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...
- 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.
- 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!