dancing horses

dancing horses

Sunday, January 7, 2024

2023 Performance Review

 Well it's that time of year again. Winter has landed and this leaves me with time to reflect on my goals from last year and to plan out this year.  Not that anything is ever guaran.....


Me: Yes Carmen. 

Carmen: Well it occurs to me that you are in a conflict of interest- doing the performance review on yourself. 


Carmen: I mean, it's much more useful coming from an outside source, don't you think? And as. your partner I think I'm in the best position to provide the feedback. So it's settled.  

Quaid:  What about me? Don't I get to have some input? 

Carmen:  not yet, you are too young. So settle down skippy. Now, let's see what we have here. 

#1: 'Figure out what it means to be retired'.

Carmen:   Well we all know how that worked out. I think you should return to work. 

Me: But, but, I think I did really well. I've read a lot of books and got lots of riding in. 

Carmen: Exactly. Far too much riding if you ask me. Clearly you need something to occupy your time. 

Me: Can I just point out that I also had a lot more time to serve you and both of us are in better shape then we've been in years?  Also, next year I'll have two horses to ride and that should take some pressure off of you.......so.....

Carmen:  Okay, you do have a point with that. Okay, let's trial it for one more year. You can be on retirement probation. 

#2: Continue to work on keeping Carmen with me rather than making her own decisions

Me: I am quite pleased with this one. I feel that we are communicating much better and I have become more clear in my aids and sticking to the plan. 

Carmen: I see your point but you do recognise that this is supposed to be a partnership and I should not be stifled. 

Me: Not stifled, just not blowing up because you're tired and a bird flew by. 

case in point

Carmen: you really do not appreciate it when I save. your life. 

Me: But we had far more good moments this year then bad. In fact you were magnificent. Look at our success at the shows. 

Carmen: Well that is true. I was pretty good wasn't I? 

#3. Show as much as possible

Me: Well we did two. Having some unexpected vet bills made me cut back on some plans. 

Carmen:  Which is more than enough really. 

Me: But we did so well at our shows and at 2nd Level. I was really happy with how we grew from one show to the next. 

Carmen: I was really happy that you began to trust me and loosen up a bit. 

#4: Support Quaid in becoming a grown up horse. 

Quaid: This is me! I get to talk about this! I did really well this year. After such a terrible start. I never want to do that again. 

Me: The beginning was hard on all of us, but it was a great year for both of us. You are pretty solid with: 

  • lunging
  • ground driving
  • playing with flags, tarps etc
  • self-loading
  • hanging out a shows (still need work on Carmen leaving)
  • being tacked up
  • standing while being mounted and dismounted
  • and being ridden. Even trotted for one whole circle. 

such a rock star and baby genius

#5: Work on my riding skills: independence of Seat and Hand

Me: We should probably let Jane weigh in here but I think that I have improved a lot. 

Carmen: I will agree that you are much less annoying than you were. Not that there's not still a lot to work on. But I do appreciate the consistency and that you try. 

Me:  Thanks! I know that being fitter has definitely helped. And having Jane's help was critical. 

Carmen: I do like Jane. I'm not always sure why because she makes me work really hard but she also appreciates me for the magnificent mare I am. And she makes you easier to carry around. 

#6 Have Fun with the Horses

Me: We had a lot of fun this year, didn't we? Obstacle clinics, riding clinics, shows. Playing with liberty, travelling together as a little family? 

Carmen: hmmm

Quaid:  I had a fun summer. Lots of people to meet and play with. It was great. Can we do more next year? I'm kinda bored now. 

Carmen: be careful what you wish for kid. She's got that look in her eye again.


  1. I wish you all the best with your goals for 2024. Enjoy the journey together, Carmen and you.

  2. Looks like you're going to have another wonderful year with your horses. That's a great way to enjoy your retirement and have fun. I bet you will do all of this and more. Happy New Year!

    1. Thank you. I know we can’t predict all that will happen but we can’t let that stop us from making plans.

  3. What a year it turned out to be for you guys— esp after the awful start with Quaid’s injury! Congrats and can’t wait to see what comes next :D

    1. It was a memorable year for sure. Same for you too. I’m looking forward to this year.

  4. Really well done this year! And I love the Carmen and Quaid input :)

  5. Great post! had me smiling. Love Carmen's commentary. First year of retirement seems to have gone very well, maybe even begrudging approval from Carmen the Magnificent. 2024 should be even better, particularly looking forward to what you do with Quaid this year.

    1. Glad I gave you a smile! I’m looking forward to Quaid as well

  6. Cute graphics. Love how active and varied you are with your horses!! You have a great plan. I got a chuckle out of #1.

    There are endless possibilities of things to do and enjoy in life. No clue how people get bored in/out retirement. Guessing you are either busier than before or perhaps have not settled into a schedule. Whatever you are trying to figure out about retirement will come to you. If not, ask Carmen & Quaid :)

    1. I am still playing with different things. I don’t know how people can be bored either.

  7. It was a really big year for you! So much growth with both horses, not to mention retirement!

  8. Retirement probation 🤣🤣🤣

    I love this format for your performance review. Genius.


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