Setting Goals for 2020
Here it is 2020 and since it’s January, let’s talk about goals. As I look over the outline of what I want to talk about, it sounds like I’m complaining. That’s the thing with goals. There are stumbling blocks one has to get over completing them. I’m simply letting you know what mine were. Now I wasn’t going to even set horsemanship goals this year. had set no horsemanship goals until I got an email from a listener, “Hey John, what projects are you working on?”
And it really got me thinking about what I wanted to do with the horses this year.
Over the course of my horse ownership years, I have competed little in the show ring. If you’ve listened awhile you know this, but if you’re new to the show, it’s important you know I didn’t grow up around horses, I came to them in my 50s.
The reason I haven’t competed with horses is #1 because it’s expensive. I think if you grow up around horses you get used to their cost over the years. It becomes another expense. When you get your first horse at 51, and you have to build the pens, get the feed, the supplements, the tack, the vet bills, and all the other minutiae that goes along with it at once, it’s a bit intimidating. Then, I spent the first couple of years learning about horsemanship, and how to ride, and competing wasn’t in the picture because I wasn’t competent to compete in anything.
Then, we – that’s Ranae and I – got a little bolder and tried a trail trial, then a trail class. Those weren’t bad. We looked into some other show stuff Working Equitation, Reining, cow work and three things popped up. The cost of entry was higher. The level of performance was higher. And the rule books were thicker. Me and rulebooks don’t get along. They make my hair hurt. My eyes glaze over, my memory takes a hike, I get lost.
We began doing ETI trail Trials a few years back. One, they are relatively inexpensive. Two, they occur over the course of a 1-2 hour trail ride so we ride along for a quarter of a mile, do an obstacle, then ride along for another ¼ mile. And three, the rules are simple. Yeah, I blew some points for not knowing to call out cinch check before going up or down a hill, but you learn those things quickly and they get easier.
Okay. Goals for this year. The last two years at a Mule and Horse Show, I competed in the Ranch Riding classes with my mustang Scratch at a show in Tehachapi. I did it mainly because Scratch was born in the Tehachapi mountains and roam the area as a wild horse for 9 years and the show invited us to take part. In the show ring, Scratch loses all sense of speed control and direction. He gets a little amped up with the other horses around, and we lose our connection.
Goals Change The Older One Gets
At this stage in my life with horses, competing isn’t about the placement. I need to measure how I’m doing with Scratch. Am I helping him? Can he do this? Not every horse can. What do I have to do to help him feel comfortable? I know he can live out his life just riding along the trail, and maybe it’s hubris but I think he can be better. He’s a tough little horse who is smart, and I’d like to see if I am the person who can develop that toughness and smartness. And, along the way, I learn more about horses and horsemanship and that’s gotta be a good thing.
So what are your goals? What do you plan to do with your horse this year? I remember one year, early on in my horsemanship, I logged all the time I spent in the saddle. I had a GPS wrist watch and an Excel spreadsheet and wanted to reach 150 hours that year. Just having that goal, got me up early to spend time on my horse. It’s those little things that can keep you motivated. Set some goals.
And, I have goals for the podcast too. I’ve reached out to Backcountry Horsemen and ETI. I hope Ken McKnabb will come on to talk about laying down a horse. I’ve always wondered about this and recently noticed Ken has a video on it. I’m trying to get some experts in horse transportation on the show to talk about getting your horse from one place to another. Trainer TJ Clibborn has verbally committed to come on and talk about training mustangs and his life as a trainer. One other guest I am hoping to have on the show is Arien Aguilar, who is an extraordinary trainer with some unique ideas and methods. And, I would love to find some stories to illustrate sonically like the episode I did last year on Comanche.
Join Us on this Journey
We want you to be a part of the show. Tell us about your horse. Share your challenges, triumphs, or just everyday items that make horse ownership unique. Create an audio file using the memo app on your phone. Or, contact me and we’ll set up a time to talk by Skype or phone. Perhaps what you have to share can help someone in THEIR horse journey.
You are a big part of why we do this podcast. We really love getting your feedback. Please let us know your thoughts, ideas, and suggestions for the show. Email us at John@WhoaPodcast.com
Thanks for listening,
John & Ranae