Friday, October 31, 2008

Know Your Goals

Everyone knows that having goals set to work towards helps you focus and ultimately, reach those goals. As Appaloosa owners riding Dressage, what are goals we can work towards?

You may only dream to ride Dressage on the beach or through the woods. However, a lot of us have dreams that include showing and being recognized on some level.

To get us started with our goal lists, I will share my own. I want to breed my mare eventually, but not until she has "earned" her right to breed. To do this I plan to:

-Earn her way in the Appaloosa Sport Horse Association Studbook at Bronze Level.
-Have her shown at ApHC shows with the goal of getting a ROM in something.

To accomplish this, we will have to have USDF scores at Training Level of 60%+ under at least two different judges at two different competitions. If we do that, we can work towards reaching the Silver Level which requires Level 2 test scores above 60%. For an ApHC ROM we would need to accumulate points at ApHC shows.

In order to move towards these goals I am schooling Dazzle in Dressage and have Emailed the Appaloosa Sport Horse Association to be clear on the requirements and what shows will qualify. I go to clinics and watch lessons taken by my friend. I take lessons whenever I can. To reach my ApHC show goals, I have contacted the trainer I want to use. I plan to have him train and show my horse at the ApHC shows. I am now waiting for him to return from World to start discussing my plans for the future.

My horse is only 3 yrs old, so we have lots of time and are in no rush. Right now, we school 2 or 3 days a week and then hack across the fields or ride around the block 2 or 3 days. I don't want her to get burned out on the arena or get lazy from walking around the block, so alternating keeps her balanced and interested.

My friend and I were feeling a bit discouraged in our abilities to train our horses a few weeks ago. We went to a tack sale at the house of our instructor. She told us to quit making excuses, that we were perfectly capable of training our horses ourselves, and to just DO IT! We were quite encouraged and have been working hard since then.

Our instructor told us we weren't expecting enough from our horses and were babying them too much. So, we lengthened the time we trained, added warm-up and challenging new material, and generally "expected more" from them. And amazingly, they stepped up! Dazzle, my lazy horse, has more energy at the end of her hour-long session then at the beginning. Apparently, I was quitting before she was warmed up when I only rode for 15-20 minutes a session.

Our immediate goals are to be schooling First Level, showing Training Level by Spring. What are your goals? What steps are you taking to reach them? Do they involve showing or training that isn't Dressage, like mine does?

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