Saturday, March 3, 2018

The Art of the Two-Foot Jump

Casey and I are moving up in the jumping world! As in we have now progressed to tiny vertical jumps, rather than only being able to do cross-rails. Who knew I would ever be so excited about a two-foot jump? Let's start from the beginning though...

We started off today by waking up early so that our farrier could come and nail Casey's front shoe back on. She managed to step it off on Friday, but Farrier is amazing and lives right down the road from my barn so he came out first thing in the morning. We love him :)
Casey was not impressed with having to stand for the farrier first thing in the morning...
After Casey's shoe situation was resolved, I took her to the indoor arena to see if she wanted to run around a bit and be crazy, especially since she hadn't gotten exercised in two days in a row. She was being a bit of a princess (surprise, surprise...) and didn't want to do much of anything because the shoe felt weird. She was doing a bit of trotting, but was pretty unwilling to canter. I think that she just was readjusting to the weight of the shoe, because after I tacked her up and hopped on she started moving normally again.

Before our lesson officially started, I warmed us both up by having Casey walk on a loose rein. I usually try to hop on 5-10 minutes before my lesson officially starts so that we have plenty of warm-up time. She was relaxed and had a nice swingy walk, but as soon as my Trainer walked up to the arena with her dogs in tow, that nice, relaxed Casey vanished. She started trying to bolt, because obviously the dog was trying to eat her. It was a whole lot of giraffe-head, wide-eyed, panicky circles. I couldn't get her to calm down while the dogs were around so Trainer ended up having to chase the dogs out. My theory is that the dogs were just today's handy excuse to try to offload all of her energy, because it is quite normal for the dogs to hang out in the arena when Trainer is teaching. Although Casey always has to give them some serious side-eye, besides that she normally is fine with them.
The most relaxed walk I could get after the dogs arrived
For the flat-work portion of today's lesson, Trainer had us doing large, whole-arena, figure-eights. She placed two poles in the middle of the arena, on opposite diagonal lines so that each time Casey and I crossed the arena, we'd go over a pole. We would get a nice collected trot, maybe do a few circles at the end of the arena to get the trot really balanced, and then trot across the diagonal. Trainer always had me go down a gait when we hit the wall at the end of the diagonal (so if we trotted the pole, we would come to a walk; if we had cantered the pole, we'd come to a trot). After getting a few strides of the lower gait, we'd then pick up the bigger gait and come across the other diagonal. We did this at the trot at first, and then did it at the canter. Casey was getting a little bit resistant to the bit (she started bracing), but besides that was staying very well behaved, which is SHOCKING, because this exercise required lots of transitions (which normally get her hot and crazy).

Once we were all nice and warmed up, Trainer set up the jump line for us. We started with just a simple crossrail to a second crossrail. The first couple of times through, Trainer told me to get a walk or a halt before the second jump. The first attempt failed pretty miserably. We approached the first crossrail at a nice trot, but then Casey got very strong after the jump and I couldn't get her to slow, so we circled and got the walk. The second time through I knew I had to up-the-ante and get mean, so we nicely jumped the first crossrail, Casey tried to brace against my hands and trot over the second jump, but I gave a strong half halt and yelled "HOOO!!!" I think I startled Casey a bit, because she came straight to a halt. Satisfied that she was listening after that wake-up-call, we did it again and she came to a halt very nicely mid-way between the jumps. It's amazing sometimes how effective voice can be, hahaha :)
Once Casey was able to listen to me between the jumps, we allowed her to do the whole line through, crossrail to crossrail. She was being pretty good, but was still a bit strong between the jumps. We got a bit of a flyer when I allowed her to sustain the canter to the second jump, but overall she was trying. Then Trainer raised the second jump and made it a two-foot vertical. I set Casey up with a nice, balanced trot, we got a nice jump over the crossrail, Casey had a super balanced lovely canter, and then she gave the most perfect jump over the vertical. It was balanced, it was relaxed, and most importantly, she didn't speed up or get strong right before the jump! Both Trainer and I immediately started gushing over Casey, telling her how amazing she was, and with that we both decided to let her be done. It was a perfect line and we knew we wouldn't get better, so we wanted to end on that good note. We are both strong believers on ending when the horse does what you asked, rather than drilling exercises.
The best horse ever jumping the tiniest vertical
I was super impressed with Casey today. Considering how the ride started, she improved leaps and bounds within the lesson time. Not only did she improve within the lesson, I've also just seen huge improvement in her over the past couple of months. She still has that Thoroughbred brain that's missing a few screws and only ever wants to gallop, but she has been trying so hard to be good. I think she's finally figuring out what we want from her. She is becoming so fun to ride, because she is so much more adjustable & knowledgeable than even this time last year.
So thirsty post-lesson
The plan going forward is to continue working on responsiveness while jumping & adjustability on the flat. We are also still building Casey's strength. Each jump lesson we are adding in more jump attempts and also are slowing going up in jump height. Casey has felt so strong and so sound, so I bet we could increase the pace a bit, but since we aren't in a rush for anything, I feel good about taking our time. Sure it might take us a bit longer to get back to jumping three-foot jumps, but we are working on a lot of essential skills with these smaller jumps, and I'd quite frankly sell my soul to avoid rehab again. Right now I'm just so thankful that my horse is happy, sound, and being such well-behaved! 

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Counterbending, Calmness, and Collecting the Canter

Guess what the family did today! We all traipsed to the barn for my jump lesson on Casey. That's right, all of us. I managed to get my very reluctant horse-hubby to come out as well so that I could finally get some decent jump photos. It may, or may not, have required a lot of pleading, begging, and whining, but it was worth it :)
Yep, worth the begging for these photos
This was our first lesson since getting hocks injected (although I have ridden her on my own in the past week) and I was super excited. Additionally, the weather was nice and the outdoor arena had been freshly dragged with perfect footing. Riding Casey in the outdoor arena is sometimes (as in, most of the time) like signing a death wish, but it was so pretty outside that I decided to take the gamble.
Dogs + Outdoor Arena + Casey = Zea is likely to die
We arrived at the barn half an hour early so that I had plenty of time to groom and tack up Casey (there is nothing worse in my mind than having to rush to get ready at the barn). Once she was pristine, we headed out to the outdoor arena. Immediately there were some potential threats to our ride. All of the dogs decided to be under the pavilion right next to the arena - Casey hates the dogs. Also another boarder was working with her gelding in the outdoor arena as well - Casey hates the gelding. (Casey may or may not hate most things...) When I hopped on, I could tell that Casey was very anxious about these threats. She was giving me a very short-strided walk and was giraffing her head all over the place. 
Casey trying to be good and not worry about the dogs
Trainer had us start with getting a nice bending walk on a circle. We started with just a free walk and then moved into a collected walk when it became apparent that Casey needed a mental distraction. At this point I was second-guessing the decision to ride outside because she was so nervous. She kept breaking into a trot, flinging her head around, and doing all sorts of anxious behaviors. Anytime a dog would move or the gelding would come down to our end of the arena she'd start to have a mini-melt-down. Trainer had us move into some collected, bending trot work on a circle to try to get Casey back on track. And it worked!
We worked for quite a bit at the trot. Casey was in a much better head space after we started trotting the circle, but she was being a bit resistant to truly bending. Trainer had us work at counter-bending for half of the circle and then bending for the other half. We did this a few times and it really seemed to loosen up Casey's neck and she did a lot better after that.
I really don't think of Casey as being a big horse, or as myself as being a small human... and then I see that in photos my leg does not take up her whole side and I rethink my position
Trainer also observed that I am using a lot more inside leg to push Casey's haunches over than I should have to use. When bending on a circle, Casey thinks that the correct answer is to over-bend with her neck, but she ignores her booty. Trainer had me work on using my outside rein to encourage Casey's neck to stay a bit more straight rather than resorting to my leg. It worked surprisingly well and by the end we were getting a much more true bend.
Too much inside leg. This is going to be a sucky habit to break.
Once the trotting sets were done, we moved on to cantering. Since getting her hocks injected I've noticed that Casey is much stronger at the canter, but being in the outdoor arena really was magical today. I think it was a combination of the footing being perfect & Casey being a bit on-edge (thanks dogs for barking as soon as we pass you on the rail...), but she was absolutely floating. She was really pushing from behind and allowing her front end to free up. There were a few moments where she tried to grab the bit and take off with me, but suck it mare, I'm too smart for you!
Casey trying to take off. She failed. BWAHAHA!!!
At the canter, Trainer emphasized lots of half-halts while also keeping the bend. This concept was hard for both Casey and I to entirely grasp, but after a few laps we seemed to be getting the hang of it. Since Casey's canter is definitely her weakest gait, it's been a bit of a struggle for me to figure out how to best support her. I don't want to use too much hand, because her tendency is to try to lean on my hands already, but if left to her own devices, Casey will just flat-out run. I've obviously used both half-halts and bending at the canter with her, but haven't successfully used them together until today.
So light, so pretty
And finally we move on to the best part... the jumping! We haven't done a ton of jumping for the past couple of weeks, because Casey's hocks needed injected, so we were both excited! We're still just on tiny little crossrails, so Trainer had us start with just a single jump. The goal was to calmly jump and then turn before the second jump. The first time through Casey thought it was entirely appropriate to blow through the reins and take off a stride away from the jump. That of course got us busted by Trainer. We then spent a bit of time practicing halting before the jump... After that little bit of schooling, Casey jumped the jump very nicely and calmly.
And we're jumping!
Obviously Casey is very excited to be jumping. Look at that focused little face!
Once Casey was handling the first jump well, we moved on to jumping the whole line. And OMG Casey was so good! The canter in-between the jumps was so light and collected. Since she was so collected the distances were coming up perfectly and she was jumping really round. We went through the line just a few times and since Casey was being so good, we let her end on that good note.
Will I ever learn to stop jumping ahead? Probably not...
Now that I've felt just how light Casey can get while jumping a line, that's what I'm going to continue to work towards. I want us to get more consistent in that calmness and lightness. My goal is that we should theoretically be able to enter a hunter class and not entirely embarrass ourselves. And yes, I really want to show jumpers, but let's be honest here. Going fast is not hard for Casey, but slowing down most definitely is, so that is what we should aim to work towards.
Pretty mare
At the end of the lesson, Trainer encouraged me to work on those same things over the next week in preparation for next week's lesson. She told me that she thought I could probably jump Casey a few days over the week, potentially even a few jumps each ride. She said that since these jumps are so low, it really won't overstrain Casey's leg. I don't think I'll jump Casey every ride, because I don't want her to think that's our new game plan (that seems like a sure-fire way to cause rebellion when I insist on a flat-only ride), but I probably will jump during at least two of our rides this upcoming week. I'd really like us to be able to jump things slightly bigger than crossrails, so building Casey's stamina will help with that.
My furbabies
Overall it was a good lesson. We came away from it with plenty of exercises to work on over the next week and I really can't complain about Casey's behavior. I shouldn't have second-guessed her... She was perfect!
She's too perfect <3

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Not Quite Right

Do you know those days when you hop on your horse and things just aren't quite right? Like, they don't seem lame, they might even seem sound, but it just feels like there's something going on? Well for the past two weeks, I've just had that feeling with Casey. The best way I can describe the feeling is that she just seemed slightly more stiff than normal and at the canter it felt like there was a moment of hesitation, or almost a stutter, between strides. What was especially weird though was that I felt it a lot more to the right than to the left (the left is the leg that sustained the suspensory injury).
One thing I noticed was that Casey was kicking up a lot more footing with her back hooves than normal
I had my trainer watch us ride when I first noticed this sensation and she didn't see anything, but I knew I could feel something. Since it seemed like her hind end, I suspected it was her hocks and my trainer didn't disagree so I scheduled hock injections for her. While awaiting the appointment I kept going back and forth in my own mind about if it was the right decision to make. Part of the difficulty was that for the most part she felt so sound! She never seemed in pain and the strange sensation was so slight and infrequent that I wasn't sure if I was just being overly paranoid. Ultimately though, I decided that it couldn't hurt to have her hocks injected (even if it was a bit early) and I knew I wouldn't be able to stop stressing if the vet didn't take a look.
Another thing I noticed was the Casey didn't seem to be stretching underneath herself nearly as much with her back legs
This Monday is when the vet came out and it turns out that I was right to trust my gut! According to my trainer (who dealt with this vet appointment since I couldn't take the day off of work), Casey's right hock was dry when they injected the needle and the left hock was watery. Not only does this show that she needed hock injections badly, but it also shows that my gut intuition was right! I thought she seemed worse on her right side, and it was worse on her right side! I'm patting myself on the back over that one.

For those that don't know a lot about hock injections, here is a brief explanation (although I'm no expert). Basically, joints have liquid in them to keep the bones from grinding together. This liquid goes away gradually due to aging, genetics, and exercise patterns. Casey is fourteen, so is of the age where horses start to need joint injections, plus she is prone to having hocks that dry out faster than normal. This is part of how she got her suspensory injury - her hocks were dry, which causes discomfort/pain and so she was over-stressing her ligaments to try to avoid that discomfort. I first injected Casey's hocks while rehabbing her from her suspensory injury, before that I didn't know this was a problem for her. At the time, the vet said that we'd need to inject her hocks again, but wasn't sure when (every six, nine, or twelve months). Since we just injected her hocks for a second time, and it turned out that it was the correct timing, we now know that Casey should have her hocks injected every six months.
This photo cracks me up, "Ohhhhh!!!! Hock injections!!!!"
I'm super relieved that I trusted myself when it came to my gut feeling. Ever since Casey got injured I've second-guessed myself a lot more when it comes to her care, so making the correct choice for her makes me feel better. Not only that, but now we know what schedule Casey should be on and so it'll be an easy thing to keep track of.
Happy horse who should now feel better
The plan for this week is to give Casey four days completely off with Bute twice a day to help with discomfort. It's uncomfortable at first, because the joint is not used to having so much liquid in it. Additionally, the injection has anti-inflammatory properties in it and so she shouldn't do anything too strenuous, because her body wouldn't be able to react properly. The fifth day (this Friday) she can go back into light work and on Sunday we should be back into normal work. I'm really excited to see what she feels like when we go back into work. For the first round of hock injections I couldn't tell the difference it made because she was still so injured. This time I theoretically should be able to really feel a difference in her.
Casey gets a mini-vacay for four days
Have you ever had the sensation of something feeling "not quite right" with your horse? What did it end up being?
Can't wait to see the difference on Friday!

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Cost of Casey in 2017

Sometimes I find myself wondering how much money I actually spend on my horse. It does really "matter," because no matter the cost I'm going to keep paying it regardless, but just for curiosity's sake.
What does she cost besides all of my love I mean
When Casey got injured, I obviously got slammed by vet bills. I told myself that this is why I had a credit card and just decided to live in denial. I would make payments every month to my credit card, but I didn't want to know how much money I was bleeding. I think that this form of denial really helped me, because it kept me from panicking about the amount of money I was spending. I didn't have a choice but to pay for my horse's care and what I didn't know couldn't hurt me?

However, this December I finally paid of all of Casey's vet bills and so I wanted to know the truth. How much did Casey cost in 2017?
Cost of Casey in 2017
Because I am the nerdiest of all nerds, I obviously made myself a bar graph to represent this data. Since not all people probably care to read a graph though, I'll also explain each section:

Board & Lessons -$1,484

I am actually quite surprised how low this cost is. Considering that this is all of Casey's basic needs (shelter, food, care) AND lessons, I really did pretty good! Part of the reason that this cost is so low is that we really didn't take many lessons at all in 2017, we didn't take any lessons during our 9 month long rehab. I think we only took about 13-14 lessons in all of 2017.
Casey's paddock

Farrier -$385

My farrier bill was crazy low this year, mostly because Casey was barefoot for half of it! It wasn't worth paying for shoes for a horse that was in rehab and could only walk/trot. Now that she's back to work, we've brought the shoes back. Since she's now in full shoes, this cost is most definitely going to go up in 2018.
Casey getting shoes

Vet -$3,309.25

The killer cost of 2017 was 1000% vet bills. This is why I didn't want to know how much they cost at the time of receiving them... This total includes all of the regular things like annual teeth floating and vaccinations, but it also includes not one, but two emergency vet visits for times that Casey cut open her own front leg, and all of the costs from her suspensory injury (a vet checkup every month, hock injections, joint-helping injections, so much Ace, etc).
We spent much more time with the vet than we should have to
The good thing about this, is that I'm pretty sure 2017 was just a bad luck year for us. Surely not every year will have two emergency vet visits plus a major injury?
Casey after mauling her own leg

Misc -$1,461.62

Really what this shows is how much money I spend on things I don't need, but rather want. That includes tack, apparel, safety equipment, basic horse care supplies, and treats. Since 2017 was the first full year that I owned Casey, a lot of this money was spent on things that I needed, but just didn't own yet. I'm expecting that this cost will be lower in 2018 simply because I now own a lot more horse stuff that I did last year.
Gotta supply the goods for the cookie monster

Barn Work $4,351

This is the reasons that I spend so little on Casey's board & lessons. I work at my barn, specifically, I am the Assistant Trainer at my barn. I made $2,010 teaching lessons and $2,341 doing barn chores in 2017. Of course, all of this goes straight back into my horse, but hey, that's a significant amount of money that I saved!
Nighttime feeding schedule
What's most interesting about this data is that it really shows how much more time I spend at the barn during the summer. That makes sense, because my job (teacher) is only 9ish months of the year. I have all of summer off and so I spend a lot more time working at the barn.
The best part of nighttime feeding is when all the horses nicker for me

Total Cost of Casey in 2017 = -$6,639.87

Broken down, that equals $553.32 per month, or $34.58 per ride (assuming that I rode four times per week - probably an accurate estimate). While owning a horse is not cheap (especially when they break), I think that overall I did a pretty good job! Others may keep their horses for cheaper, but I am able to keep Casey at a really nice barn with a really good trainer and give her the best medical care that I can afford.

My goal for 2018 is to hopefully stay closer to $5,000 than $10,000. I'm hoping to do some things that will cost more money in 2018, like weekly lessons and hopefully a few shows so I'm not expecting a dramatic decrease, but if we could spend less money on the vet and more on fun training stuff, that'd be great.
Hoping for more money spent on fun training in 2018!
Who else has been brave enough to calculate the total cost of their horse?

2018 Goals

I anticipated having an easy time coming up with goals for this new year, but ended up having a surprisingly hard time! 2017 was so unpredictable. I would never have guessed that a major injury would be sustained and would require nine months to come back from. So with that in mind, my goals are not as ambitious as they might have been otherwise. Whereas last year's goals were very focused on our specific discipline (jumping), this year's goals are much more focused on flatwork and communication between Casey & I. I don't really know what this year will look like for Casey and I, but I know that my priority is making sure that we continue to work on getting physically stronger and communicating better.

  • NO MAJOR INJURIES IN 2018! This is the goal that I have least control over, but that I most want to achieve. My way of trying to make this goal successful is really being preventative in my care for Casey. She now has full shoes, hock injections every six months, Mare Magic to balance her mood, and a tiny pasture to get her yaa-yaas out in. Hopefully all of that plus a little bit of luck will get us through the next twelve months without any major injuries (*knock on all wood objects*).
Casey agrees. No more injuries please.
  • Get back into jumping 2'6"+. I'm not sure how high exactly we'll be able to jump this year. It really depends on how Casey's leg handles the stress of jumping post-injury. I'd say that 2'6" courses is an achievable goal. I'd love for us to get back to jumping 3' courses, but don't want to prioritize jumping high over my horse's health. Obviously I will be very reliant on my trainer's feedback to determine what is appropriate work for my horse.
I want to jump real jumps again!
  • Continue to work on stirrupless work. I'd love to get to the point where I can ride without stirrups for a whole ride. That'll take a lot of work though!
  • Continue to work on bridleless work. At this point we're able to walk entirely bridleless and can trot with the neck rope (with the bridle on for backup). I'd like to get to the point where I can ride Casey bridleless at a walk and a trot, and be able to canter with the neck rope (bridle for backup).
Bridleless work
  • Get solid walk-canter transitions. We're so close to this. Casey can get them on her right-lead, although it's a bit rough. I'd like to get these a lot more solid.
  • Figure out the sitting trot. Oh boy, oh boy, is this a challenge. I've been working on my sitting trot for the past couple of months and it's gotten so much better, but I still really struggle at this. Practice makes perfect, right?
Sitting trot in progress
  • Find an Casey-acceptable dressage-legal bit & bridle set-up. Bitting has been the bane of my existence with Casey. She's super opinionated and very picky. Right now she goes really well in my Myler Combination Bit, but it's not dressage legal. I'd really like to get back into dressage tests with Casey, but in order to do that we really need to find equipment that will work for us. I've tried many different bits with her and nothing really works, she pulls on the bit and can get her tongue over everything. So far we've tried adding a flash, tightening the bridle, loosening the bridle, a plastic bit with a single joint, an oval-link copper-coated snaffle, a wide port, and a waterford. She hates everything. Right now I'm trying to find ways to replicate things that she might like in her current set-up. The next thing we're going to try is a boucher bit (I think she might like the extra stability it provides) and I'm seriously tempted to get a Micklem bridle to see if that would make a difference.
Casey's reaction to any bit besides the Myler Combination... brat...
  • Ride (or work with Casey) 4+ times per week. Although I easily met this goal last year, I am going to continue to have this be an annual goal, because it is really important to me. If I'm not at the barn at least four times per week, I really don't think that I should own a horse. It's a huge financial burden and so I need to prioritize my barn time. I am adapting the goal though, because I think that hand-walking, lunging, or free-lunging Casey is acceptable on days that one or both of us don't feel up to riding.
Looking forward to lots of good rides in 2018
  • Take a lesson a week. I think that we'd benefit greatly from having my trainer's eyes on us regularly. Thanks to a pay raise this year and finally having paid off my car, I can financially afford regular lessons this year!
This is why we need lots of lessons, both jump and dressage!
  • Go off-property at least once. This can be a trail ride, a schooling show, or a clinic, so long as she is trailered somewhere new.
  • Enter at least two shows (they can be schooling shows). I think that this goal is definitely achievable, because my barn hosts shows every summer. I'd like to do at least one show in a different location, but we'll see what happens.
Now that you've read mine, what goals do you have for the next year?

Monday, January 29, 2018

2017 Goals Review

Now that we are solidly into 2018 (thank goodness for the end of 2017). I thought it was high time to take a look at last years goals to see how we did. I already know without even looking at them that we failed at meeting a bunch of goals due to Casey's injury that knocked us out of regular work for 9 months out of the year, but here we go...

2017 Goals
  • Continue to work on my jumping position. Eyes up, heels down, long-release or maybe even a short-release! Hold my position until after the jump so that I don't jab Casey in the mouth. This goal makes me sad, because I was getting so close to reaching it before disaster struck. Since I haven't really jumped since March I'm pretty sure that I'm going to have to restart on this goal in 2018.
I'm pretty proud of my position here. Definitely had more to work on, but it was so much better than it had been!
  • Work on stirrup-less work. Be able to canter the whole arena without stirrups. Also try small jumps without stirrups. Hey, I actually did this! I'm not going to say that we did a ton of stirrup-less work, but I did definitely canter the whole arena without stirrups and I also did jump cross-rails without stirrups. I'd love to have worked more at this, but, again, rehab kinda killed this goal. I had enough trouble staying on my bronco even with stirrups and so was unwilling to drop them.
I promise we did this at other gaits too!
  • Take at least 1 lesson a month. Ummm... no... we kind of failed this one and not even just due to the injury (though that was a part of it). Financially, 2017 was a rough year for us, because of all of the vet bills, and so this became an impossible goal. BUT since I didn't take as many lessons and cut back on extra costs, I was able to pay off all of Casey's vet bills, so I think it's a good thing that I failed this goal?
  • Ride a minimum of 4 days per week. I'm going to give us this one. As long as I was able to ride Casey, I was riding 4 days a week. There were periods of time that I was not riding at all, but that was due to taking care of her medical needs so I think that's a pretty valid excuse.
  • Advance our flatwork. Figure out haunches-in and shoulders-in. We have made significant progress on this. Our flatwork is so much improved after such a long rehab. Although we are not pros at this, I think that the amount of progress we made is enough for me to say that we met this goal.
Casey demonstrating her ability to do haunches-in (did I ask for it at this moment... not at all...)
  • Work on collection & adjust-ability. The way to measure this: be able to ride a jump line that is 5 strides, and be able to make it into 6 and 7 strides. We definitely have worked on this, although can't really measure it in the way that I had originally planned. Due to a lack of jumping, we've not practiced striding in-between jumps (we did work on this pre-injury, but it was still a work in process). The way I can measure it now is that I can have Casey adjust within a gait (both trot and canter) and get a variety of different levels of collection and extension. She is now so much more responsive than she was last January and I feel that she really tries to listen to my little signals.
Slight extension at the trot

And slight collection at the trot

  • Enter 2 shows (they can be small schooling shows). My barn hosts one every summer, so the one at my barn + one away show. I'm not pre-deciding which classes I want to do, because that will really depend on what I think we will be successful at. Total 100% fail, 100% due to stupid injury. The most irritating thing about this is that my barn actually had two schooling shows over the summer, so if Casey weren't in the middle of rehab, we could totally have achieved this goal. Instead we did ZERO shows...
  • Jump a 3'6" single jump (probably in a gymnastics line). If we can go higher, go higher. I haven't hit Casey's jump cap yet, so I will accept it when I get there, but so far 3' is not a struggle for her so I think 3'6" is definitely do-able. Again, we couldn't do this due to the injury. Before Casey got injured though we did jump up to 3'3" so it wasn't a complete fail. Also, 3'3" was still not a challenge for her. She did rely on me for confidence, but the physical aspect of the jump seemed effortless for her. Because of that, I do think that 3'6" is a completely achievable goal in our future (barring any future injury).
  • Jump 3' courses. Before the injury I'd set courses that were 2'9" - 3' (as in some jumps were at the lower height and some were at the taller height). When approaching a single fence that is 3' Casey would start to get nervous and I'd really have to encourage her on, so that's why I never attempted a full 3' course with her, BUT I do believe that she could have done it (I just didn't want to mentally rush her). I'm calling this a semi-meets, because we were so close to it.
I'm pretty sure this jump was 3'3" and one of the largest jumps of the year
  • Mount from the ground! Ok, I can't blame the injury for this one (although I guess I could because rehab made Casey EVIL and there was no way I'd try this while she was attempting murder). I didn't prioritize this and so it just didn't happen. I do still think that this is an important tool for us to have in our toolbox, but it didn't seem worth the battle that I know it will be.
This photo is now over a year old, but it's still an accurate representation of how it goes when I try to mount from the ground
  • Go on an off-property trail ride! Boo... I really wanted to do this and actually almost made plans with my trainer to take the horses to the coast for a trail ride, but Casey's rehab progress went a lot slower than expected and so we ended up not going for fear that sand dunes would be too much for her leg.
A on-property trail ride from a while ago

Actually, we didn't do as badly as I thought! We failed as many goals as we met, I guess I can live with that considering how crazy 2017 was as a year!