Monday, May 23, 2016

2016 goals revisited and recognized vs starters

Sheesh...can you believe its been since MARCH (Read the full post here) that I published goals?! Totally dropped the ball on that one, but hey better late than never right?

remember back when this bank was terrifying to me!?
With our first novice starter trial under our belts and two more already entered, one of them recognized (eeeek!), I am really trying to dig down and make sure things stay positive for us. I want to ensure we keep things feeling good, keeping in mind some challenges may arise, but try to see things from the bigger picture. I dont want to focus on the level we are so much as, is it feeling good? Is Tillie really responding how she should be and happy to? I am stressing this so much because last year we lost sight of that and it wasnt was just hard all the time. Not that riding isnt lol, but it should be fun some of the time right!?

Trying to avoid moments like this would be great

First lets talk goals:

  • ME:
    • Work on my crookedness issues (This one I am keeping...but think this will be a forever thing. I really do think at this point it was more a wrong saddle for me issue
    • Ride the outside aids more - Its getting there, but still need to figure out what degree of "heaviness" in the reins I like for Tillie and I
    • Improve sitting trot - Dont think this is going away anytime soon
    • Wait with my shoulders if I dont see a distance - basically my nemisis
    • Better timing on the half halt - will i ever cross this one off?!
    • Heels down more on landing after jumps - i want this to be more consistent especially when she jumps so powerful
    • Ride the canter more brave and comfortably (ll gaits for that matter)
    • Dont get handsy before a fence
    • Get braver and ride the more forward distance
    • Release more!!
    • be braver about down hill terrain and down banks - Definitely conqured this last weekend...will always be something I dont like and im sure will resurface
    • Let Tillie go more forward and trust her
    • Canter fences!!!! no more trotting everything
    • NEW GOALS:
      • Keep my chin up over fences and look ahead to my next fence
      • Get comfortable riding the larger gaits
      • Do not "fight" with tillie when she falls in or out, simply open the rein but dont pull back
    Needing my position to be more solid really will come in handy as we start jumping this big stuff!
    • Improve right hind weakness
    • Get stretchy trot more confirmed - Im not crossing this off just yet. Its more consistent but not quite enough for me to say its confirmed
    • Get the right shoulder lifting more - get both shoulders lifting more (shes been changing which one she falls in on...lately its been left)
    • Jump more uphill more of the time - getting there
    • Stretch more over fences - getting there
    • Gallop/canter more uphill
    • Jump without looking at the jumps all the way over so its more uphill
    • Be able to boldy jump skinnier fences and brush without hesitation
      • Dont let her fall in on turns in stadium or fall through the outside rein 
      • Get extended trot tracking off a right turn quicker to build like off the left
      • Canter transitions without turning into a giraffe
      • Keep the same relaxation when doing a test as in warm up
How I want us both to jumo every single fence
Sorry those are a lot of goals to get through!! I know I could list more...but at least some are scratching off!

Now for what my competition season goals / schedule looks like in terms of starter events vs recognized. 

I have discussed this in great length with a few different trainers...Our first novice felt good. REALLY good and to really make sure we keep things feeling good we want to enter another starter trial at the end of this month confirming us at this level, but this time at a venue that hosts recognized shows. As much as I wanted to go to a starter on the same day with my barn friends so we could all compete together, my trainer strongly encouraged me to do Loch Moy because they host recognized events therefore we will get a better taste of what to expect at one. 

I also entered a recognized event July 11th because the closing date was before Loch Moy. My trainers also said go for it and thinks we are ready...which I was a bit nervous about entering this before doing another novice event BUT both trainers said they felt we were ready. 

Why enter a recognized? They are over double the price as a starter trial, I have to braid and if we royally fuck up, its on our record...

sooo much money

Well in short my trainer asked me, why go through a move up AND experiencing your first recognized all at once?

Now that we are at novice immediate goal is to get us confirmed here. Keep it feeling good and obviously think about how to keep us feeling that way. I know all too easily how quickly confidence can go right out the window. BUT with that said, the next level is Training level. I will only move up to it when we both feel 100% ready and really am committed to not rushing us at all. I have learned this last year it really isnt about the level. Sure we tend to make a level our goal, but for me its turned more into how we are feeling with what we are doing. I do not want to regress to that awful place last year...but I also do still maintain goals to getting to the higher levels so have to think about the safest and happiest way for us to get there. 

feeling happy and brave like this all the time at this height
While Training level is not a level I intend to move up to right now, I need to think of how to make it as successful as this first move up to novice was and talking with my trainers, there are very few starter events offering training level. Sure there are some, but I will definitely not be able to skirt around doing recognized any more when that happens.

So the thought is to start doing them now and make the whole braiding thing and heightened competition a little bit more comfortable like we've been working towards with showing in general. 

The plan is to stay here at novice right now and test ourselves here so it feels like no big deal. Keep it feeling good and not shy away from recognized or harder events. When we achieve that AND have the go ahead from our trainers we will start throwing out the idea of a move up...but for now, we will be rocking it at novice. 

and maybe hurting my wallet a little bit more...


  1. Do the recognized shows, for sure. More money, yes, but the courses are more realistic of the level, things are run better, and you can qualify for fun things. Plus keep in mind that all recognized courses are not equal, so if you want, stick to the softer ones at first and then work your way to the harder ones.

    1. I think thats the goal! Now to figure out which ones are best for us to do!

  2. It's hard to not giraffe at things. I feel like you guys have accomplished a lot so far this year!

    1. Thanks!! I am feeling really happy with how Tillie is going :)

  3. Same thing around here in H/J land, very few schooling shows offer 3', very few offer quality 3'. So if you want to move up most of the time you'd be traveling as far as a rated show and staying overnight like a rated show, so at that point it might as well just be rated show.

  4. You guys have come such a long way!