Thursday, March 3, 2011

March Goals

Ok, time to wrap up our February goals and move into March.

My stated goals were:

1) Ride at least four days a week, even if it's cold. Do two days of dressage, one day jumping/cavaletti, and one day western. Any extra days can be used for whatever. (Hacking and trot/canter sets will commence when the weather is better and the track isn't covered in ice. Probably late Feb/Early March).
Massive fail. It wasn't really our fault. Between the teeth (about 8 days off) and her current chiropractic issues, I did not get a ton of riding in. We only jumped like once and the dressage was sporadic. However, I'm going to drop this as a goal for now. I mostly needed it for the early part of the year when it was way too cold for a reasonable person to ride. I'll still keep the format, but it's no longer an 'official' goal.

2) Sitting trot! We will practice EVERY SINGLE TIME I RIDE. English, western, bareback, I will sit the trot. Not excessively and not a lot, but enough to start getting my body used to the motion.
Success!! Only in the sense that I did it every time we rode, unfortunately. Due to the sporadic riding, I can't say I made a lot of progress, but at least it's starting to become a habit.

3) Dressage: continue to focus on my position, specifically long legs and erect upper body.
Huh. Frankly, I think I'm doing a little better, but I need more concentrated work.

4) Jumping: continue working through small grids. Add in crossrails and verticals as we feel comfortable. Focus on giving Izzy a release over the fence, staying in balance, and keeping my heels down and leg effective.
Semi-success here. We haven't jumped in several weeks (yeah, grrrr), but I was doing much better last time we did. We even some nice little 2' verticals and I didn't think I was going to die.

5) Legs: continue to work on getting Izzy forward from the leg in all three gaits. W/T/C transitions that are freely forward with no whip. <--This one will be super hard.
SUCCESS!! Well, sort of. I had one day where we could do this nicely. She is definitely getting better.

I'm trying hard not to feel like Feb was a wash. Between her teeth and her current issues and missed riding days, we did not progress much in the performance department. I'm starting to bring her back now, but it's driving me nuts. She isn't forward. Is that because something hurts or because she's lazy? She tosses her head a lot at our first few upward transitions (under saddle only, lunge is fine), but then not after that. Is something wrong or is she just testing me to see if that will make me get off?

I want to take a lesson or two to get some professional feedback, but at the same time, what is the point of paying for a lesson when I know we're still addressing some physical issues that will hamper her?

Ok, so with all that angst spelled out for you, let's set some March goals.

1) Sitting trot. Again, every time I ride. At least on circuit of the arena each way. Begin to work towards trot/canter/trot transitions in sitting trot.

2) Get Izzy FORWARD from the leg. For serious. Lots of transitions and study. Make this happen.

3) Completely re-evaluate Izzy's current feed and make changes as needed.
3b) Have Toni out again to work on Izzy and see what progress we can make.

4) Take a lesson. Probably dressage.

These goals feel somewhat less ambitious than last Months, but I think I need to back off a little and get whatever Izzy's current issues are figured out so that we can move forward. Cross your fingers for us.


  1. I agree with you about being "less ambitious" this month. But actually, you're not being less ambitious at all. Yes, you have to back off a bit to sort some things out, but once they are sorted, you have some very attainable goals to work on, which will build confidence in you AND Izzy, when you reach them. If you keep them easily attainable like this on a month by month basis, reaching your bigger, long-term goals, will be easier, you'll both be more solid...and that satisfaction will be even better. :)

  2. As far as the head tossing goes, I would say its not a pain/physical issue. Because she only does it under saddle and not on the lunge, I think it comes back to the not being forward enough thing. On the lunge you can see that her hind legs are active and she has enough impulsion to make a clean transition. Under saddle there is the extra weight of the rider, making it harder for her, and since she is lazy, my guess is that until she gets warmed up with transitions, she's not engaging her hind end enough to transition without raising her head & neck. Cruizer does this too. Its just a lazy issue for him. Also I know when I ride and I'm anticipating his 'bad' transitions, I tend to ask too quickly just to get it over with rather than take the time to get him forward, his back up, and set him up to be able to transition without lifting his neck & tossing his head. My guess is that at least part of the time, the same thing is happening with Izzy. :)

  3. The very first thing you need to do is sort out Izzy's physical issues. I have a feeling most of your training concerns will sort themselves out once she feels better.

    Your goals are all good ones. I'm rooting for you both!

  4. I agree with what every body has said, you'll get there!

  5. Regarding her hindquarter pain- take a look at this page,, and check her heels to make sure it's not an imbalance in her feet causing the problem. High inside heels are really common and they really make horses sore.

  6. smazourek -- That is interesting. It looks like the spots he's identified are a lot further back that Izzy's pain, though.

  7. Great goals, and don't feel bad about February-it was a wash for a lot of people, myself included. Miles and I are always rooting for you and sweet Izzy!~


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