Monday 1 April 2019

2019 Q1 Goal Check Up

I decided not to do quarterly goals this year but instead I will do quarterly updates on my annual/ultimate goals. Here's how Q1 went:

Ultimate Goal #1
Be fair to my horse, both on a day-to-day basis and ensuring her future health and happiness

2019 Goal #1A
Make Kachina a more solid citizen so her future is protected in case my circumstances change.

What we've done this quarter
  • We've made improvements in both dressage and jumping under saddle. The jumping definitely helps Kachina become more marketable for either being sold or used in a lesson program. To be clear, I am not planning to get rid of Kachina, this is just to guard against future uncertainty. 
  • Changing up Kachina's bridle has made her easier to bridle which is an important life skill.
  • I did a ground work session with a new horsemanship trainer at my barn. I'm not sure all her suggested exercises will work for us but I got a few solid tips. 
  • I signed Kachina up to have someone catch her 2-3 times a week for the month of April, just to bring her in, feed her and let her out again. Hopefully this will give Kachina positive associations towards being handled by new people. 

2019 Goal #1B
Be fair to Kachina on a day-to-day basis and look after her well-being

What we've done this quarter
  • The cold weather necessitated trimming Kachina in the barn on a day where she would be alone inside. I knew this would be stressful for her so my farrier and I talked and we made the decision to drug her (oral dormosedan) to make it a calmer experience. The meds took longer to kick in than we were expecting but it ultimately worked well. I now have two tubes on hand that can be used in the future if needed. 
  • I listened to Kachina about her growing dislike for the Micklem bridle and set up a new bridle for her which is working very well for both bridling and riding. 
  • I attended hoof and mouth presentations at my vet's education day so I am a more educated owner.
  • I bought some Excel EQ to add to Kachina's diet in the hopes that it might benefit her, jury is still out on health benefits but she does like the taste. 
  • I started ignoring some of Kachina's less harmful behaviour in the barn to make our grooming and tack-up routine less drawn out. It's not that I'm giving up on groundwork, instead I am simply recognizing that spending too much time trying to redirect tense behaviours just adds to the tension and I need to pick my battles. 
  • I've increased my generosity with treats. 

All of the above choices seem to be putting me on a better path. Kachina still has deeply ingrained tension inside the barn but she has shown some improvements like she will now finish 80% of her food in her stall before she paws her food pan away (before it was generally less than 50%).

Ultimate Goal #2
Enjoy horses and riding

2019 Goal #2
Find my horsey joy as much as possible

What we've done this quarter
  • Relaxing some of my ground work focus has made trips to the barn less stressful for me as well
  • I have made the decision to ride more often than doing ground work and riding is really fun right now
  • In a few of my jumping lessons I have requested pole work as I freaking love pole work

I still have not figured out any fun specific winter activities. It was a freakishly cold February and while there is an open field at the barn, I am scared to ride in the snow because of hidden gopher and badger holes. Luckily the end of winter is finally within sight.

Ultimate Goal #3
Make a positive impact to the horse and dressage community

2019 Goal #3
Make a positive impact to the horse and dressage community in 2019

What we've done this quarter
  • Participated in meetings for the CC/ADA and ADA
  • Started some show organizing prep

I've been slacking on this goal this quarter and have done the bare minimum. Time to step it up for the rest of the year. 

Ultimate Goal #4
Work through the Dressage Levels to reach Prix St. George, achieving scores of 63% or higher under high level judges

2019 Goal #4
Achieve a score of 63% or higher at First Level and start schooling Second Level

What we've done this quarter
  • Increased number of dressage-focused rides (compared to Q4 last year)
  • Had monthly clinics with Elaine.
  • Focused on homework between clinics.
  • Videoed some of my rides and determined my weaknesses myself (upper body position and posting mechanic) and took initiative to ask for help on those things.
  • Improved my feel for how round is "round enough".
  • Improved my posting mechanic.
  • Improved my upper body position in the sitting trot.
  • Improved my hand and arm position.
  • Re-introduced shoulder-in
  • Increased number of canter transitions which is making them smoother
  • Improved my containment of the canter (influence on size and path) through canter pole work
  • Made half halt more effective through use of upper leg
  • Improved straightness of centerline halt through use of upper leg
  • Did one flying lead change over a pole (this is not something we are ready to school regularly and I don't want to mess with it but I'm thrilled Kachina showed the ability) 
  • Worked on taking up and lengthening reins more regularly (so that hopefully we can do it in a show without completely falling apart) 
  • Started some low-key counter canter practice by waiting a little longer to come down to trot if Kachina picked up the wrong lead after a jump
  • Started riding tests and test movements again (just in March)

I still definitely need to do a lot more test riding and practice actual test movements but our basics are improving and it is showing in the consistency of our rides these days.

Ultimate Goal #5
Become a dressage judge

2019 Goal #5
Make some progress towards my recorded judge application

What we've done this quarter
  • Nothing

I have no progress to report here but that's okay at this point

Ultimate Goal #6
Achieve some competitive success in riding (what that looks like may vary from year to year)

2019 Goal #6A
Earn an ADA Horse and Rider recognition award (63%+ at 3 rated shows)

2019 Goal #6B
Start earning scores towards Bronze Medal (65%+ at Silver or Gold show)

What we've done this quarter
  • See progress for Goal #4 as well
  • EC Horse Recording for Kachina has been completed (requirement for Silver or Gold shows)
  • EC Gold Sport License purchased
  • Payed and signed up for lifetime EC Dressage Award Registration (needed to do before any scores can count towards medal)
  • Planned 2019 show season including Gold shows and more than 3 rated shows
  • Submitted vacation requests at work for Fridays prior to planned show weekends 
  • Discussed level to show at with Elaine

This goal setup really helped me to stay focused on what was important this quarter and I feel like we made some good progress!


  1. You got an impressive amount done!

  2. Tat is a lot to get done in a single quarter!

  3. Sometimes just changing out mindset makes things easier (in reference to Goal 1) You've done a great job of breaking things down into manageable steps.

    1. Dunno if you follow replies closely on other blogs but I replied to your comment and also added to my post my response to you.