Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Febraury Recap & March Goals

Wow, that month felt even shorter than it was! Regardless, I feel like we got a lot done in the way of training and I am very happy with the direction we are heading in. With that being said, here is a recap of my February goals as well as what I would like to accomplish in March!

February Recap

  1. Continue to work on keeping Gatsby relaxed and fluid to his fences. I would love to have him jumping a small course in this new mindset by month end.

Considering we ended our jumping lesson last week with a calm, fluid course set up to 3’6 in a SNAFFLE I am marking this a HUGE SUCCESS!!!!

  1. Continue to work on keeping him relaxed and FOCUSED in our dressage work.

While our dressage hasn’t improved nearly as drastically as our jumping there has definitely been some improvement and that’s a start. He is slowly but surely building back his topline which is lovely and I am considering this a mark of success.

  1. Start playing with deeper leg yields and more significant extensions.

This one is a bit iffy. We did do some work with leg yields and extensions but I wasn’t very consistent with it, mostly because I was more focused on my next goal, keeping him straight. As he is getting straighter every day I plan on incorporating these movements into our work more this month.

  1. KEEP HIM STRAIGHT. I have A LOT of work to do with using my outside aides more effectively and consistently.

I am going to go with success on this one. While we are obviously not perfect all the time I feel like we are making huge progress here and I am having to make fewer and fewer corrections throughout our rides.

  1. Lunge at least once a week with side reins.

Huge fail. This did not happen even once. Mostly because I realized that I no longer have a surcingle (it disappeared a couple moves ago and I was borrowing one at my old barn) and also because most days I just felt like riding.

  1. Venture out of the arenas and explore the trails/galloping track at our new home.

Also fail. Between the rain and my busy schedule we didn’t have any good weekend days to explore. Hopefully this month!

  1. Map out a conditioning plan for this season.

Success! I have a plan mapped out through June at which point I will reassess. I have decided to alternate between a long hack and trot/gallop sets each week. Since he is a thoroughbred and is naturally very athletic his fitness is not a huge issue so I think doing both every week may get him fitter than I actually want him.

  1. School cross-country fences at home at least once? (This is a maybe because I am not sure how mine/Alexis' schedules will match up on the weekends for the rest of the month.)

Unfortunately this didn’t end up happening. However, we are doing a trip to Twin Rivers this month to school which I am very excited about!

Overall I am going to say February was a big success and I am super excited going into March!

March Goals
  1. Really focus on keeping him relaxed and attentive in dressage. This is clearly our weakest phase and I would really like to change that especially since I KNOW he is capable of being an amazing dressage horse.
  2. Lots of work on lateral movements. This really plays into my first goal but also continues to keep me focused on his straightness.
  3. Start working with my conditioning plan and really get a feel for how much work we have cut out for us if we are aiming for the T3D.
  4. Continue to work on his relaxation and focus in our jumping lessons. I am really excited that we were able to go back to the snaffle and I would like to start playing with his adjustability over courses.
  5. Have a fun and successful schooling at Twin! At this point I am unsure of whether our first event of the season will be Twin or Woodside but regardless it will be great to get back out on a cross-country course and I really want this to be a confidence building experience for both of us.

Again, a lot to work on but I am confident that we will be able to achieve all of these goals as long as we stay focused and healthy!

Last night we had a pretty good dressage school. He was in one of those "I won't be great but I also won't be an ass" moods. Normally I feel like I sort of go along with what he wants and say "as long as you're not bad I won't make you work" but last night it was a whole new me and I meant business. At the end I was really glad I pushed through his resistance because he did give me some beautiful work. Tonight we have a jumping lesson. I am super excited coming off of last week's but I am also exhausted and not feeling great so we shall see.

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