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kateh
Oct. 5, 2009, 10:27 PM
I'm a very goal oriented person, especially with riding, and at the moment I am goal-less. In past semesters, it's been "I have to prep for this show", but at the moment it doesn't look like I'll be showing much, maybe not at all this semester (IHSA). Over the summer I was bringing a semi-green horse back into shape, so goals were pretty straightforward: "relaxation at the trot, no cantering on forehand" etc. Riding is most fun for me when I'm a) training a horse (at the low level that I can) or b) prepping to show, and right now I can't do much of either. I'm stuck in my team lessons, on ever-changing lesson horses, with virtually no goal in sight. I'm not able to ride outside of lessons-I live in a city and have no transportation outside of team lessons, or the money/time to spend on a lease or anything. At this point I'd love to find a lease, but it's not feasible.

So, what goals do you set for yourself in these situations? What kind of goals (long term or temporary) do you have that you can measure success on? I know I could just do "keep heels down entire lesson" but that's not really motivating me at this point. I guess I'm kind of looking for a pep talk/motivation.

Abbeyroad1791
Oct. 5, 2009, 10:35 PM
I ride for my college's IHSA team too and yesterday we all filled out our personal and team goals. Personally I loved doing it- I've never really set clear goals before. I always knew where I wanted to end up, but it was never clearly vocalized and put on paper. Just because you're riding a bunch of different horses doesn't mean you can't have goals! For example, your goal could be to ride as correct, effective and gracefully on all types of horses, even the funky ones with the circus pony lead changes or creative jumping styles. You can definitely always keep developing your eye and working on your position, even if it is something menial like keeping your heels down the entire lesson. If thats what you need to work on, so be it!

tBHj
Oct. 5, 2009, 10:53 PM
Developing your eye, and jumping position?

dab
Oct. 5, 2009, 11:15 PM
You could focus on improving your catch riding abilities -- Within the first minute/5 minutes of your warmup, what do you want to figure out about each horse? -- How firmly must you apply aids to 'go' or 'whoa'? -- For each horse you ride, does he ride similar to another horse you've ridden? -- How are they similar/different? -- Does he attempt to evade your aids, and if so, how do you address the issue? -- How strongly do you want to ride to the first fence? After that first fence, do you need to adjust your ride? -- If one of your teammates was about to ride the horse, how would you instruct her to ride him? ...

ontarget
Oct. 5, 2009, 11:35 PM
Being a very goal-oriented person myself, I find there are always things that can be improved and goals that can be set. I ride in IHSA as well and have been able to create many goals for myself just by talking with my coach and having myself videoed to see what I need to improve on. I also have my own horses who I am working with, but I feel these kinds of goals would apply whether I had other horses and training projects or not.

I find having videos taken of myself helps tremendously. You can see if you're leaning one way or the other, if you're too stiff at the trot, if your leg is slightly in front/behind of the vertical, etc. You can make up all sorts of goals for yourself--there are always things that can be improved. My main goals right now are to, as my coach puts it, "chill out," work on not dropping my left shoulder, and stay in a lighter seat for the IHSA classes. As far as goals for the horses go, I think the main goal in IHSA is to learn how to ride every type of horse from that extra sensitive TB to the dull draft cross. That is a very big challenge, and within that, I'm sure you can find many goals. Some examples would be how much contact should you start out with for each horse, what kind of seat should you maintain, how can you best work with each horse you are given, etc. There is also no reason that the same kind of goals you had for the greenie you were bringing along shouldn't apply to IHSA/lesson horses, although it might come in a different manner. Balance and rhythm are key in riding all types of horses, and every time I get on a new horse, it can be kind of a very brief challenge to figure out what use or lack of use of aids will produce the best results in a single ride.

kateh
Oct. 6, 2009, 12:00 AM
Thanks for everything so far! I really like the idea of challenging yourself to figure out a horse in 5 minutes. Especially relevant since we just switched barns, so all the horses are new to me!

scribbles
Oct. 6, 2009, 12:08 AM
Figuring out the horse is really good, and you could pick one part of your position each month to work on and perfect.

RyuEquestrian
Oct. 6, 2009, 08:09 AM
I ride for my college's IHSA team too and yesterday we all filled out our personal and team goals. Personally I loved doing it- I've never really set clear goals before. I always knew where I wanted to end up, but it was never clearly vocalized and put on paper. Just because you're riding a bunch of different horses doesn't mean you can't have goals! For example, your goal could be to ride as correct, effective and gracefully on all types of horses, even the funky ones with the circus pony lead changes or creative jumping styles. You can definitely always keep developing your eye and working on your position, even if it is something menial like keeping your heels down the entire lesson. If thats what you need to work on, so be it!

I remember when I went through the same team bonding, year after year. My goal when I came in as a freshman was to be able to ride every different type of horse put in front of me to the best of my ability and my long term goal was to get to Zones. By my senior year, I felt that I had accomplished both of my goals and decided that the skill that I will have carried over into my riding away from the IHSA is the ability to look at 10 different horses go around a ring and be able to asses them mentally in my head and then apply my mental assessment and translate it into my riding. This took first- the ability to make an accurate assessment of what kind of ride they were and second, be able to translate my riding style in a way that would give me the best ride on that mount.

Keep your eye on the price- one short term smaller goal and one long term that may take a few years to accomplish- that is the best way to push yourself to progress and good luck!