Monday, December 21, 2015

2015 Retrospective

Sometimes when I look back on the goals I set at the beginning of the year, I wonder what I was thinking. This year was a huge learning experience and overall very positive, but we didn't end where I thought we would or make nearly as much progress.

Riding goals:
  • Be lighter and more obedient to the aids in dressage. Definitely, although it comes and goes. Paddy still gets bargey, I still get grabby, but I think this will always be a challenge for us. Still, looking from videos from early this year, we've come a long way.
  • Be more consistent on first and second level trot work. Yes! We have a really nice lengthen trot and Paddy can really carry himself at times. There's the beginnings of a medium trot too, as well as more collection. As he gets stronger, he's able to work more over his back for more time, and it's SUCH a great feeling!
  • Canter, canter, canter. Strength, balance, and we need to find some lengthenings and collection in there, along with counter-canter, simple changes, and walk-canter-walk transitions. Canter continues to be our weak spot. We started on counter-canter (shallow serpentines) since it's needed in 1-3, but they suck. We have a very good w-c transition and can do the c-w within 3-4 steps when I'm really on it. Since he's not yet balanced enough to canter normally down the long side, we haven't worked on lengthenings because he just falls apart. So much work to do here.
The Haffie Shuffle

  • Laterals - we have the start, we need to solidify leg yield, shoulder in, and haunches in. Man, I love laterals on this horse. Leg yield is straight, and I can put his shoulders and haunches where I need them. There's even some baby half pass at the walk and trot. 
  • Continue to have fun with Paddy and work on our partnership. I love him more every time I ride him, so really, this is the most important goal! Absolutely. He continues to be the most awesome Haffie ever, even if I did threaten to give him away once or twice (ahem). 
Show goals:
  • Show at USDF recognized shows, at levels we will be competitive. Right now this means Training, I'm hoping later in the year we'll be able to go First. We weren't what I would call competitive at Training, because we're often up against pros on big-moving warmbloods. But we did reasonably well for our first rated season and scores improved throughout the year (mostly).
  • Improve our scores at First level. Wait, we were supposed to show at First? Fail.
  • Get off my lazy ass and send in our scores to the Haffie Registry. Seriously. Just dooo eeet! Hahaha... nope. Also fail. 
Crazy-ass dreams: 
  • Qualify for the Region 9 year end championships, and go if we qualify. Yup, we did this! We also came in second to last with our worst score ever, so, er, better luck next time?
  • Get scores at Training/First toward a USDF rider award. We got our scores for a Training Level Rider award, and also scores for Paddy's performance award. I just submitted to USDF for both of those, so hopefully they'll be here soon.
  • Get scores at First toward a USDF Bronze Medal. Nope. We never showed First this year, although I had planned to do so after Regionals. But with Paddy's lameness issues, that didn't pan out. Boo.
  • Ride 2-1, either at home or at a show. Nope. Right now we're walking exciting straight lines on the road, because that's what you do when you're rehabbing a soft tissue injury. Woohoo.

Accomplishments that were not on my list, but should have been:
  • Forgetting my test at least once at every single show. WTF REALLY BRAIN???? YOU HAD ONE JOB.
In which I have yet another discussion with yet another judge over where I went wrong. 

What I'd change:
  • I need to ride more during the summer. It's hard to be motivated to ride when it's 105 out at 8pm and the ground is harder than a rock. I might need to board Paddy during the summer so that I will feel guilty and go ride him every day after work, but I need to figure something out so that we don't lose the summer months entirely. We were underprepared for the fall season and the Championship show because of it.
  • Remember the fucking dressage tests. It can't possibly be that hard.
  • I need to look at the show schedule further out - I got stuck doing a very last-minute show that was quite a long haul, and I'd rather not do that again.
  • My championship test. It sucks to work so hard and have such a crappy ride. Blarg.
Best moments:
  • Every time someone would comment on how cute Paddy is. Seriously. I may not have the fanciest (or, ahem, best behaved) horse there, but he's really adorable so who cares.
  • Unrelated to dressage, but... hearing a crowd of 3500 people cheering my husband and Paddy on at a joust up in Columbus, Ohio. That was one hell of a road trip, but damn, it was fun!
Picture Perfect Paddington
  • Drinking wine out of the stemless wine glass I won. Wine glasses are the best prizes EVER.
  • Cheering on friends and my trainer at shows. I'm not really a part of a show "family" since I don't ride with a big barn and my trainer doesn't show much, but it's really great to see people you know and cheer them on. 
  • Realizing how lucky I am to have such a wonderful, supportive husband. He's just the BEST!
  • Seeing Paddy's adorable face every day. I'm a total sucker for that face and I luff him to pieces. 
Also the adorable teeny-tiny earz.


  1. They should give out special awards to someone that forgets at least one test a show. That takes a serious talent we can't all recreate. I bow down to you.

    1. Yes, I deserve the biggest idiot award. Go me.

  2. You guys need to return to Columbus so I can see a joust (that's not at Renaissance Fair). And meet Paddy.

    I winter board to ride, you need to summer board to ride :)

    1. Depending on timing and how next summer works out, we might be back in Columbus again! I'll let you know!

  3. Such a smushable face ♡♡♡

  4. consistently having the cutest horse at the show is definitely an award worth feat ;)

    1. Paddy doesn't need an award, he knows he's the cutest!

  5. I don't ever write down a list of goals, mostly for the very reasons you describe: other crap just seems to happen and life goes another direction, sometimes even better than you had originally planned.

    That doesn't mean I don't have a plan, I do. Lots of plans. :0) I work on things and then see where they take me. It sounds as though you had a very productive year. I hope you see it as a year filled with successes. :0)

    1. Karen, I go back and forth on making goals. Mostly I just look at where we are and think about where I want to be in a year. But horses being what they are, I figure it's a 50-50 chance of making it happen. And even thought we didn't end up where I wanted, it was a really good year filled with a lot of learning experiences and excellent memories. It's hard to ask for anything more!

  6. Good job! You accomplished a lot! Even though Paddy is off, at least he is cute :)

  7. <3 PADDY BEAR

    and those other things too

  8. It seems like it was a great year - and we have another great one ahead! bring on the goals for 2016 :)

    1. It was definitely a great year, except for Paddy being injured at the end. Oh well, best laid plans!

  9. Any day with Paddington is a good day - right?

    You two accomplished a lot!! I feel you on the short term memory issues - If I weren't stressed enough about showing, the stress of forgetting the test would get me.

    That jousting picture is fantastic :D

    1. We DID accomplish a lot, and more importantly, I feel like my riding has come a long way.

  10. Replies
    1. Er, yeah, it's a new gaited thing I'm pretty sure.

  11. Love those teeny ears! I think you should be proud of what you accomplished :)

    1. Oh, I definitely am! The teeny ears are just the icing!