Tuesday, January 1, 2019

2019 Goals

I don't normally write a goals post.  I'm not a big fan of committing myself to specific things because I've come to recognize that so much of my life is not in my control.  It can be frustrating to set a goal and not be able to accomplish it because Life Happens.  I'm also not fond of setting exact numbers or benchmarks because sometimes it's hard to know how much time I'll have and how much motivation I'll feel to achieve something 8 months after I first thought it would be a good idea (I have a whole host of started but not finished projects around the house if I need a reminder).

So I have a tendency to say that I want to do better at something or ride longer or faster or more frequently, but not give specifics.  A case in point is that several of my goals for the year are the usual "Eat Better" and "Exercise More" and "Do the Laundry before I'm Down to My Last Pair of Clean Underwear."

But this year I decided to mix things up a bit.  I do have some very specific things that I want to accomplish.  So, in no particular order, here they are:

1. Canter Nimo for a mile.  We've had some success with getting a more balanced canter that Nimo feels more comfortable with during the past few months.  The wet weather has curtailed our access to places to really practice much, but I feel confident that at some point during the next year, the state of Virginia is going to go longer than 3 days without rain and then things will dry out enough for us to make some progress.  I am continuing to work on canter in the arena and I went so far as to calculate how many laps we would need to do to get to a mile in the arena.  (Admittedly I did the calculation in my head at about 2 in the morning one night when I couldn't sleep so I can't swear to the accuracy, but the magic number is 7 - 7 laps.)  I feel like I need to set a number to give us something to work on, otherwise I'm going to get stuck in the rut of thinking one lap around the arena is great or a short canter on the trail is the best I can hope for.  This is a huge issue that we need to work through, and I'm committing us to work on it diligently this year now that I have a better understanding of what the problem is.

2. Canter Nimo over a 2 foot jump.  Jumping has never been something we've spent a lot of time on.  Nimo doesn't have a natural inclination for it, although he is capable of it.  But I board at a facility that almost always has a jump course set up with beginner-friendly jumps.  It's ridiculous that I don't take advantage of it, and I've become convinced that Nimo's lack of jumping skill is related to his lack of balance at the canter.  We actually have cantered over a tiny jump several times during the past couple of months, and that tells me that the work we are doing with the canter is connected to the work to jump over a fence.  Plus, every horse should be able to jump 2 feet.  It's time for us to get this benchmark out of the way.

3. Piaffe.  With our work progressing on collected trot, there is no reason why we can't get to piaffe this year.  Nimo has already done it on his own briefly and now I know that he is capable of it and what it feels like.  It's time to up our game and figure out how to improve our collection.

4.  Be ready to compete at the Blackwater Swamp Stomp Endurance Ride for March 2020.  I was able to do the intro ride at this ride a couple of years ago and I loved it.  It was cancelled last year, but it is back on this year.  I have been lecturing myself on a daily basis to keep me from sending an entry in ever since I found out it was running again this year, and the only way to prevent me from sending in an entry now is to promise myself I'll be ready next year.  The weather has been (and likely will continue to be for the short term) too wet for us to be in the shape we should be to compete this year.  Plus, I have a whole lot of things to figure out before we start going to endurance rides again.  But if there is any ride that we can have success it, it is BSS.  This ride is beginner-friendly with a small ride camp (which limits entries), a good ride manager, and flat and barefoot-friendly trails.  Plus the mid-ride vet check is in camp, so if I need to Rider Option, it's no big deal.  I can't think of a better ride to test Science of Motion training at, so I am committing to working through whatever we need to work through to be ready to go.

5. Blog at least twice a month.  I'd really love to go back to blogging once a week, but I think that is probably out of the realm of possibility right now.  But I think that blogging is an important part of my growth as a rider.  Writing about the struggles and the successes is helpful to the way I reflect on what I'm doing.  Without that written reflection, I don't know that my thought process is as rigorous.  Plus I get great support and ideas from my readers:)  I also have several posts that I didn't get to in December that I wanted to write, so I want to keep myself motivated to get them done.

So that's it for the goals for this year.  I've got my conditioning log ready to start tracking progress and some ideas floating around in my head for accomplishing what I'm hoping to do with Nimo.  And I even started the New Year with a ride (which I expect to write about later this week) to make sure we don't waste any time working on our goals.

Do you have any goals for this year?


  1. I love your list! Cantering for a mile sounds exceptionally fun - then again, I just love zooming along, haha. Wishing you the best for 2019 in every endeavor!

    As for me? Still working on my goals for the horses, but the biggest one will be purchasing land, leveling the barn area and drylot, putting up the barn, and getting everything fenced so the horses can come HOME.

    1. Thanks, Liz! And your goals sound pretty intense, but with a great reward. I have the same one, but I don't think it will happen this year. Maybe next?