Oh what wonderful weather we are having here in NC! Days like this give me a new zest for life while current pressures and frustrations tend to take a back seat to thoughts of hopefulness and taking joy in the present moment. ahhh, I love it. I'm currently typing on my back porch listening to birds chirp. Daphne is sleeping, using my foot for a pillow and I'm enjoying a lovely glass of red.
Eva came to visit me this morning. She arrived around 8:30 and we headed to Panera to have some coffee and take the time to think about our goals for ourselves and our horses (Eva having a more difficult time with the horse portion of the assignment since she is still in the process of buying and hasn't solidified her choice yet). Eva's previous trainer taught her a good way to set and track goals, so we used that as a starting point. We started out by identifying out ultimate goal.
Mine? To show rated (preferably 'A') Amateur Owners.
Our next step was to identify our current level.
Mine? Riding approximately 1 time a week on a borrowed horse and doing ground work with Granite while working out 5 times a week.
Next we needed to identify our 3 greatest weaknesses and our horse's greatest weaknesses.
Mine? 1. Lack of Physical Ability
2. Confidence in the saddle
3. Lack of Money/ Resources (i.e. regular lessons, training, truck/trailer)
Granite's: 1.Physical fitness/Stamina
2. Age/ Maturity (Mental State)
Next up-- We needed to set goals for ourselves and our horses to address these challenges/weaknesses. We have to set goals to reach in 1 month, 6 months, and 1 year.
My One Month Goals (April):
1. Continue to work out at least 5 times a week
2. Ride as much as possible (on Chance or anything else I can get my paws on)
3. Attend inexpensive clinics to make up for deficits in formal training
4. Take at least one lesson a month
5. Continue to work with Granite In-Hand
6. Attend the Oak Ridge Horse Show, even if it is just to familiarize Granite with the atmosphere
7. Work on my patience with Granite
Granite's One Month Goals:
1. Continue to work on the lunge and with side reins
2. Continue to accept me sitting on him
3. At the end of one month begin learning cues and aids
Our 6 Month Goals: (September)
1. Walk, Trot and Canter under saddle.
2. Compete in one division (probably walk-trot)at a schooling show
3. Compete in the slow division at a Hunter Pace
4. Go on an off-the-property trail ride
5. Compete in a recognized show on a horse from Applewood Farm
6. Continue riding and taking lessons at Applewood Farm
7. Jog an entire 5K, (train for an 8 or 10K)
8. Continue with a strict workout routine
9. Research and create a program for riding/schooling Granite in appropriate intervals (duration of ride and frequency of rides)
Our 1 year Goals: (Next Spring)
1. Be riding Granite regularly
2. Come up with a situation in which I can take lessons on him (have my trainer travel to my barn/ get him to hers)
3. Compete on an unrecognized (open) hunter circuit (preferable WIN).
4. Save $ for a truck and/or trailer
5. Start schooling him over fences.
6. Continue work on my personal fitness (more 5K+ with better results).
7. Lose one pants size.
After coming up with some goals and bouncing ideas off of one another to determine what really was realistic (I was trying to determine if I should try to begin showing Granite recognized next season or wait until his 5th year, after discussing the pros/cons with Eva, I determined to show him unrecognized during his 4th year), Eva and I headed to the park for a run. Eva is in 300 times better shape than myself but today was my day for a big run (5 miles) and after her 9 mile run yesterday, today was her short run. So we kept in sync with each other pretty well for the 5 mile jog and got to continue our discussion of horses and goals and just being 20somethings who are finishing school and trying to navigate life "in the real world".
After finishing our run, we headed out to visit Granite. He was enjoying the 60 degree weather and getting to frolic without his blanket. I cleaned him up and we headed to the arena to do some in-hand and lunge work. Granite was a peach and Eva took a bunch of great videos of him working. Too bad I can only get them to upload in Quicktime and I don't have Quicktime Pro, therefore can't save them and thus can't upload them here. If you have techy suggestions to fix this problem, please share because I would love for you all to get to see my boy in action! I sat on Granite for the 6th time and Eva led us around the arena. Then she hopped on him and became the 2nd person to ever sit on ("ride") my horse. Isn't that how it should be?
Eva had to drive back to her house (about 1.5 hours) to meet her mother for lunch, but what a great morning we had! Life is Good my friends!
Saturday was nice as well. I worked out twice and got to play with Granite. My friend Carrie (see: "the student" on my sidebar) took a lesson with my BO. She did really well, I was very excited for her. She has wanted to ride so badly but my schedule and horse availability has made it so difficult for me to teach her. I trust the BO and suggested that Carrie try a lesson with her. I think she was impressed and it appears there are more lessons in Carrie's future. Saturday night was less than amazing however, because the Tarheels? are horrible! UGH! Maybe next season boys, maybe next season.
Friday night, had its ups and downs. After work I had a phone appointment with the 4-H horse program agent from our neighboring county. My 4-H Equine Team has its organizational meeting on Tuesday and I wanted to get some expert advice and tips about how to handle this. I am nervous, but also excited. I plan to take suggestions from the kids and parents and just be very flexible and try to meld this club into what they need it to be. After my phone meeting, I went to change into barn clothes for my ride at Applewood. I have sent my Ariat Paddocks to be fixed and was riding in my tall boots (once!), I put them on Friday night and the right zipper busted half way up my calf. I cried. Literally. Then I called Horse & Rider and talked to their most fabulous sales person, Nicole. She assured me that they would fix it for me and that I shouldn't worry. This left me with one huge problem, the only footwear that I possessed were my high heels from work. I called the owner of Applewood and told her I would have to cancel due to inadequate footwear. She just so happened to have just ordered a pair of Ariat size 8.5 paddocks on ebay and said I could borrow those! SCORE! So I continued on to the barn :) I got there and the boots fit really well (I usually wear an 8 in Ariat, maybe my feet grew). I tacked up Mr. Chance Man and went to the indoor. The arena had been freshly drug and Chance was convinced that all the wet spots were certain to eat him. He was very snorty and fresh. But, we worked through it for the first 20 minutes and then he continued on like a champ. My legs held our for 40 minutes this time and I made vast improvements in keeping him straight on the outside lines! I left feeling like a million bucks. I also bought those boots for $46. It wasn't budgeted, but they were nearly new and I have to have some sort of boot considering my tall boots will take almost a month to replace and my old boots won't be ready for 3-4 weeks. So, now I am the proud new owner of some black Ariat Heritage IIs (the same model as my old and beloved brown ones).
So, I hope you all had a weekend as great as mine. It is a great way to remember that winter can't last forever and although it is always difficult ($329 of vet bills this week) to keep our animals, they give us joy in amounts that can't even compare to the expenditures!