It’s taken me some time to put my goals together this year, as I’m trying to be all “responsible” and “adult”, make plans for my future, take steps toward something bigger, some kind of end goal.
In that vein of planning, I put a few moments into thinking about where I want to be in five years, and where I want Murray to be in five years. I didn’t think about it too long — it made me uncomfortable so I quit!! But more realistically, it’s hard to think about where my horse should be in five years when I’m literally at the edge of my expertise where we are right now! Plus, who knows if he’ll have the ability or soundness to hold up to things I might want to do in five years?
Likewise for myself. I could say “In five years, I want to have my bronze medal!”, and that would be a pretty reasonable goal. Only, if this horse can’t do third (for any reason — doesn’t like dressage, lameness of body or mind, etc.) then I’m SOL. I don’t presently have, and am unlikely to magically acquire in the next 4.95 years, the funds to lease or buy a capable horse to get those scores.
While that’s not the world’s worst excuse, it is an excuse, so I went ahead and made five-year goals that assume the horse and I stay healthy and sound enough to execute them. It was still hard.
So, in five years… I would like Murray to be competing successfully at Training level and thinking about Prelim. Really, five years from now we will know very well whether or not Prelim is ever in our future. If it is, I’d expect that we’d almost be ready to move up in five years. Time is a-wastin’, after all. And I’d like to be working on third level dressage — maybe not showing, but working on show-quality versions of those skills. I’d like to be able to take him to any show venue and complete, even if we’ve never seen the place before. I want to be able to take him off property to a clinic and demonstrate a reasonable reflection of our abilities, problems, and skill level. I want to have enough saved up that I can stop contributing to insurance every year and know that, if he needs it, I’ll be able to cover him for anything insurance would cover him for. Not all of these are pure Murray goals, of course. A lot of the stuff in here means changes on my part also!
For myself, I want to be confirmed in good savings habits that will allow me to start putting money away toward mobility (in addition to necessary savings): a truck and trailer in five years would give me a LOT of flexibility. I want to be working in a career position, not hopping from short-term to short-term gig hoping something will work out. I’d like to have enough money and security to do what I love (feeding dollar bills to my horse) and take vacations.
Chipping away at the long term goals will be modest this year — at least on the fronts that require spending of money.
Complete 3 Novice level HTs — this is predicated upon that whole “saving money” thing, but this is my big show goal this year.
1+ dressage shows — schooling shows are fine, but getting out and doing the horse dancing thing is also a goal!
Ride in 2 clinics — this was super achievable in 2017, so it would be nice to do again in 2018. (Spoiler alert: I am already halfway there!!)
4+ lessons with Tina/other dressage trainers — I put this in my savings goals this year also. I love riding with Tina, but I’m open to other dressage trainers too!
Sitting trot — another year of trying this, I guess. I think I might need it for that whole dressage thing.
Go to two new places — I’m going to go ahead and say that “new” will count as anywhere that pony hasn’t been in 2+ years. His memory can’t be that great, right?
Work without stirrups once a week — I’d like to do a whole No-stirrups November makeup month at some point. That would be… uh… ambitious of me.
Cavaletti Sundays — Some friends talked about doing a weekly cavaletti exercise. I often won’t do it on Sunday because I seem not to ride on a lot of Sundays (boyfriend, other life stuff, that whole thing), but cavaletti once a week would be a great exercise!
Boy has got some big goals this year!
Goal number one: Keep up with the Good Citizen Without Shortcuts program from 2017.
Cross ties — we are gonna do this. We have the tools! Time to work up the motivation. Maybe when we’re over being nude.
Patience while tied — this is apparently some kind of thing that people practice with young horses to make them well broke. I dunno. I hear it’s a good exercise.
Sort out the feet — the barefoot experiment is going pretty well, and I’m doing extra well resisting the urge to just slap shoes back on and call it good. Murray’s feet will benefit from this, and it will help us sort out whatever underlying issues there are surrounding his feet. And I know there are some.
Evaluate Murray’s living situation — at some point this year I’d like to experiment with pasture board. Not sure homeboy will like it, but he might. Not sure I will like it, but if it’s better for the horse…
Keep soundness and health a priority — it’s worth reminding myself to continuously do this. It’s not that I purposely work my horse when he’s not sound, or that I try to make him unsound. It’s just that his low-level mechanical lameness makes it easy to brush off other little things as just part of the bigger peg-legged picture.
Don’t burn the skin off his legs. Seems simple, right? MAYBE NOT.
Ooh. Not sure I have any big blog goals this year. I’d like to explore getting my own domain. That lends a lot of flexibility and opportunity to a writer.
Write more science-y blogs. I have a few topics in mind that are already somewhat fleshed out (placebo effect of calmers/depo specifically, cribbing/stereotypic behaviors, how riders affect horse comfort) but if there are any you’d like to see, I’m happy to dig into the literature.
And because this has to do with online stuff (ish, but definitely the blogging/online horse community), I’ll throw it in here: develop a horse-specific income stream. I’d like to have an income stream that is just for Murray’s use (well, my use for Murray but you know). That way I’ll feel less guilty when I blow 1k showing for three days in Santa Barbara. I piloted some tote bags on my friends for Christmas and they seemed to like the idea, so I’m working out how I can do this on a slightly larger scale.
Save a whole pile of money — be responsible, Nicole. Save money. Save enough money that you can go to Kenya in September!
Make time for a personal life — as do many people I know, I have this awful habit of planning to do too many things, making too many promises, and forgetting to make time to just sit back, relax, and what a whole buttload of Netflix with my boyfriend.
Sleep more — did you know that your bedtime is killing you? I fucking love sleeping. I am pledging to sleep more 8-hour nights this year!
Learn a new computer skill — computers are stupidly important in the world these days. It will probably make me more valuable and marketable if I learn a new computer language or skill. Like SQL or … that’s the only one I’m thinking about right now, really.
Run once per week — that’s just 52 runs this year. Hardly any.
Pull ups — I’d like to be able to do three by the end of the year.
Be ruthless — I’m trying to do a lot of stuff this year. Get a career-track job. Save money. Stop over-extending myself. I need to start being a little more cutthroat in what I pursue. It’s not okay to half-ass a whole bunch of things. I need to start whole-assing fewer things.