dancing horses

dancing horses

Friday, December 28, 2018

That's a Wrap : 2018 Goal Review

Last year I set some goals for 2018 and I guess it's time to review how they went.

Shows: I planned to do four shows and I ended up doing five: 2 schooling shows and three Bronze. I actually did show at First Level and it was definitely the right choice for us. The first half of the season was way better then the second but I'm blaming that on ulcers. The results:

one of my favourite photos from the season

June 11/12: Bronze
First Level 1 scores: 62.96 (Sat), 63.52 (Sun)
First Level 2 scores: 63.59 (Sat), 64.53 (Sun)

Take aways: Ask and expect more from Carmen. We can recover from bobbles and it's not the end of the world.

July 9/10: Scotia Series Show (schooling show)
First Level 1 scores: 64.81 (Sat), 65.92(Sun)
First Level 2 scores: 67.03 (Sat),  72.34 (Sun)

Take Aways: again keep riding no matter what. Forget everything else. Also that a judge's comments can make me cry (in a good way): "Love your partnership"

July 28/29: Bronze Show
First Level 1 scores: 62.96 (Sat), 64.815 (Sun)
First Level 2 scores: 64.219 (Sat),  60.938 (Sun)

Take Aways: I can camp and show at the same time but I don't get much sleep. Always, always check your scores (the show committee listed me at 57 when I had a 64! And most importantly, it is possible to have a spook free show with Carmen. I actually scored a 9!

August 4/5: Scotia Series Show (schooling show)
I can't remember my scores and I didn't write them down. I'm also too lazy to go and get my sheets. However, Sunday was a disaster and I actually had to scratch my last test. I was so very frustrated. Now, in retrospect, I think she was starting with her ulcers and that made everything worse.

Take Aways: It's okay to scratch sometimes. Horses can make you cry. I suspect that the two shows back to back were too much stress and resulted in the ulcers. Not that I won't do that again, but I will take more precautions.

September 1/2: Bronze Show - first show trying Test 3
First Level 2 scores: 57.97 (Sat), 59.22 (Sun)
First Level 3 scores: 58,53 (Sat),  62.21 (Sun)

Take aways: sometimes judge's comments sound mean (even if not intended). Spurs are my friend. Sometimes you have to forget the judge and everything and just ride the horse. Also, it's clear to me now that Carmen was hurting and trying to tell me so.

Looking back there's a clear line between when Carmen was okay and when she was not. It would be easy to blame myself for not noticing. In my defence, it's not like these were new behaviours for Carmen. I just thought that they were resurfacing. Now I know better and can do better. I have adjusted her diet and have some plans to reduce her acid when we travel to help prevent the ulcers from coming again.

I'm glad that I showed as much as I did. I had a lot of fun (well mostly) with my friends.

Riding Goals:

  • I want to further improve my seat so that I can stay both relaxed and effective in the saddle: This is getting better. It still takes conscious effort but not as much as before. I suspect that I will always be working on this. 
  • I want to fix my tendency to want to 'coast' and expect her to carry me. Instead I want to be giving her direction so that she doesn't feel abandoned and then make bad decisions. This is much much better. I am thinking about what she needs and how to help her. 
  • Let go of the rein. Better but still really hard. I feel so much better when there's weight in my inside rein.
  • Increase awareness of my body and it's impact on how she's going. This is way better. I'm better at keeping her under me and myself over her. Again, I suspect that this goal will always be here- just hopefully getting more refined. 

Carmen Goals:
  • Go forward of the leg. Not fast- forward, reaching from behind. 
  • Keep her attention on me and not on all the things that are obviously waiting to kill her. 
  • Develop her trust in me in new situations so that we can have successful shows/clinics etc. 
  • NO MORE SPOOKING BETWEEN E AND C. This is huge for us. 
  • Develop her push from behind so that she can collect/lengthen
All of these are coming. At least they were before the wheels fell off. We'll get it back though. It's already much improved. I'm keeping the faith on this one. 

I'm happy with how many lessons I managed to get in with Shanea this year. I never said no unless I was going to be away. And it paid off. I learned that starting with lessons even before we were back in shape helped us to start off the right way. I loved the clinics I did: especially the trail clinic. Definitely doing more of that next year. 

I do love the trail stuff

Fun Stuff:
We definitely did a lot of fun things this year. From hacking out with Nancy, to having my friends bring their horses to my place. I didn't get to Karen's too much this year but hopefully that will change in the new year.

I keep asking Ed to make me a bull. I think he thinks I'm joking.....

So that was our year in review (at least in light of our goals). I'm glad that I managed to stick with my goals. I learned a lot this year- about Carmen, about myself and about how we work together. I don't know what she would have to say about the last year but likely it would be 'let's just eat and do fun stuff, 'k?  

The ulcers were a hard lesson but I'm thinking she has forgiven me. The other day I came home from work and she was staring at me. I went and got changed and she stared at me again, giving a soft nicker. I walked the dogs and when I got back she nickered loudly. So I went in to the paddock and she came up to me. Irish started to come over too and she pinned her ears. I stood between them and gave Irish a pat while she wuffled my hair (wuffling: when a horse snorts gently into your hair making it messy). For whatever reason, we are tied together and I don't know that I could sell her even if I wanted to. 


  1. You guys had quite the year. I am glad things are back on track. You guys make such a wonderful pair :)

  2. I think all in all you reached a lot of your goals and should be proud of yourself and Carmen. This year can only get better and better! She is beautiful and talented and I agree that she's your girl and isn't going anywhere.

    1. Well things are going well these days. Here comes 2019!

  3. it's crazy to me how true the idiom "hindsight is 20/20" is with horses.... like there are so so SO many times with charlie where a behavior confused and confounded me in real time, but then in looking back it's easy to trace to a specific physical problem or tack fit issue. i always kick myself bc in retrospect it was "obvious," but.... realistically it's just so hard to tell in real time. i'm so glad that with Carmen you figured out that issue was rooted in gastric distress, and that you've got a management plan that works for you both! bc aside from all that, there's so much to be proud of with how this year went for you guys!! congrats!

  4. Even with the ups and downs, you two really had a great year. It sounds like you've learned so much from Carmen and will be stepping into 2019 with your best feet and hooves forward! I can't wait to see where the new year takes you.


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