Goals, Goals, Goals

I’m a visionary. To say that I’m planner, would imply there is an organized or methodical way that I accomplish goals. Anyone that works for me, with me, or just knows me, will quickly tell you there is absolutely no constructive planning or method to the madness, but somehow things magically happen. I’m pretty good, at delivering some abstract bullshit
at my day job (status updates aren’t my thing), enough to keep the people I report to happy until I deliver results. I always meet expectations, if not over deliver on deadline. Thankfully, I do not work for micro-managers. Either I would have to quit or they would have to fire me, if I were forced to deliver project status reports in anything but the most abstract form. The people behind the scenes will tell you that despite no visible work happening on my part, things just supernaturally materialize around the tenth hour.

The thing is I know exactly what the end goal looks like and more importantly feels like. In fact, half of the time, I actually believe I’ve already achieved the goal. The rest of time, I am choosing the path, method, or activities that will lead to said goal, and I’m constantly revising those options (constantly, like every five seconds). Basically it is virtually impossible to articulate what is going on in my head, until the project is so near completion that no further revision is possible (even though I’m still clinging to a plan Y and Z just in case that final revision is required).

I approach everything in life this way from education goals, career goals, financial goals, parenting goals, and for this blog’s purposes equestrian goals. There was a brief five year period, where I completely lost track of what my final destination looked like, and really just floated aimlessly through life both figuratively and literally. I spent a lot of time drunk on a lake during that time, when I really don’t care for lakes or boats that much. Anyway, back on track, I have three month, six month, one year, five year, and ten year goals all the way up to thirty years. Every day I get up, make the decisions, and take the actions that will hopefully bring me one step closer.

So three weeks ago, Offspring came home from daycare with the sniffles, there was no possibility of me not catching Offspring’s crud. Hopefully, it would be contained to a head cold. But no, because just as he recovered from that illness, he brought home a five day stomach virus that he shared with me first (he’s a giver like that) and then Darling Husband. After two solid weeks of illness, I thought I had rounded the corner, to wake up feeling like death yet again. Turns out I now have bronchitis. So between crazy Texas weather, my work schedule, and Jasper’s daycare illnesses, many of my equestrian plans are already on plan Z and we’re only one month into the year.

So this is where we’re at on the Gardner farm one month into 2019.

Comanche...I had hoped to have great canter transitions installed on him by the end of January and possibly a flying lead change. What actually happened? We have nice canter transitions if you don’t frustrate Comanche working on something like lead changes, at which point not only does he blow transitions, he completely freaking forgets how to canter. If you don’t care about transitions and enjoy travelling at supersonic speeds on a giraffe, you can get great flying lead changes. He can even pull out some two tempi’s.

Comanche’s flying lead change up to a jump!

Items we worked on while trying to calm Comanche down after flying changes are leg yields, side passes, walk pirouettes, extended and collected trots. We even had success at some liberty work. Comanche now walks, trots, stops, backs, and pivots with no halter or lead rope beside me in the field. He could easily say screw you, I’m going to play with my friends, but he chooses to play with me ( because I feed him treats). So despite a few rough training days we made progress in January and maybe February will be his month.

If all goes well Comanche will try out his first open shows in the fall, and hopefully we’ll gallop our first cross country course this fall. After that it will be time for me to find a trainer to coach us on some of the dressage work. Darling Husband doesn’t know what he’s watching, and I need a set of eyes on the ground to get us ready for our first 2020 event. We’re aiming for Training level, but it may have to be the “Green as Grass” events if I can’t get him through his sensitive issues.

Odessa…She’s been sidelined ever since having the sarcoid on her girth line removed at the beginning of the month, two week recovery period my a$$! Anyway she should be good for some bareback work this weekend,
illness and weather permitting. Which is ambitious of me, since she hasn’t been worked in two months. Hopefully, we can begin her western pleasure gait work in the next two weeks. I really want her in the WTC/WTL classes this year. No more of this walk, jog, or trot crap.

AppleJack despite not having the amount of ground driving , I had planned for January has proven to be a solid little pony. She’s pulled a drag with no issues the last few nights, so I’m putting her to the cart this weekend. I doubt she’ll have a live load for a few more weeks, but really we just want to get her used to the shafts and breeching engaging. No amount of ground work can adequately prepare the pony for the first time breeching actively brakes the cart. It’s something you just have to bite the bullet and hope your “thinking versus reactive” training with the pony was successful.

Moonshine…has progressed nicely with some cool showmanship and pony tricks. We are still struggling with the spanish walk. Teaching her to strike out has proven more difficult than I thought. I really want her pulling a cart by May, so she’s going to start ground driving as soon as AppleJack gets this cart thing down.

Beau…I just want to keep him entertained enough he doesn’t feel the need to destroy fences, barn doors, and wreak havoc among the other horses. Keeping expectations low for this one!

Battle…I’ve had it with Battle (mustang with PTSD). If Darling Husband doesn’t start working with him soon, he’s about to go back to boot camp. He’s recently back slid from being tricky to catch to damn near impossible without corralling him in a box stall first. I have zero tolerance for a hard to catch horse, especially one that doesn’t have to do any form of work (ground or riding). Battle and I don’t have a great track record, so this war is going to happen. He may be the one animal, I feel the need to actually work in the round pen on a consistent basis.

Dakoda…Darling Husband will continue working with Koda. I don’t like to do anything with her, because I feel she should fully be his project horse. I may end up being the first one on her back due to being lighter and having more experience in emergency dismounts, but he should be the one that puts in the day to day work. He’s also upgrading the farm infrastructure with two new run-in sheds for the smaller paddocks and helping our neighbor on a fencing project.

Finally for my annual stretch goal, I really would like to TIP out a wild burro or two this year. I have two adopters lined up that will take them off my hands if I cart train them. So as soon as Moonshine is driving, Darling Husband and I will set our sights on some new BLM prospects. It would be kind of cool to take them to one of the local mule and donkey events to show off our cute asses before handing them over to their new owners. The TIP payout would also, fund the new pony cart I’ve added to the two year goal list.

Well it’s off to feed. Livestock does not accept human illness as a reason that their grain will be late. Then I’ll load up on more codeine and crash. Hopefully between the steroids, opioids, and antibiotics I’ve taken today, I’ll be feeling well enough that my weekend plans do not require revision. I’m already losing eight training days in February to business trips. I can’t afford to lose this weekend too…

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