So instead of focusing on shows and such, I thought hard about where our strengths and weaknesses are, and where I want our partnership to be at the end of the year. Right now we have a solid beginning to an amazing relationship, but we're not ready to go tackle the world just yet. Paddy doesn't need show miles just for the sake of getting out to a show atmosphere - he needs basic work at home on strength and obedience to leg, seat, and hand aids. He can jump the moon, but needs to learn how to relax and think instead of charging full-bore at everything. Shows will come when we are ready for them, not because of some schedule.
With that in mind, I've overhauled my original goals and come up with these instead:
- Be lighter and more obedient to the aids in dressage.
- Work on first and second level trot work.
- Solidify canter leads until there's no doubt he'll get what I ask for.
- Work on balance and collection in canter. A 10 meter canter circle by December would be a nice Christmas gift. :)
- Work on steady rhythm up to and after jumps.
- Focus on balance after the jump - no barging around on the forehand.
- Trust him over the fences enough to release him without collapsing my body like the jump is 4'.
Before the end of the year, I'd love to:
- Have a great working partnership built on trust and good basics.
- Put in a first-level dressage test, either at home or at a show, and do a good job of it.
- Canter a full stadium course (at whatever fence height is appropriate) with a steady rhythm and good balance. Bonus points if we do it at a show.
I will hit all the local schooling dressage shows that we can, at whatever level we're working on at the time, because they're close, cheap, and good experience. I'll also attend the local schooling horse trials at whatever level I feel that we can rock. If that means we stay at GAG all year, fine. If we can magically move up to BN, that's cool too. Whatever is appropriate, and only if we are ready to go out and absolutely rock it. In fact, I opted not to enter the HT on the 19th, deciding that our time and money would be better spent with another dressage lesson, because that's where we're at. I'm good with that.
Haflinger registry goals:
The Haffie registry has a number of year-end awards that we have signed up for. Might as well promote the Haffies, right?
- Complete at least 200 hours of ride time in 2014 and qualify for a Recreational Rider award. This means riding roughly 15 days/mo for an hour per ride. Good motivation to get my a$$ off the couch!
- Be the Riding Performance Division Champion or Reserve Champion Riding for 2014 (Sounds grand, doesn’t it? But there aren’t many people who point hunt in the haffie registry, so we’ve got a chance!)
- Go BN at a USEA recognized event. Seems unlikely, but if we're ready for it and I think we can score well enough to be competitive, we'll do it!
- Show at a recognized dressage event. Again, seems unlikely now, but we'll see how the year pans out!
- Do 2'6 jumpers at a H/J schooling show. Because we sure as heck don't belong in the hunters, lol!
- Put together a 1st level musical freestyle and perform it at our local dressage schooling show. Performing a musical freestyle has been on my bucket list since... oh, like 1999. It's time to do it already, and if we can get the canter together, I think we can do one.
Paddington is totally ready to rock-n-roll… right after his nap!