dancing horses

dancing horses

Friday, January 20, 2023

Victory Log- 2022 Goal Recap /2023 Plans

January has been very busy. I ended up cracking a rib doing some work with Quaid- totally not his fault. Julia was holding him and I wanted to lay over his back. He had on his surcingle and I kind of 'floofed' onto  him. Unfortunately one of the metal rings was sticking up and it crunched into my rib. I heard the crunch and felt the pain. I slid off. Are you okay? Julia asked. I just need a minute.  I caught my breath and then did it again. Not hitting the rib again but still not good. Honestly, I treat my body like it's still 20. Anyway, it was very painful for a week and now is just cranky. But that kept me out of the saddle. Then Ed finally had his heart surgery that he's been waiting for. It was a valve repair and, while serious, not life threatening. He's home now and recovering. The last few weeks have been a lot and I just didn't have time to blog. I am definitely overdue on my goal recap. 

 I need to give credit to Jane for the blog title. She is writing a paper for her students on goal setting. She asked us to get started by thinking about what we accomplished last year. 

"In the meantime a great exercise is to write down your achievements in 2022. Be specific. Was your passion renewed? What did you learn? New movements? New understanding of the sport? Did you discover that you are a capable rider. What struggle did you overcome? These are just thoughts to get you started. "

I love the phrase 'victory log' so I stole it. Also, who doesn't love a coach who is so invested in her students not matter their horse, riding level or show aspirations.  The detailed goals can be found here: https://journeywithadancinghorse.blogspot.com/2022/01/playing-with-fire-2022-goals.html if you want the fine detail. 

1. Unlock Carmen gaits: definitely better. We are not shuffling around anymore and I have become more confident in sticking to the plan of forward.  I might not always get it but I'm not shutting her down so there's that. 

2. Solidify 2nd level movements: So much better, especially her SI and HI. The lengthens are coming with a lot farther to go. I wouldn't say that we're a solid 2nd level but we could do a test and not only not die but have a reasonable score. 

3. Improve my riding skills- definitely better. I am more balanced and softer. Having regular coaching and using the PIVO have definitely helped. I can sit her canter so much better and independently move my shoulders and hands. I can get my butt in the saddle so that it's sitting there and not tight (which pops me out of the saddle). 

4. Push my comfort zones- I probably could have pushed more but we did go to a show and I was not conservative about it. I definitely could have hauled to more places. 

But we did go to a few places

5. Improve my partnership with Carmen. I'm calling that a win. We play a lot with liberty and she really likes it. Under saddle she will challenge at times but I don't have that sense of hitting a wall. With the exception of the show with the pigeon of doom. However, I learned a lot from that- thanks to Jane. Also recognising that at times Carmen throws some moves in to get me to back off. But now, thanks to Jane, I am more confident in what to do and stick to it. If all we are capable of doing is a 10 metre circle then we ride the crap out of that circle until we can move on. If, at this point, you think I'm being mean, let me share that there is a big difference in scared Carmen vs 'I don't wanna' Carmen. When she's frightened she looks to me and wants to investigate things. The I don't wanna Carmen looks for a way to deke and get out of work. Funnily enough, when we ride through all this she becomes happy in her work and just does it. Two photos from the same lesson. 

6. Improve my overall fitness: it's a bit of a mixed bag. I did well but work, chores, riding etc. I definitely improved my core. 

So overall I feel that I had a good year with Carmen. There were other things this year as well. Quaid arriving and Irish passing were big changes. 

It's a good time to think about my goals for this year.  

1. figure out what it means to be retired. I have been either working or in school since I was 15. I have no idea what it's like to not have that responsibility. So it will be interesting. But I am looking forward to having not riding be a choice rather than dictated because of work. I will, at some point, volunteer but I won't even think of that until fall. 

2. Continue to work on keeping Carmen with me rather than making her own decisions. This will require both mental and physical work on my part but that will be good. 

3. Show: there are more shows this year and I want to try to get to as many as possible. 

4. Support Quaid in becoming a grown up horse. The little guy will be three this May. I'd like to have him going under saddle and doing light work. I want to take him with us to shows so he can hang out without the pressure. 

He's definitely growing

5. Have fun with the horses. I want to take both of them to an Obstacle Clinic, do some hacking, maybe try something new. 

6. Work on my riding skills- increase independence of seat and hand, sit Carmen's trot and be able to ride with softness and no tension. 

Thursday, January 5, 2023

Giddy (and Up)

 While most of North America was in the grip of bitter cold temperatures, Nova Scotia escaped the worst of it. Our temperatures were pretty temperate for the time of year. We did get a cold snap for over Christmas but right after we had some pretty balmy temperatures. It was a lovely gift to have such warmth and sunshine. Ed even joked that he used to be jealous of those who lived in BC but now we seem to be getting the nicer weather (no offense to my BC friends). 

Nice to have this view in December

I have enjoyed some great rides out in the warmth and the sun. Even when it was cloudy it hasn't been bad. The ring is in great shape and I made the most of it. 

I also noticed that the back field was pretty green. So I decided to let them graze on it for a few hours each day. It has lead to a lot of excitement and glee from Carmen and Quaid. I may regret it in the spring when I have to repair some damage but it was worth it. 

Enjoying  a post ride graze (yes I leave the line
loose. No she doesn't run off. Yes she sometimes steps
on it but has figured out how to be careful). 

Carmen:  Coming in hot! Look out! 

Quaid: ooh that was impressive.

Quaid: what are you up to doggy? Can I come on the walk too? 

Carmen: Forget the mutts, c'mon! 

Quaid: wheee. Did you see mom? Did you see? Show my internet friends! HAI freinds!

Quaid: now get one of me looking Majestic AF.

Me: do you know what AF means? 

Quaid: of course- it means 'absolutely fabulous', 

Me: .....yes, you're right. Not super grammatical but it works. Okay. Aaand ACTION!

Carmen: I am AF too. 

Me: yes, yes you are. 

Today we're back to colder temperatures but that is okay. It is perfectly fine if winter starts in January rather than November. 

Galloping and looking majestic AF