Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Setting Goals

This year, I set quite a few goals for Jelle and myself, and I am very pleased with our progress so far.

Let me  list the goals:

1.  Two weeks in Florida in January, including a clinic with my trainer, Henk van Bergen
2.  A Rider Performance Certificate in First Level (4 scores >60%)
3.  A Horse Performance Certificate in First Level (10 scores >60%, 4@test 3)
4.  A Rider Performance Certificate in Second Level (4 scores >60%)
5.  A Horse Performance Certificate in Second Level (10 scores >60%, 4@test 3)
6.  USDF Bronze Medal

We have achieved #1 and #2 goal, with #3 and #4 in sight.  We would be further along, but I kind of messed us up in two shows. Let me explain.....We competed in three USDF/USEF Recognized competitions, and have two (or maybe three) more budgeted for this year.  Jelle had three scores above 60% in First Level from his first show before we moved from Florida. (scores for performance certificates are cumulative for both horse and rider). So, we needed 7 more scores.  We accumulated four more scores in our first show of this season (Greater Atlanta Dressage Show) in April, so I had plenty of good scores for MY performance Certificate, but I should have entered Jelle in at least one First Level Test 3 (since you need 4 scores at the highest test of the level). So after that show, we still needed all 4 "test 3" scores.

I have to admit, that I had not read the USDF requirements thoroughly enough, and didn't see the score requirement at the highest test of the level I thought we were on track.  SO, I entered the Dressage on the Mountain Show in May, thinking we would get the four remaining scores and be golden......

That was not to be.  A fellow competitor had her horse get loose during the night, and he headed for the hills (long story that I won't go into here). She was so distraught, that I scratched the 2 Sunday classes that I had entered to help her (against the sage advice of a student of mine).  But I feel like there are always more shows and we need to help and support each other above everything!

Anyway, I only garnered 2 more scores.  I always enter 2 classes each day of competition. One lucky move on my part was that I DID enter one "test 3", so at least I got one score towards Jelle's "Highest Test of First Level" PC requirement.
Then I did a 2 day clinic with my mentor, Henk van Bergen at the end of May. I always like to have Henk see us on a quarterly basis so we can know that our training is on track, and resolve any issues that may come up.  I am happy to say that the only issue was that I could have been adding in more sophisticated lateral half pass!!  LOL

Then I entered the Dressage at Greystone in June.  I meant to enter 2 First Level Test 3 classes, and 2 Second Level Test 1 classes.  I didn't fill the class numbers in correctly, and wound up in First Level Test 2 again!!  Ack!
And, after I had sent in the entry, I also had time to think about how green he was at the Second Level elements.  We were working on all of it, true enough, but my philosophy is to not compete at a level until the horse is completely comfortable and schooled in all the elements and qualities of that level.  And he wasn't there yet.  Oopsy!
Again, my wonderful horse did not let me down!  The overall quality of the work was getting better and better, and the few places which were not solid were the more difficult elements which were not weighted too heavily.  He wound up with a 64+% and a 67+% in Second Level Test 1.  Not to mention, a 67+% and a 72+% in First Level Test 2.  We swept the blue ribbons in both levels, and ended up with the high score of the show!!  I was VERY proud of him.

So, we took some time off in the heat of the summer, (my Colorado vacay photo ~~~~~>had a great time!) and as we have come back into work, I can feel both his understanding of the more sophisticated collection work (the canter/walk  walk/canter transitions, counter canter, rein back and shoulder in) is much better, and his strength and balance in all his work is really coming along!

Our next competition is coming up on September 13-14, and we are entered (properly) in First Level Test 3 (both Saturday and Sunday) and Second Level Test 1 (both Saturday and Sunday). We will add the Atlanta Fall National Dressage Show to pick up that last pesky score at First Level Test 3 for Jelle's First Level PC.  We will also have accrued all the scores for my Second Level PC, and 6 or 7 scores towards Jelle's Second Level PC.  I will have to be very careful about which tests I enter to be efficient, and yet considerate of his progress.

Third Level (and my Bronze Medal) will, in all likelihood have to wait until next year.  But that is okay!  I knew when I first made the goals for this year that it was a VERY ambitious schedule, and I am so proud of Jelle that he is so willing, generous and athletic!

Have you reached your goals for this year?  Have you set goals for next year?  Let me know so I can cheer you on!!