Friday, October 1, 2010

Goals Check-In

The jumping lesson last night was a very interesting mix of good and bad. I've got video of a couple rounds, so I'll be sure to put that up soon. For one, it was HOT and MUGGY - McKinna was warm and almost damp when I unloaded her from the trailer, let alone started working. By the time we were done she actually had tracks down her legs where the sweat had run down. Gross.

She was just a bit sluggish, I think because of the heat, and I could tell she just didn't have as much gas in the tank as usual. So we skipped the usual flatwork, just w/t/c both directions and then straight into jumping, and we didn't jump as long as usual. We started by being completely unable to find a good distance. I couldn't get her to give me a good canter; it was too quick but not powerful, or too slow and still not powerful.

Eventually we got things figured out, I'm not sure how, and McKinna gave me a little more energy to work with. We did some coursework over fences that were pretty much all 3'+, including one vertical that was at least 3'3 and two portable XC fences Devin moved into her arena. I'm pleased to say that we got some beautiful work, including many more perfect distances than in the past. Even our not-so-perfect distances were better, thanks to me slowly learning how to ride properly! I think the lesson would have been even better if it wasn't so dang hot, but you work with what you have, and I was really pleased with McKinna for digging deep and giving me the energy and power we needed even though she was a bit tired. The entire lesson lasted maybe 40 minutes, but it was a good one. Afterward I hosed her down with cool water and she perked right up at the sight of a few sugar cubes.

I think I may make her clip a little bigger tonight to prepare for XC schooling tomorrow. It's supposed to be in the 70s. I think I'll take it higher on her neck and maybe zip most of the long hair off her butt too. The other nice thing is that we're starting around 10 tomorrow, and it's been quite cool in the mornings before heating up in the afternoon - so hopefully we'll avoid the worst of the heat.

On another note, considering it's, um, October, and we're only three months away from the new year...what do you say we check in on the goals?

For your reviewing pleasure, here they are:

1. Pass C-2 rating in Pony Club
2. Master Novice-level eventing
2b. Begin to school some Training-level eventing
3. Clean tack consistently
4. Get a dressage saddle that fits Pandora and me
5. Kill the Judge Stand Monster for Pandora
6. Stick to a fitness schedule for myself
7. Take monthly progress reports

So - number one is ACHIEVED. I passed my C-2 back in May. The Horse Management stuff was a breeze, and McKinna cheerfully skipped around a light XC course despite the fact that she hadn't done any XC since the previous year. Good pony. The take-away message: we need to be able to establish relaxation, free forward movement, and connection more consistently for the next rating. Gridwork was great.

Second: master Novice-level eventing. In hindsight, 'master' isn't the best word, but it's the best I could think of. What I meant was, "feel like we can go out and ride a tough Novice event successfully, with a solid performance in each round that I can feel good about." You can see that 'master' fits a lot better in a list! Ultimately, I think we've achieved this goal. It's not about the scores, though we were doing great at Inavale until our untimely demise by piano. It's about feeling like we could go out and tackle any Novice event and have a good, solid performance in all three phases. The fences, combinations, and questions look friendly and easy to me. The dressage test is completely within our current abilities.

So, I'm calling that one passed.

Goal 2b, begin to school some Training stuff, is definitely in progress. I'm not going to call it finished yet, though. In our dressage lessons, we have slowly but steadily begun to work on leg yield, shoulders-in, more connection at all gaits, and other elements that will come into play at Training level. In my jumping lessons we've begun to push the height, so that now the majority of the fences are set at 3' and we're starting to work with some stuff in the 3'3 range. I haven't had a chance to school very much Training-level XC, but I did a few Training fences and the coffin complex at Inavale at the camp in May, and tomorrow I plan to school a lot of Training questions. So it's safe to say that this goal is well under way.

Goal 3 - fail! I have not been cleaning my tack with any sort of consistency, unless you count really good cleaning right before rallies or shows (which I don't count). So, to get back on track, I'm going to bring a sponge out to the barn. If I can just wipe my stuff off with a damp sponge after every ride with the occasional deeper cleaning and conditioning, I'll be willing to declare victory.

Goal 4 - was achieved! Somewhere along the line I found a Thornhill Pro Trainer dressage saddle that fit her beautifully. It was a pleasure to set that saddle on her back every day. Actually, my TOTD jumping saddle fit her spectacularly too. I sold both of the saddles with her. I was sad to see them go - I like those saddles! But I'd rather she has stuff that fits her.

Goal 5 is not really applicable anymore, since I sold Pandora in early May. I don't think I fully accomplished it by the time I sold her, but I never really had a chance to test it! I will say that her dressage progressed by leaps and bounds, and I think I had enough improvement in my control that the JSM would have been greatly reduced. So, I guess the jury's out on this goal.

Goal 6, stick to a fitness schedule for myself: another spectacular fail. I really haven't done anything. I'm fairly fit because I walk around a lot and I work hard in my lessons, but come on. So, I've weaseled workouts into my regular routine this term and I'm determined to get something done at least 3 days a week. Tuesdays I'll do strength training at home; Wednesday, Thursday, and/or Friday are all days I plan to get to the UO's rec center and play with some cardio machines. And the rock wall. I'll let you know how this one goes...I tend to have so much going on in my life that I let this one slip, but I'd really like to do SOMETHING. If I can consistently work out twice a week, I'm willing to call this goal accomplished.

Goal 7, take monthly progress reports - well. Considering this is the first goals check-in, I think that one is also a fail ;) However, I've been keeping you guys updated on our training progress, so it's not entirely an unmet goal. I don't know if I like this goal anymore, so I may not try to accomplish it between now and January.

So there you have it - an updated goals list! Trust me, my little brain is already chipping away at my goal list for next year. It'll be a good one...


SprinklerBandit said...

4/7 for high goals is pretty good.

How hot is it? It's like 90 in the afternoons here and I LOVE it.

Hurricanes12 said...

good work, killing the judge stand monster made me laugh!
and what a sweetie mckinna is! my horse packs a sad everytime the weather gets nice and warm, so we have to ride first thing in the mornings!

your lesson sounded fun :)

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