I've actually been drafting this post for a while, both in paper notes and then via draft blog post. Last year, I didn't do goals. I am usually a goal-oriented person and thought it would help to be more laid back. Well, 2016 was a dumpster fire. I don't know how much was correlation and how much was causation (surely my lack of goals didn't elect Trump?) but I do know that being laid back does not work for me.
So here are some goals I'm setting for my equestrian-self in 2017.
1. Put hands on my horse 5x a week except when I am out of town.
This shouldn't be hard, but in 2016 I let his semi-retirement and my house projects dictate to me. I told myself (not untruthfully) that he was happier just chilling out, and that I would be happier if I made progress in other areas of my life.
But you guys: I am 8 minutes away from my horse. I've timed it. There is ZERO reason I can't spare 30 minutes just to go out and groom him even if I don't have time to ride or do anything longer. I need to get back on this. It will have the added bonus of increasing my non-riding ratio, which will make him a happier pony.
2. Be less perfunctory, in all areas of my life.
Part of being too busy and too laid back simultaneously was that I let myself get away with too much. I didn't groom thoroughly. I honestly can't remember the last time I cleaned my tack. Probably early summer. I have nice tack, good tools, and there is no reason I can't spend a little bit of extra time taking care of the details. If I am going to do something, I need to do it with intention.
3. Aim toward dressage schooling shows.
I'm not sure if the budget will allow off-property shows, but I need to make a commitment to both in-barn shows. I need to ask for the time off to make theme a success instead of winging it and hoping I can get away from work in the last two weeks.
4. Take more lessons
Even if it's once a month, I need focus again. I am so stupid lucky to be at a place with great instruction. I need to make this a priority in my budget. Commitment to this will mean that I probably can't justify any off-property showing (one show = 5 lessons).
5. Find a horse-specific income stream. Corollary: fully re-fund Tristan's emergency fund.
I don't know what this is. Maybe it's something I make and sell. Maybe it's a small part-time job. Maybe it's looking at the ways I currently get extra sources of income. Whatever it is, I need to refill Tristan's emergency fund, which functions more as a slush fund and less as a true emergency fund as this year I bought new breeches and other new riding equipment for the first time in a long time...and got a little carried away. That needs to swing back.
6. Do more thoughtful work.
This is something I'm putting into practice across my life. Less triviality, more deep thinking. More focus. More thinking about goals.
In my horse life, it means I want to be proactive instead of reactive when I write on this blog. I want to read more and digest that and share it with you all. I want to concentrate more on the slow and steady work in dressage rather than freaking out and changing course three times a week.
I've taken some steps in my personal life - I've deleted Facebook from my phone and am reading more, doing more hands-on creative projects, making a careful point to follow one thing through instead of multitasking.
7. Get more media.
I ride by myself 98% of the time, so not conducive to having current video or photographic evidence that I do, in fact, ride my horse instead of take pictures of him looking adorable in his stall, or take between the ears shots.
I need to work harder at bullying my husband into coming to the barn to take pictures of me, or always asking friends who visit to take some quick pictures of us, or teaming up with Emilie to do joint sessions. (That worked really well this year!)