Sunday, January 15, 2017

Goals for 2017

I see all of my favorite bloggers posting about whether or not they met their goals from 2016 and what their goals for 2017 are. I want to participate in the fun! The only problem is, I got Casey in late summer of 2016 and so while I did set goals for us, I only had 5 months to try to meet them. So with that in mind, here were my goals for 2016.
A 5-month difference!

2016 Goals for Me
  • Get my leg underneath me! About 95% of the time now my leg is actually underneath me both in flatwork and in jumping. Getting new stirrup leathers that actually work with me instead of against me really helped.
  • Have a good jumping position. I know what I meant by this, but annoying didn't specify. Basically I wanted my leg to be beneath me over jumps (for the most part I think I've got this). I wanted a better release (I think I have figured out the long release). And I wanted to be overall more balanced over jumps. I am still working on this. Basically I have figured out the taking off side of the jump and now I really need to work on the landing side of the jump. I am sitting up too soon and so occasionally jab Casey in the mouth (which I feel so bad about!)
  • Learn auto-release. Nope, nowhere near this. I really need to perfect the long release and then the short-release before I can even start on this.
  • Get better at judging distances. I have no idea how to quantify what "better" is at this. I am much more consistent about judging distances to jumps, The bigger problem now is that I will see a distance, but Casey will disagree with me and force her distance (which is pretty much always the long distance).
  • Sit up straight with shoulders back at all times. I would say I still try to balance a bit too far forward, but this has been much improved! 
  • Learn more exercises to work on with Casey. Definitely did this! I learned a lot of cool exercises and regularly incorporate them into our riding time.
Much better flatwork position
Also much improved jumping position

2016 Goals for Casey
  • Enter at least one show. We failed this goal, but I don't think that it is a bad thing, because we are making so much progress that by the time we go to a show we will be much more prepared.
  • No more pawing at the ground! Success! She will still try this if she is in a terrible mood, but she now knows what "no" means and will put her foot back down when I ask.
  • Mount from the ground. Yeah, this did not happen. It just totally freaks her out and everything I have tried to make it less stressful for her hasn't worked. So if anyone has tips on this let me know!
  • Improved transitions (especially downward transitions). We have made so much progress on this! She will transition into different gaits and is much more attentive to my seat and legs, meaning there is a lot less pulling on the reins for both of us!
  • Jump 3 ft. Did this! Actually, we did this often. 3 ft still looks big, but we can do it without any problems.
  • Get stronger & more balanced. Did this too! Again, how do I really measure this? I'm saying we met it though because Casey is strong and balanced in the canter and no longer has to lean on my hands for support.
  • Learn leg pressure. She's got this! She no longer things that leg pressure means gallop forward.
  • Auto-lead changes. Surprisingly, Casey is a natural at this. Unfortunately, she is now very excited about them and will try to auto-lead change at times that I don't want them! So now we are working on auto-lead changes when asked.
She is much more balanced at the canter
She also has improved in her jumping position!

What I learned from all of my goals for 2016 is that I was so vague that I really don't know if I met some of them. So for 2017, I am trying to make much more specific goals.

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.
  • Work on stirrup-less work. Be able to canter the whole arena without stirrups. Also try small jumps without stirrups.
  • Take at least 1 lesson a month.
  • Ride a minimum of 4 days per week.
  • Advance our flatwork. Figure out haunches-in and shoulders-in.
  • 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. 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Jump 3' courses.
  • Mount from the ground!
  • Go on an off-property trail ride!
I hope that we will meet all of these goals, but even if we don't, I am just excited to work towards these goals!

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