Tuesday, January 8, 2019

2019 Goals & Intentions

This year looks to be a continuation of the past year, more or less. Overall, I'd like to see myself and all of the animals continue to be happy and healthy. Beyond that, I've detailed some very attainable goals below for each of us as well as a few (+) stretch goals.

One big difference between past years and this year is that I've largely removed competition goals from my plate. Don't get me wrong, I'd really love to make it out to multiple competitions on both Q and Griffin, but I'm not naive about the financial push that I'm going to have this year to fulfill my dream of bringing the horses home. As a result, I do not want to commit to any kind of competition goals. The only one I'm really going to hunker down and focus hard on will be to get Q to a minimum of one AERC-sanctioned competition. I really miss endurance. I miss the eventing environment that I finally began to dabble in with gusto in 2017, but I recognize that a lot of my training goals with that can be achieved at home for now with the hope of returning to competitions with more gusto in 2020.

In many ways, this year looks to be a transition year for me with the horses. I'm completely okay with this because it means fulfilling my biggest life dream of bringing them home for good.

My first "hey I can see my house from here" winter 2018-19 photo.


- Hone dressage and school training and first level movements
- Take consistent lessons with LC
- Establish a very solid "forward" button so I don't have to nag
- Cement "long and low" stretching
- School over novice height jumps, both stadium and XC (probably at home)
+ Make it to a schooling show of some kind
+ Cutting

20181003 Muddy Horses_7
Throwing it back to summertime when the mud was easier to brush off and wash out!
He's just as disgusting now, but with a full winter coat.

Without a great place to school Griffin toward the end of last year, I let a lot of his dressage training wander to the wayside. In other words: we lollygagged hither and yon and didn't do anything with consistency. He's lost a lot of the strength he had and now I've got to put that back. It won't take anything miraculous, just consistency. Which, admittedly, is difficult currently with winter, the commute, and my two jobs.

After a chaotic last quarter of 2018 that left me little time for pleasure reading, I've been gobbling up all of the Practical Horseman issues I lapsed on reading. It's giving me so much motivation for things to work on with Griffin going forward. I have countless notes and exercises jotted down to work on through the winter that pair well with my homework from LC. In no time at all, I hope to have Grif's strength up. Once I get his strength back up, I'm looking forward to making progress and having check-ins during lessons with LC.

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Wish he was so easily clean... I'm not sure the mud staining will ever disappear after this winter!

A lot of my goals for Griffin can be achieved without going to competitions. Schooling dressage movements, riding tests under watchful, knowledgeable eyes, schooling jumps and honing agility and fitness for various types of jumps can all be achieved at home. Even more so now that I've got LC nearby! Between her and two of my neighbors who are very into dressage, I'm hoping I can setup a couple "judged" tests where they all watch me ride some of the USDF tests and give me "scores". It's seems like a good way to get feedback and improve without breaking what little bank I'll have while I pursue bringing the horses home.


- Continue to build confidence
- Hone dressage and school training and first level movements
- Take consistent lessons with LC
- Complete at least one endurance competition
+ Ride 400 non-competition miles this year

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Goals? What goals?

After a year + of building this little mare's confidence and arriving at a much better place with our relationship as a result, I am SO excited to start laying on the conditioning miles this year with purpose. I know how to get this mare fit for endurance, we've done it with lots of success in the past. But now I'd like to do it even better and with plenty of dressage thrown in. With help from LC, I know this will be achievable.

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Look at that floppy lower lip!

My current aim is to compete at No Frills at the end of April. Ride camp is a short drive from where I live and I find the trails to be pretty friendly overall. If I have my druthers, I'd really like to also fit in our new WV ride in August and possibly Fort Valley in October. Whether we make multiple competitions or not, I will be fitting in lots of conditioning miles through the year. I'm excited to pursue training miles now that I have a much more confident partner.


- Rack up some trail miles and have a ton of fun
- Don't become a total asshole once moved home
+ Ride 150 miles this year

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A year of ease? Okay!

No major goals for the big guy for now until forever beyond just getting out there and enjoying time on trail together. Whether I ride him or he treats my friends or husband to the joys of life on horseback, it doesn't matter. I'd just like to keep him moving and keep him fit.

It makes me giggle a little bit, but I'm also completely serious about him not becoming an asshole when I move him home. He's got a track record for being a dick about regimented feeding times. His habits reared their ugly head some this past summer and we had a lot of conversations about it. He gets tunnel vision where food is involved in a multiple-horse-regimented-feeding schedule. He'll go after other horses with gnashing teeth and flying hooves and will sometimes offer these behaviors to his human caretakers, as well. I've got a lot of ideas and plans for how to prevent him from being a complete asshole once home, but the proof is in the pudding! Time will tell.


- Train to the invisible fence
- Maintain mobility through lots of steady exercise

20181225 Sunset Dog Play_39
Heading into 2019 like...

Kenai is doing so very well lately. Hopefully he will maintain and make some small improvements this year! He may not go on every adventure Taiga goes on in order to preserve those gnarly stifles for years to come, but I still hope to get him out on many hikes and some smaller bike rides.

The biggest change in his life will be that I'm going to commit to training his sassy ass to the invisible fence. I got it for Taiga and intended to train him "later". It's now a year "later". The time is nigh. A young, fit husky ignoring me is one thing. An older husky who is quickly earning the title of Curmudgeon with a capital "C" is not as enjoyable. Time to initiate my plan and confine him to an acre of space only.


- Get out in crowded places more often to minimize her over-stimulation in these environments
+ Take local course to fulfill therapy training

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#sorrynotsorry for using this photo in two consecutive posts. It's my new favorite.

This little girl is so fun and easy to be around. As with Kenai, I don't have anything huge slated for her this year beyond making more of an effort to get her out and about. That in and of itself will help fulfill a lot of the things she needs to know in order to pass the test to be a therapy dog. Hopefully time will allow for me to take her to a few classes preceding the test late next year.


- Bring the horses home
- Maintain fitness level
- Be financially cognizant throughout the year
- Purge, purge, purge
- Continue my yoga practice
- Complete GRUSK 53-mile bike race
- Climb more
- Bike often
- Maintain and build my photography side hustle

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New year, new headshot

My biggest goals for myself this year is to bring the horses home, watch my finances, and keep up with my fitness. The other goals listed here will help me achieve these things.

Bringing the horses home is the biggest goal I have this year. I'll be sharing more details in coming weeks!

With the above in mind, I know my finances are going to be tight this year. Thus, it is my intention to make the best of what I already have and purge everything I don't really use/need to make space and recoup a bit of extra money. Between that and my photography side hustle, things should work out!

I had a great year for fitness in 2018. Giving myself a solid goal to meet - GRUSK - really jump started my motivation to a much better place. I hope to maintain that this year and add climbing back into the mix, too. The financial stress of bringing the horses home won't enable me to take too many crazy climbing trips, but fortunately I live in an area with a wealth of local options. The trick will just be to get out more often.


  1. All really wonderful goals - you got this!

  2. So excited about bringing the ponies home! It's the BEST!!!!

    1. I'm so excited, too! I hope I can survive the anxiety of getting through these final hoops so I can put plans to ground by spring.

  3. horses home!! that's the best goal.

    Their manes look so sharp - I need to tidy up spicy's mohawk it's looking a little rough lately.

    1. Summer mohawks are infinitely prettier than winter ones! They don't look nearly so nice right now lol

  4. yay on getting the horses home!! And yay for you and the dogs and everyone being healthy and happy!!

    PS Remus is a shit feeding time to but he knows if i raise my voice or point my finger (After he gets pushy with me or Tate) he backs off QUICK as the dickens. I am sure Stan is even smarter than Remus and will learn fast he will get the food no matter what.

    1. Haha, I hope. He almost earned himself a new zip code a few weeks ago when he kicked out and missed me by less than a centimeter all because a horse was on the other side of the fence from him. We had QUITE the conversation after that in which he had the decency to look appalled.

  5. Having horses are home is wonderful. I love it. I don't love every day. Like when they break things or when it's the 5th time I've had to shovel a path to the barn in a storm to check on them. But I still wouldn't trade it for anything.

    1. Living in an area where everyone LOVES winter and wants nothing but SNOW SNOW SNOW, AND where we have also had 8 "bad" winters in a row now, I keep guaranteeing everyone that next year will break records simply because my horses will be home in my care. Because that's just the logic of the universe. "You think you can handle Canaan winters? Oh yeah? Fine. Have a 2 foot snowstorm followed by 3 other large snow events that pile on top of one another!" #thanksUniverse

  6. Yay for bringing them home. The ability to micromanage every aspect is wonderful. I’ve learned though that having horses and riding horses are two very seperate hobbies.

    1. They are! I am very excited to be able to do BOTH with more ease. Animal husbandry helps me unwind unlike anything else at the end of a long day.

  7. wishing you a wonderful 2019 - esp in seeing your horses finally come home in a way that creates sustainability for everything else in your life!

  8. Here's to a wonderful 2019! I hope bringing the horses home works out - it is wonderful, but not without challenges in the winter.

    Love that photo of Taiga! Wow - that would look amazing printed on a big canvas!

    1. I agree re: canvas! Wish I had more wall real estate open in the house. Granted, my husband would roll his eyes dramatically if I put up a canvas of the dog lol!

  9. Looking forward to watching you bring your horses home for good. And I have no doubt you will. Once you set your mind to something, you make it happen. Love that about you!

    1. Trying, trying, trying! Some of this is gonna come down to fate a little bit. MEEP!

  10. Sounds like a wonderful set of goals - and mostly commenting to say how much I love that photo of Taiga- she looks SO MUCH like my little girl Legend it's mildly creepy!