Monday, February 3, 2014

January Goal Wrap Up | February Goals

I'm writing on my couch, under a heavy blanket and shivering out the last of a fever. I haven't been to the barn in 3 days, and am hoping this nastiness clears up so I can get back out there tomorrow and start off the week on schedule. Ugh, being sick is the worst.

January Goals

1. Keep up with my Day One riding journals.
Success! I've pretty much kept up with my Day One riding journals. I forget how much more I get out of every ride if I analyze it carefully and break it down into "3 Things For Each Ride." Plus, it's a fun way to take a photo to remind me of every day!

2. Bring GP back to pre-break fitness with a LOT of long slow miles.
Sucess! While we are not 100% where we were pre-break due to weather and general winter nastiness, Guinness is feeling strong and capable again. I'm not worried about pushing him for a bit more engagement or suppleness. My two-a-day Sundays have certainly been helping! 

3. Improve my transitions from bent to straight and back again.
Success again! We are getting much better at this! The new saddle is really helping me sit on my right seat bone, which keeps Guinness' right haunch from floating off into the netherlands of the arena. Going from shoulder-in to the track is easier, so is turning and maintaining a straight line rather than fishtailing all over.

4. Practice getting a soft, forward halt until I go blue in the face.
I. Am. Blueintheface. We've been practicing these soft halts during every ride. I have to say they have been getting MUCH better. I've also noticed them helping with straightening, and with increasing push from behind during my lengthens. I think the message to Guinness is getting through. "I need you to change your gait, not your connection and push." We still need work here, as it takes a few halts to remind Pig to stay soft. Still, coming along nicely!

5. Add flexion to my shoulder-in without wiggling off the rail.
This was hard. We worked on it with Nancy in December, and I'm still struggling with it some. I've discovered that asking for more flexion requires me to ride with even more subtlety and tact in the contact that I had before. It also requires me to be much more balanced and on the ball with my hips and legs. We're getting better, but not quite there yet. Every shoulder-in holds the angle longer before we wiggle off or back on the wall.
I'm adorable!

February Goals

1. Keep a more regular schedule. I usually try to ride 4 days a week, but the snowstorms and winter doldrums have been making it tough to get out regularly. I want that to change in February.
2. Refine the shoulder-in. Try to keep angle constant, bend consistent and be able to pick it up with confidence and speed. Try not to have to "work into it."
3. Increase responsiveness to upward transitions. Working off seat, not leg aids almost exclusively.
4. Increase responsiveness in downward transitions, keeping forward engagement. Start getting more prompt halts from walk and trot. Get prompt walks from canter. Keep neck long and relaxed.
5. Increase Guinness' confidence in backing. Keeping him relaxed in up to three steps.
6. Run through 1st 2 and 2nd 1 at least once. If possible, video to review later.

Yow! Let the hard work begin!

6 comments:

  1. They do say concentrating on 3 things is the best way to be successful :)

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  2. Well done on doing so well with your Jan goals, Feb ones look promising. Have fun with them!
    Love the photo of Guinness, his rug is fandabydosy

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    1. Haha, burgundy trim is always hit or miss on a chestnut. I think this blanket was a hit. Thanks!

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  3. Great job with your goals! Best of luck into February!

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