Friday, December 30, 2016

2016 Goals Review and 2017 Goals

2016 got off to an interesting start.  I made a lot of goals at the end of 2015 and then went to visit my favorite dressage judge.  She promptly scratched all of my goals, put Stinker and I on a walk only plan, and he got hind shoes (and fronts because he had been barefoot) put on to give him more support behind.  Oh and I dropped all my money on a custom saddle, but I have zero regrets because I adore it (and so does he and that is what really mattered).

Paid almost 3x as much for saddle as I did for the horse #worthit

My best decisions of the year:
  • New saddle- he previously would not walk under saddle.  Immediately started walking with the new one.
  • Hind shoes- when he loses his balance he goes faster.  Having hind shoes helped to give him a little more support behind and I could actually slow him down instead of everything snowballing faster.
  • Only walking- this took the pressure off him and we started building a strong relationship so when things got hard he tried for me instead of panicking and checking out mentally.
Once, I got over my pouting about being put back to just walk work, I made us some new year goals.
  • Happy healthy Stinker (he is happy when I shovel timothy in him and I refuse to comment on the other one)
  • Happy healthy human (human is having some life freakouts)
  • Build up muscle in the correct places (I am quite pleased with how he looks.  Sure I want more but who doesn't?)
  • Build up strength (we are back to cantering so I am calling it a win)
  • Consistent walk/trot with leg yields (I wouldn't call us consistent in the trot yet, but we do have leg yields in both gaits and both directions)
This used to be a regular response to legs

I am very pleased with how we are ending our year, despite my frustrations at the beginning of the year (freaking out at legs anyone???).  I am trying really hard to not freak out over every little thing and really focus on our overall progress.  I used to not know what I was going to get on any day and most days it felt like I was sitting on a powder keg.  Now we have a working relationship.

Not to mention we survived our first show together.  I haven't shown since 2004 and I was always a bundle of nerves.  Not only did I manage to keep myself calm and collected, but I also managed to keep him together.  Plus we now have our first ribbon and I give zero shits that we were in last place by about 10 points.  That little piece of satin stands for so much more than what the judge saw.

Quarter 4 goals

Human goals
Hahahahahaha!  I failed miserably at these.  I was supposed to see a physical therapist because everything was hurting from running.  Instead I stopped running.  I had a couple of freaky incidents with guys in cars following me and asking weird questions (like where can they get pizza).  Then I had a super freaky incident where a guy tried to open my car door on the road I typically ran on.  So yeah the running stopped and because the running stopped they pain stopped and I failed at my goals.

Stinker Goals
I have been doing a pretty good job of maintaining the relaxation, but I am starting to think that I will have to give that up to really be able to improve the trot and then come back to establishing the relaxation.  This really depends on the day and I need to have a heart to heart with my favorite dressage judge.
I ended up not putting the canter on hold under saddle.  I am only doing it once a week and it is typically in the jump field where I can keep the figures larger.  I am going to count this as a success because it is happening and it isn't quite as bolt-like.
I would say we are doing fairly well on the mobility and ride-ablity.  We still have our off days, but overall I can move his haunches and shoulders around.

Now on to the fun part.  The new goals.

More traveling and more shows please

2017 Year Goals

  • Solid WTC
  • Travel new places
  • Schooling shows
  • Happy and healthy
  • Improve my position
  • Get my stress shopping under control
  • Improve my fitness
Quarter 1 Goals

  • Keep up the steady progress
  • Focus on the trot
  • Keep doing ground poles
  • Keep working on breaking up the tension
  • Please for the love of god stop stress shopping!!!
  • Keep working on my fitness
  • Be more active in my riding instead of so passive

Always have fun (and use your human as a chew toy)!


  1. This is a nice recap of your year! Let me say that those incidents during running were really freaky- I think not running there anymore is a good idea. yikes.
    Here's to 2017!

  2. I'm still so excited about how the show outing went, bc I'm with you: it speaks absolute volumes about all the work you've put into Stinker over the years to help him have a positive experience and, ya know, do the thing. Can't wait to see how the working relationship continues to grow this year!!

    1. Thanks! I'm really excited about this year. And to see you and Charlie grow :)

  3. Slowing down for a little while can make such a difference for so many horses! It sounds like that's exactly what it did for you guys. That before video is pretty impressive! I'm glad he doesn't do *that* any more! Love the new goals and am looking forward to watching you accomplish them :)

    1. Slowing down and letting him figure things out was the best thing that I could have done. He just needed time to process things and realize I wasn't going to hurt him. And thank you!

  4. Love that last picture. Your 2017 goals look very reasonable. New places is on my goals list as well.

  5. That is pretty freaky about the running thing. I tend to only run by my house or a gym because of being afraid of other people and their intentions.

    Here to a Happy New Year for you and Stinker!

    1. I typically run in areas with quite a few runners, because I also worry about the intentions of others. And thank you!