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January 20, 2010

The Goals 2010 – explained (kinda)

  • Exercise Cass six days a week
    • I am a slacker.  I procrastinate and think “I can do that tomorrow“.  This needs to stop because we aren’t getting anywhere and Cass is getting fat.  We need to start training.  He is going to be seven this year and I still haven’t done a thing with him
  • Get him fit and work on cardio and topline
    • Yup.  This needs to happen.  NOW.  He should not get sweaty trotting for five minutes.  And it should not look like it is an effort for him to trot.  His unmuscle-y-ness also makes his gaits way worse which makes him just not fun to ride and sitting his trot = impossible.  He also has a butt that roughly resembles a giraffe, which is no good for impulsion
  • Be able to do training level dressage
    • Dressage is important.  Dressage is good.  Dressage is training.  Dressage is working on our abysmal flatwork

  • Jump 2′9 consistently
    • Consistently here means “jump 2’9 well one day and then also do it well the next day.  And any subsequent days.” Consistently does not mean “jump 2’9 well one day and then take off bucking after every jump the very next day in front of all the people watching because I had been bragging about my jumping horse being so good and then jump decently the next day except maybe cutting so corners but then having angry ears because my form is so bad that day that I just pulled instead of released yet again.” Which is more more usual.  So consistently needs work
  • Get his transitions really smooth
    • Walking around the arena: “trot….trot….troooooot…trot trot trot!..kick, kick, trot, trot…halt” and then weep in failure
  • Refine aids to invisible
    • Because no one even likes Thumper
  • Post/two point without stirrups
    • I have no leg muscle at ALL and I have just realized it.  This makes my jumping form easily comparable to something like an airplane, a leaping toad, or another very horizontal object
  • Ride bareback at all gaits and over a small jump
    • At all gaits means not just walk and canter like I always do.  All gaits means I have to also trot.  Having to trot bareback means either a) sit his trot or b) post bareback, two things I find impossible.  See above goal
  • Go on a real trail
    • Because Cass seems to like trail rides and I want to see how he would act on something that wasn’t just a dirt road – maybe cross over that big pasture or the stream or maybe just go on the one through the trees
  • Go to a show
    • It is time.  We are both old
  • Learn nutrition
    • Isn’t it time I learned how to feed my own horse?  I think so.  And then his vitamins will be re-thought
  • Learn anatomy and movement
    • I STILL haven’t memorized the footfall pattern in each gait.  This, along with bone structure and the way the muscles work and things, will be helpful not only in riding, but in making future plans, deciding limits, fitting tack, etc

So those goals aren’t super impressive.  But if we can get all of them, this will be a super impressive year.


Why haven’t I written anything since October?  That would probably be because almost nothing has happened since October.  Except sometime in early November we went on three successful hacks down the road.  All on his lonesome, too.  And he was really relaxed and seemed to enjoy it even though we passed a bunch of things that would normally be Very Scary.  But nothing except that.  We are boring and I am lazy and Cass is fat.  Hence the goal list.  Yay for motivation!


Soooo, I had a dressage lesson today.  I don’t think I have ever been that relaxed.  Like, not even when I was taking yoga.  Probably because we were practicing Long and Low, but still – it was nice.  I have never had a real dressage lesson on a real dressage horse in a real dressage saddle.  So today was kind of interesting in the fact that my legs are so short that my leathers had to be rolled twice and then they still felt way too long.  And also the saddle is definitely not crotch-comfortable if you are in a forward seat.

And I want that horse.  He shall from here on be called the Dashing Thoroughbred because he has four white socks and and a big old man face.  So I was trotting DT on the rail when another horse started to come in.  I thought “Hmm, I should walk now so we aren’t on a collision course.” and then magic!  DT slowed down to a slow walk when the other horse was only at centerline.  Mindreader.

Schoolmasters are nice.  Even if they are kind of old and grumpy.


The weekly plan has been updated in the sidebar and I AM GOING TO STICK WITH IT.  The monthly plan has also been redone, but that is less likely to happen since it is so far out.

Today is longeing day.  Fun, fun, fun.

Every Monday and Wednesday and most weekends I have a dressage lesson.

Monday: Dressage lesson.

Tuesday: Off day Wednesday:

Dressage lesson. Longe w/t

Thursday: Longe w/t

Friday: Longe w/t/c + obstacles

Saturday: Longe w/t/c + obstacles. Ride w/t 20 min

Sunday: Longe w/t/c + obstacles. Ride w/t 30 min

January:  This is the month o’ fitness. Learn to love the indoor because that is where we’ll be constantly. Cardio and conditioning and muscle building exercises. Lots of trotting and pole work. Impulsion, please.

February: Continue last month’s fitness plans, but with more cavalletti now. Cass has absolutely no butt and he needs one. Sprinkle fitness with some training level dressage work.

March: This is dressage month. Dressage is pretty, cadenced, and relaxed. Cass and I are not. Work on this.

April: There is a really relaxed dressage schooling show on campus early this month. And another (USEF/USDF recognized) mid month. Try to go and not embarrass myself too completely. This means the first half of this month will be more serious training than what we normally do. Keep working on the dressage the second half but also get out on those trails!

May: This is Missouri’s wettest month so it will probably be more indoor riding. Lots of cavalletti work. Make up the six week schooling plan with them. Also finals month so rides are going to be shorter. Make them still worth something.

June: Continue with the cavalletti schooling plan until mid month and then reintroduce jumping. Keep up with the relaxing hacks as well.

July:  This is the month for building our technique over jumps. We aren’t going to be ready for courses yet, probably, so loads of gridwork. Both our forms need work.












So it has been lovely here – absolutely toasty at below freezing temperatures!  There have been signs posted that no, we are actually not allowed to walk on the lake and the shiny horses have all reincarnated as mammoths.  Cass enjoys it.  He thinks that standing in snow and ice mud and shivering is the best thing ever!  He also loves it when you throw snowballs at him.  After he runs in terror from the white, ground invading, alien ball, he stops to eat it.  Just so that the snow knows that he wins and he was never actually scared.  No, never Braveheart.

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