Given that 2018 is more than halfway over I thought it was high time for an update. Its safe to say that 2018 has not gone quite to plan. We certainly haven’t achieved all the goals that I set for us at the start of the …
The rise of the internet has seen the emergence of a new way of competing with your horse – online competitions. Equimind is a UK based company which now offers dressage, jumping, show horse, vaulting, riding for the disabled and even blind horse competitions, meaning …
There is something promising about the new year. It’s an opportunity to start afresh, set your sights on new things and new journeys. I love pouring over the competition calendar at the start of each year and planning for the coming year. A really important part of planning is setting goals. I’ve always set goals and written them down so this months Equine Blog Hop hosted by Heather Wallace of Bridle and Bone was a perfect fit.
Why set goals?
For me setting goals helps to provide direction for my training. Importantly it also provides me with a way of measuring my success outside of competition performances. One thing I have not done particularly well in years past is to come back and check in with my progress. This year I intend to do this about every 3-4 months.
The types of goals
There are three types of goals, outcome, process and performance goals. Outcome goals are bigger picture goals over which you don’t have a much, if any control over. An example may be ‘to win at my next competition’. The next type, is a performance goal which can help you to track changes over time. An example may be ‘to score 70% in a dressage test’. The final type of goals are process goals. I like to think of these as stepping stones to help you achieve your performance goal. For instance ‘to develop stability in my lower leg’.
You might notice that my goals are all performance and process based goals. I personally am not a fan of setting outcome goals as these don’t tend to align with my values as a rider.
So without further ado here are my 2018 goals:
1. Score 66%+ at medium level
When we debuted at medium level we scored a little over 55%, in our last medium test in the November Equimind test we scored 61.5%. I feel that this accurately reflects the progress that we have made already. In order to consistently be scoring an additional 6% I have identified a number of aspects of the medium work we can improve.
- Improve the transitions into and out of medium trot
- Improve the transitions into and out of the medium canter as well as self carriage within the medium canter
- Improve half pass in both the trot and canter. I now feel that Nonie is moving off my outide leg nicely and is maintaining the neck bend, however where we need to improve is in the bend through her body.
- Be confirmed in the flying changes
2. To debut at advanced level (fourth level) at the end of the 2018 competition season.
This is a stretch goal and one I feel a little vulnerable just for having put down on paper. But there it is!
In order to do this Nonie and I need to have the following things in place:
- Be able to ride a canter halt transition
- Be able to ride a half working canter pirouette
- Be able to ride three single flying changes across the long diagonal
- Be able to ride a flying change directly after a medium canter
- Be able to ride 4 tempi changes
3. Qualify for QLD state championships and the Adult Amateur Owner Rider National Championships at Elementary and Medium level.
The cut off percentages and the number of tests required seems to change a bit each year for State, however I think that if I am scoring around 64% I should be able to go. Riding at a National Championships has been a dream of mine for quite some time and I finally feel ready to aim for this level.
4. To ride through a test at least once per fortnight.
Living in North Queensland means that my closest competition venue is close to two hours away and they only hold 2-3 comps a year. My next closest venue is four hours away. This means that I don’t get to compete quite as often as I would like. As such its really important for me to make sure that I am riding through tests in between competitions. It is such a different skill than training and one that I need to commit to practising. Maintaining relaxation whilst riding in a defined pattern where one movement comes up fairly quickly after the next.
5. To be able to ride bridleless in the 20x40m arena
In amongst a list of goals that are heavily competition and training based, this goal is in there as a reminder to me that it is important to relax and fun. I started riding bridleless late last year and loved it. I feel that this type of riding is a great way to improve my bond with Nonie as well as improve my ability to ride from my seat.
6. To improve my general fitness level by completing three gym sessions per week
Over the last 12 months, I feel as though I have become considerably stronger, however I’ve noticed that there are times when I run out of breathe or can’t hold my position. I feel that improving my fitness would enable me to better support Nonie.
I’d also love to hear from you! What are your goals for 2018?
Find out what other riders who write are setting as their goals for the year.
I met Mathilde via the Equestrian Bloggers networking group on Facebook and was instantly captivated by her striking Icelandic paint gelding, Baldur with his blue eyes. My fascination only grew when I learned that in addition to competing in show jumping they also attend gaited …
As dressage riders we have all had that experience of going into the ring and feeling like we rode an awesome test, only to receive our test sheets and be disappointed with the score.
Sometimes it may be that what we were feeling and what the judges saw were two different things, but there are other factors at play in this situation.
I tried to explain this issue to my non-horsey partner, after experiencing this very phenomenon last year. His response was rather wise and thoughtful. He reminded me that the judge can only mark what they see on the day and that they have no idea just how far you have come. Our coaches have probably all told us something similar to the first part of this idea. The second part really made me think.
Today, I went out to a local, unofficial club competition and rode an elementary test for a 65%, the same score I received for this test when we last rode it about 6 weeks ago (the same weekend that I had my first medium start). I was happy enough with this score, although parts of today’s test felt far better. I quickly realised that there were a few things this score didn’t show. For instance, that I have recently had to ride through some really sticky stuff with Nonie. She has decided that it would be far easier if I carried her around the ring. The score also doesn’t show that this time I didn’t have my mum there to warm me up.
I also think its important to consider that while there are judging guidelines, the reality is that things will always be a little murky when humans are involved. While some judges may score on the generous side, some will be sticklers for correctness marking in a more conservative manner and others may find some things inexcusable and mark accordingly. It may in fact be very misleading to compare scores from different judges.
I often find that while the scores may vary the comments are usually fairly accurate. I always take time to read and understand the comments. Its helpful to consider these comments. Do they come up regularly? If so do these comments speak to a larger issue? Can you develop some goals around these and incorporate them into your training plan. Take time to recognise the progress that you have made. But most importantly never allow one score or even two or three to define your riding.
Thank you to Jordan Wicks Photography for capturing these beautiful images.
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Two weekends ago Nonie and I danced down the centreline of our first ever medium dressage tests. In the week leading up to this competition my body was filled with a maelstrom of emotions. Excitement, nerves and pride. While we didn’t make take the dressage …
I recently wrote about the connections I have made with riders from across the world via Instagram, one such rider is Emily Grimstead. The first thing you will undoubtedly notice when you scroll through Emily’s feed is her spunky, spotty pony – Goosebumps or Goose …