|My goal? More moments of pure, unadulterated joy!|
With my new job, the new house and everything we're doing to it (which is a LOT), the funds that have to pay for all of that renovation instead of horse shows, and a longer commute to the barn with a less flexible schedule, I'm letting myself take a bit of a step back from showing this year. Dino will also be 20 in May, and while I'm not sure how that happened so quickly, I'm trying hard to listen to him and how much he does or doesn't want to do.
That said, so far Dino is still sound, healthy, and ready to Go Do Stuff, and as long as he's still game, so am I!
My goals this year will be devoted to having fun and continuing to build confidence in myself, my skills, and my relationship with Dino. I want our rides to lean towards the positive and for our trust in each other to continue to grow. I want to keep learning and developing as a rider and a horsewoman, and I want both Dino and I to enjoy what we're doing.
And now, without further ado, I present my goals for 2018:
1. Keep Dino sound, healthy, happy, and seemingly immortal. One of my favorite things is hearing people gasp in disbelief when I tell them how old Dino is because they think he's half his age. I'm going to continue to work hard to keep it that way!
2. Continue to build confidence in stadium and cross country. I would absolutely love to get back to the point where I look at BN and N XC fences and think, "I want to jump that!" instead of hyperventilating and having heart palpitations. After not jumping since early October 2017, I've noticed in recent lessons that my confidence even over small stadium jumps needs some careful cultivation. While I may not get out to many horse trials this year, I do still want to keep taking lessons, keep working on my bravery, and working on feeling comfortable over the jumps that scare me!
3. Work towards showing First Level. In the past year we really started getting the hang of the dressage, with the vastly lower scores to prove it. Dino has been incredibly consistent at shows on the flat, and continuing to push forward in dressage is much more realistic and sustainable for us at this point than purposefully looking to jump bigger jumps in competition, especially as my little buddy breaks into his 20's. I don't see any reason why we can't shoot to ride a First Level test or two this year, and look to advance on the flat where I know we both can remain confident!
4. Participate in a western riding event. Whether it's learning to work cattle, going to another pleasure show, or riding in a trail event, I would LOVE to explore more western riding with Dino this year. Trying new things with that pony is just too much fun!
5. Complete a 25 mile endurance ride. This is a goal I've been thinking about since last summer, and something I would love to check off my bucket list. While I was originally shooting to ride the Foxcatcher endurance ride at Fair Hill in April, with Dino's injury this fall and our very limited riding this winter, I just don't think we can get fit enough to complete successfully by then. But I've got my eye out for other local competitions with more forgiving terrain, and I think Dino and I would excel at limited-distance endurance riding!
6. Hunt at least 4 times, SERIOUSLY! As long as someone doesn't try to cut his whole foot off again in the middle of hunt season, we should be able to do this. I hope.
My hope is that these goals keep me on track to continue learning, growing, improving my partnership with Dino, and increasing my confidence even without the framework and motivations of preparing for eventing competition. While I love eventing and do hope to compete in a horse trial or two this season, after such a successful 2017 that broke such a long dry spell for us, I also feel that Dino has nothing more to prove to me as an event horse. We won a horse trial, we won a year end award, I had FUN on cross country (several times!) and I am so, so satisfied with that. I'm also keenly aware that as Dino turns 20 and firmly enters Senior Citizen territory, the time I have to spend with him is limited. (Unless he lives forever. That's ok too.) I want to spend all of that time enjoying him and relishing our very special partnership without the self-imposed pressure to return to BN with this pony hanging over my head. Who knows, he may end up surprising me and taking us there without me even trying, but for 2018, my focus will be on enjoying every minute I spend with Caradino: Wonder Pony, and exploring this beautiful world from behind my favorite pair of little orange ears.