Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Q1 Review & Q2 Goals

So it's still a few days until the end of Q1 but I already accomplished all my goals so might as well do goal review now.

2018 Q1 Goal Review

1. Try training with Elaine
Success! - I went into the month of February with an open mind, and worked hard at learning for the 7 lessons. I also have two more lessons scheduled for when she comes at the end of March (she is planning to come every month now which is great)

2. Research other boarding options
Success! - I talked to horse friends, made enquiries about several different stables, and settled on a move!

3. Continue with Project Magpie
Success! - This isn't complete, but I continued my investigation and found out that the two people who own the horses in with Kachina can't get within an arm's length of her anymore either. This means the problem is larger than just my BO. (Perhaps my SO was able to approach so easily because he smelled like me). My working hypothesis at this point is that something about our current barn is just not working for Kachina and that's a big part of why I decided to move. There's no guarantees but I'm hoping she'll relax more in a different environment.

4. Issue Prizelist for Show
Success! - Prizelist issued March 10th, and I also helped with another prizelist for our area dressage group. 

I'm happy with my goals from Q1, I could have added more but I think having just these four helped me focus on what was important and make some positive strides forward.

2018 Q2 Goals

1. Settle into New Barn 
This means going out more frequently to reassure Kachina that the move doesn't mean I've abandoned her. It also means keeping a close eye on Kachina's weight and mental state to see if the move is actually benefiting her. Some short term upheaval is possible but if things don't improve within this quarter, I need to be prepared to make additional changes. 

2. Improve my Relationship with Kachina on the Ground
This is a key reason why I am moving barns. I am already's Kachina's person, but I want her to learn that things like extended grooming sessions can be enjoyable, not just something to endure. Even if we have less arena time we should be able to use the heated barn and stall for some simple bonding time. 

3. Hold 2nd Annual Dressage Show
This is scheduled for May 19-21, and it's looking like we're in decent shape compared to last year, but it's still going to involve a lot of work. 

4. Test Ride Every Two Weeks
Show season is coming and test riding helps us with showing so this needs to be added back into our schedule. This will consist of Training tests initially but hopefully include First Level tests by May or June. Our circles or diagonals might need to be a little wonky if there are jumps in the way but even a rough approximation of the pattern should help. Ideally I would like to do this weekly, but every two weeks at minimum. 

5. Work on Canter Lengthens
I know we have trot lengthens, and we've lengthened canter before successfully, but I haven't done much structured work yet on going forward and then coming back in the canter without losing anything else. This is the key thing holding us back from First Level right now so I want to work on it.

6. Get Married
I know, I know, not a horse goal, but I'm putting it on the list so I remember not to get too ambitious with equestrian pursuits. 

I had to re-write this list a few times. There are a few shows in Q2 that I would like to attend and I was making related competition goals, but I think with the barn move and the wedding I need to chill out and see how things go. If we end up showing great, but I don't want to put too much pressure on either of us. At the same time though, I don't want to drop these goals completely, so I present a new bonus category:

2018 Show Season Goals (Stretch)

All of these are stretch goals (because only so many show dates, and horses wreck plans), but something for me to aim for within Q2 or Q3 (show season is Apr-Sept)

1. Debut at First Level
This is a tough one, because I know we aren't 100% ready, but I'm also convinced that I could keep working to improve at Training Level with Kachina for literal years if I don't push for us to move up. I think we're at the stage where we could get through a First Level test without embarrassing ourselves and I also think working on lengthens and leg yields will ultimately improve our connection and other basics. I won't rush anything that will put us backwards training-wise (and I know we're not ready to tackle the shallow canter loops in 1-3 yet), but at some point we need to move onwards and upwards. 

2. Score Above 65%
This can be at training level, but I believe in the meaning behind dressage scores and I want to prove to myself that we are putting in acceptable work. 

3. Earn an ADA Wild Rose Award
This involves getting scores of 63% or higher at 3 different shows at Training Level or First Level.