In the late winter/early spring of last year I set out ride our daughter's former horse, Champ (aka Want My Autograph). My goals were:
1. To gain the confidence to ride Champ, an intermediate level horse.
2. To learn how to ride correctly.
3. To ride all gaits.
4. To ride Champ at a horse show.
Although they can all use improvement, I achieved my 2009 goals and had a great time doing it! Now it's time to set my goals for 2010.
For starters, the year 2010 brings life changes to this 50+ rider. I am now officially retired and although I'll still work part time, I'll have more time to focus on my riding. As a result, I've broken my goals into seasons:
1. Winter 2010:
Ugh, brrrr, cold temperatures impact both Champ and I. My first priority will be to improve my new tool, ground work/lunging for respect with Champ. This guy is a warm-weather horse. From spring through early fall, I can bring him out of his stall and climb right on without any issues. But during the cold season he turns into an NFR contender. I'll continue to refine my new-found tool before I commit to getting on.
Depending on weather conditions (I don't care for hauling horses or riding in cold/ice/snow), I'll ride in the Western classes at the local schooling shows.
I'll focus on slowing down at the walk, jog and refining the lope. It felt all I did (confirmed in pictures) at my first horse show was to yank, yank, yank on Champ's mouth to slow him down. I hate yanking on him! My goal is to have him slow down without it being noticeable.
2. Spring 2010:
Ahh, warmer weather and longer days will finally be on it's way! I want to get Champ exposed to trails. I'll start with riding outside whenever weather permits. I'll ask Hero Rider to take Champ out for his first few trail rides and then I'll sandwich myself between two calm, experienced trail horses on my first few rides, probably more for my confidence then Champ's.
I'll join our local Paint Horse Club. I'll ride all gaits (vs walk/trot only) in their Spring Open Show and lend a helping hand to make "our" show a success.
3. Summer 2010:
Ahhh, warm weather will be here and the snow will be gone at Cabin Creek, located on the east side of the Cascade Mountains! I'll haul my horses to the cabin and spend time up there with family and friends. I'll hang out at the creek during the warmest parts of the day, ride in the cool early evenings and join in the nightly potluck dinners.
I'll join my friends in hauling our horses to the sorting clinics on Thursday nights, held close to our place. I'll expose Champ to cows and eventually try my hand at the sport.
I'll help out and ride at the the Summer Open Paint Show my club will be hosting. I'll ride in the western classes.
4. Fall 2010:
Indian summer, one of my favorite times of the year!
I'll start my exposure to English riding. I'll invest in the pants, boots and see if Champ's English saddle fits my larger rear end (maybe it will be smaller by fall)? :)
I'll ask Hero Trainer to give me some guidance on English riding, hoping I will get my posts on the right diagonal, etc.
I'll lend a helping hand and ride in the Fall Open Paint Show sponsored by our club. If I've come far enough, I'll do a few English classes along with Western.
I am looking forward to this new year and the fun it will bring. Happy New Year! :)