Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Riding Goals for the Remainder of 2010

I've been having a lot of fun getting to know Poco.  His easy going nature has yet to disappoint me.  As I discover his talents I've been thinking about goals I want to set to utilize them and places I'd like to go.

1.  Sorting.  One goal I had for 2010 was sorting.  There's a facility down the road from us that hosts sorting events every other Thursday.  I had gone once with Champ but after his loss I haven't been back. 

This week I discovered that Poco does roll-backs and haunch turns, and he does them well!  A definite plus for sorting.  So one of my goals will be to join my pals at the barn and "go sorting".  The facility is also hosting clinics this winter so I plan on joining my pals in attending some of them.

2.  Horse Show.  Another goal I have is to take Poco to a Schooling Show.  I attended my first show last October (see post October 2009, First Horse Show) and had a blast.  It was fun to see old friends and be out in the arena with my horse.  I came home with a higher level of confidence, a better bond with my horse and a big grin on my face.  And isn't that what riding is all about?  Yes, I also came home with assorted colored ribbons and that was very nice.  However, they took a back seat to everything else.

My goal will be to return to the Schooling Show in October and ride in the western classes, walk/jog for sure but also with a goal to ride in some of the Novice walk/jog/lope classes.

3.  The Lope.  When I talk to fellow riders facing confidence challenges, this is the gait that saps their confidence.  And I'm no different. 

I initially loped Poco before I bought him but when I suddenly lost Champ I also lost the wind in my sails.  Took awhile to get it back (true that time does help you heal).  Poco has a nice lope but I've had a hard time getting us to move into it. 

He must sense some of my issues.  I've come to find the saddle I'm using doesn't fit me correctly.  It pushes me way forward and for the life of me I can't sit back, which is where I depend on my seat to help me with my balance.

Right now I'm very uncomfortable at the lope, feeling like I'm going to spill over Poco's neck.  I'll be replacing my current saddle for one that fits me correctly and that should resolve my sitting issue and get me back on track.  I guess the best way to describe my feelings about the lope is that I'm not really afraid, I'm uncomfortable.

4.  Transitions.  There is also a challenge of getting Poco to transition from a SLOW jog to the lope.  We really need to work on transitions, walk to jog, jog to lope and back down the other way.  I need to put many miles in on slowing him down at the jog.  Which is what I'm currently doing as I struggle with my saddle issue.

5.  Dressage.  And lastly, much of my training to ride this last year centered around Dressage.  I find Dressage one of the most beautiful disciplines of riding.  As the cold weather comes in, I'll trade in my Wranglers and boots for English apparel and fleece and with a good, used Dressage saddle, I'll give this a try as the rain pounds against the walls of the barn and the wind blows.

I look forward to sharing my experiences with you as I set out down this road.  Stay tuned as this 50+ rider sets out to accomplish five goals between now and the first of next year!


  1. Yay, you! Yay, Poco! I am looking forward to you sharing your successes. Good luck!!

  2. It's funny how loping likes to be the roadblock. When I first got Dee I was still afraid to lope thanks to many scares on Page, and it was so silly because when I'd finally get up the nerve to ask her and she'd give me this pretty little lope. It took weeks of that before I came to accept that she always loped in that sweet gentle way and wasn't just waiting to bolt.

    I totally know what you mean about the comfort thing! This is the problem I'm having now that we're working on speed. I'm not afraid to go fast on Dee...I just get tired of bouncing around! It's so much easier to go around at her quiet little western pleasure lope instead.

    Those sound like really great goals. I can't wait to hear about how you go about accomplishing them. Poco is such a cutie!

  3. Those are some really great goals and I have confidence that you can do them. I'm so happy to hear that your fear of loping has down graded to discomfort. That's fantastic!

    Hearing you talk about your barn is making me miss mine lol. Isn't it so nice having an arena and friends there? I just love the atmosphere of a barn.