New Year Reflections

It’s that time of year for a bit of reflection on what’s going well and what lessons have been learned. The Connection Training folk put up a useful framing for this exercise and I’m having a look through the blog posts from this time last year which is fascinating!

For a start I can see that the field lake was already formed at this point! Check out the picture here This year things have been pretty wet, and there is a small lake in the field but nothing like that size. And things are drying a bit now as the past couple of weeks have been better. I’m really hoping the weather stays dry and cold now for a bit. I don’t mind that so much.

So the questions then:
Q 1: What are you most proud of from last year?
Hm. Tricky one! There’s lots of places where I feel like we’ve made as much progress as I had hoped but there are some things we have cracked. We used clicker training to sort out his aversion to being groomed and now he mostly stands still and calm although we could do more work. I’m also pleased I’ve started work with Sue Gould-Wright to sort my riding out which is I think a big part of what’s holding us back under saddle! (Post about that here) We’ve also managed to get out hacking more. Not weekly as I’m aiming for eventually but we did something at the end of September, and then had a good long ride a week or so ago. That’s a big achievement.

Q 2: What was your most useful lesson from last year?
I think I need to adjust *my* attitude. I’m too hung up on ‘getting somewhere’ with him and I think he needs a less pressured approach. But he also really needs to move to keep his hips and pelvis working which is a challenge as getting him to move without piling the pressure on doesn’t really happen! I certainly think we get better results with a clear plan, but I need to work out how to stick to one.

Q 3: What is the number 1 thing you’d like to achieve with your horse in the coming year?
I would like to understand Dino better so we can train better together. I have some fairly concrete goals for things I want to do but I feel like there’s a fundamental attitude thing (mine – not his!) that needs cracking that might unlock all of it…. My list of things is:
1. Compete in the online horse agility league
2. Compete in a prelim dressage competition
3. Do a clear round jumping competition
4. Get out hacking at least once per month
I also think he would benefit from working the core activation carrot stretches and some Masterson into his routine properly!

So there’s lots to do and I’m feeling in a better place for making plans than this time last year. The school is dry for the time being, and the pony is in decent shape I think. We’ve joined the Horse Agility Club to give the monthly video competitions a go and I hope this might give us a sense of progress and achievement. I’m already the yard weirdo so trotting along today with a hula hoop and a football in addition to the pony didn’t raise too many eyebrows! And hopefully we’ll do more of this… (hacking in Epping Forest!)

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