When I wrote my 2018 “goals” post, on January 2nd, I decided to eschew the typical goal-setting I had done before. Gone were the very specific “I want to go to X number of shows” or “Get X dressage scores under Y” or “qualify for X event/show”. Things that, while fine goals, sometimes just don’t happen due to things completely beyond our control. And also things, that, IMO, don’t really measure success accurately, or drive the kind of behavior and thinking that I’m trying to cultivate within myself. I wanted my goals to focus on the journey, not the destination, and I wanted to foster growth and learning. So I wrote: “Instead I’m going to focus more on doing things that a) make us better, b) enrich our relationship, c) are FUN. I’m not even gonna sit down and try to plot out a show season… we’ll go to whatever shows work out best, whichever and whenever those may be.“.
I’m a pretty intense person, really competitive and goal-driven, so this departure from the norm was very different from how I’ve typically operated. The guidelines for the goals were pretty loose, and they mostly focused on improvement. Let’s see how it all hashed out.
Improve the stadium – I’m giving this one a lukewarm checkmark. Stadium has solidified it’s place as our shakiest phase, but I do think it has improved, especially as we got towards the end of the year. I still make plenty of mistakes, and my horse is still not careful, but we’ve gotten more consistent, more confident, and I feel more educated about it now than I did a year ago.
Do a couple Prelim CT’s – LOL well ok I guess we blew this one out of the water. Doing a full Prelim HT clearly wasn’t even something that existed as a possibility on my radar at the beginning of year, yet by year’s end we’d done those P CT’s I wanted (and ended up year end Reserve Champion for that series), some P jumper classes, a P/T horse trial, and a legit full horse trial at Prelim. We’ve still just barely stuck our toes in the water at Prelim, but that’s a lot farther than I’d ever have imagined we’d get this year.
More foxhunting – I got to foxhunt twice in 2018, which maybe isn’t as much as I had in mind, but it was what worked out. Still love it. Still want to do it more often.
Attend another big horse event – I reaaaaally wanted 2018 to be the year I finally got to go to Lion d’Angers, but due to scheduling conflicts it just didn’t happen. But I was able to take the money I would have spent on a France trip and instead plump up my fall show season, so in the end I think it worked out for the best. Someday, Lion, some day.
Get my volunteer hat – This was in regards to the volunteer rewards program at Pine Hill, where I do most of my volunteering. When you hit the 30 hour mark you get a Pine Hill hat, and I really wanted to prioritize volunteering this year, so I figured if I could commit enough hours to earn the hat, I’d be happy with that. Not only did I get the hat, I got the belt (for 40 hours) too!
Jump the stupid giant Texas Flag table at MCP – I didn’t get to jump the flag table at MCP, mostly because we only ended up schooling there once in 2018. I was about to mark this one in red when I read what I had written next to this goal: “It’s not really about the act of jumping the stupid thing, it’s about the confidence and ability that it takes to do it.“. Well, these days I would jump that Texas Flag table with no hesitation. It doesn’t scare me senseless anymore, and I feel confident that we can jump it successfully. So in that regard… maybe it’s a win?
Move Presto closer to me – That kid is as close as he could possibly get, since his pasture is like 30′ from Henry’s!
End 2018 as a better rider than I started 2018 – I definitely feel like I learned a lot throughout the year, and came out the other side as a better rider, both mentally and physically. Taking the time to help my mental game has made a noticeable difference in my riding and my overall happiness.
Keep running – I was doing well with this until summer hit, because I’d legit rather die than run in the Texas summer, and then shortly after I picked it back up this fall, I hurt my knee. The knee is still sketchy, so I haven’t been running, and this is normally my peak running season. I don’t really know what to do about that, because I don’t want to hurt my knee to the point that it’s a problem for riding. I’m hoping that with some “rest” it’ll get better and I can go back to my normal schedule.
Enjoy the journey – Boy fucking did I! I had more fun this year than I ever have, and I really took the time to soak in all the things that I love about riding and about having horses. We had a lot of fun, and I love every second that I get to spend with my boys.
As for a few fun 2018 stats:
- Henry did a total of 8 horse trials this year – 6 at Training, 1 P/T, and 1 Prelim – and 2 combined tests, both at Prelim. He’s already qualified for AEC 2019 at Training.
- Presto went to 4 shows this year – two FEH, one hunter breeding, and one in hand trail.
- The most popular blog post of the year was about Extreme Overjumping, it garnered 58,244 views.
- I traveled approximately 5,322 miles going to and from horse shows, give or take a few.
- Although if you count the shows I attended to work for the mobile tack shop trailer and not actually ride, tack on another 2,237 miles. Add the miles I traveled to go volunteer at shows and that’s an additional 866.
- Fun perk of all the driving – I got to listen to 17 audio books this year (my favorite: The Sun Does Shine, by Anthony Ray Hinton), in addition to 4 podcasts. As far as regular books, I read 59.
Hope everyone else had a fun and successful 2018!