In the last month, we've finally hit some breakthroughs and are starting to be able to actually move forward instead of just filling in holes. I'm sure I'll discover another hole at some point, but for now I want to keep up with the forward momentum and that means developing a progression plan.
Where we are Now
Note, for the purposes of this post, right now "good" = relaxed + rounded topline + even rhythm + slow tempo (not overly slow, but not running) + correct bend + acceptance of bit
(we can do more things with 4 or 5 out of 6, but that isn't enough to be considered "good")
Good walk work - achieved in 2015
One good 10-15m trot circle - achieved in late 2015
One good 20m trot circle - achieved in spring/summer 2016
Consistently (every ride) able to get one good 10-15m trot circle - achieved in December 2016, this took a long time, but the clinic in November gave us the final keys and we finally got there and were able to move on
Consistently able to get one good 20m trot circle - achieved in December 2016
Multiple good 20m trot circles - achieved December 2016
Consistently able to get multiple good 10-15m trot circles - achieved December 2016
Good trot circles with good walk-trot and trot-walk transitions - achieved December 2016 (my last ride)
|No related media, so please enjoy this photo of me attempting to put my |
elf hat on Kachina, she was not impressed with the plan and this was the closest I got
Consistently able to get multiple good 20m trot circles
Consistently able to get good trot circles with good walk-trot/trot-walk transitions
Good Walk/Trot test patterns (circles, large arena, diagonals, transitions, direction changes, etc)
Consistently good Walk/Trot test patterns
We're not too far off this point and I think that all of these steps are realistically achievable in the next 4-6 weeks.
Good stretchy trot circle
Consistently good stretchy trot circle with transitions in/out
Good trot circle with a few strides of lengthen/added impulsion
Consistently good transitions within trot
Good canter circle
Consistently good canter circle
Good trot-canter/canter-trot transitions
Consistently good trot-canter/canter-trot transitions
Good Training test patterns
Consistently good Training test patterns
These are the next stages that we need to reach. Any one of these steps might end up being another wall that we need plenty of time and new strategies to conquer, so the timeline is a lot more uncertain. However long it takes, once we get to this point I will feel like I finally have a solid walk/trot/canter horse and that will be fantastic. If we get to this point before the summer show season I will be ecstatic. I'd love to go to a couple recognized shows and feel like we were actually contenders at Training Level instead of just there for exposure.
Note, trot lengthen is in this grouping, even though it's not a Training level movement, because I feel that coming back to a good trot after a big trot is a good tool to have before we tackle the canter (so I can more easily come back to a good place if the canter gets messy).
Add more strides of lengthened trot
Consistently good lengthened trot diagonals
Good trot leg yields
Consistently good trot leg yields
Good canter circle with a few strides of lengthen/added impulsion
Consistently good transitions within canter
Good long side of lengthened canter
Consistently good long side of lengthened canter
Good First 1 & 2 test patterns
Consistently good First 1 & 2 test patterns.
After we get Training Level down, these are what we need to approach First Level. I'd like to check at least a few of these off by the end of 2017 if possible. Somewhere in here we'll also have to up our definition of "good" to be more consistently on the bit (instead of just accepting it) and to have more impulsion, balance and throughness.
That's where I'm going to stop for even my ambitious plan. I can see the progression up to this point, but I can see the counter canter loop to X in First Level Test 3 being a tough movement for Kachina. I think introducing that too early could reverse the important lessons we've learned about bend and balance so I will do a hard re-evaluation before then.
If all this works, we will end 2017 as a good (not just passable) Training Level pair attempting First Level. Of course horses and life like to throw a lot of wrenches into any plan so we'll see what happens.
Do you plan your training in a series of steps like this or take it more day by day as to what needs to be worked on? How many steps ahead do you plan? This is essentially my first time doing this style of plan, but I think I need it to keep me focused and stop me stagnating in the same place. I am totally willing to rethink this at any time if the need arises though.