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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.

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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?
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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.

February Goals,  Appointments & To-Do's:

  • 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

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  1. And of course hell is freezing over starting this weekend and it will be too damn cold to ride until sometime in the second week of February. I must find another way to get some fitness into me! Maybe I should clean off my treadmill/clothing hanger?

    1. Right!! We are currently under a Snow Storm Warning, and daytime HIGH temps aren't supposed to be warmer than -22 for the next 10 days.. ugh!! Like an idiot, I signed up for a Pilates class that I already regret, but I sure hope this weather smartens up!

  2. nice work in january, good luck with your february goals!

  3. It can be so hard to accomplish goals with histrionic weather, you still did a great job!

    1. It has been nearing -60C the past few days, so tell me about it!!


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