Sunday, March 2, 2014

February Analysis | March Goals

Goodbye February! Hello Spring?
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.
Mostly success. Though I started the month with a mysterious death plague, I managed to make every other week count and get out and ride the right amount of times. Plus, each ride felt really productive and like an improvement over the latter. Even though the weather is still uncooperative, I don't feel like I have to push myself to get to the barn regularly any more. This is good.

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."
Success! As I posted about earlier this month, our shoulder-ins have really been getting better and better. Right now, I'd say they are probably going to be one of our highlight movements in our Second Level tests (right along with the counter canter). It's crazy how the two movements I had the most trouble with have ended up being two of my best.
I also love how the shoulder-in has increases Guinness' strength in the trot. It's really a fabulous exercise, and I use it all the time.

3. Increase responsiveness to upward transitions. Working off seat, not leg aids almost exclusively.
Mostly success. I think this is something I'll always be working on. I still need to refine the canter depart, but the halt/walk, halt/trot, and walk/trot transitions are really pretty nice. Mainly, I struggle to remember that I don't need to boot Guinness with my leg to get him to move forward any more. It's a mental thing, really.

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.
Success! Our halts have been getting fantastic. While they're slightly cocked due to my issues sinking my right hip, they are prompt and very forward. Guinness is also starting to really internalize the difference between halting and backing up. He no longer seems to suck back as much as he used to! His neck and back have started staying softer in the downward transitions, especially the canter/trot transition, a difficult one for us.

5. Increase Guinness' confidence in backing. Keeping him relaxed in up to three steps.
Total success! I wouldn't say we've eradicated all tension in our backing, but I can now successfully ask for a back of a few steps without him disintegrating into a worried mess. In fact, I think the backing requirement at Second won't be too much of a problem for us!

6. Run through 1st 2 and 2nd 1 at least once. If possible, video to review later.
Success! I ran through 2nd 1 several times, and even captured it on video! I didn't run through 1st 2, but I did run through several aspects of the test, including the problematic leg yields. I'm pretty confident in our ability to nail this test.

March Goals

1. Increase the quality of our canter. Go braver and bigger in our medium, and more engaged and connected in our collected.
2. Improve canter/walk and walk/canter transitions. They need to be smoother, and more relaxed. But, they also need to be more prompt. I think this might be a strength issue, and a "butt in seat" issue.
3. Work the medium trot. I need to practice lengthening my leg and sinking into my seat while still asking for the lengthening of the gait with my seat. Might need to do some yoga to open those hip flexors more. Guinness will need work to hold the medium longer across the diagonal, once I learn to sit it properly. 
4. Run through 1st 2, video. Run through 2nd 1 again. Compare video.
5. Start working on the haunches-in. 
6. Explore turn on the haunches.

Personal March Goals

1. Increase running mileage to 15 miles per week.
2. Turn in a respectable time at a 5k (I'm looking at running sub 28:00).
3. Get all memberships in order for show season.
We're ready for this!
4. Go through show stuff and get it cleaned/organized/ready for show season.

Bring it March! Let's come in AND out like a lion!

10 comments:

  1. Your shoulder ins really do look awesome. 2nd Level here you come! For some reason even though our Dressage is not as far along as yours, and our shoulder ins are nowhere NEAR as good as yours, we've done a significant amount of haunches in already, and I hated it at first, but I really like it now.

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    1. Aw, you guys are so much better at some things than we are!

      I think it's the difference between the inherent straightness of the ottb vs the baby cob that saw you using so much more haunches in. Meanwhile, lateral work has been a struggle for us! We've certainly done then, but they aren't show ready, yet!

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  2. Congrats on reaching your February goals! Bring on March!

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    1. Thanks! These goals really help keep me focused!

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  3. Replies
    1. Thanks! I feel like I'm aiming a little low, but it's all about progression, right?

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  4. Love how much success you're seeing! Also love the added puppy photos. Happy, happy snow dogs!

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    1. Aw thanks! Snow dogs make everything better! We're starting to gear up for longer distance running right now, and they are SO EXCITED, GUYS. Huskies, I keep them around for the motivation. :)

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