Oh boy I can’t believe January has already passed and we’re over a week into February. This is going to be another year that just flies by! I’ve been thinking long and hard about my dressage goals for this year (and the future) and have come up with the following.

In December this year, I want to be able to ride Mickey comfortably through a medium level dressage test. This is in line with how incredible he is feeling at the moment and how ridiculously much he was progressed in the last two months. Somehow it feels like all the blocks have fallen into place!

As I set this goal for the year (alongside my other business & life goals), I also wanted to think about my long term vision. I wanted to clearly write down how this year’s goal gets me one step closer to my long term goal with Mickey – which is to compete him at Grand Prix level one day. I also identified a clear why behind this goal and this long-term vision, which is this:

Riding at Grand Prix level is my dream, my love, my life long ambition. Riding in itself gives me oxygen, it keeps me mentally sane and physically fit, and working towards mastery in the sport I love makes me come alive like nothing else.

Dressage_goals_2016

Mickey is thinking about the year ahead…

In January, I already started to make great steps towards this goal. It really has been one of the most incredible months with Mickey so far. November and December were definite roller coaster rides as he got used to not being in the field anymore, and in January it really felt like he settled into his new routine. Coming back from my Christmas break I felt recharged and refocused and it immediately paid off in my riding. I’ve had some of the best rides I’ve ever had on Mickey (or any horse for that matter!) and there were many goosebump moments as I felt him come alive underneath me. It was like we were floating above the ground as his beautiful, powerful, swinging paces took over – AMAZING! It was also a great reminder that Mickey is really a reflection of me and how I’m doing. If I’m tired or unfocused, he won’t deliver as it’s a team effort. Sure, sometimes he’ll put a bit more in and sometimes I’ll put a bit more in but overall we need to both work on being in it together.

I also introduced four (!) new movements in January: shoulder in, quarters in, walk to canter transition and half circle in counter canter. It was incredible as one day we had to try the counter canter about 10 times before we got it – and the next time he got it on the third try. And the next time on the first try! He’s such a smart horse and he’s feeling so strong and supple at the moment I’m so excited to be progressing so quickly. Because of this I’ve decided to jump up a level once our competition season starts end of March. Rather than playing around in Novice we will go attempt Elementary as I believe a challenge always makes us perform better. Our aim isn’t to win at these lower levels but to simply use them as a building block for the higher levels so the more we push ourselves out of our comfort zone, the more we’ll progress. Yes it involves risk taking and perhaps we’ll get a few bad scores but that doesn’t matter as in a few years time we’ll be riding Grand Prix!

I’ve also made three clear mini goals for the month of February to keep us on track:

  • Continue fine-tuning the new movements I introduced
  • Practice riding through the elementary test I’m competing in end of March
  • Introduce two more new movements: canter to walk transition & walk pirouettes

I’m so excited about these dressage goals I’ve set and I can not wait to get him out in March again. This is going to be one hell of a year! Bring it on!