My mind is whirling with thoughts of next season. I can look back on last year and see we went from not even being able to canter, unable to get the correct lead, unbalanced and definitely not on a 20 meter circle. To scoring 8's!! on the canter in a dressage test! Being told we are 'pretending to do dressage' to scoring 31 on a test!! From not being able to hop over a tiny 18' 'jump' without being an ugly ball of a mess. A launching horse and a neck climbing pilot. To jumping oxers, walls, swedish oxers, ditches, banks, novice xc jumps and winning Championship in a jumper class and fourth place up against some stiff competition on a CT. All in just a few short months from April to October. Steady has taken me farther and fast than I ever imagined. I am witnessing before my very eyes the progression of Steady's body. I know I have read and heard that it can take a long time for a horse to fully adjust to life off the track, and even more so the longer they were on the track. I didn't understand exactly what that meant until witnessing it for myself. Now I can see that it really did take over a year to get his body adjusted to it. I see that it was a matter of allowing his body to completely transform from the way it gains, burns and stores calories. To completely change the shape of his body, starting to muscule in places he has never had muscule and allow him to figure out how all of that translated into how his body moves. These are no SMALL feats. No more place for the strung out stiff as a board body that he had only needed up until then. He had to learn how to bend that body, round his body, keep his feet under himself and stay in balance all at the same time. I didn't start out understanding how much of a challenge that would be for a body that has never been asked to do those things before. But it was like once he got past those tough adjustments he just quickly started to soar with progress. Now he can only go as far and as fast as I can take him there and I think we make a great partnership. I just look at next season nervous and excited and wondering, "how far will we go? And how fast?". This is my first time at attmepting any of this, first time training a horse, first time doing any Eventing. So every single thing we do is new. New to him and new to me. So to me it is just amazing that we are progressing as well as we have. I am not meaning to say that I am intending to put pressure or push us to go farther, faster. Not at all. I do mean that I have a feeling that Steady has the ability to take me farther and faster then I had ever imagined and that is both exciting and terrifying all at the same time.
I plan to have this conversation with Lee Ann on Sunday at my lesson because she has been around this block many times. So I think she would be a valuable source of information. I pretty much want to know how far should we think about going? And how fast should we plan to get there? I could say that I should just take it one step at time and not look too far into the future but that is not me. I need a plan at least an outline of a plan. Not everything has to go according to plan but I do have to have a specific goal in mind or I will just fall into a state of bored, depression and I don't want to go there.
I had until now thought we would not go past Novice, ever. Though now I am thinking Training could very well be in our future(shivers in fear). Beginner Novice will be where we start off next season. I plan to do a Derby at CAF early in the season then see how the season goes but hopefully finish the season at a full 3 phase HT at BN. That goal is well within our reach and I wonder if finishing the season at a schooling Novice Derby or CT is where we will end up. I don't know. Should I keep pushing farther and bigger or should I slow down and just take my sweet time? One thing I am lusting after is competing at KHP. I don't think I would bother going to KHP at BN but maybe my goal could be when I get solid at Novice then I can compete at team challenge? I also really want to compete at Hoosier Horse Park at the IEA 3DE at some level, but the question is what level? Do I do it as soon as next year at BN, just to have the experience? Or do I make it a carrot on a stick kinda goal to push myself to get to a certain level first? Now if I had an unlimited checking account I don't believe it would matter nearly as much because I could just do it all when I wanted to. But since I get to only pick one or two things to do over a season I want to be very selective which and when I do them. I don't know, but if this is a sign about what my brain is going to do to me over the boring winter months you, my faithful readers, may be in trouble. Sorry for you, I cannot seem to get the swirling, circular reasoning, unanswerable thoughts from over taking my head.