As I put together my plan for 2017, it’s now a little easier.  I’ve identified the clinics I want to participate in, the events I want to do, and the frequency that seems reasonable for Charlie Brown and me.  So here’s the plan:

Pre-Season vet check — Since Charlie is a little bit older, we tend to start the pre-season vet check a little early, to give us time to take corrective action, if we need to.  We’ve already done our Coggins, so that’s fresh for the new season.  Next, we’ll do a flexion test and see if we need to treat any stiffness issues.

Administrative — USEA, USEF, and local memberships have all been renewed so our scores will count toward our progress.  We’ve even registered for our first schooling show in March.

Scheduling — I have a Gmail account set up just for my horse.  This keeps all my e-mail with the vet, farrier, barn managers, tack orders, etc. in one place, and not jumbled up with my personal e-mails.  It also gives me a Google calendar just for Charlie.  I start by putting down everything that’s scheduled.  Then I color code everything to show what I’m actually going to participate in:  regular lessons, rides by my trainer, clinics, and shows.  Then I can share that calendar with anyone I need to.  It’s also a great visual to see if I’m getting Charlie out often enough.  It’s also helpful to see whether I’ve over-scheduled clinics and shows, which I try to keep to once or twice a month.

Horse fitness — To get Charlie fit for the upcoming season, we are working on trot and canter sets, so he is ready for summer.  We’re hoping for some weather above freezing so my outdoor ring, which is a bit larger, is available for some of that work.

Rider fitness — To get me in shape, both mentally and physically, I’ve signed up for the Confidence Academy and the Conditioning Academy with Daniel Stewart.  I met Daniel at his session at the USEA Convention in December, and he had a room full of us laughing and sweating all through his presentation.  It’s a virtual program with regular videos to keep me on track, training both my body and my brain.  And the best part is, this program recognizes two things that are big deals for me: the need for our exercises to reinforce the right muscle memory, and the need to be really efficient and get my workout done quickly.

Rider education — I’ve committed to reading two riding books each month, to improve my understanding.  Then, perhaps I can stop over-thinking things.  Ha ha ha!  I’ll definitely learn something.  If you want to piggyback on my reading, look for future blogs with book reviews.

Cross-country schooling — Since I volunteered several days at an event last season, I have several cross-country schooling passes burning a hole in my pocket.  I’m hoping to find some folks headed that way to ride with.

Goals — My intention for the 2017 season is to compete in at least three rated Beginner Novice events.  I’m hoping to qualify for the AECs in the Master division — maybe not in 2017, but hopefully in 2018.  I’m also aiming to get one of my needed scores at first level at a rated USDF show, counting toward my bronze medal.

What’s your plan?

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