Wednesday, January 29, 2014

2014/2015 Plans and Goals

It's high time I really set my 2014 and 2015 goals and plans out on paper. Or well, maybe organize them from vague thoughts to actual concrete things. I've let them rattle around in my head long enough that I have a better idea of what they really are going to be.

I like putting things in numbered lists, but I think I'll babble on for a few minutes before I commit to making a real list. There are a lot of things that still need some sorting out in my head. Life is hard when you're an adult... can't I just go back to when I was a carefree kid that only cared about showing and nothing else?

Goal setting gets harder and harder every year. Life is just not quite as simple and straightforward as it used to be when I started blogging. I'm hoping that in a year or two, once the dust settles a little more on the business building, that I'll have more money for frivolous fun things, but our belts are tight right now and we don't have room for much in the way of extra anything. That's a sacrifice I choose to make in order to better and improve my life and business, and I do it because I know it won't always be this hard. By taking these steps now, I am securing a better future for myself and my animals/family. I never want my animals to have to want for anything that they need, and god forbid we have children, but if that horrible mistake ever happens I don't want them to have to want for anything either. At some point I want our own little ranchette, and while we're on the fence about having a real wedding (good god all that stuff is EXPENSIVE!), it would be nice to at least be able to throw a party and have a little ceremony. All of these things are $$$$$$$$. There is only enough money to go around. 

I'm on the far side of my 20's and have a much better appreciation for finances and the future and non-horsey goals than I did on the early side of my 20's, back when I first started blogging and had no idea what life was really all about. I still don't know what life is really all about - I'm convinced I NEVER will know what life is really all about - but it is safe to say that my priorities are quite a lot different now than they used to be.

I'm trying to make it a point this year to do other things besides horsey things. There are SO MANY OTHER things in life that are SO INTERESTING, and I am missing out on a lot of them. There's a fine balancing act between horsey time and non horsey time (and both of them cut into the other!), and I'm not really sure how to properly balance the two. At this point in my life, I've embraced being an Adult Amateur that is doing this as a fun hobby. I never wanted to be a trainer or pro, but I still get asked if I am going to pursue that or if I'll train. I can't wrap my head around this because a) I am not anywhere near good enough of a rider for that, and b) I have zero qualifications to do this. All of this said, I think I need to take a good long hard look at my equitation this coming year and be very hard myself about things that need to be improved. I need to give this red horse the best ride that I am capable of, and then get even better. But, because this is my hobby, I'm going to be easier on myself if I don't feel like riding a particular day. Today it was in the high 20's and freezing cold, and you know what? I just didn't feel like being outside in the cold any longer than I had to. There was a time when I would have gotten on come hell or high water (or snow or hurricanes or whatever, I was getting on EVERY day no matter what!), but I'm not quite as hardcore gung-ho as I used to be. Still, I beat myself up about it ("you should be RIDING! Champions don't sit on their butts! They RIDE! LOSERS don't ride!"). I have a feeling that when I have shows on the calendar, I'll be a lot more strict and serious. Right now, I have so many other things on my plate that I feel pretty ok about skipping out on a ride if it's crappy out or if I'm pooped. I also think that I want to do things different than I used to go with Gogo - I used to ride the tar out of her 6 days a week, every week, forever. That's a LOT of riding. Gogo could handle it, and I thought it was the best for her, but looking back I really wish I had given her more time off. (It was hard to give her time off because she regularly dismantled the barn every time that I tried!) I don't think O can mentally deal with being hammered on that much. I think if I pull her out and saddle her up EVERY day, she's going to give me the bird. I want her to come out fresh and happy and strong every day. If I am doing endurance as well as trying to make her into an eventer - which is the plan - I need to be very judicious in my training versus time off. Time off for the endurance horse is just as critical as conditioning is, so fitting in conditioning, time off, and training towards being an eventer is going to be quite a complicated juggling act. 

Mostly, my 2014 goals boil down to something like this:


2014 Goals (Horse-Related):
1) Focus on business building - priority for money/resources (if there's a show or I need more equipment, the equipment wins)
2) Spend the year training for eventing - showing not a priority at this point. (I want to spend the year getting every last duck in a row - we need killer dressage, killer XC, and killer stadium before I take her to recognized shows. Eventing is very expensive, and there is no need to put money into shows until I know we are going to go in there and clean up. This mare is going to take a lot of time - she has come so far, but she has a long way to go!)
3) Endurance rides - successfully complete LDs and 50s! (Endurance is something we can more or less launch ourselves into right now without any more training aside from teaching her to eat and drink better on the trail, and get our elytes and everything in order. With more conditioning, we'll both do well I think! Endurance is also affordable versus eventing, which means I can jump into it this year without any worries about seriously straining my bank account. My specific goals for rides are to rack up miles and hopefully top 10 whenever the circumstances are right, and always come home with a sound and happy horse [I know disasters can and do happen, but we're obviously going to work very hard to avoid those circumstances if at all possible]. I'm obviously not going to push this mare past her limits, and I'm not going to kill her in order to get completions or top 10s - if all falls into place we go for it, if not then it's not our day. But I think it's a pretty achievable goal at LDs especially, since this mare is happiest cantering to infinity and beyond.) 
4) Let go of my guilt and embrace life as a happy adult ammy doing my hobby - if I don't feel like riding one day, I need to not beat myself up over it. It's okay! (Letting go of guilt is an overall theme in my life this year - I spend almost every second of every day feeling guilty about something that I am or am not doing. There's a line to this, of course - I need to hold myself accountable to things that need to be done - but I need to relax and stop feeling bad about everything, especially things that are not under my control. Stay on track, stay accountable, but don't beat myself up in order to get it done.)
5) Rider fitness and health. (I just have to be better about this. I have to. Or else I am not going to survive endurance!!)

These may be added to over the course of the year..... we'll see!


2015 Goals (AKA The Year of Hopefully Having Things Together)
1) Continue to compete in endurance (Still some LDs? 50s? More?)
2) Recognized events at BN (or N?) - qualify for and attend the AECs

And... we'll flesh it out from there. But that's the idea.


I think that's perfectly doable. Spend this year getting everything together and honed and awesome, and then next year when I have the resources to do it - and a horse that hopefully can go out there and kick some hiney - then go for it. Who knows? This might change partway through the year - I might suddenly go "oh wow she's super awesome now and I have so much more money, let's go to a show!" But, I might not. We'll just have to see.

What do you think? Does it sound achievable?

By the way, check out this old photo of O from April/May....

Holy crap. What a difference half a year makes. 


  1. That "before" photo is nuts!! She's such a beefcake now, no one would guess six months ago that was her. I think the goals sound very doable and I love that they're not always concrete... I'm a big fan of "If A happens, then B. But if not that's ok." As I enter the adult ammy world I also struggle with simply not wanting to some days and then dealing with the guilt that comes after. It's hard but I really do think days off for horse and rider are a good thing.

  2. Love your goals and perspective. I'm in a bit of the same boat--I'm trying to intentionally do some non-horsey things in an effort to be a more well rounded person. I'm also threatening to give endurance a go because the cost of eventing is just mind-boggling.

    Good luck!

  3. Definitely achievable. I'm on the far, far, oh so far side of my 20's and yet for the first time in my adult life I have an adequate amount of time and resources to devote to pony pursuits. I don't know if I'm actually maturing backwards since I should be improving my house and doing yard work instead of counter cantering... or maybe I am using ponies to distract myself from the possibility of having a family - who knows!

    Actually now I'm rambling.

    This is just to say that the best goal you can accomplish this year is to let go of the guilt, because your ponies don't care if you achieve massive goals training wise. They are happy for you to care for them and happy to have a job to do for fun. They're also happy if you decide to skip the intense training ride and pursue a new non-horsey activity one afternoon :)

  4. Definitely achievable! And hot damn, that before photo! I wish my two were that beefed up after 6 months! I really need to buckle down and get out there to work them more. Your efforts with O and the success you've had is quite an inspiration!

  5. I love that you have a semi two year plan and I think its commendable.I am inching farther and farther past my mid twenties and decided that life is just what you make it in order for you to enjoy it.

  6. I can relate to so many things you said here. Guilt - yep guilty of that - see my recent post about feeling stressed I can't ride because of the polar vortex.

    Finances - I think you are making the right choice. I still have issues with budgeting and I just decided last week that I am not showing until I can work out a proper budget.

    I also agree %100 on eventing - there is NO point going unless you can kick butt. Way too expensive. I think you are on the right track to happiness.

  7. I can't wait to see you turn that firecracker into an eventer. That schooling session really looked like it was SO. MUCH. FUN.

    Good luck!

  8. Whatever, you totally swapped her out for a body double for the "before" pic. ;)

    They sound like fun and achievable goals! Maybe it'll help, mentally, if you schedule rest days. At least to the extent that you say something like "I'm planning to not work O 2 days this week" and give yourself permission to use those 2 days whenever you want?

  9. If you figure out some tips and tricks on releasing guilt I hope you will share - I also struggle with it daily. Its stupid and it sucks but its so hard to let it go.