January Analysis & February Goals
We have survived the first month of 2019 and as I expected, we were hit with both Snowmageddon AND Mother-Fcking-Cold-Mageddon.. and we were also hit with "oh my god it's nice, I wanna garden and play with ponies outside" as well as "it is so windy, I think my face literally got stretched off my skull".. We have literally had all 4 seasons in the past 30 days, and while some days were glorious, it also put a damper on my January goals.
Spend at least 4 Hours in the Saddle
I'm going to call this a win. I had some issues with my Equilab app that required Technical Support and some of my rides were lost, so while I currently have about 3.6 Hrs logged for January, I'm thinking I hit 4, or just over.
Continue with regular Stretching (on the ground)
I definitely put a lot of time into this, and also introduced a new REMT who gave me additional stretches to do. At our 2nd appointment, she said there was noticeable difference!
- Spend at least 30 minutes without Stirrups
I didn't complete this :( With the inconsistency, Sierra was fresh more often than not so I didn't actually cross my irons until Jan 29 and it was only for 10 minutes.. so I mean, I made an attempt but not as much as I could have.
Continue to work to lengthen my right side and soften my thigh, especially while tracking to the right
I have made considerable effort to remedy this and it's a huge work in progress, but getting better!
Work to develop a more reliable and consistent response to the lateral aids
I didn't really start with any lateral until later in the month, but I did w/t leg yields both on and off the wall, and started some baby shoulder-in's in the Walk the past few rides, so i'll call this a win.
- Improve the canter - go large and trust her
With the degrading footing, tiny arena, saddle fit issues, etc I decided to scrap this idea. I haven't pushed the canter U/S at all this month, however during our groundwork days, or when I turn her loose, I have noticed significant improvement in her Canter and her ability to maintain the correct lead without swapping behind and/or bucking. That all being said, I have been doing a bangin' job at using the arena and not getting stuck on a circle and I am trusting her.. so I suppose another partial win?
I anticipate a lot of similarities in the weather pattern in February, and as such I suppose my goals aren't too exciting, but I did add a 'stretch goal' that has me nervous, anxious but also I know it's a necessary evil as I kinda-sorta have my eye on a teeny, tiny 1-day schooling show at the local indoor on March 2 and I really don't want to end up in the rafters if I decide to go and do the flat classes..
For February, I want to feel like I'm solidifying some really crucial basics. It's easy to get caught up in the end goal but I know that taking my time to develop rhythm, relaxation, connection, evenness and suppleness it will vastly improve our training down the line. When Sierra is tired or not feeling 100%, she tends to ignore my outside aids, predominantly my outside leg. I know that this isn't acceptable, and I tend to revert back to my natural desire to just hang on the inside rein rather than correct it (IE Pull vs Push), and I want to really focus on correcting this in myself. I want to improve my position and the aids from my seat, as well. The right rein is our obviously weaker direction and it happens more often, resulting in a blocked shoulder/wither/rib cage, over bent neck and an often trailing or leading hind quarters. I tend to get her head 'swinging' as I squeeze/supple my inside rein to make up for the ineffective outside aids, and it's just not conducive to our progress. I've also noticed my depth perception seems to be a little 'off' while tracking right, and I always seem like I want to turn sharper/faster/sooner than I need to because the corner feels closer than it is, so I need to work on this (and probably get my eyes checked). My recent revelations of my own physical struggles has opened up a ton of doors as to why things are 'hard' for us, and being aware of the problems has allowed me to become hyper-aware, and thus address them.. but on the flip side, I'm working hard not to obsess over them and constantly change things up by working on something new/hard/etc for a handful of times, then moving on once a little smidge of progress is made. It goes against every bone in my body, but is a necessary decision in order to keep us both happy.
- Spend at least 30 minutes without Stirrups
- Spend at least 4 Hours in the Saddle
- Continue with the (in-hand) stretches & do more Accupressure
- Continue to improve my aids and positioning while tracking right
- Continue to develop the lateral work
- Focus more on improving the right rein stability while tracking right
- Continue to develop the R+R+C, especially in the Trot
- Start incorporating some different, more challenging figures & more progressional transitions
- Do a Hunter Clip if the weather is looking favorable for March/April
- Haul to the indoor to ride there at least once, even if it's short * Stretch Goal *
- Pentosan Injection - February 1st
- Saddle Fitter - February 3rd
- REMT, Session #3 - February 16