Tuesday, January 2, 2018

2018 Goals & Intentions

I've set some solid goals for each animal and myself, as well as some stretch goals (+) that, while they should be achievable, I'm not banking on their completion to feel success in my yearly achievements. 


- Stay happy, healthy, sound
- Build strength, power, and finesse within dressage and jumping
- Take > 3 dressage lessons (and become more confirmed/comfortable with shoulder-in and lateral movements)
- Take > 1 jumping lesson
- Feel confirmed at beginner novice
+ Compete in the novice division at one HT
+ Compete in either a dressage or jumping show
+ Put Grif on cattle to see if he works them as he does the dogs around the barn

I hope to have a year focused on eventing with Grif. He absolutely loves the job and now that we've gotten our feet wet, I'd like to hone our skills. Clearly, what I've done with the horse alone over the past few years has been working, but it's time to get some professional eyes-on-the-ground guidance to really help us develop as a team. Eventing becomes more and more technical with each level, and the foundation and skills we work on now will help us to be prepared to tackle the increasingly complicated questions we're presented with as we (hopefully) move up.

More ditches in 2018, please!

What I really want eyes on the ground for more than anything else is our dressage. There is so much to learn! And so much of it depends on "feel" which is a lot easier to develop and hone with eyes on the ground to guide and teach. My first focus of the year will be making it over to Virginia for some lessons. I'm confident that our take-aways from these lessons will help not only our dressage but every other aspect of our riding. I'm really excited to not only build Griffin's knowledge, but my own through lessons.

And more of this feeling after XC

The pie-in-the-sky stretch goals would be wonderful to fulfill if time and money allow. If our season goes well at BN, dabbling our toes in N isn't too crazy a notion. A schooling show for dressage and/or jumping is also not a crazy notion if the opportunity presents itself. And working cattle? Well, I've been saying for awhile now that I'd really like to get this little gelding on some cows. That's a discipline that I'm surrounded by here, so mostly it's taking the time to reach out to some folks to see about coming over and playing. If Grif showed a penchant for it, I'd absolutely jump into those competition waters with some of my close local friends; team penning anyone?!


- Stay happy, healthy, sound
- Build more trust and confidence in our partnership
- Take > 1 dressage or centered riding lesson
- Build better balance and abolish her sidedness, especially with trot diagonals
- Hone lateral movements under saddle
- Complete a conditioning ride >20 miles over mountainous terrain (rail trail does not count)
+ Compete in a dressage show
+ Return to endurance competition

Building trust

As much as I'd like to say I plan to return to competition with this little girl by next fall, I can't guarantee it. I'm sticking to my word to not put hard goals on her this year. If things fall into place, I'd absolutely love to get back into endurance competitions with her, but there is no rush to do so. The goals I've set for us all revolve around strengthening her body and mind; if we find achievement within these, competition stretch goals won't be difficult to achieve.

So we can enjoy more moments like this

My biggest goal with Q is to get our partnership back on track - and then keep it there. We've already made leaps and bounds, and the future is very bright. One thing I believe will help us out is getting some professional eyes-on-the-ground guidance. I'm not certain if I will take her to Virginia to the same trainer I hope to work with for Griffin or if I'll stick a little closer to home and work with a centered riding instructor, but one of the two will happen at some point.


- Stay happy, healthy, sound
- Keep up conditioning levels to a degree where striking out on a 20+ mile conditioning ride over mountainous terrain is a walk-in-the-park
+ Compete in a 50-mile ride

Stan's got no problem with rough terrain

Oh, Stanley, my love. Stan is as solid as they come. He had the better part of 5 years off from any kind of work and reentered life as a riding horse like no time at all had passed. He's got the greatest brain ever and such a kind heart to match. All I truly want for him is to keep him healthy and fit enough to enjoy some zoomy trail rides around home.

I'd love to appreciate more beautiful views from behind those ears

If I can find the time to get and keep him conditioned, I'd really love to pursue a 50-mile ride with him this year. I may employ Lauren to help in this endeavor. We'll see how that goes. I would choose a spring or fall ride if I did pursue this, as hot hot heat will do us no favors. An even stretchier stretch goal would be to have Stan's biggest fan (hi, B!) compete him at an endurance ride and/or bring her QH stallion to ride with us. I can't think of anything much more fun than spending 50 miles goofing off with her as the boys eat up the miles.


- Stay happy, healthy, sound
- Get some answers to his hair loss
- Maintain a healthy weight and diet with whatever supplements keep him moving well

So much more hair only a few months ago!

As the new year begins, I am working closely with my vet to pursue some very conservative options to try to resolve some of the rapid hair loss issues Kenai is experiencing. At a recent vet appointment, I ran her through everything we've tried in the past year. I've been ready for awhile to throw in the towel and give up to alopecia X, but my vet thinks we're missing something still based on the evidence and observations to date.

Hi, I'm Kenai and I'm here to party.

So, we're pursuing some very conservative new options (that are incredibly budget-friendly!) to see if we can resolve some of what's going on. Yes, his issue is mostly cosmetic, but for a husky who lives in the coldest, highest elevation area of the state, not having hair during the cold months is a bit of a problem! Nothing seems sadder to me than a bald husky in winter.


- Stay happy, healthy, sound
- Hone recall and obedience training
+ Begin pursuing training necessary to become a therapy dog


This little girl has so much to learn about life! As of this writing, she is 18 weeks old. Other than the stereotypical husky characteristics, she's a very different personality from Kenai when it comes to training. I'm still figuring out the best way to help her find success, but I'm confident we will come to a happy place before long.

Bold as brass riding the ski lift for the first time

One of the mountains I ski patrol for has a big interest in her (and Kenai) becoming therapy dogs. We have a lot of nervous and scared patients (many children) on the mountain; a dog on scene and in the aid room could really help assuage fear and anxiety for many of them. I would love to be able to lend courage to folks during these moments by providing a calm, fuzzy, loving dog for support. I'd really like to pick the brains of local folks who have dogs in therapy positions to see what kinds of things I need to work on to begin setting the stage for eventual certification.


- Stay happy and healthy physically and mentally
- Build a stronger and more flexible body
- Build/maintain my photography skillset and business
- Lead climb above 5.9
- Bike Canaan Mountain without hike-a-biking
- Really push forward with finding a living situation for the horses that is closer to my home
+ Be able to do a split & feel comfortable with inversion poses

I've been following through well with my yoga goals these past couple months. I've signed up with oneOeight.com and have been taking 1-2 classes a week through that site. I am absolutely LOVING it. The instructors I've been doing courses with are incredible and I'm finally getting the instruction I always wished for in yoga. Each class presents me with more advanced or modified options for poses that is helping me grow and develop. Additionally, I'm finally grasping concepts that I knew must be out there, but couldn't quite wrap my head around with regard to my core and feeling stability within poses. Some very small adjustments have afforded me so much more balance and stability almost instantly. With any luck, my goal of being able to do a split will be reached in the next year. I also think my longer-term stretch goal to be comfortable with inversion poses will be reached quicker than I originally anticipated.

Yoga in my loft - modified pigeon pose; hoping to nail that spilt within the year!

With yoga practice comes strength in other areas of my life, primarily riding and climbing. My hips are developing more range of motion than I've had in years (which will help in the saddle), my lower back is in less pain after a long day (benefits riding and other aspects of life), my posture is improving (benefits across many disciplines), and my rotator cuff injury is feeling so much better (I can begin re-introducing climbing to my life again). My goals within climbing and mountain biking will be more easily achieved by maintaining my yoga practice.

Eclipse-day adventures with some cool cats

I think the biggest goal I'm setting for myself this year (that I refuse to make a stretch goal because I really want to make this happen) is finding a living situation for the horses closer to my home. When they were in Canaan for a month this fall, I saw them 5-6 days a week which proved to me that if they're closer, I will find more time to ride/care for them. I freaking LOVE my boarding situation right now, but the commute kills me and makes it so that I primarily ride after work Mon.-Thur. which makes conditioning so much more difficult. If I can get them closer to home, I'll have the opportunity to fit in weekend rides easier, be closer to lesson and show venues, and have some incredible trail riding in my immediate backyard.

: : : : :

Happy New Year from our family to yours!

I'm really excited for 2018 and can't wait to see what the year brings.

Cheers to all!


  1. Sounds like 2018 will be full of fun and adventure! Great snow picture :)

    1. Thank you - and yes, I hope many adventures will be had.

  2. You are making me feel lazy. :) I love all of these goals.

    1. Aw, you're anything but lazy with your farm!

  3. Not sure how I missed that you got a new puppy, but congrats!! She's beautiful!

  4. so many great goals packed in there! if anybody can make it happen, it's you!

    1. Definitely hoping to knock out as many as possible haha

  5. 2018 here you come!!! Love how you break this all down. Your loft makes my palms sweaty being up high with no railing.

    1. Haha, yeah, it used to make me a little nervous, but these days I find myself feeling much more at ease up there. I doubt I'll practice many of my inversions up there at first, but 95% of my practice should be safe lol

  6. Happy new year! I always admire your goals and your dedication in pursuing them. I... will be keeping mine under wraps, as always.

    1. I'm sure you'll find success with your goals this year, too. You made great progress with 2017!

  7. I think these are awesome goals that push you enough to get things done, but not so much that they're impossible! Also, I'm convinced Taiga is a stuffed animal brought to life OMG I love her. And think a ski patrol therapy dog is a FANTASTIC idea.

    1. Yeah, I used to have an issue with setting goals that were too lofty to be achievable so I really make an effort to make them doable now. =) And yeah... Taiga is so cute it hurts haha.

  8. Some really excellent goals. I dunno how you'll have that much time, but I wish you luck. Taiga on the ski lift is so cute!

  9. I could have definitely used some dog courage and love on Mt Fuji so I think Taiga becoming a Therapy Dog is a wonderful idea! I hope Griff likes the cattle! Carlos loved working cows!

    1. Oohhh Mt Fuji! Hoping to hit that up in 2019...

      And I didn't know that about Carlos - I'm sure it's buried on your archives?

  10. Great goals, and sounds like a fun year coming up!

  11. I really like your stronger and flexible goal. I'm going to steal that for myself! It's so body positive!

    1. 😊😊 yeah, I'm not getting younger stop I'm trying to be good to my body.