Tag Archives: goals

Goal Recap

Oh what a year it’s been. I’m kinda happy to have it all behind me! My goals were set pre-Georgie injury, but I thought it was still worthwhile to see how I did with them. So, here goes!

Personal Goals:

  • I decided on this one while on my run this morning… Do a 10k. At first I was like “sign up and finish a 10k race” but to be honest, I’m not sure I want to enter a race and spend the money. So, my goal has been revised to just getting a 10k done. By July. DONE! I ran multiple 6-7 mile runs throughout the year and did do a fun 10k race as well!
  • Remain fit and continue to make fitness and health a priority. I’m 10 pounds into a 20 pound weight loss, but I want to make sure I don’t lose sight of staying fit. Being active makes me happy.  DONE! I lost about 25lbs total and was running and hiking all year, probably the fittest I have been in a while
  • Balance your personal life with your equestrian life. I want to hike more. I want to say yes to more things that aren’t horse related. While still being a dedicated equestrian. Let me know if this is unrealistic… 😉 Sort of done… I still, even without my own horse, was spending a LOT of time at the barn. I didn’t go for nearly as many day hikes as I wanted. I was proud of myself for going to Portland and the Oregon Coast when Macy was not sound enough for our eventing debut in October, rather than staying home and feeling sad.

Riding Goals:

  1. Be able to do trot sets for 15 minutes in jumping position by the end of the winter. I think I can do this one. It’s just a matter of getting out there and getting it done. I can be pretty lazy about trot sets.  DONE! So, I am pretty sure I did this earlier in the year, but then repeated it for TwoPoint’Tober.
  2. When I ride, remember to ask more of Georgie in each ride. I need to stop being complacent as to where we are at in our training. She’s at the point where I can ask and expect more of her. And I should. Sort of done? I am moving this over to Macy, and still struggle with this, even with her. Work in progress…
  3. Sometimes, just enjoy the ride. Go for a hack. Explore a new trail. Don’t make it all about training all the time. DONE! With June I learned all about horsemanship and doing more with horses than just getting ready for a competition.
  4. Get the most out of each ride. If I’m going to work on jumping, how about I work on multiple things, rather than just one thing. If I am going to ride for 30 minutes, how about I spend those entire 30 minutes working…. Eh, sort of. It’s a great idea though!
  5. Enjoy stadium jumping. Figuring out a way to keep my brain from spinning out of control would be awesome.  Perhaps the biggest surprise of the year I REALLY enjoyed stadium jumping with Macy. And totally had thoughtful rides where my brain was engaged. Probably the highlight of the year.

Competition Goals:

  1. Go Prelim at a recognized event. I have to make this a goal since it’s on the table now. Nope. Big Nope. So sad.
  2. Let Georgie jump the tables. I need to just let her jump out of stride at a gallop. Even if at first it feels uncomfortable and makes me wince a little. Nope. God Damn it. These are zero fun.
  3. In each element of the competition, give Georgie a thoughtful ride. In dressage, think about your next movement, on xc, think about the next fence and how to approach it, and in stadium jumping, just think. I think that if I can do this, we are going to be a really successful pair.  Um I didn’t compete Macy xc either so this is a NOPE.
  4. Have fun at the competitions. This hasn’t ever been a problem, but if it becomes one, I think it is time for me to hang up my hat. Well, I had fun at schooling shows, so DONE. Yay for one of these
  5. Do not care about where you placed. Look back at the competition and think about how your rides made you feel as a rider. You are only competing with yourself. Sometimes a high or low score can dictate how I feel about a ride. And it really shouldn’t. I have no idea where those other riders are in their training, or what their expectations are for themselves. I can and should only concentrate on my ride with my horse. DONE! I was happy to be alive and still on Macy, so this was a WIN!

Well, there you go. For an upside down year, at least I got some of my goals accomplished! How did you do?

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What Macy Has Taught Me

As I begin to reflect on a year that initially turned upside down, I have a lot to be thankful for that I would have never expected. Probably the biggest surprise of the year has been my relationship with Macy and how it has evolved over the past 10 months. She has taught me so much and before the year is over, I wanted to document what I’ve learned from her.

  1. Trust Your Gut

Probably one of the smartest things I did with Macy was declare that I didn’t want to ride her anymore. My confidence was shot, I wasn’t enjoying myself and I wasn’t sure I would ever be able to have a stress free ride on her. It was tough for me to swallow my pride and step away, but it was the best thing I could have done. Because, in admitting shit was not going well, I was able to take all the pressure off. I started having lessons at the walk. By only riding in lessons I never felt out of my comfort zone, and I was able to relax and knew that if I wanted to call it quits at any time, I could. It changed everything. Macy and I built a relationship and were able to move forward.

2. Be Flexible

Oh Macy. If only she was uncomplicated. Once I started riding her, I felt like I had to have a plan. I signed up for a recognized event at the Training level and about 4 weeks prior to the event I realized there was no way I was going to be able to ride the mare cross country without fear of dying. Then, 4 months later, I again signed up for a recognized event at Training and felt ready. But Macy was off, between ulcers and some lameness there was no way we were going to an event together. And it sucked. But I was proud of how ready I felt, and while none of my plans went as I wanted, it was ok. I was still able to enjoy this partnership.

3. No Trust, No Fun

See all of the above.  But, once you get that trust, things can fall into place and you remember why you are on a horse, galloping towards solid obstacles. And there is nothing better.

4. When In Doubt, More Leg

Seriously. It doesn’t matter what horse you are on. The minute I put my leg on, and get Macy forward, we had great rounds. No matter what discipline. But for me, I saw the most improvement in my xc riding. It also had a lot to do with me finally trusting Macy and knowing she would jump the jumps.

5. You Can Ride Your Trainer’s Horse and Not Ruin a Friendship

Sarah is my closest friend and also my trainer. And we thought it would be a good idea for me to ride her heart horse. Hello, does that not sound like imminent disaster? And sure, maybe I don’t blog about how sometimes I think Sarah wants to kill me when I am riding her horse poorly, or how sometimes I want to kill her when she says “Oh, she’s fine” as the mare is bolting down the length of the arena. But, somehow, this crazy grey mare makes us both laugh or say “you little shit” in unison, and somehow has made Sarah and I even closer friends. Sometimes bonding over a horse creates the strongest bond of all.

6. Be Thankful For Every Ride

I could have easily walked away from riding for the year. But instead I decided to challenge myself with a horse completely out of my comfort zone. And because of it I have grown as a rider and am so thankful for how much I have developed not only as a rider, but as a horsewoman.

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Thanks Macy for all you’ve taught me!

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My Current Favorite Picture

Sure. It should be of June. Since she's my future.

And I do love this pic of her on a bridge casually relaxing.

But my new favorite picture is of Macy. You know, the mare I have been struggling to ride. The mare who can kill my confidence in the blink of an eye, (or bolt across the arena). I haven't hidden the fact that I'm not sure I'm the rider for her.
And I'm still not positive I am. But man she's been great lately.
And I've actually been having fun.
And letting go of the reins

And while she isn't impressed with any of it, I really am. Because it shows progress. And happiness. And those are both reasons why I spend all my money on this crazy passion.
So here's to more fun with this mare more learning and perhaps more surprisingly good rides on her.

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More Macy Chronicles

About 2 days into my unofficial lease of Macy I fell jumping her. We had some terrible rides after that, mainly as a result of me being nervous and tense. I told Sarah I wasn’t up for riding her on my own- it wasn’t helping anything, and wanted to try and only ride in lessons.

So, for the past 3 weeks or so, that’s what we have been doing. Having eyes on the ground that know this horse so well has been incredibly helpful, but also, at times, incredibly stressful. Sarah and I had a rather unpleasant lesson where Macy was a spook factory, churning them out at an incredible rate. Sarah eventually yelled at me that I was overreacting to the spook and making things worse. This turned into a back and forth of “well I’ve never ridden a spooky horse!” “well her spooks are an overreaction to nothing so what do you expect me to do?” “Really? put my leg on and get her to bend? That’s the answer??? I doubt it.”

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I appreciate when she goes like this

Weirdly it was the answer. And I don’t know if my handling the spook better has made our rides quite pleasant lately or Macy has just been in a good mood.

We’ve had some major aha dressage and jumping moments. Macy was a saint in our last jump lesson (of which I have zero media) and she proved once again that she will jump from anywhere, over anything, despite what I am doing on her back to make it more difficult for her.

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And this

She is such a different horse from any I have ridden. Yes, she’s a sensitive TB. But she’s also really opinionated. And you’re not going to change her. Lots of head tossing, which is distracting, but I worked really hard to keep my elbows supple.

When it started to thunder, then lightening, then rain, I figured we’d head in. But Sarah kept us jumping. And I was so nervous about the weather I wasn’t helping Macy at all. But, we kept at it, I worked on sitting up, shoulders back, sternum out, and we had a couple of lovely jumps before calling it a night.

Macy is definitely getting me to be a better rider. She can be aggravating as all hell, but when she’s good, she has a lot of wisdom to share and I really enjoy those moments.

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So, for now, it’s two lessons a week on her with me getting her out by lunging or round penning. It seems to be working for now, and we’ll continue to see what the future holds for this partnership.

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Saying No To Your Dream Horse

I’ve hemmed and hawed about even writing this post. You see, I’ve been keeping a little secret from you all, and now that it’s all said and done I wasn’t sure I even needed to write about it. But, I will. Mostly because it will be cathartic to put it out into bloggerland and close this chapter.

When I let people know Georgie was injured and no longer competing with me, I got a lot of very sweet emails and lots of people reached out letting me know about possible horses for me.

What I didn’t expect, was for the folks in Ireland who I had ridden with, to contact me and see if it would be possible for me to purchase Buttons, the horse I had absolutely fallen in love with over there. (you can read about him here) At first I was like “yeah, right.” But the more we talked, the more I realized this could actually, amazingly, possibly, happen. They were being incredibly kind and generous and wanted Buttons in a good home, so were willing to work with me to see how we could make it happen. I started to freak out a little and imagined Buttons being here with me. OMG it would be a dream come true!!!

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Buttons. Look how happy I look!

What it all came down to was the cost of shipping him to the States. They agreed to look into it and they mentioned that without an agent, shipping costs could be drastically reduced.

I know nothing about the cost of shipping horses overseas, except that it wasn’t cheap. I decided to set a budget for myself so that I wouldn’t get carried away with getting Buttons if I really couldn’t afford it. At the top end of my budget, I could have the horse, and pay his board, but I wouldn’t have any money to compete or really take regular lessons for about a year. But, at that moment in time I didn’t care, because THIS WAS MY DREAM HORSE.

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More Buttons and I looking very happy together

So, we began working on looking into shipping costs. Unfortunately, the Shannon to Chicago route, which EN teased us with this past fall, never really took off. That would have been the far cheaper option, as Shannon was about 40 minutes from the barn Buttons was located at.  So, we’d have to haul the horse to Dublin and fly him to Chicago. Then, 3 days of quarantine. Then, I could drive 23 hours to go pick him up, and drive 23 hours home. This all sounded like it was NOT going to fit into my budget.

And it didn’t. Despite the folks at Dartfield working their pants off to get me a reasonable price, it was still far above my budget. The top end of my budget. Shipping horses can cost anywhere between $10-$20k I learned.

Yup. Let me break some of the steps down for you:

  1. Health cert, passport, blood work
  2. Transport to the airport
  3. Groom
  4. A shipping pallet is about 15k, and fits 3 horses. So, just to sit on the plane costs 5k per horse.
  5. Quarantine
  6. Transportation from airport home

Even with the most economical option we could find, and with people being incredibly generous, it would cost me $10k to get Buttons home.

I was now $7k over my stretched budget.

There was no way I could make this work, even with both the shipper and the seller offering to take payments.  I’d be paying this horse off for over a year, and literally doing nothing but paying off the horse. Like, I would be sweating every single payment and trying to make it work. Yeah. No. Can’t justify that.

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So, I called Sarah just to make sure I was making the right decision and she agreed. Goodbye Buttons.

The folks at Dartfield  were so amazingly nice and tried so hard to make this work out. I felt horrible having to tell them no, after how much work they put into it.

So, the last two weeks have been an emotional roller coaster. From EXCITED to sad to EXCITED to sad. I almost felt a sense of relief when I sent the final “I’m sorry I can’t make it work” email. As sad as I was, I knew I could move on and not set my hopes on this horse any longer.

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Maybe one day I’ll get my dream Irish horse. Maybe not. I can’t live in the “maybe” and it’s so not my personality to dwell.

With Buttons behind me, I’m ready to move on to the next option. I’m really, really, excited about a baby I am going to check out next week. She’s not Irish, but she has a great pedigree and I think she could be a great fit for me. As I said to Sarah when I was weighing the options of Buttons or this baby horse , neither is a bad option. I’d be lucky to have either, despite how different they are. So, even though I am down to the one option, instead of two, I think this one can make me equally as happy and make it much easier for me financially. And if baby horse is the option I go with, I’m also looking into options to keep riding and even competing this season, as that has been the hardest part for me- not having something to consistently hop on.

So many options! I’ll keep you posted as they go from options to decisions.

 

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Happy New Year Shenanigans

At my more mature age, New Years Eve means very little to me. However, I have this weird superstition about New Year’s Day. I believe that the way I spend the day determines how the rest of the year will go. Now, deep down, I know this is ridiculous. But in the moment, I really believe it. So, the most important thing for me on New Year’s Day, is to spend the day creating happiness.

I think I did a good job this year and I think that if today really has any impact on the rest of the year, it’s going to be a great year.

The highlight was probably when I “forced” Sarah to ride this morning. Last week she had reluctantly agreed to ride in a fun “exercise” I had planned.Today Sarah was KINDA a good sport about it. To be fair, it was zero degrees outside, she had been feeding horses in the cold, and the idea of coming in and having to do what I say, was not all that appealing. After a brief hissy fit that only friends who are more like sisters can have, she decided to indulge me and give it a go.

I had created a game of sorts. It started with trivia questions centered around Georgie and eventing. If she got the trivia question right, great. We moved to the next question. But get the question wrong, and she had to execute a skill of sorts. Skills got more challenging as the game went on. (The first skill was helping me decide if the dressage saddle I was trying was a good fit on Georgie.)

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Straightforward jump to begin with

By the end, I had Sarah and her horse, Rapid, jumping some scary stuff!

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Even Georgie thought this was the strangest thing I’ve asked her to jump

The final jump was the above oxer with a cow the ropers practice on in the middle of it. Rapid had a good look at the oxer and wasn’t sure about it, but decided she would give it a try.

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Rapid thought this jump was ridiculous and needed a bigger challenge

At this point in the morning I was thinking of how well all of this was going. Rapid and Sarah were having fun and I was laughing a lot at some of Sarah’s answers to my Georgie-centric trivia questions. (i.e “What is Georgie’s nickname?” “Pigpen” Yup, that’s right. It’s also Georgina though, but it speaks volumes that Pigpen was first in Sarah’s mind…)

So, all was going well as Sarah trotted Rapid up to the oxer. Rapid stopped as if to say “no thanks” and then decided that if she jumped high enough the cow wouldn’t be able to get her.

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Scope.

I freaked out, but shouldn’t have. Rapid got herself over the oxer in true Lipizzaner form.

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Nicely done, Rapid

And major props to Sarah for staying on. The next time around, it looked like this:

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After a fun morning of quizzing and challenging Sarah, it was time for me to get Georgie over the jumps. We had a fun, albeit short ride, where she gamely jumped any thing I asked of her. Even cows in the middle of oxers.

The next adventure of the day was getting myself and my two dogs out for a run. It was a bluebird day, and had warmed up a bit, and we all enjoyed getting out in the fresh air. I once again appreciated living in such a beautiful place. And having two moderately well-behaved dogs that I love so much.

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They’re kinda naughty but so cute. Photo from this summer when the river was enjoyable to be in.

And the last part of the day involved cleaning house, calling those I miss and care about, and just realizing how great a life I have.

I’m so excited for 2017 and all the adventures that await!

Happy New Year!

 

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2017 Goals

Hoping everyone had a very happy holiday season! If nothing else, the holidays are a great time to reconnect with family and friends and it marks the end of one year and sets in the hope and excitement of what’s to come.

So, here we go. Looking forward to a new year, new season and new habit of setting goals. Lets see how well I am able to stick to them and get them accomplished!

I’ve separated my goals into three categories. Personal, Riding and Competing. Day to day riding is very different to me than competing is, and I don’t want to lose focus of that by just setting goals that are competition based.

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I want to enjoy these views more

Personal Goals:

  1. I decided on this one while on my run this morning… Do a 10k. At first I was like “sign up and finish a 10k race” but to be honest, I’m not sure I want to enter a race and spend the money. So, my goal has been revised to just getting a 10k done. By July.
  2. Remain fit and continue to make fitness and health a priority. I’m 10 pounds into a 20 pound weight loss, but I want to make sure I don’t lose sight of staying fit. Being active makes me happy.
  3. Balance your personal life with your equestrian life. I want to hike more. I want to say yes to more things that aren’t horse related. While still being a dedicated equestrian. Let me know if this is unrealistic… 😉

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Riding Goals:

  1. Be able to do trot sets for 15 minutes in jumping position by the end of the winter. I think I can do this one. It’s just a matter of getting out there and getting it done. I can be pretty lazy about trot sets.
  2. When I ride, remember to ask more of Georgie in each ride. I need to stop being complacent as to where we are at in our training. She’s at the point where I can ask and expect more of her. And I should.
  3. Sometimes, just enjoy the ride. Go for a hack. Explore a new trail. Don’t make it all about training all the time.
  4. Get the most out of each ride. If I’m going to work on jumping, how about I work on multiple things, rather than just one thing. If I am going to ride for 30 minutes, how about I spend those entire 30 minutes working….
  5. Enjoy stadium jumping. Figuring out a way to keep my brain from spinning out of control would be awesome.

 

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Competition Goals:

  1. Go Prelim at a recognized event. I have to make this a goal since it’s on the table now.
  2. Let Georgie jump the tables. I need to just let her jump out of stride at a gallop. Even if at first it feels uncomfortable and makes me wince a little.
  3. In each element of the competition, give Georgie a thoughtful ride. In dressage, think about your next movement, on xc, think about the next fence and how to approach it, and in stadium jumping, just think. I think that if I can do this, we are going to be a really successful pair.
  4. Have fun at the competitions. This hasn’t ever been a problem, but if it becomes one, I think it is time for me to hang up my hat.
  5. Do not care about where you placed. Look back at the competition and think about how your rides made you feel as a rider. You are only competing with yourself. Sometimes a high or low score can dictate how I feel about a ride. And it really shouldn’t. I have no idea where those other riders are in their training, or what their expectations are for themselves. I can and should only concentrate on my ride with my horse.

So there we go. While I’ll admit my goals aren’t as specific as they might be for some people, I think they give me something to work on and something to achieve.

So, HAPPY NEW YEAR and let’s go have fun with our ponies!

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