Hello, 2021 — My Goals for the New Year

Happy New Year from Nautica and me!

Rather than dedicating an entire blog post to Nautica’s and my accomplishments in 2020, I figured that instead, I could create something a bit more productive and form an outline of my goals for myself for this coming year. I’ve decided to organize it into two subcategories: riding goals and writing goals.

Here we go!

Hold on tight, we have things to do!

Riding Goals

Nautica has made great strides in his two full years as a dressage horse. Obviously, we want to keep that good momentum going and strive for the next level. In 2021, I want to work with my instructor to have Nautica doing all of First Level and knowing all of the Second Level movements by the end of the year. Realistically, we’re still a ways away from being show-ready in First Level, but there’s nothing stopping us from knowing all we can know.

Our plan is to continue to compete at USDF shows in Training Level to finish out a few of our certificate qualifications. So far, my horse show lineup for 2021 includes the Scenic Flight I in March and the Solo Flight III in May. My additional riding goals for Nautica also involve qualifying for and placing in the USDF all-breed (saddlebred) award rankings at Training Level for 2021.

As far as non-competitive riding in 2021, I want to do more “adventurous” things with Nautica. These include but are not limited to “away” trail rides, field trips and clinics, both dressagey and non-dressagey in nature (possibly working equitation or mounted archery? 🤔)

“Mounted, uh, what-now?” – Nautica

Writing Goals

In 2021, I hope to write more posts for my blog. I’ve noticed that the captions and little narratives that I post along with my Instagram and Facebook images could also qualify as potential blog posts. I’m paying for this website to document Nautica’s  and my progress as a dressage team as well as for sharing my personal experiences and opinions as an adult amateur rider. I need to make more of an effort to utilize this platform. I tend to get a bit in my own head about sharing my thoughts publicly and, in response, I nix a lot of my post ideas before they even get started. It’s time for me to stop doing that. Plus, writing here might keep me out of the comment threads on the never-ending madness that is Horsey-Facebook. I love a good discussion but those comment chains rarely ever go anywhere.

Continuing with the theme of taking my opinions off of Facebook and on to somewhere where they could possibly be productive, I plan to organize and present my questions and concerns about certain ASHA programs and points systems to their respective committees. My major point of interest is with the current Champion Sport Horse (CH-SH) points systems. I am so excited that the saddlebred association has created this opportunity and is placing a spotlight on its sport horse members, however, as it is set up currently, there are some major inequities between the divisions, particularly between dressage and eventing, and their individual levels of difficulty.

I’d like to bring these inequities to the attention of the ASHA as well as also offering a more viable and equitable alternative to the current qualification systems for these awards. I plan to incorporate other breed associations’ weighted points systems and points caps based on various level difficulties as part of my proposal. In addition to this, I am also extremely interested in potentially applying for certain ASHA committee positions should they become available. I wish to be even more involved in the promotion of the American Saddlebred horse, particularly ASB sport horses, and I believe applying for a committee position is a great first step for me. I plan to document my experiences here.

Another project I plan to begin in 2021 is drafting my request to the US Dressage Federation to consider the addition of the chambon as acceptable lunging equipment at USEF competitions. I have found great success with the chambon’s mechanics, particularly for the sadldebred restart, in its aid in teaching the horse to stretch down and out, lowering the neck without curling inward and eventually working toward a more productive use of the back muscles. If Vienna reins can be allowed, I don’t see why the chambon can not.

So there you have it, a brief description of my goals and plans for 2021. Brief, because I am always coming up with new ideas—I am a woman of many big dreams and a touch of attention-deficit at times—and also because I can’t give away all my surprises for 2021… well, not yet anyway.

Thank you for following our progress in 2020. We’re excited to see where we go in 2021! -Sheila and Nautica

Huge thanks to my best buddy, Nautica, for making this the best year yet. ❤️

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