013 Goals that we may, or may not have knocked out of the park.

- Attend at least one recognized dressage show in 2013.

Yeah, NOPE.  I thought this would be an easy one since it really only involved me, you know - filling out an entry form.  But no.  No Dressagey for us.  

- Break 70% at Training Level and 65% at First Level.  Also, show First Level 3

Hard to do if we aren't Dressaging.  Though, as my goal "check in" suggests, We could nail 70% at Training Level if we prepared and I'm pretty sure we could get that 65% at First if I cleaned up our lengthenings again.  First 3 is still scary. But our lateral work is much better and dang near respectable at this point.

- Get our changes 80% of the time 

WOOOO! Yes.  Big ol check on this one.  I'd say we get our changes 98% of the time allowing for Prair's hinds to be late.  We are getting more clean changes though - and they are all happening without much in the way of drama, so that's most exciting.

Honestly I think the spine injections have contributed to this progression.  I think Prair is just way more comfortable and able to step under for good (or at least decent) changes now.

Attend at least FOUR overnight Hunter Shows. 

Another big check (at least I sent those entries in..).  We made it to eight! Which, as I review my calendar, seems like a lot.  Prair definitely got some miles in, and we both gained a lot of confidence in our new found jobs.  At our last two (real) shows we were undefeated in one Hunter division and managed to win the Equitation Finals.  Plus I felt good about both of those wins, which is a far cry from how we started the year

Move Up to 3' Adult Hunters

This one is debatable.  Technically I hauled into a B show for one day so that I could check this off.  We have officially showed as a pair at 3', and nothing terrible happened. But, I wouldn't necessarily say that we have moved up in a permanent sense. If I'm able to ride at Thermal, it'll be in the 2'6" and 2'9" divisions.

We are competent at 3', but not competitive - and I like to be competitive.  If I were planning on a regular show season next year I think spending a chunk of it in the AA ring would be totally realistic.  But I'm not, so I won't. :)  Though hopefully Prair finds someone to get her around in that division.

Again, I'm going to skip Pia's goals since we sort of changed that whole program around.  P is happy, and I'm hoping she finds her next happy home soon but that's a different goal of sorts...

As for the goals that I set for myself - I think I did okay:


OMG Progress.  Especially over fences.  If I'm on course I seem to be doing a better job of getting my hands up and out of my lap and actually releasing instead of slipping my reins.  When I'm focusing on "real flatwork" something breaks and I have uncontrollably long reins again. I suppose maybe that will be a goal for next year...

Lighten My Seat

Progress on this too! I've gotten comfortable actually riding from my two point again, and also utilizing my half seat quite a bit.  I'm not chasing Prairie to jumps nearly as much and I think she appreciates it.  Frankly I think a lot of the progress here came from abandoning my dressage saddle and my comfort zone of sitting deep and death gripping with my thighs.  S gets a lot of credit for this.

Continue My Dressage Education

This is a big, huge, failure.  We did get to that one schooling show (where Prair was convinced she would be eaten by cougars) but that's it.  The judge there spent at least 5 minutes peppering us with advice and suggestions if that counts as any sort of "education."

I will say that we had some seriously hard flat lessons when we hauled out (to our now full time trainer). Some of my best flat lessons I can remember have come from her, including lots of "a-ha" moments on getting Prair to lift her withers (a bit) and really bend through her ribs.

All in all, I think these were great goals for us to have in mind for 2013.  Prair certainly exceeded expectations in terms of her overall progress, and while my bad habits are still very much alive - they are getting better and I am much more aware of them.


  1. I like to set LOW measurable, achievable goals so that I can exceed them and feel successful. Last year, I set challenging goals and I didn't accomplish a single thing for reasons completely beyond my control.

    I think I stressed out karma. I won't try that again.

  2. I think that you both had an awesome year!!

  3. I got behind on blogs again, but I'm slowly catching up. Just wanted to mention I am the EXACT same way about goals! And to-do lists. Or lists of any kind. I like checking stuff off lol.


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