Sunday night I finally sat down to renew my USEF/USHJA membership (seeing as how the new competition year begins...oh...TODAY) and while doing so, decided that now would be a pretty good time to set some showing and training goals for this year. This has always been a little hard for me to do because of the job I work in the summer. I'm an "A" Circuit groom for a hunter barn and therefore spend a lot of the summer traveling and not very much of it riding...last year while working the Cleveland show I had a days that went from 4am to midnight...4am-6 or 7pm at the horse show, then home ride 2-3 horses before dark (usually I was on them until long after dark...we have a single light on the back of the barn that makes a good 25 meter circle work able after dark) then clean them up, turn them out (nght turn out) and then clean 4 stalls. I usually got home around 11 or 11:30, ate, showered and went to bed only to do it all again the next day. Not that I'm complaining...I LOVE my job because I get to meet so many great people and work with so many great horses, plus I've learned a ton just by watching the horses go in the ring, but all of that plus traveling to away shows makes it hard to keep up with my own riding, training and showing goals. Since I pay for my horses myself and my parents decided to have 4 children who were pretty bright and therefore went to expensive private colleges, just paying for tuition is hard, which is another reason why I have to work as much as I can. In years past it's been a hard balance for me to find, but this year, I'm pretty determined to make it work.
After getting Johnny, I joined the Standardbred Pleasure Horse Organization of Ohio (SPHO Ohio) and started looking into some of their shows. Since I joined at the end of the year, most of the shows had already passed. I looked back into them this year when the new show list came out, and unfortunatly the closest one for me is over 2 hours away, so I picked one show (The Grand Circuit Classic) within the association that I might like to try and go to, one rated show locally that is my favorite (The Chagrin Valley Classic, better known formerly as the Cleveland horse show or the Merrill Lynch show) and one BIG HONKING goal that is really going to be a challenge, The Standardbred National Horse Show. I spent all night paging through the online prize list from last year, jotting down notes and numbers. There are a zillion divisions that I would want to enter but because the show is about 7 hours from here, I can probably only afford to show in one or two (I also figured that if I'm going to haul Johnny 7 hours I should also make it worth our time to go there...) because of the costs. I have no idea how I'm going to do it, but I'm going to start by setting aside tip money from every show that I work this summer and see where we end up come time for the National. If I can afford it, then were off!!
Goals for Johnny this year include:
- Firmly establishing a right lead canter (which he suddenly seems to have remembered how to do...we've been getting it right away all week!)
- Improving both canters on the flat (stretching down and coming rounder) and to and away from jumps (holding a consistant rhythm)
- Further improvements to the trot (again, stretching down and lifting his back as well as establishing a more forward and reaching "hunter trot")
- Once all of the above is accomplished, competing over fences and staying in the canter for the whole coarse with simple changes if needed.
Goals for myself for this year are pretty much centered around IHSA shows for right now...there are a few position things that I would like to tweak as well:
- Making it to Regionals (already almost qualified!) and qualifying again for Zones
- Making it through Zones and qualifying for Nationals
- Winning at Nationals. I was 4th last year and this year I REALLY want to be champion or reserve...preferably champion! lol
I also want to work on some position things for myself to improve my rides:
- Landing better in the heel over fences...I've been working on it and its getting better
- Keeping the eyes up and looking to the next fence...this will in turn help my shoulder from getting ahead
- Riding FORWARD to decisions.
We will see how this all goes...riding class today (hopefully riding my little buddy Cruz again!) and then a lesson with Kris on Thursday where I will go over these goals with her :)
Til next time,