It's not how far we've come, it's how far we have to go

It's that time of year. The time where we all look forward and dream of what could be, and all the work we need to put in to get there. It's been a wild 2012, and let's take a look at that first ...

2012 Goals:
• Keep Guinness moving well, sound and happy. Control his arthritis and get his feet capable of handling a heavy workload.

Success! I feel like this year has really been the soundest and best year for Guinness since I've owned him. We had a few setbacks (mainly due to pasture injuries and bad foot trims), but we've managed to keep him motoring happily forward. I'm proud to announce he's now rock crunchingly barefoot (happily doing his winter trot sets on gravel/dirt roads without a 2nd glance) and his arthritis has been so well managed this year he hasn't needed a 2nd set of injections. We're still going strong on the set from May! 
• Complete a full horse show season.
This we totally nailed. We attended 3 Indiana Dressage Society schooling shows, and one other affiliated show. We actually ended up qualifying for the championship ride-offs in Training Level, and received fourth place in the IDS High Percentage Award in the Adult Amateur Training Level division. (See photo at top of post) IDS was a pretty awesome GMO to be a part of, and I also took a lot of weekends to volunteer at recognized horse shows just to get further into the world of USDF. Showing really was lots of fun, and I enjoyed getting to know my fellow Indiana dressage competitors and trainers.
• Finish season with good scores at Training Level and debut at First.
I'm pretty sure we nailed this one too. Our scores at Training Level were solidly in the 60s (except for our first showing, which was admittedly rough). I feel that moving up to First Level was warranted, but we weren't quite ready to show it. Unfortunately, show at First we did ... and it was rather rough. 
• Find a trainer / lesson program.
Success again! While not exactly regular, I've been traveling over to the Indianapolis area to lesson with Nancy Kleiner. I love her. Even with only a few lessons under our belt, she's made a huge difference in the way I ride, and the way I think about riding and approaching problems. I think Guinness has begun to really respond with more activity behind, and more level contact with my hands. I can't wait for this month's lesson.

2013 Goals:
• Keep Guinness sound and happy. Keep his feet rock-crunching and his arthritis as minimal as possible.
• Achieve Bronze Medal scores at First. (Try to do it by spending a minimal amount at Recognized shows) For those unfamiliar, the USDF Bronze Medal scores must be achieved thusly: 2 scores at 60% or above in 2 separate rides by two separate judges. To complete a Bronze you must have scores at 1st, 2nd and 3rd. 
• Keep up with regular lessons (one monthly). Continue to become a more effective and sympathetic rider. 
• Maintain regular blogging, attempting for once a week (3 times a month, minimal). 

Now (for your entertainment!) please enjoy these two videos:

The first? A short clip from my trial ride on Guinness. This was taken three days before I brought him home in November 2009. I hadn't ridden in over a year, and he was in full hunter mode.

The second? A short clip of some trotwork from last month. Any improvements?

More to come soon on our current progress and our work this month. How did everyone fare on their 2012 goals?


  1. Great work Austen on achieving and exceeding your 2012 goals! I am so glad we met last season and look forward to seeing you and Guinness this year at shows. Wow - you both look great in that recent video clip :)

  2. Thanks for the compliment Kelly! I really enjoyed getting to see you ride and hang out at shows. Looking forward to seeing both you and Lex getting out there and showing off this year, too!


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