Just to clarify up front: we are not moving up any time soon. We are in the midst of a lovely season in the Highs and are continuing to work out the kinks and polish it up.
Because let’s be honest, there is PLENTY to work on.
But I also like to have a bit of a longer view to what’s coming up, and sat down with my trainer to discuss what our plan is moving forward. The verdict: we have no real verdict, and I’m really excited about it.
What we do have is a series of options depending on how things go throughout the rest of the season. A couple of soft “maybes.”
One maybe: we get to the end of this season in the 1.10m-1.15m classes and decide we need another season in this division. Which would be fun! We could really focus hard on perfecting our rounds at that height, and there are plenty of fun classics and competitions at this height to keep us entertained.
Another maybe: we get to the end of this season and feel really great and comfortable with how we’re going, and decide to try and move up. Which leads to another series of maybes.
In this case we work really hard over the winter to build fitness and accuracy, and very slowly start to try out a 1.20m class here and there- maybe putting my trainer in the irons at first to give him a better ride. Focusing on the ones offered early in the season and early in the week, where the courses are set more simply and forgivingly. And we pay very very close attention and make sure to work closely with our vet to make sure we’re not pushing further than Frankie wants to go- we know that being able to clear a few 1.20m fences does not equal the ability to navigate a full long course at a show. So this potentially leads us to a couple other maybes.
Maybe Frankie and I have built up enough fitness to do a soft entry into the 1.20m classes, and can give the Low A/O division a try. Which I think would be super cool.
Or maybe Frankie gives it a try and tells us that he’s not comfortable moving up more- which is also fine. Because that leads to another set of maybes.
Maybe at this point I decide to stay in the Highs with Frankie and come up with new goals within that height range- WIHS, other finals, etc. There are plenty of options!
Or maybe we decide to lease Frankie out to someone looking for a proven 1.15m packer, and use that lease fee to find me a 1.20m lease. Which would mean no A/O division for me, but there are other opportunities to give that height a try- the regional championships that I’m doing offer a 1.20m/1.25m section and they don’t require ownership to compete like they do in the A/Os.
And because horses like to poop all over the best-laid plans, I am so sure that there are at least 100 other “maybes” that we haven’t even started to consider. Chances are high that we end up with the final option of “none of the above.”
So there you have it: we have no idea what we’re going to be doing long term, but we’re excited to find out. In the meantime we’re going to focus hard on fitness, get our eyes fixed on Regionals, and keep building our partnership for whatever the future might hold!
Ending note: I’m grateful to have a trainer who takes the time to talk about those longer-term goals with honesty and openness. And especially grateful that throughout our whole conversation, she made it abundantly clear that her #1 priority is Frankie’s health and longevity. In a sport where we so often hear about people pushing hard and fast at the expense of the horse, I’m proud to ride with someone who never compromises the horse for the show.
Do you like to plan out your maybes?