I’m not really a goal-oriented person. I love reading and once picked up the book DRIVE: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us and never finished it. That about sums me up.
But here are a few intentions for 2018, anyway. (See how I avoided using the word goals there?)
- Start lessons in spring instead of fall. Last year a lot of life was wrapped up in the jostling required to buy this ranch. I made excuses all year and did not have a single lesson until October. No bueno.
- Attend another clinic. I loved going to the Mustang Rendezvous this fall, and hope to attend again in 2018 if scheduling permits. But I should get to something closer, either with my own trainer or another bigger barn that hosts clinicians. Maybe trail obstacles or beginning cow work. There’s also a desensitizing clinic every spring to benefit a local 4-H or FFA club, which would be great.
- Complete a trail ride off the property without either of us having a meltdown. I can hack out all over our property with very few, minor issues. But beyond the confines of these acres we have not been so successful. I tried to do a “poker ride” at the end of the aforementioned Mustang Rendezvous and got into some very nasty arguments about who was in charge and ended that day defeated and deflated. I’m thinking that going out with a trainer or other experienced horse people who are willing to give me some pointers and or reassurance will set us up for success.
- Depending on how soon #3 happens, try some endurance conditioning and an introductory ride. I still get all starry-eyed when thinking about getting into endurance but have not gotten the mustang going enough to see how he handles being out there for more than a few miles at a time.
- Go camping/do a short pack trip. We had one successful camp trip this fall; the mustang stayed out all by himself in a possibly non-electrified electric tape corral for two nights, one of which included several surprise inches of wet snow and a really rowdy visit from the livestock guardian dogs working at a nearby sheep operation. I figure if he got through that, he’s probably pretty safe to take camping. Hopefully this goes along with more successful trail rides.
- Adjacent to this is getting the mule to a place where I can trust him enough to take him somewhere and not have anybody die.
- Continue to be a good student of the horse. There’s really so much to learn as a returning rider. Everything is different from what I knew as a kid, when, as they say, we ride with 90% brawn and 10% brain. I want to continue reading and watching and learning from the great horsemen/women and develop a higher understanding of this partnership I’m cultivating.
- Calm down, stay present, seek peace. I’m a slightly anxious, very sarcastic and somewhat pessimistic human by nature, and I’d like to continue to try to leave that aside when I’m working with the horses and mule and remember to breathe and stay positive. I believe it really does help. I’m not going to be doing any sitting-on-pillows meditation anytime soon, so I’ll continue to try to find that happy place in my time with the hoofed ones.
- Keep writing! I have attempted to keep about 47 various blogs in the past decade, and this is the only time I’ve kept one alive this long (by far). I still don’t tell people about it or do anything else that might grow my meager readership, but hey, baby steps.