Even though the year is shockingly almost halfway over, I figured that it is never too late to post my equine related goals for this year.
My biggest plan that I had laid out for this year was to have a less intensive show season, so I would be able to focus more on training. I only have three gold shows planned, and a few different schooling shows.
This year, I wanted to really focus on improving myself as a rider, and to further Hope’s training. I have a couple of goals that revolve around just that. I know that some people have goals to do with placings at shows or for qualifying for a certain event, but I personally have never liked to have those types of goals. I do not like to have a goal that I don’t have 100% control over. I find it unrealistic to have a goal to win a championship at a specific show, or to want to get a certain placing. You cannot control how the other competitors ride, so there is no point stressing over your placing if you are unable to control it.
For me personally, my placing among other riders means much less to me than how my horse and I actually did when compared to our previous tests and rides. I could have a poor test at a show, and still win first place, not because we deserved it, but simply because the other riders had a worse day than I did. Placings are very subjective, and they only represent a 5 minute portion of your riding on that given day, and are only compared to the other competitors.
I do, however, think that having a goal to achieve a certain percentage on your dressage test is an okay goal to have. That is something that is more within your power to control. You can control how much you train prior to your show, and how much effort you put in at the show. However, there are still two major uncertainties with this type of goal. Firstly, horses are animals. They are unpredictable, they have off days, and they most likely won’t try to behave themselves at a show just because you had a goal to get a score above 65%. Also, even though judges are not supposed to be biased, they all do, to some extent, have certain preferences. It is admirable to have a goal to increase your scores by a certain percentage, but remember that if you don’t achieve it, it isn’t necessarily because you rode badly, or because your horse made a mistake. Sometimes, it is just factors that are outside of your control. Keep this in mind when at shows, and always try to analyze your own rides and compare them to your previous tests, not the tests of other riders.
My goals for 2017~
Ride a 4th level test- (I’m aiming for 4-1, anything higher than that would just be an added bonus)
- Develop consistent 3 and 4 tempis
- Develop working half-pirouettes in canter (we almost have our quarter-pirouettes down, now we just need to focus on getting those couple of extra strides)
- Develop more collection
Go to a driving show with Max- (last year I was just too busy with school and dressage shows with Hope to go to any shows with Max, but not this year!)
Participate in the Mane Event with either Hope or Max- (this one may be negotiable; it will depend on who the clinicians are and if we get accepted/ picked)
General riding goals for me-
- Look up! ( I have a tendency to have my head tilted slightly downwards)
- Keep my legs still (my legs are much better than they were last year, but if I forget to keep a mental check on them at all times then they can get a little loose and bounce a bit)
- Don’t let my right foot point outwards (apparently, climbing on an unfinished playground when I was 7 and getting my right leg caught in a gap and then proceeding to fall over the edge of said playground with my body twisting 180° while my leg stayed put has long lasting consequences…)