2011 Goals

Thursday, January 13, 2011

So I've been thinking over my goals for the past couple of days.  I really want to try and be realistic about my goals this year, yet at the same time push myself.  So without further ado...

2011 Goals

  • Continue to push my boundaries with my own confidence issues
  • Move up to Training level with Kaye
  • Work on dressage with Kaye.  Become solid at First Level, schooling Second Level
  • Rehab Miss-keep her in work for as long as she wants/is comfortable
  • Work with Titus at the walk and trot.  Get him ready for walk/trot dressage this summer.  
  • Work with Twinkie both on the flat and over fences.  Get her going solidly under saddle.

Jan/Feb Goals
  • Ride more!
  • Begin to develop a show schedule
  • Start to budget for said show schedule
As you can see I'm not really planning much for January and February.  The weather is so unpredictable right now, and even though we have an indoor arena, it's still not always possible to ride.  My car is not good in the snow, so I can't always get out to the barn.  Plus when it gets very cold, Bonnie doesn't like to open the barn to go out to the arena.  So I'll just leave it as ride more, regardless of it being a lesson or just walking Miss when the weather cooperates.  


Denny's Horsemanship Goals Part 2

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

21)  Whatever your sport, learn its history, riders, horses and traditions.
I do know some of this, but I'd like to know more.  And the winter months are the perfect time to do some reading.
22)  Learn how to properly lunge a horse.  Know all about the requisite equipment.
Check!  I know how to lunge both with tack and with a surcingle.

23)  Understand that becoming a top rider and getting a college education are not incompatible goals.
While not a top rider, I do have a college education.

24)  Become involved, either as a volunteer, or paid, in helping to run shows or events.  The perspective from the other side is very different.
Check!  I have volunteered at South Farm, and most likely will volunteer again this summer.

25)  Learn how to work horses in long lines.
I actually want to start working my horse in long lines.

26)  Try and get the chance to be a scribe for a dressage judge.
Done.  I scribed for a very nice German judge at the Northwest PA Arab show a couple of years ago.

27)  Realize that you have years to attain your goals.
As frustrating as it is sometimes, I do understand this.

28)  See if you can get a job on a real ranch, doing real cattle work, sometime while it's still possible.

29)  Ride your horse all night, from dusk till dawn.
I would love to do this sometime.

30)  Go swimming with your horse.
Again I would love to do this.

31)  Teach your horse to jump into water.

32)  Learn to drive a tractor.
Done!  Drive the tractor all the time.

33)  Help with haying.
Done!  I've helped with every aspect of haying.  Mowing, raking, teting, baling, and stacking in the hay loft.

34)  Try to spend time with an equine veterinarian.  Learn lots of basics, lameness, colic, wound care, as much as possible, because sometimes it's just you and the horse until the vet arrives.
I do know some basic vet care from my trainer.  Basic wound care, colic, lameness that sort of thing.  but I need to learn more.

35)  NEVER think some manual labor type of task is beneath you.  ALL the greatest horsemen and women have a towering work ethic.  They can do everything on a horse farm.
I have done just about everything on the farm, haying, cleaning stalls, taking down cobwebs, anything that needs done.

36)  Teach your green babies that the "Ditch Troll" doesn't really eat them for lunch!  But be ready for the gravity defying launch, just in case!
My pony is actually pretty good at jumping ditches sanely.  But I'll get to see how a baby does in another year or so with Titus.

37)  Unlike most addictions, tackaholism isn't bad for your health, just your wallet.  Learn all about tack, how it fits, how it works, what's essential, and what probably isn't.  Especially learn about saddle fit, both for your horse, and for you.
Tackaholics anonymous please!  I do know about a lot of the basic equipment, but I would like to learn more than just the basics of saddle fit.

38)  Become the best ATHLETE you can be.  Use all sports to jump start your physical fitness and drive.

39)  Make sure the goals and dreams you pursue are truly YOURS, and not those of the sometimes pushy/needy adults around you.

40)  Totally take apart a full bridle into its many parts, and put them on a table.  Now, wearing a blindfold, put it back together.
Hehehe, fun winter activity for the kids...


Goals Update

Monday, January 10, 2011

Well, not much going on at the pony front.  Between working so much and the weather, I honestly haven't even been out to see them all that much.  I had good intentions of getting out there Saturday, but the roads were terrible when I left work Friday night, and there was still a lot of snow on the ground in the morning.  I knew my little car would have trouble getting through the driveway at the barn.  So I stayed home.  And I'll admit, I appreciated getting the chance to sleep in.  

So since I don't have anything knew to report, I figured this would be a good time to review my year end goals.

November/December Goals
  • Focus on Dressage with Kaye
    • The few rides I did have on Kaye, were pretty much dressage rides.
  • Learn from our experiences at the Boyd Clinic
    • Well, the one jumping lesson I had we did try to incorporate some things from the clinic.  I haven't done this as much as I would like though.
  • Start jumping X again
    • Yeah, big old fail at this one.
  • Start riding Twinkie again
    • Another fail.
  • Light dressage work with Miss
    • Well, this is the only goal I can really count as a success.  Started walking Miss under saddle.  We've been doing a lot of dressage work at the walk to begin building up her muscle and top line.  We've been alternating walking on a loose rein with periods of contact.  Lots of laterals and circles to build her up.  She doing great with the walking and eager to move up to more work.
Not as much progress on my goals as I would have liked, but with the weather and heavy work schedule there wasn't much I could do.  Not to mention the fact that I haven't gotten a lesson in probably two months.  So moving on to my 2010 goals.

2010 Goals
  • Successfully compete at Beginner Novice with Naughtie
    • Unfortunately a big fat fail with this one.  But I wasn't really given a chance as Bonnie didn't want to put the time or money in her.
  • Work to overcome my own fears and confidence issues
    • This actually was a pretty big success.  I know I will struggle with this for my whole life probably, but I really feel that I made a lot of progress this year.  And jumping several training level questions at the Boyd Clinic in October really just proved that.
  • Get X out to a schooling show
    • Well I took X to the ICHA show at Canfield.  Didn't show him though.  Pretty much a fail.
  • Consistently be able to jump 3' courses
    • Success!  I showed Novice twice at South Farm combined tests with double clear stadium rounds in both.  Plus I was schooling training level prior to the Boyd Clinic.
  • Move up to Novice by the end of the year
    • Again success!  Kaye and I moved up to Novice at the second South Farm combined test.  And we won both on our dressage score.  Big success I'd say.
  • Become solid at First Level with Kaye
    • Well, we schooled some First Level dressage.  But not enough that I would say we were solid.  So I'm going to say progress on this, but not enough to cross it off yet.
  • Work with Twinkie both on the flat and over fences
    • Well, I did work with Twinkie some, both on the flat and over fences.  But I didn't work with her as much as I would like.  Again part of that wasn't really my fault, she really needs her feet done and that's out of my hands.  I'll say progress, but not crossing this off the list yet.
So I guess that means it's time to start thinking about my goals for 2011...


Denny's Horsemanship Goals

Friday, January 7, 2011

So about a month or so ago Denny Emerson of Tamarack Hill Farm fame, began posting his Horsemanship Goals on his Facebook page.  It started after hearing comments about kids at George Morris clinics who were expected to *gasp!* take care of their own horses.  And as in most other things Denny says, I agree with his goals.  So...

1)  Learn about sport horse and racing pedigrees.
I know a bit about pedigrees.  Not as much as I would like though.

2)  Start to develop an independent seat so you don't bounce at the sitting trot and canter.
Lunge lessons, lunge lessons, lunge lessons...

3)  Ride bareback enough so that you are completely comfortable, on all kinds of terrain and at all gaits.  And, while you're at it, learn how to get on bareback.
Spent many a winter riding ponies bareback.  Or riding Dalal around the show ground bareback.  Or riding Dalal up to the barn bareback because I'm too lazy to walk.

4)  Clean stalls.
I'm practically an expert.

5)  Teach your pony to drive.
This is something I have wanted to do for a long time.

6)  Show your horse or pony in fitting and showmanship classes.
I never showed in fitting and showmanship, but I was taught how to.  And I showed in Arab halter before.

7)  Ride in a 100 mile trail ride or endurance race.  Or at least a 50 mile.
I took my pony on a 20 mile or so trail ride over 2 days.  I would love the opportunity to ride in an endurance race though.

8)  Learn how to determine distances between fences by developing an accurate 3 foot stride.  Then, learn ALL the math.  Know the normal distance in a bounce, a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 stride line.
I do have a 3 foot stride.  And I pretty much know the distances, but I still get a little bit confused.

9)  Take your horse for a sleigh ride.

10)  Ride western if you ride english, ride english if you ride western.
I've been showing Dalal in Western Pleasure classes for the last 2 years.

11)  Try a discipline totally unfamiliar to you, or a breed totally unfamiliar to you, like perhaps, saddleseat.
I actually really want to learn how to ride saddleseat.  Maybe I'll give Nikki a call and see if I can take lessons at C and G...

12)  Breed and raise a foal.
Well, I've been helping with Spider.

13)  When that foal gets older, break him to ride.
I was the first one on Titus' back this fall.

14)  Ride in races, either flat or over fences.

15)  Study--really study--the great riders, so that you have a picture in your head about how whatever it is you do, should be done.  Another way to say this:  Acquire GREAT role models, whatever your sport.
That's why I love going to Rolex every year, I have the chance to study, in person, riders like Phillip Dutton, Becky Holder, William Fox-Pitt, Boyd Martin.  They are the greats of this day and I will take anything I can learn from them.

16)  Try, try, try to get to ride an APPROPRIATE horse or pony, that will let you make mistakes while you learn.
I am very lucky that I have had the chance to ride horses like Kaye and Miss.  Both of them have let me make mistakes while also saving my butt so that I didn't get hurt.  Best learning tool ever!

17)  Whatever your sport, go watch the very best riders, on the very best horses, at the very best competitions, and STUDY, ANALYSE, and EVALUATE, what you are watching.
Again, why I go to Rolex every year.

18)  Learn all about bits, and how they work, and the principles behind various kinds.
I know about the bits we use, but not much about all the others.

19)  Create the kind of bond with your horse that Dorothy Trapp had with Molokai.
I have two horses that I have been lucky enough to have that bond.  

20)  Try to emulate Becky Holder's total commitment to self improvement, a striving toward excellence that won't take no for an answer.


Georgia on my Mind

Thursday, January 6, 2011

So Blair and I for years have been talking about taking a road trip.  During college we wanted to go somewhere for spring break.  Of course we never had the money or time off from working to do that.  The closest we ever managed to come to a road trip was the trip from New Orleans to Mobile, and at two hours I don't count that.  Well, we finally got our road trip! 

Several months ago Blair decided that with her cat and luggage and everything it would just be cheaper (and easier) to drive home for Christmas rather than fly.  And once that decision was made it didn't take long for us to come up with the idea of me joining her for the return trip.  I have the week between Christmas and New Year's off from Pitt, and I still haven't seen her new place in Georgia, so why not?  So plane fares were researched, and when I found a one way ticket from Atlanta to Pittsburgh for only $120 I jumped at it. 

So at 3:00 AM the Wednesday after Christmas we loaded us, the luggage and Dixie up in the Mustang and hit the road.  13 hours of driving lay ahead of us.  And actually the drive wasn't all that bad.  Turnpike to 79, take that down into West Virginia to pick up 19, then take 77 through Virgina and into North Carolina, bypass around Charlotte and then take 85 through South Carolina and down to Atlanta, sit in traffic around Atlanta and then finally 75 to Macon. 

We had a travelling companion for the trip, Blair's cat Dixie.  For the first few hours she curled up in my lap.  But after we made our first stop for breakfast in West Virginia she moved to the floor.  She pretty much stayed curled up at my feet for the rest of the drive.

For the first half of trip we saw a lot of snow and mountains.

And I really got excited when I saw the first sign for Charlotte.

Near Charlotte was this gorgeous lake community, Lake Norman.  Apparently a bunch of Nascar people live there.  I don't know, but it was a beautiful spot.  I think I could be quite comfortable living there.

I don't really get why there was a giant peach in South Carolina.  I mean peaches in Georgia I get.  Peaches in South Carolina, not so much.

Woot!  Macon!  We made it to Blair's apartment about 4:00.  Dragged the suitcases and Dixie upstairs and I got a quick tour of the apartment.  Then we made a quick run to the Publix that is literally a minute from her apartment for some necessities.  And then we just chilled.  Watched some TV, rocked out to Glee Karaoke on the Wii and eventually called it an early night.

Thursday morning I got a brief tour around Blair's apartment while we picked up breakfast and made a couple other quick shopping stops.  And then we met up with Blair's friend Aubrey, her hubby Chad and another friend Tyler to see Tron: Legacy in Imax 3D at the movie theater in the Mall of Georgia.  Good movie and it was really freaking awesome in the Imax 3D.

Friday we pretty much lazed around for the morning.  And then headed over Aubrey and Chad's for a New Year's Eve celebration.  Erin, who also works with Blair and Aubrey, joined us and we headed out to stock up on supplies for the night.  I was loving the weather, 70 hell yeah!  We BBQ'd hamburgers and hot dogs for dinner and then it was time to bring out the booze.  Aubrey had this awesome bartending book and so we had some fun experimenting with different shots.  Really it was a great night.  We spent some time out on the patio (and I was in a tank top, how great is that?)  And we played some Rock Band.  Well Chad played some Rock Band and Blair diva'd it up with him.  The rest of us just watched, and laughed.

I love Aubrey's dog, Lucky.  

Saturday we were very lazy.  Caught a bit of the Winter Classic, and kept ourselves updated on the unfolding Pitt coaching drama, and just watched TV.  A nice lazy day.  It was nice as I have not had that in a long time. I really needed some time just doing nothing to recharge the batteries so to speak.

Unfortunately on Sunday it was time to head home.  We left about 12:30 to drive up to the Atlanta Airport.  For as big and busy as Atlanta is I had a remarkably easy time getting through the airport.  Checked in with Delta very quickly using the Self-Service Kiosk and then breezed right through security.  Pittsburgh Airport needs to take notes.  I had a couple hours to kill yet before my flight left, but luckily the Steelers game was on at the gate so I was able to watch that and do a little reading on my new Kindle.  So the wait in the airport wasn't too bad, however my flight was less than pleasant.  I had a ten year old flying by himself sitting next to me who kicked and elbowed me the entire flight.  And then directly behind I had an Indian couple with a screaming baby.  Yeah it was not a fun flight.  And it was COLD when I got to Pittsburgh, I was missing the warm weather already.  So I'm all back in Pittsburgh, and relaxed from my mini vacation.


Goodbye 2010

Sunday, January 2, 2011

And we come to the end of yet another year.  2010 has been a year with a lot of ups and downs.  We started off the year as we usually do here in PA, with cold and snow.  But we did manage to get a thaw towards the end of the month and I got some good rides in on both Naughtie and Miss.  I boosted my confidence by sticking on Naughtie through some fun bucks and spooks.  And Miss started jumping again!  I also in January ranted about the ridiculousness of the USEA's Instructor Certification Program.

February brought Snowpocalypse to PA and I didn't do much of anything for a few days.  Pitt actually shut down for three days which is pretty much unheard of.  After we dug ourselves out of the snow, I also dug out the western saddle and began X's stock seat dressage.  February also meant saying goodbye to Maeve and her family as they moved to Chicago.

In March the light bulb clicked!  I learned to keep my hands up and it fixed so many of my position problems when jumping.  A friend came out to take pictures of Kaye and I for her final project.  Cuddles and Buddy went back home to Maryland.  And I had more awesome jumping lessons with Kaye.  I took another look at my goals and then my confidence took a step backwards.  I had a rough week when I found out I didn't get a job, but as usual the ponies helped me feel better.  Kaye and I jumped a helicopter for the first time.  And I got my first photography gig, sort of.

With April came the SUN!  And I started to think about show season.  Kaye and I had a couple of great jumping lessons, and they were caught on video.  I bought new boots, and I got another cortisone shot for my knee.  We got ready for Rolex and I continued to break in my new boots.  April ended with our annual pilgrimage to Kentucky for the Rolex 3 Day Event.

The first South Farm CT kicked off the month of May.  Kaye and I had an awesome experience with our first beginner novice of the year.  And then I headed over to Canfield for the first ICHA show with Tom and Dalal.  My little western pony and I had an awesome first show, winning both the Ladies Western Pleasure and the Open Western Pleasure.  We closed out May with Kezia's wedding and then a second trip to South Farm, where Kaye and I rocked the move up to novice.

June began with yet another trip to South Farm.  Kaye and I ran novice again and we won the dressage and held the lead through jumping!  And then the following weekend it was back to Canfield for the second ICHA show with Dalal, and I went in my first Morgan Halter class with Sally.  After that it was a trip to Randolph, OH for the ISHA Triple Point Show.  Dalal and I had some good classes, and Image made a return to the show ring for Pony Halter.  The following weekend I stayed home and had a good jump school on Kaye and then met up with Tom on Sunday at the WHA Show.

In July we headed over to South Farm, only this time I wasn't riding, just jump judging for the Horse Trial.  I tortured my pony with lunge lessons from Bonnie in the heat, and then cheated on him with Edgar.  LOL  I rode Bugsy again for the first time in a while.  And we even jumped!  I also started riding Twinkie again, who was such a good girl.  Bugsy got to be my model as I practiced braiding.  X and I had some more 'magic' lunge lessons.  I officially introduced my budding photography business, HoofPrints Photography, by shooting a Windhurst Event Team practice where both Tiffany and Rachel jumped 4 feet for the first time.  And then I headed out to shoot at the South Farm Mini Trial.

I didn't blog much in August, but I did have an awesome time at the Catt County Horse Show.  And I had lots of jumping lessons getting ready for the clinic in October.  But all that was overshadowed by the sad news at the end of the month.  Nikki had to say goodbye to Natasha's Image.  We miss you sweet boy.

September began with Jeff and Megan's wedding, which made me miss the MEHA show.  But then the following weekend we headed up to Meadville to the Pink Ribbon Show.  I got a second job at Wal-Mart.  Kaye and I jumped arrowheads for the first time.

In October I started working the register at Wal-Mart, and I took part in the Heart Walk in Beaver.  Ari very sadly lost her new horse, Jade.  Bonnie gave me lots of jumping lessons to prep for the clinic.  And the World Equestrian Games took place in Kentucky.  And then I got to fulfill a dream of mine and I got to ride with BOYD MARTIN!  It was an amazing experience, I learned so much from him and I can't wait to ride with him again next year.

November meant it was time for NaNoWriMo again.  I had a good post-Boyd jumping lesson.  And I went for more testing for my stomach issues.  A blog friend went through a rough time where she almost lost her horse.  I started walking Miss under saddle.  I had a lot to be thankful for at Thanksgiving.  I completed NaNoWriMo and I decided to take up the 31 Day Challenge for December.

So in December there was lots of non-horsey posting.  But you all got to learn lots about my life outside of the ponies. I continued to walk the Moose under saddle and she loved being back in work.  I had a great Christmas.  And I finished out the year with a road trip to Georgia with Blair.

2010 really was a great year in a lot of respects.  Here's to hoping that 2011 will be just as good!