I was looking over my short term goals that I had listed under the 'Goals' tab on the blog homepage and I decided that the timeframe I gave myself to complete those goals is pretty much up. So I figured I would list them and go over them to see what I accomplished and what I did not.
Goal 1: Compete Well In The Jumpers This Year
Check! Funnily enough, all I meant by this was to jump around calm and clear. I never dreamed of doing as well as we did this year!
Goal 2: Perfect Walk-Canter-Walk Transitions And Counter-Canter
Ehh. Well, the walk to canter is pretty much perfected. We still have to work really hard to get anything slightly resembling canter-walk. However, in Ben's defense, I hardly ever work on canter-walk so it truly is my fault that he isn't better at them by now. I think if I had been working on those as religiously as I had been working on walk-canter, he'd have perfected those too. As for counter-canter... far from perfected. It was really coming along until I taught him his changes. He now sees no need for counter canter. No matter how hard I try to get him to keep his lead, he changes. So we're working on that... He can pick up either lead from the walk, he just won't keep the counter canter for more than a few strides before changing. We'll figure it out!
Goal 3: Start Teaching Ben His Changes
Well we started and finished. He's got them down now. We even did three-tempis down the diaganol the other day. (Not very prettily but whose complaining?) So this goal is a big fat check as well.
Goal 4: Show Dressage At First Level
This goal really should have gone in Mid-Term Goals, and I am putting it there now because my dressage trainer doesn't even show in the winter. I am not entirely sure why I put it in the Short-Term Goals in the first place. We have been working on a few movements from the First Level tests, but have not even come close to showing it.
Goal 5: Get More Consistent In Dressage Work
CHECK! Seriously, this just started to come together and I can't even explain how excited I am about it. We have worked so long and so hard and to finally be able to feel like he really knows what he is doing is amazing. He has been absolutely fantastic the past couple of weeks and I am so excited for show season. I really believe that we are ready to step it up this season.
Goal 6: Stay Motivated Throughout The Winter
Check. There were only very few times when I felt like I had nothing to do and didn't feel like riding. And when that happened I just thought about how lucky I was to have such a mild winter and have such a nice ring to ride in. Then I would pull out some book, find something to work on that looked interesting, and trudge on. I thought it would be a lot more difficult to keep up the motivation for the entire winter.
Goal 7: Really Work On Building An Uphill Canter With A Steady But Forward Rhythm
This is not a complete check but we're almost there. He has a pretty decent canter for the first few transitions up, but then he gets tired and starts to fall apart. Which is fine for now, he'll start to build up the muscles to hold himself up for longer periods and in the mean time, I just have to know that we can't do too much cantering in the warm up before a test. His canter is definitely more uphill, he is definitely more consistent in his frame, and he bends fairly nicely to the left. The right bend is a little sticky but we've been overcoming that issue. He does still struggle a bit with keeping a quiet rhythm without "trantering" and losing the purity of the gait. I do a lot of forward and back when this happens which seems to help a lot. So this goal is still a work in progress, but is coming along nicely.
Goal 8: Jump A Lot Of Gymnastics This Winter
I wouldn't say that we jumped A LOT of gymnastics this winter. We did some, and we did other exercises to improve his jumping like placing poles and the like, but I probably didn't do as much as I originally intended to do when I wrote that goal.
So, overall, I think we did fairly well at accomplishing our Short Term Goals and I think we had a very successful winter. I will be updating the goals because now, most of the Mid Term Goals will end up being Short Term Goals.
I threw together a short little video of our jump school the other day. The jump school was from last Wednesday, the 4th. He was a saint and saved my butt numerous times because I kept burying the poor thing into every single fence. He is so honest! Jumps ranged from 2'6" to 3'3". I had a 2'9" one stride which he helped me out of A LOT. The first time I buried him and he jumped crooked, and actually just ended up jumping over the blocks of the second fence (!), the second time he just couldn't get his legs out of the way and took the whole jump with him, third time he made it out clear even though I completely buried him yet again, and the final time we went through was actually really decent. Buried him into the 3'3" so he jumped it really badly over his shoulder but somehow still managed to clear it, and he got a bit close to the oxer everytime (which was about 2'9" high, 3' wide) but jumped it well enough anyway. So not the prettiest thing you will ever watch but its the first time we've jumped a course over 2'6" in quite a while.
Today we're off to cross country school. It will be the debut of the Point Two vest and I am hoping NOT to inflate it! I also got my helmet cam up and running yesterday but still haven't decided if I will wear it today or not because I really hate the helmet that it is attached to. I would love to have the footage, but can't decide if its worth it. We shall see!
As always, thanks for reading!