August Goals | July Analysis

July Goals
1. Take advantage of the truck and trailer being easily accessible this month to ride with Nancy more. 
Success! Pig and I took several trips last month, and one was out to see Nancy. Getting an extra ride in with her monthly is so worth it! 
We also visited Jen and Connor!

2. Fix the crooked horse! Get Guinness really straight and working through, especially engage that right hind!
(I wrote more on this here) It may have taken all month, but I finally feel like I can reliably get Guinness straight. It might take 15 minutes to get him flexible enough, and he might not be able to hold it much longer than another 15 minutes of work, but dammit. We can do it!

3. Fix the crooked rider! Commit weighting the correct seatbone to muscle memory, and increase hip flexibility. 
Ah. Much, much, much better here! Body awareness +. Of course, this means I'm going to have some other amazing way I'm off kilter pointed out in my next lesson. Bring it on!

4. Start asking for more intense movement strings from Pig while keeping thoroughness. 
Unless you count asking for a tiny travers and a few steps of correct shoulder-in on the same long side, no. This is a fail. Getting straight without fights or tension took too long to be able to introduce more stressful training.

5. Fix Floating Leg Syndrome. Try to keep my legs on and back without holding with the thighs or knees. Gotta fix this to 100% separate seat from leg. So close!!
Still close. Not 100%, but much better. I need to stop clamping on my lower leg and expecting something to happen from that.

6. Ride more horses so I can fix my own straightness issues!
Yes! I've been averaging two rides a day (Guinness + a young/green OTTB). Riding an honest green horse has been so helpful for me to feel when I'm doing things all crooked.
Meet Tori! She's adorable!

July Personal Goals
1. Yoga twice a week. Up the ante! (Cue internal groan-fest)
Uh ... no. Once a week? Yes. Regular stretching? Sure. However, that's as far as it has gone.

2. Increase runs back to 15-18 miles a week. Run a 7 miler. 
Yes! Weeks have averaged 18 miles. Last week I ran my first 8 miler in 4 years, and ran a weekly total of 19.5 miles. Yes. It feels so good. (Of course, I did strain something in my foot and will now have a week of almost no runs. Crap.)
Old Black Dog is getting slower as he gets older, but he is still The Best Dog.

3. Achieve daily to-do list of zero nightly, and set up list for next day before bed. 
Uh. Fail. Straight up fail.

4. Get to bed before 10p on the week days. Sleep is important and I need to stop skimping on it.
Partial success. The first part of the month this was really difficult (especially on days I rode two horses after work!). Fortunately, I have been able to get this back on track for the most part and haven't been to bed too late in a couple of weeks.

August Goals1. Keep rides fairly stress free for Pig.
2. Focus on balance and straightness in every ride. Get that before moving on to something else, and reestablish it when it's lost instead of moving on.
3. Start adding in shoulder-in/travers more often.
4. Work on the medium trot again. He is starting to get it now that he's straight. Push for more.
5. Carry over the straightness and balance work into the canter. It's weaker now.
6. Canter departs need more sit. Downwards need more push. Work it.

August Personal Goals
1. Heal foot. Ramp running back up.
2. Don't eat too much peanut butter while off of running. 
This is the peanut butter damage for the last week and a half... My name is Austen. I have an addiction.
2. YOGA. Minimum of 30 min continuous once a week with 3 other sessions of quick stretches.
3. Graduate school ... so that's a thing.

Gratuitous, but gorgeous, photo from our visit to Jen's picturesque barn.


  1. Holy peanut butter. That is a lot of PB! Do you just eat only PBJs?

    1. Fun fact, I actually don't like PBJs. I tend to just attack the jar with a spoon and some chocolate chips instead. :)

      I'm a stickler for making sure I get enough calories to fuel my daily activities (endurance athletes can gain weight and are more likely to sustain major injuries if they don't eat enough), and that can be pretty hard to do with my busy schedule. So, it's often easier and a little healthier to grab a jar of PB instead of loading up on sugary convenience foods.

  2. Congrats on making huge progress on July goals & fab list of August goals.
    Best of luck with grad school!

    I've a post in the works for tomorrow, I'm hoping to finally jump on the monthly goal - setting bandwagon. Fingers crossed i can show as much improvement at the end of the months as you do!

    1. I'm sure you'll nail it! I find it best to keep the goals something I can reasonably attain, and to keep them easily accountable. So instead of "do more yoga" which I would never do, I mandate "do 30 minutes of yoga" which makes the goal more concrete and easy to do. Make sense?

  3. So many goals. So much peanut butter. I suspect peanut butter is mildly better for you than my drug of choice: ice cream.

    1. Gotta fuel all that success with something. ;)

  4. You need one of those industrial size peanut butter jars!!

    1. If Smuckers made that peanut butter in industrial sizes ... oh man. I'd be lost.

  5. One of your personal goals cracked me up, "4. Get to bed before 10p on the week days." Mine is: STAY AWAKE until 8:30 p.m. It has still been light when I go to bed. And there are some nights that I simply can't help it and fall asleep by 7:30! Of course, I am out of bed before 5:30 a.m. every day (and frequently by 4:45) so I guess falling asleep before 9:00 is to be expected. :0)

    1. Ah! Now I'm jealous of you! ;) I'm out of bed every morning at 5:30a too, but I'm rarely home before 8:30p. When I am, you can bet I'm in bed by 9!! With adding in an extra horse to ride, I've recently been wandering home from the barn closer to 9:30. It's murder to try to eat something and get to sleep in a half an hour.

  6. You and I have so many of the same issues when riding :) You accomplished a lot last month! I hope this month's goals go well too. Also, peanut butter is the best snack!

    1. I'm coming to realize a lot of OTTBs have similar issues. Namely, too little understanding and too much work ethic, resulting in some serious upset moments when they Cant. Figure. Out. What. We're. Asking, balance/suppleness issues, lacking natural fanciness in the trot (though they often make up for that with excellent canters that often surpass some warmbloods!). I certainly enjoy reading along with other OTTB dressage rider's journeys. There's a lot to learn about working with this breed. I just love them!


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