Without further ado:
The big goals are to get to more competitions than last year, successfully move up to Training level, and to pass my C3 in August. Luckily, Training level and C3 level are basically the same thing, so all my goals are generally pointing in the same direction: make our dressage better and more consistent, become familiar with Training-esque XC questions, and make our stadium jumping bigger and more complex. Nothing to it! ;)
The Smaller Goals are a pretty big collection of things, but mostly they are aimed at pieces of the Big Goals and thus they'll be worked into my monthly goals, which I am definitely going to do this year. The idea is that if I complete all the Smaller Goals, then the Big Goals will just follow naturally.
(Side note: sometime over this autumn, I told Leslie that I *really* wanted to be able to canter McKinna down the long side of her arena, straight, without having to floor the accelerator just to make it down without breaking to a trot. We officially did this in our lesson last weekend! STRAIGHT, balanced, and we didn't have to rush. Mini-goal accomplished!)
- Complete at least one HT at Training level (preferably recognized)
- Pass my C3 in August
- Complete at least 2 recognized HTs
- Consistently work on my own fitness
- Develop and follow a regular conditioning plan for McKinna
- Able to maintain a soft, balanced, relaxed canter with connection (especially away from home)
- Score above 55% at a First Level (USDF) or Training Level (USEA) dressage test at a schooling show
- Complete clear rounds at or above 3'3 at H/J schooling shows
- Comfortably, competently school 3'6 in lessons
- Corollary: if all is going well, do some 3'6 rounds at schooling shows??
- Without stirrups: be able to ride 30+ minutes and jump over a 3' grid, without loss of basic balanced position
- Be able to get on an unfamiliar horse and have a productive flat session and confident, smooth stadium course at 3'
- Develop confidence and familiarity with Training-level XC questions
- School a few straightforward Prelim fences
- Practice longeing enough that I am 100% comfortable doing it the Pony Club way in an arena that's not mine
Whew, that's quite the handful of little goals. Don't worry, I'm pretty sure I can get them all done. Let's take a look at how those are going to fit in, month by month!
Also, Leslie has left for California for the dressage show season down there, and she will be gone until April. Sad face. On the plus side, we've been doing hardcore dressage work for the last several months and we've made tons of progress, so now I will be focusing on jumping for awhile.
Finally, I'm going to do something a little different with the monthly goals this year. I usually have a pretty solid idea of what my goals are for the next several months, but at 4-5 months out things start getting hazy and I end up changing the goals around a lot as I get there. So I'm only going to set my goals through April for right now. (Yes, I know that's only 3 months.) In April, I will take stock of where I am at on my Smaller Goals list, listen to the feedback I get at the Upper Level Prep clinic, and develop my goals list for May through July or August.
I think this will help keep my goals more focused and relevant, as well as keep me checking in more often. So here you go!
No-stirrups month! I am going to spend a LOT of time this month working no stirrups in my jumping saddle. Now that I've finished up with my 30 days on my barn owner's young mare (successfully started under saddle and w/t/c off leg and dressage whip, with no bucking!), I have a LOT more time to work on McKinna, so we'll be getting back into the swing of things.
End of Month:
- my fitness (check in)
- developed a conditioning plan for this season
- can ride 30m stirrupless on flat with little to no loss of position
- taken at least 1 jumping lesson
- completed one clear round at 3'3 at JJPC schooling show
- focused dressage work on getting McKinna to reach forward to the bit at all times
- contacted 2 people about practicing my switch rides on their horse
My last free and open month until the fall, pretty much! I'll be using this time to get myself organized, enjoy a little more down time, and then start revving up for the season. In jumping lessons, I really want to work on McKinna accepting my leg, and the two of us growing more powerful and confident over big fences.
End of Month:
- my fitness (check in)
- begun to implement conditioning plan (and actually take vital signs!)
- taken at least 2 jumping lessons and jumped at least a couple fences at 3'6
- ridden at least 2x/week with no stirrups on the flat
- worked over small (2'6 and lower) fences and grids with no stirrups
- completed 2 switch rides
- practiced longeing in Leslie's arena
- focused dressage work on maintaining stretch over topline while doing lateral work and transitions
Things start to heat up a little with the Show Jumping Rally and an Upper Level Prep. I should feel like we're really making progress on the goals, building my and McKinna's fitness and confidence up, and by the time I get to the Prep in the middle of the month I want to feel like we've made huge progress since the last Prep in January.
End of Month:
- my fitness
- continued conditioning plan
- continued no-stirrups work
- clear rounds at SJ rally! (will be doing the up to 3'3 division, with jumpoff to 3'6)
- taken my goals and conditioning plan to UL prep for feedback
- checked progress toward Big Goals via feedback at UL prep
- practiced longeing at least once
- ridden 3 horses for switch ride practice (at least 1 over fences)
Well, there you have it. What do you think? Any goals that need to be revised a little? I am sure I'll mess with things as I go - you always have to adjust along the way. But with how my rides have been going lately, I'm feeling really excited for this season! I think it's all well within our grasp.