slow and steady wins 2020

I’m still adjusting to making goals without having my own horse. Making goals with horses always has a — sometimes pretty big — element of uncertainty around it. Leasing and catch riding adds a whole ‘nother layer of shifty, unstable, precarious sand to my skills-castle-building. So it took me a while to figure out how I could make concrete and actionable goals that still point me in the trajectory of my big picture goals.

Long term I’m still working toward making the step up to Training, hopefully eventually Prelim, and beyond that — we will see. This isn’t something that will happen this year, and probably not even by the end of next year. But there are absolutely skills I can chip away at to achieve this goal: developing my seat, leg, and feel; becoming a more tactful rider overall; improving my jumping position; breaking down old bad habits (pulling, shutting down gaits); getting more comfortable in more forward gaits; etc. I refuse to let my horselessness hold me back from these things. I’m considering 2020 a development year, and I’m going to try to take a really whole-istic view on improving myself as a rider.

With that in mind, my biggest goal is to journal every ride. I started blogging as an extension of my riding journal. And when I stopped blogging much last year, and had long stopped keeping a physical ride journal, I lost a lot of my deep-thinking-about-riding space. Even just a couple of bullets about a ride is valuable, and keeps me thinking about how I’m going to move forward.

I’m also planning to shut up and just do what my trainer tells me to. Yes, I am that dumbass who needs to remind herself to do what her trainer — to whom she pays good money for quality instruction — tells her to do, because she overthinks everything and is being a dummy.

let me distract you from my foolishness with my first stab at a black-background portrait

I’m also going to do another 12 month of position fixes. I liked it so much last year, it’s back.

  • January – seatbones vertical & close back of armpits
  • February – seatbones vertical & close back of armpits (a twofer since it’s a short two months)
  • March –
  • April –
  • May –
  • June –
  • July –
  • August –
  • September –
  • October –
  • November –
  • December –

The horse plan is to keep leasing. There are changes afoot in that realm that I’ll probably dive more into later. Riding not-my-horse has made me feel like an utterly incompetent rider in a way I haven’t felt in years. But it’s also taught me skills I would never have learned if I  just kept riding my-horse. Leasing experienced horses? It’s good for growth. I’m going to keep doing it. The second half of the horse plan is to not buy a horse. This is absolutely a cheater goal. If I don’t buy a horse, I succeeded in my goal. If I do buy a horse, this is not a goal I’m sad to fail at. Cheaters always prosper.

I’d also like to just ride more horses. I want to keep expanding my skills by riding more horses, which is something I had the opportunity to do in the past but hasn’t been as available to me lately. But as I become more of a fixture at my barn, I’ve had a couple of offers to ride other ponies, and I’d like to make sure I say “yes” to this more often! Take some of those lessons I learn in my, you know, lessons, and see how I can make them work on other horses.

oh man this was such an awesome doggo. i feel like if i just keep snuggling up to strange doggos eventually one will follow me home and then the dinglehopper i married will be forced to let me keep it.

I’m still thinking about my next horse though, and I’d like to get a better idea of what I’m looking for in a partner so I can narrow down the search parameters. I have some long thoughts on this, too. And since what I’m going to be looking for is outside of my current budget, saving for new horse is back on the table. With steadier income and a better life-schedule, though, this should actually be possible this year.

On the blog front, I’m committing to make time and space in my life to blog at least once a week (on average). There will be weeks this doesn’t happen, but that’s what averages are for!

Personally, I’m working toward no zero days. I’d like to make some tangible progress on my very long, very complicated, very eclectic to-do list every day. Even if this means taking just 15 minutes and sweeping the floor of the workshop so that the next time I head in there it’s safer to work, or lengthing a pile of logs so that we can split and stack more efficiently the next time husband and I get some free time together on the weekend.

love my little space hog

I’m also going to work on 12 months of personal improvement as well. But uhhh, January is off to a slow start so we’ll have to put a pin in those details for now.

My garden goal this year is to grow all the produce I need for Thanksgiving. I’m so excited for this! I don’t garden because I’m obsessed with organic food or because it saves money (actually it kinda does, which is neato) or because I fetishize living off-the-grid and independently of the massive agricultural waste machine that exists in this country (it is very wasteful). I garden because it brings me an absurd amount of joy to spend time watching things grow and then to cook and eat something and be like “I grew that!” However, except for a few notable exceptions (tomatoes and cucumbers), I’ve always gardened without much structure. Want to grow more tomatoes? Plant more tomatoes! Not sure what kind of green beans to grow? Grow them all! Don’t know how many peas to plant? Who cares! This year I’m trying to calculate how much of each item to plant so that I’ll have enough of them at Thanksgiving to fill out all of the produce needs for the meal. Also this goal involves more planning and probably color-coding and seed selection AND I LOVE PLANNING AND COLOR-CODING AND SEED SELECTING!!!!!!

I also rediscovered my crazy love of reading this year. Some nights I just sat down with a book instead of the TV and suddenly I caught myself staying up way too late trying to finish things, ignoring my husband, and generally reverting to my amazing teenage habits about reading. This year I’d like read 40 books (I’m already one down!).

And finally a big one, which is going to be a massive multi-part-er-multi-year-er in my life. This winter our show team faced some hard decisions about how we want to continue with our shows. We’ve been plugging along at a subsistence level, running an okay show and barely covering our costs. We’ve made some really big improvements, but none of us was satisfied with the effort-to-payoff ratio that was going into the shows. So we decided that we need to either majorly step up our game and push our shows to the next level or call it quits. We decided to push. We’re doubling down on improvements, adding fences, cutting new tracks, hiring new officials, increasing our staff team, improving our social media presence, and making a huge effort to turn the horse trials and dressage shows at WSS into something that people love to come to. This year I’d like to focus on three things:

  • delegate more tasks to trusted team members
  • develop a weekly social media presence for the shows
  • come in under-budget

With any luck, we’ll get more entries than previous years and run an even more amazing show than ever before!

5 thoughts on “slow and steady wins 2020

  1. “Leasing experienced horses? It’s good for growth.” –> i love this!! there is so so so so SO much value in riding a horse who actually knows what he’s doing lol. for whatever reason in the horse world, there’s this sorta mindset of “well i like a challenge, and schoolmasters are boring.” which, god, is so twisted haha. while i was horse shopping i literally rode every single thing i could, including a number of extremely well schooled horses (shoutout Rico!) and it was really helpful to get a better idea of where my skillset actually was, and what i actually liked in a horse

    also. i want to come to your show this year!!! send me the dates 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I looooooove the idea of no-zero days. I’m trying to do something like that myself.

    Have you heard of High Mowing Organic Seeds? They’re a local to me company that does an amazing job of sourcing, testing, and producing heirloom seeds: https://www.highmowingseeds.com/ They are an awesome follow on social media, and I have a ton of their seeds that I’ve used to start seedlings over the years.

    Lastly – I’m working on a new show sponsorship program for my saddle covers, so if they’re something you’d like to offer as a prize, please get in touch. I’m doing a more formal “product in exchange for sponsorship/advertising/etc” thing. More info here: https://www.beljoeormetier.com/sponsorship

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes! I love High Mowing! I ultimately decided to order from Adaptive this year, because they do very similar, rigorous trials and are local to me (Willamette valley). I’m definitely getting in touch about prizes too – I’ll message you this weekend!! 💜

      Like

      • Sounds good, I look forward to your email! I’m wrapping up a set right now for a show my trainer does in Florida. I did the at-cost pricing for them since they didn’t have a real sponsorship fit.

        Liked by 1 person

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