Wednesday, April 30, 2014

April Analysis | May Goals

April was a long month, and May is going to be super busy. So, let's jump right in and wrap this sucker up!

April Goals: 
1. Really refine First 3 and Second 1. Run through them a few times and video at least once before the schooling show at the end of the month. Figure out where the points are, and how we are best suited to go after them.
Yes! I schooled these tests to death in April, and it really paid off at Heartland when I could ride the tests from memory and feel like I was stringing together actual work instead of scrambling to prepare for a movement because I was late remembering it. 
Hells yeah! Square halt!
2. Amp up the pressure during the first half of the month. Really focus on quality of gaits and transitions, and keeping consistent connection. Need to push more movements together, and great a little stress so Guinness and I find riding tests almost easy when we get to them.
I DID end up increasing the pressure at the start of the month, then backing it off the week before the show. I do think this helped us some. However instead of increasing pressure on things we already knew, I pushed for an increase in flexion from Guinness which wasn't something we'd been practicing, and I think I fried him for the show. Of course, that stuff needed (and is still undergoing) work, so I don't feel too badly about it. We're almost to a point where I can see the light at the other end of the flexion tunnel, and I'm came back from the show ready to amp the pressure right back up. Before my next show, I'll probably decrease the pressure a little bit less than I did last for Heartland. I think I was a little too complacent, and he fell flat in the ring.

3. Keep working on renvers/travers. Try to get a thorough understanding of them, and reliably get a few steps without tension.
Success! I worked on these with Nancy, and she showed me just how much I need to ask for to maintain proper bend/flexion without losing the hind end. She also went through the aids, and I'm feeling able to ask for these successfully every ride. They aren't very advanced or showy, but we're only 2nd level. (It's amazing how often I have to keep reminding myself that 2nd level work is not going to look like Grand Prix work. Duh.)

4. Have a good experience at the schooling show. Focus on relaxation and clear communication. Keep myself focused and riding every moment of the test, not letting the test ride me. Aiming for upper 60s at First and lower 60s at Second. Scores are secondary to good productive rides.
Fail on the scores (Upper 50s in both tests ... ouch), but winning on the focus, relaxation, communication and cognizant riding. I honestly think our scores would have been higher at another show, though I don't think they were horribly unfair either. The rides were good preparatory rides for the season, and our work is only improving.
Good experience, better turnout. Priorities...?
5. Continue to develop the medium trot.
Uh ... yes. But only insofar as as I have been working hard to increase the overall engagement of all gaits and establish a better base of straightness. This results in better mediums, though I can't say we've really been practicing them.

6. Master the french braided forelock (and have fabulous show turnout all wrapped up).
Total success! I braided two forelocks at the last show. (Note: Full, luscious cob forelocks are way easier to braid than wispy thin thoroughbred forelocks. Or maybe I just don't speak "thin hair" well, as my own hair is massively thick. Whatever.)

Connor's forelock is clearly winning here... 

Personal April Goals:
1. Run a 7 miler!
Yes! I churned out 7.2 miles last weekend, and am looking at doing another 7 miler this weekend. It's good to have my distance mojo back. However, I am going to need to start running earlier in the morning and trying to avoid the parts of town with unchained pitbulls. The dogs were pretty frazzled by the end of last weekend's run.
"Mom, get it together. It's starting to get hot out here!"
2. Keep weekly mileage at 15 miles or higher.
Winning again! I only had one week last month where my mileage dipped. I'm feeling okay about that. Rest times are good!

3. Get cracking on personal projects that have been languishing for the last month.
Uh. No. Big Fail. April was the month of zero-motivation. May is feeling much better, though!

May Goals:
1. Work through the tension and temper tantrums going from straightness to flexion is causing in Guinness, and establish better overall straightness and balance.
2. Keep up with 2nd 1 and review and get comfortable with 1st 2. Video rides again a week out from Harmony.
3. Push hard at the beginning of the month and up to Harmony in the Park in the middle of the month. Then, let Guinness have a good week off.
4. Have a good experience at Harmony in the Park at the middle of the month. Look for confident rides that are more representative of our capabilities. Try to ride every ride, and stay present in the moment. Don't hope Guinness is with me, but actively make it so.
5. Finish Bronze scores at 1st level.
6. Get Bronze score at 2nd level.
5. Get out hacking more. At least once a week for a long ride, or twice a week for a short one.

Personal May Goals:
1. Yoga. Once a week. Do it!
2. Run a 9 miler. Increase weekly average to 17 miles, try to push for one week of 18-20.
3. Keep up with my daily routines and stop letting ice cream and peanut butter sabotage my life. (Anyone else eat multiple jars of peanut butter in a week? No? Just me ...?)
3. Stop falling behind at work. Procrastination is not my friend, no matter how nice and friendly it seems to be.
4. Get my plants/flowers planted, my yard looking less like a trailer park, and my screened in porch ready for the summer pizza party season.

9 comments:

  1. Austen, you make me feel like such a slacker! Super goals for May and great accomplishments in April - way to go :)

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    1. Not my intent to make you feel like a slacker! :) I'm one of those people who literally cannot sit still. I drive everyone nuts...

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  2. You guys had a great April, can't wait to see you in May!

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    1. Thanks! :) May is going to be so much fun, and soooooo busy! Sorry I'll miss you at Penny Oaks this weekend!

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  3. Braiding is the one thing I wish was practical to do for endurance. It's SO PRETTY; LOVE the forelock braids. I may have to practice some French braiding on Q just 'cause. Haha.

    Love the puppies, as always.

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    1. You could always do a running braid on her mane? Wouldn't that be practical to keep her mane out of your way. At least, that's the excuse fox hunters give... ;)

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    2. Good point!! I better start practicing

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