I'm not one for goal lists, which is not to say that I am goal-less, but perhaps since my brain has never acquiesced to operating in a linear fashion, it doesn't understand partaking in that process. My heart still burns for the T3DE jog strip & a little part of me was hoping I could qualify Encore for Southern Eighths in May, but I know that is both fiscally impossible & an unfair level of sudden pressure for my horse. I know, as part of the event staff, we want people to ENTER ENTER ENTER, & every inch of me wants to fill out that form, but I can't do it alone, I need my partner to be ready too!
There are no guarantees that we will even be able to compete at all this year, as all of my money has fallen into a sinkhole named Flying Solo Farm. Any of you who have hung around here long enough know that I do not event for the competition, but it IS the only way you get to run a correctly designed, marked, & wonderful cross country course. Why do you think we put up with all the other craziness, duh?!!
|Appalachian mountain high.|
I hope that we can make it out a little, as I'd like Encore to get some more formal Training Level experience, but honestly, I take just as much delight (well, more, due to lowered stress level!) & education from getting out to lessons & the trail fitness adventures of BFF & I. Schooling, miles of trots & canters through the woods, fine-tuning skills, those are all things I will be able to do, & for FREE since I can ride out the back gate (all that searching pays off!).
The Big Goal
There is one thing that I want to drill into my body & mind (what's left of it) this year, however. It may seem small, but the past years of watching & listening oh so carefully have shown me that it defines the effective, thinking rider:
I want to become significantly more aware & more consistent of riding the HORSE & riding the gait/movement/line I want & not riding the horse's behaviour.
|Just keep swimming, just keep swimming...|
When instead, an effective rider just. keeps. riding. She does not change her request, her position, or her goal. She informed the horse, "We are going to trot a 20 metre circle, connected, & forward, & in the shape of an actual circle." And that's it, she RIDES the circle.
The horse may throw his head or wiggle or be excited or get distracted or do all those things that horses do, but he will come back to find the same set of aids creating the same space & energy for him to move in.
THAT is what I want to achieve for Encore more often. It is a big little thing because it is a huge mental challenge to remain that patient & focused & non-reactive (even when I'm not on the horse).
It's even harder when it's 98 degrees & 4500% humidity.
So I suppose that is my goal for 2014: to ride my horse(s), as simple (and as difficult) as that.