As we wrap up our season, I want to give ourselves a little performance review similar to how I do performance reviews at work. What have we done well this year, what has room for improvement, and what are some goals moving forward?
Things we’ve improved upon:
- Powering across jumps. Frankie used to land off of every jump in a heap and need a lot of help getting the momentum back. He’s now much stronger at pushing off, landing, and continuing without needing me to hold his hand about it.
- Finding the right spot. While I don’t have a magic eye and still get to a sticky spot fairly often, I think I’ve gotten a lot better at adjusting our stride to get to the right spot. Along with a better ability to see the spot, Frankie’s increased fitness and education means that we have a lot more adjustability to get to the spot once we see it.
- Our turning radius. We’ve actually made the inside turns lately, and it turns out that this works really well for us. It forces me to keep my foot on the gas, it keeps Frankie’s attention, and we don’t get rails when we do this. This has been a big area of growth over the past few months.
Things that still need work:
- Getting the “fire” going early on. I still sometimes need extra time to get us vibrating at the right frequency. I’ll be working on achieving that feel more quickly.
- My leg. This will be a huge focus for me this winter- while I feel secure in the tack, I want to work really hard to build a more stable base of support over fences. This will only get more important as the jumps go up.
- Combos. We can do combos. We regularly go through them totally fine. But we definitely need to practice doing some at height so that I don’t back myself off mentally, and so Frankie knows that he needs to really fire through them more.
Goals moving forward:
- Test the waters at 1.20m. I’m not sold on doing our whole season at that height, I don’t need us to move up a division officially, but I would like to go in and get around a softer 1.20m course. I know he has the scope and his technical agility improves every dang day it seems, so I’d love for us to stretch our abilities to give it a go at least once.
- Find a better show bit. I’m really just not psyched about the slow twist we’ve been using- Frankie is a chill dude so he’s not fussy about it, but I definitely think we can do better. I’d like to dedicate time and effort to finding an option that gives us good control while being comfortable for him.
- Build rider fitness in conjunction with horse fitness. Frankie is in a great program right now, and we should be able to maintain it throughout the winter with a few tweaks. I tend to get a little hibernate-y during the winter, so I’ll be making a point to hit the gym more so I can keep up with the WonderPony.
I’m sure as we move into the new season I’ll create more specific goals, but moving into the winter those are three big things I’d like to focus our energy on. I couldn’t be prouder of how much Frankie has grown and learned this season, and I’m absolutely tickled that he teaches me as he goes.
How has your 2017 show season gone? What are you looking forward to over the winter?