Sunday, December 30, 2012

Bastian's New Years Resolutions

December 31st, 2012. Its been a long year, filled with measures of success and measures of WTF was that? Bastian and I have grown exponentially and have barely even scratched the surface of what he is capable of and what I hope to be capable of. Thank you to each and every person who has believed in us and helped us out along the way, without you I would never have gotten as far as I have so far.

Highlights of 2012

1) Jumping 3' while in a lesson. Yup, we sure did that! Still keeping my fingers crossed that para-jumping becomes a part of the WEG/Olympics. Bastian would be a Rock-a-saurus rex.

2) Competing in 3 recognized events, 2 at the Starter Level and 1 at Beginner Novice. They were tough, but I truly love eventing and perhaps one day I'll get to do it again. But the important part is that I proved I could and Bastian could. Which is proof that if you want something badly enough, you will accomplish it no matter what your limitations are.

3) Earning 70% at Training Level at the NODA show in July and a 68% at First Level at The Region Champs to bring home 8th place out of 45 entries. I have to give most of the credit to my phenomenal trainer, Kristin Stein. Not only did she have me galloping my cross country courses and jumps, but she got both Bastian and I into super dressage pony mode. Without her guidance and expertise I'd still be a training level rider trotting (with a look of sheer panic on my face) cross rails (really low cross

4) Getting to ride Hugh Knows while in Philadelphia and taking a lesson with Missy Ransehousen. It was my brush with fame! I got to ride a Rolex event horse and we did a pretty snazzy flying change (by accident, but still snazzy)

5) Riding my first 2nd Level test and totally botching it. Yup, I had like 3 errors and really did not make a good first impression at 2nd Level with my 51% percent....I can't wait to redeem myself in 2013!

Looking to the new year, B and I have a lot of work to do. I'm not sure which of us has more to do, but I'm gonna go with me. He by no means has the easy job, but its up to me to bring out his best so I've got to be up to snuff. I'd like to reference David O'Connor's lecture at the USEA convention (as found on Eventing Nation-awesome website!). Here are David's thoughts on what it will take the USA to become number one in the world in equestrian events:

What does it take to the top? 1) Ambition — Ambition is the driver. 2) Intelligence/emotional control — You need intelligence because you need to figure out the game to beat the game. 3) Technique 4) Selecting Appropriate Horses — In the horse/rider importance scale, the horse is most important 5) Horse Management/time management — Competitors have to set aside time for just them and the horses. He said he doesn’t believe this is all day, and that he understands riders have business, but top riders should take 2-3 hours a day to shut out all else in the barn. 6) Talent — The least important part, according to David. He said the top 5 principles are much more important than talent.

Ambition- I have it. I want to compete at the International Level, I want to represent my country at the WEG and the Olympics. I have the drive to do this.

Intelligence/Emotional Control- This one is going to be tough for me, but I am determined to overcome it. I'm a fairly intelligent person who usually looks at things in a logical way, but I'm also very emotional. My foray back into the world of eventing really helped me with this, I had to focus or else I was going to be a disaster on course. And now when i get nervous in the dressage ring I not so kindly remind myself that I galloped cross country and getting through a test ain't no thing. But on the same token, when I make a mistake I take it hard and get rather moody. I need to learn to let it go, learn from it and make myself better.

Technique- We are working very hard on this. We have to be precise and effective. I need to have better core strength and keep my right shoulder back and bring my left shoulder forward. I need to be precise with what I ask Bastian to do and control every muscle and every hoof.

Selecting Appropriate Horses- Mentally, Bastian is such a good fit for me and so appropriate. He handles life without too much crazy, which is saying a lot for a young thoroughbred who is insanely fit. Is he going to knock the socks off of international competition, probably not. Thats not saying we can't be competitive and do well, but the truth of the matter is that there are lots of lovely horses out there with better gaits. I want nothing more than to make this entire journey with Bastian, but if a more appropriate horse comes along and I'm in the position to utilize it, then that is road I will take.

Horse Management/time management- Another one that will be difficult, but I will make happen. With one full time job and multiple part time jobs, sometimes Bastian gets pushed to the side because without said jobs Bastian will no longer exist in my world. But I need to make the effort to fill every other empty moment with Bastian. I have to get my butt out of bed at 6 AM after getting home from work at 2 AM so that I can ride and get back home to be ready for work at Noon. Not easy, but 2013 will be filled with less sleeping in :o(

Talent- What can I say, with talent like this, I could ride a llama and still win....okay, that was a complete joke. I'm not a talented rider, as much as I thought I was when I was younger, I'm not. Its taken me nearly 20 years of riding (including some major setbacks) to get to this point. I would say I'm fairly low on the talent scale, but I make up for in the determination/ambition/tenacity division. This is something that is going to change, I'm not to wake up one morning having been suddenly blessed by the talent fairy. But I will continue to work hard make up for my lack of talent with hard work.

Two more parting words of wisdom from David (I'm sure to be referencing his lecture throughout the new year):

Awareness — Perceiving things as they actually are. Self awareness is recognizing those internal factors that distort one’s own perception of reality. Responsibility — The correct action taken in a moment. The correct action to set up a required feeling.

Both of these are vitally important to any rider, not just those pursuing upper level competition. I'm working on both.

We're gearing up to somehow make it down to Wellington. I applied to the American Horse Trials Foundation for grant money and with the help of wonderful family members and wonderful friends things are starting to roll along. Bastian will soon be micro-chipped and applying for his passport. We're also working on developing our Musical Freestyle so that we can rock it in March. Aside from that we're still looking for sponsors and help to make Wellington a reality.

I have to give a shout out to Hastilow Saddle Company as well, we have been riding in our new Concept Saddle for a few weeks and aside from some minor tweaking by the saddle fitter Bastian is loving it and so am I. So much more comfortable than my Wintec and it's helping me to maintain a better position.

Thats all for now! Happy New Year and we'll be checking in regularly to keep everyone apprised of our progress.