Tuesday, December 17, 2013

2013 Goals in Review, 2014 Plans...

Not much has been going on in Ben's world. He's had a bunch of time off, and I have not been riding him regularly at all. Much of it has to do with my work schedule, and really having time to work with my youngster, Finn. If said half-arab was a good boy our sessions would be shorter and I'd be able to sneak 2 rides in...like I did last night...but that has not been the norm. So Ben has been getting exercise in turn out, I've been doing some round-pen work with him, and riding 1-2 times a week. All in all, it has been a very light fall/winter for the boy.

I thought now would be a good time to review 2013, and maybe make some plans for 2014. Let's start with the 2013 in review :)

2013 Goals
  • Continue monthly training. This has been a lifesaver for us.  We did this, through June, and then transitioned to just lessons which have become few and far between. 1/2 accomplished.
  • Raise our Training level scores, consistently. Of course I want to earn the highest score possible, and will always try my hardest to do so. But I will be quite pleased if we can get consistent scores in the low to mid 60's. We did not do a single dressage test all year.
  • Dressage Stretch Goal: Attempt a 1st Level test, preferably at a schooling show and not at home. This is going to take a TON of work to get to, but hey, I have 12 months :) While I can say we have SCHOOLED 1'st level movements, see the above bullet...no formal dressage tests in 2013.
  • Start Ben over low fences. He'll be 5 in April, and for cross training purposes, I think it would be a nice, fun change to do something different once a week. Nope, didn't do this one either. I have popped him over some cross rails, and we did the ground pole course again at our Summer SAFE Benefit show.
  • Outings: go on trail rides, go to schooling shows, get OUT. YES!! We went to 4 shows and a couple of trail rides. Ben won English High Point, Reserve High Point, Champion Rescue Horse, Reserve Grand Champion - a distinction at every show we attended.
  • Outing Stretch Goal: attend a rated dressage show. NOPE
  • Ride bareback. This one is an odd one, but I'll admit, I never, ever do this. I want to be able to just hop on my horse, if even to dink around at a walk. We did this...once.
Other noteworthy things:
  • Spent 1 million dollars on saddle trials and finally purchased a Black Country Eloquence X.
  • Moved 2 times
  • Tried Trail, Showmanship, and Halter and kicked some booty!
And now, for 2014 Goals!!!
  • Show again. This time I'm gonna be smart and not say what type of showing, because I have little control of which shows I can get to!
  •  Start jumping, for serious
  • Work on the canter...a lot...like enough to be able to do the canter classes at English open shows.
  • 12 bareback rides (1 a month)
  • Take regular lessons (2x a month)
  • Take more pictures and video of us. We seriously sucked at this in 2013...not a single bit of video to be had anywhere.
That's it - that is all I am committing to at this point. The reality is, with my little guy up and coming and requiring much attention, Ben will likely take a back seat this year. I simply cannot afford both in time and $ to keep both in active work and going to shows, even small ones. And lucky for Ben, he's such a stand up guy that it takes very little to bring him back after a break.

Now, the one wrench that might change all this is if I a) put my little dude in training and/or b) sell him. I'm not entirely sure we're the best match, but he's also young and maturity level is changing, so it is hard to say. Additionally, I do feel like he needs to explore the world a bit, gain new experiences, and the most reasonable way I can do that for him is to put him in training with someone who can get him out places. IF I do that, I will be back to working with Ben and Ben alone...though with little spare cash to pay for showing, hauling, etc.

2014 stands to be an interesting year. I am going into it with less certainty than I did going into 2013, but perhaps with a bit more enthusiasm and wonderment on what the year will bring.