It is already November, almost December. This time of year I like to reflect. This way I can see what my accomplishments were in 2016 (and feel good about myself), figure out what my pitfalls were (if I had any) and use this information to improve my training approach in 2017. Do you want to join me? Sign up for my newsletter to stay updated about my online courses.
Reflecting on 2016
When I read in my training logbook of 2016 I smile. I see so many small improvements we made, but all together it is a big improvement. Here are just a few of the achievements I found, reading back. The list is really too long to summarize here.
- We worked on the ‘Carpet of Motivation‘ (I taught Kyra to ignore grass and also to stop grazing on a light cue and even leave a juicy patch of grass when I ask her to come along)
- We worked on her behaviour during hoof trims. We practised to keep her legs longer up in the air without losing balance, don’t pulls the leg back, lift legs before the farrier starts using R-techniques like squeezing chestnuts or tendens. This seems like an on going training goal, but this year I really see a lot of improvement.
- Haltering skills. I retrained another horse and taught him to put his head in the halter. This was such a nice little touch that I came up with the idea to teach Kyra too to ‘halter herself’. Now I hold the halter in front of her and she puts her head in there herself.
- Improved positioning at the mounting block. Now we can do this even at liberty (thanks to the hip target), watch the video here.
- Hug (from this book Horse Trick Training)
- Simple bow
- ‘Score‘: Kyra picks up take an object on cue and puts it in a bucket
- Hip target: move towards the target with her hip. She can do the hip target left and right. If I would have known that this exercise would be so easy to teach I would have started this years earlier. I thought it would be very complicated so I procrastinated starting. It comes in handy in all kinds of situations.
- Confirm and polish Spanish walk at liberty, under saddle and on the long reins. It turned out to be very simple to transfer this exercise once she understood it.
- Practised riding with other horses/riders in arena. Kyra acts scared and defensive towards other horses if they come too close. She has improved, but with a new horse it starts all over.
- Improved cantering: transition trot-canter and we worked on duration of the canter successfully.
- Made a start with cantering on the long reins
- Jumping at liberty
- Jumping at liberty over a double jump
This is just a small selection of things we worked on. I really like to read back in my journals because it makes me realize how easy we forget the good things and all the improvements.
Goals in 2017
My goals for next year will be simply building upon the achievements from this year. I will start on lateral gaits in canter and improve the lateral gaits in trot under saddle and on the long reins. I also want to add some new tricks like catching a cloth, levade and kneeling on one knee.
My 2017 To do-list
I will also write down some fun things I want to do that aren’t real training goals but things I like to do with my horse such as trail rides, a photo shoot, participating in a horse agility competition and practice riding a pas-de-deux. Riding a pas-de-deux is on my goal list since Kyra’s behaviour under saddle and being close to other horses could stand improving.
Do you want to join me?
Are you inspired yet? I know I am!
December will be HippoLogic’s Goal Setting Month. I am thinking hashtag #decembergoalsetting. Do you need some help to set some goals and stick with them?
If you want to get inspired or become an inspiration to other equestrians join my Facebook group Happy Herd and keep in touch! Clicker trainers welcome!
Happy goal setting!
Sandra Poppema, B.Sc.
My mission is to improve horse-human relationships by educating equestrians about ethical and horse friendly training. I offer online horse training courses to empower you to train your horse in a 100% animal friendly way that is FUN for both you and your horse.
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