Saturday, March 30, 2019

What Would Some (a little) Look Like

Before we get to the rest of this post I had another good ride and lunged Katai in side reins this week! We're as ready as we can be at this point for our clinic/lesson day with K's trainer. I have one more of these non ride update posts and then I should be able to post some awesome ride updates! Now I just need to get more media :)

Katai realized I was there while I was sitting in my car and was whinnying to me <3
I am a perfectionist. It’s been something I’ve dealt with since I was little. For me this means I struggle with putting in some effort and only ever want to do 0% or 100%. This is why I struggle with goals and, in particular, planning especially for my personal life. Strangely enough this is a major work function for me and I’m really good at coaching people on how to make effective plans that are focused on taking action. However, in my personal life planning beyond the next day or so is tough for me and it’s especially tough for me to plan or make goals for Katai and rides.

Further out than a day or so my brain starts getting hung up on all of the factors that are involved in having two living beings as partners in a very demanding sport. When I do go ride or work Katai I react to the moment and usually accomplish something and it’s fine but it makes it tough to set more specific goals. I might even plan out for the next day’s ride but beyond that I struggle.

With weekly lesson’s it’s always felt ok to have less of a plan because there is another person who is helping to keep our path going in the right direction. However, now that we have lessons monthly or less I feel like it’s really critical that I plan better. In thinking about this and trying to figure out why I can do this at work and not in my personal life and then I saw this posted on my friend's wall; “What would some (a little) look like”.

Looking super majestic while she spooked at people walking in the aisle
With that in mind, over this past week, on a long car drive, I put on my workplace coaching hat and basically coached myself through what I was doing and what wasn’t working and realized the following;

 1. Without an accurate assessment of our gaps and strengths how was I going to be able to focus on the items that I need to improve?
2. Listing which days I was going to ride and movements to work on was too micro for how my brain works and the specificity was frustrating if the pony I had that day didn’t want to play along in that particular way or couldn’t because of soreness etc. Some structure is helpful, too much structure is hurtful especially when dealing with two animals who will likely each have their own things going on for any particular day
3. Bucketing items vs. making specific plans is what I coach employees and leaders to do. Lists of individual issues are way less helpful than identifying themes and building a plan to improve those themes
4. Some action is better than the 0% or 100% approach. Some structure is helpful, too much structure is hurtful
5. Not every ride needs to be perfect, in fact no ride needs to be perfect they just need to accomplish something so I need to set up a plan that encourages me to ride without much specificity so that I can focus on a couple things and not try to accomplish everything at once.

My bf and I were up and Moshy had decided to sleep in.
This was all we could see of her for most of the morning 
Then, when I got home, I listed out items like walk/trot/walk, canter, waiting for cues, half halts, straightness, and transitions and gave us a percentage score for each. After doing that for the movements that we can at least kind of perform I outlined the movements we need to move up to the next level such as walk/canter/walk. Then I put together ride plans in “buckets” that go something like this. Ride 1. Work on baseline gaits, Ride 2. Focus on collection, Ride 3. Stretchy ride.

Under each of those I outlined a list of items that I could do that day and also put a timeframe that I want to ride for. For the collection ride for example I outlined half halts, transitions, transitions within the gaits, backing, SI, etc. and also made that ride shorter, around 20 minutes. Finally I also listed out a bunch of alternative options such as desensitizing Katai to her travel boots, doing a bareback ride, or going for a hand walk. These are things I’ll put into our schedule as well since I want to be riding 3-4 times per week, lunging or doing just a walk ride as my fourth ride, and then having a non-riding day right now.

Then, based on weaknesses, I put my first week together. Since we’re just getting back into this right now I’m going with an either/or approach based on how Katai is feeling but eventually I’ll be more strict about that kind of ride we do since I still have a ton of variability within that ride to play with depending on how she’s feeling.

Still spooking, also I can't wait until her clip grows out
I had posted here about the planner I got for myself during the holidays. I had been disappointed about it and was actually going to post more about how it wasn’t working but now that I have this figured out it’s working great for this way of planning. I’m really hopeful that this will help me continue to make progress without regular access to a trainer.

It’s already helping my motivation since it seems way less overwhelming to have a specific sort of ride to pick from a list vs. thinking of all of the possible things I could work on for a specific day (or just try to do everything every time I rode which was a trap I was falling into). Hopefully this along with utilizing the resources I posted about previously will help me continue to make progress even with less access to lessons!

How do you plan, or not plan, for rides? How do you keep yourself on track?


  1. This is fantastic! Pretty much all of your post applies to me too. I'm bookmarking this one to come back to. Thank you ! I'm pretty sure you're going to crush those goals :)

  2. Your approach sounds so reasonable and should lead to great progress



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