I think one of the things that has held my progress in check for a long time is not having very clear riding goals. In high school I competed essentially to go hang out with horses and friends all day. It wasn’t much different in Texas, when I was leasing a horse named Checkers. It was just kinda like, okay go. Get around the course, you didn’t die, okay cool.
Then I moved to Maryland, started eventing, bought a house, had no money, and I realized something. Eventing is way too expensive to not visibly improve from event to event, even if that improvement is developing consistency. If I’m going to bother with it, and bother to take two lessons a week, and not waste my and my trainer’s time, I need to have a clear cut plan and progression.
Yeah, so, I has a plan.
Short Term (Winter 2014-2015)
- Improve and lighten my dressage seat – quieter hands, stronger back to minimize collapsing to the right side, open angle of hip to thigh to solidify lower leg
- Improve sitting trot – catch more of the “upswing” and bring center of gravity back
- A training level dressage test capable of scoring in the high 60s
- Work on downward transitions and halt
- Lots of gymnastics to strengthen and improve jump form
- Stop using the martingale on the flat
Next Show Season (Spring-Fall 2015)
- Complete an entire event without forgetting a test or course
- Recognized Beginner Novice horse trial
- A “move up” horse trial at Beginner Novice or a starter trial at Novice in the fall (This one’s a long shot, because I won’t bother to move up until I can actually complete events with no eliminations or memory lapses consistently)
- One hunter show
- Renew CHA Certification
- Qualify for the American Eventing Championships
Now, I’m not usually much of a planner, and I know as much as the next person what happens to the best laid plans. I was actually feeling a little superstitious about writing them out, but my checking account needs real focus from me this year.