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In Loving Memory...
~ Gogo Fatale ~

6/2/01 - 10/11/11
~ Forever the Marest of Them All ~

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

End of February Analysis

It's the beginning of the month, which calls for my monthly goal analysis!

February Goals:

1) Continue to develop consistent stretch down and up at the walk and trot
This is coming along quite nicely!! The past week has definitely not been great altogether, so it hasn't been addressed as much, but in the three weeks preceding that, we were making some REALLY good progress. She's stretching down and coming up very nicely - and continuing on to do more real work after without having any fussiness! We'll continue to develop this further for sure, but I'm pleased as punch with the way this is going. I even had some great walk stretch today despite the fact that it took her way longer than usual to warmup - I mean really great walk stretch, really really great.

2) Jump a larger gymnastic - building to 4' if possible
Thwarted by Georgina Morris! I DID try my best to make this happen, and it WOULD have happened if it hadn't been for her. That being said, I did get to go at around 3'6"-ish, which ain't bad. We'll aim for the 4' again this coming month, when she isn't around.

3) Have accurate, balanced, smooth trot-canter transitions (she tends to pop up into them)

Well, these are getting better. She's popping up into them less and moving out into them more, but they still need a lot of work. I'm experimenting a little to see just what exactly helps her with this - how much prep she needs before the transitions, how much positioning helps, etc. There has been improvement, but there still needs to be more.

4) Develop trot and canter lengthenings on a 20m circle
Didn't get to work on this as much as I wanted to, but I'll continue to develop this, especially at the canter.

5) Develop shoulder-in and haunches-in exercises further
Coming along quite nicely, except for the past week. It needs more development, obviously, but I'm pleased thus far.

Overall I'm very happy with the progress made, this past week's nonsense aside. We're honing in on our weaknesses and improving them little by little, getting a little more solid every day. We have days that aren't so great, but we manage to walk away from every single ride feeling like we at least have achieved relaxation and a sense that we could go out and put in at least a good Novice level test, one that scores very well. Some days it feels like we could go do 2nd Level 1-2 and score well. Some days it feels like we could go do Training 1-2 and score well. It doesn't matter to me so much what level of work we're at. What matters is that even if I don't feel like I could get a lick of collection out of her that day, I can still get a good stretchy trot and some nice, relaxed transitions. If that's all we can get that day, then so be it. If we can get more, great. If not, I'm not about to erase all our hard work just to see if I can milk a little more out of her. Slow and steady wins the race, every time. The important thing is that I walk away from every ride feeling at least like the last thing we did was great, and I always do. Whether or not the first part of the ride went well becomes unimportant. As long as we both walk away from the ride feeling all right at the end, I'm happy.

So our new March goals are as follows:

March Goals:

1) Get over our irrational chambon fears!!
2) Attend our first schooling jumper show and make successful, smooth trips around each course
3) Continue to develop stretch down and up at the trot/canter
4) Refine (and really focus on) trot-canter transitions - no popping up into them
5) Hopefully get our for our first x-country schooling of the season!!

And some goals for me too....

1) Improve cardio fitness through interval training
2) Continue to improve gallop position (a weak link for sure!)
3) Once we get out schooling x-country, work on maintaining a balanced and rhythmic gallop over fences

4) Take the Hundred Pushups Challenge
5) Take the Two Hundred Situps Challenge

And by gallop, I obviously am not talking full-tilt run. Gogo really seems to like having the security of me sitting down before every fence and being there funneling her to every one - creating a very secure channel with my legs and hands, and my butt being the encouragement through the channel. I want to help encourage her to take jumps in a more gallop-y stride, instead of steadying and slowing before every fence. Jimmy Wofford just had a really awesome article on this in a recent Practical Horseman, about how it's all about balance and safety and that you shouldn't need to slow down and rebalance before every fence - you should be able to be balanced before and after every fence without changing a thing. Something to keep in mind and think about, to be sure. Sitting down and riding that way to every fence is also MY security blanket - I feel like that's where I have the most influence over her if I feel any hesitations on her part. We'll work on it!

I feel very physically fit at this point (just doing barn work will do that to you) but my flexibility isn't amazing and I am rather one-sided, as that is how a body ends up when you're doing hard physical labor. I will incorporate more stretching into my life too, mostly because it just feels damn good to do it.

And as for the interval training, well.... I'll have to find a place to actually do this. I'm not really sure where to go when there's 14" of new snow on the ground. Also, I dunno about you but working 12 hours a day in a barn reallllly takes it out of you. I'm usually exhausted at the end of the day and don't really want to do much of anything, so I'm just going to have to force myself to do it. I need to eat healthier too. I need more delicious green things in my life.

Need need need! This month we're starting to really amp things up. The jumps will get higher, the conditioning will get tougher, and the dressage will get more precise. We're out with the big players here in Area 1, so our game has got to be good.

And we're good. This might be our year, even more than last year. I'm ready, she's ready.
Now it just needs to stop snowing and we'll be all set.

Gogo at Encore last year, our first show of the season. We were in first after dressage in a downpour, but had a rail in stadium which bumped us down to 3rd. This was when I knew something wasn't quite right - a joint supplement fixed that issue!


Heidi said...

Aren't you dying to go XC schooling? We are getting antsy out here in Seattle at my eventing barn. Can't wait for spring! Good luck with your new March goals :-)

Ally said...

I'm new to the blog so I thought I'd stop in and leave a comment. I live in Florida so the XC schooling has already begun! yay :] This is my first year eventing and the first schooling show is in ten days so I am beyond excited! Also, I'm totoally inspired by your "get in shape" plan that I dowloaded the 100 push-up challenge and 200 sit up challenge application onto my iphone, and I'm going to start the interval training too! Those are such great ideas because they are quick and not ridiculousy hard (when I'm at the 100th push up I may be saying otherwise). I'm not overweight, but I can barely lift a bale of hay so it will be nice to start gaining some muscle! Keep us informed on how your workout are going! This blog has been so informative that I've actually been reading back into 2008. Well, just wanted to stop in and encourage you to keep on blogging and wish you and gogo good luck this season!

Andrea said...

Ahhhhh so jealous of the schooling!!! I'm just DYING to get out there, like Heidi is :)
Yay for first shows of the season! What level are you doing? And thanks for the kind words :D I try!
I unfortunately lift bales of hay and scoop poop for a living, so I feel like I'm probably pretty strong, but I want to be stronger. The boarders have this bad habit of bringing me Dunkin Donuts almost every single day (or cookies, or cheesecake, or huge 2lb wheels of brie) so that kinda offsets all the mucking and riding I do anyway, lol. I've not yet started my own personal training but that will start in the next couple of days!

Ally said...

I'm going to be doing Novice this year. I just got a horse who is kind of like Gogo, meaning that she can get really stiff and ornery. She's was started as a jumper (The previous owner sold her because they said that she was crazy, but they had her fitted with draw reins, gag bit, martingale that was too small etc., so frankly I think that she was just downright pissed at them) so she flys around the courses and literally has knocked down only two or three poles in the past year. But when it comes to dressage she wants to rush through everything so we've been doing a lot of walking lessons. She LOVES to jump so whenever I get on her she gets super excited and ready to go, but she's had to learn that not everyday is a jumping day. Lately, she has been more relaxed so I'm hoping that those walking lessons and the lack of crazy contraptions have been helping to clear her head. It's so funny because all of the other blogs I read are based out of cold areas so while you guys are staying inside warming up, Floridians are making the most of the cool weather for conditioning! Oh if only we would get some snow during July to cool us down.....