"And, when you want something, the entire Universe conspires in helping you to achieve it." -The Alchemist, by Paulo Coehlo

Saturday, January 4, 2014

The Goals Thing

Everyone is writing about previous goals and future goals, and I love reading about all of your goals and celebrate with you when you achieve them.

Me, personally: I hate setting goals out loud. Mainly because I know in my world they will very likely change. And I'm a highly superstitious person, which is another reason why I don't like sharing a lot of goals. I'm superstitious enough that I'm NOT going to share my superstitions. Sorry. ;)

Ok, I'll share one: I LOVE black cats and have always wanted one, but none has chosen me yet. I believe black cats to be a sign of GOOD luck. 
I always have goals, but they are kept in my head and I don't share them because that way if they change, I'm only accountable to myself. They are always at the back of my mind, but depending on what's going on, they will shift and transform. It's not that I don't do them; I'm a perfectionist and a highly driven person. A typical type A personality, though I don't know if that translates into the blog: I've been working hard on becoming more laid back as I get older. Life should be a thing of joy, not constant stress.

So why do my goals change? Sometimes I realize down the line that the goals can be better, and so they evolve into more challenging goals, and sometimes the opposite happens: things change, or I just change my mind about what I want to do. Example: At the beginning of 2012, I set the goal of going for our USDF Bronze medal at First Level in 2013 by doing the rated dressage circuit in South FL. And then we moved 1100 miles north at the end of 2012. And then I lost interest in competitive dressage, period. I don't want to be part of a world where breed trends and horrific training fads are rewarded.

This. This should be illegal.
(Though I think we all know how successful making soring illegal has been in the TWH world. :( )
It should at least be banned from the warm-up arena. Seeing riders use this in the warm-up SHOULD negatively affect the scores in the test later on.
But ignorant judges keep rewarding it all the way up through the levels.
I refuse, refuse, refuse to be part of a sport that thinks this is acceptable.
And what is up with the warmbloods? You can't take the best Andalusian in the world into an upper level dressage arena anymore and expect it to get the same kind of points as a fancy warmblood. Andalusians, the original Spanish horse that was bred and BUILT for collection and upper level movements...the upper level movements that were originally used in battle! That's where dressage comes from! I mean, it doesn't even make sense if you think about it.
...Sorry for the rant...

I never wrote it out, but last year I wanted to do an LD with Lily. However, we were having enough issues with normal trail obstacles that I was afraid to ride her solo outside of the arena with any kind of frequency, and then she got injured, so there went that. By October, she was fit enough that I think we could have done the practice intro ride at Fort Valley (15 miles), but the trailer I can borrow was being used. It seemed like the stars were saying I should wait to take Lily along, so I didn't push the envelope with that.

So, goals we completed, as written at the end of my 2012 recap last year:
- Start working out for real. Check.
- (Secret goal related to previous: run a road race. Check)
- Canter on the trails. Check
- Work with a quality trainer that will bring us along. I was still thinking I'd go for competitive dressage at the time I wrote that (end of 2012), if only to show at the local non-rated schooling shows. At the time, I was majorly burned out from arena work and running out of ideas. I still have the trainer lined up, but have not had the desire to spend money on lessons. I've had less experienced friends wonder why I need lessons - because there is always room for improvement. Always. And I'd like for our dressage to get better. Maybe this year we'll do the lessons. It's good cross training BUT...at the moment I have to choose between riding lessons and the gym, and I'm going to choose the gym. Me being stronger will make me a better rider, and this will help Lily even more than us taking lessons at the moment.
- Charles got a steady job. Check. He has a regular permanent (as in not traveller) job in an MD hospital working in the ER. The ER was a big personal goal of his that he never would have been able to make given the way the RN hiring system works in FL. It's not a problem at all up here; his big wish came true. He LOVES the ER, and it's great fun sharing stories from the human and animal fields.
- The student loan situation. It is an everlasting goal for this to be resolved, and it will keep rolling over into the next year until we figure it out. There is still hope and ideas on how to do it.

I will share with you the goals for 2014 that I consider set in stone, that are already on the way to happening because they are already set in motion!

For me
- Be a fit rider. This encompasses several goals: join the gym (it happened TODAY), do a minimum of 2 Spinning classes a week and 1 strength training day (achievable; the idea is for this to be the minimum), do more road races. I am entertaining the vague idea of running a half marathon this year, but want to do some 10ks first.
- Get my vet tech specialty in Emergency and Critical Care. What is this, you say? Well, when you're a credentialed tech, you have the option of specializing in various different areas. It's exactly the equivalent of being a Nurse Practitioner. I want to be a Vet Tech Specialist in ECC. To get there, you have to write up a list of 50 cases minimum in which you participated and used emergency and critical care techniques/knowledge to help the patient PLUS at least 5 detailed case studies that you worked on from beginning to end; complete a list of advanced skills that have to be signed off by a criticalist (a veterinarian specializing aka boarded in Emergency and Critical Care); and then you go to the International Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society's conference to take the boards. Why must I do this this year? For starters, I finally have the minimum experience of exactly 5 years working strictly ECC as a tech (I've been doing this for 7 years total, but one of those years I was an assistant, and another year I worked in general practice) AANNDDD...Veterinary conferences are expensive. They are prohibitive when you have to add in travel expenses. In 2015, IVECCS comes to Washington, DC. So it will be in our backyard. Thus, I won't have to travel to take the boards. Hence, I'll be able to cover the whole thing with the funds my job provides for continued education without having to go out-of-pocket for travel expenses. This is a HUGE, HUGE goal, but I want to post about it so I will finally get my rear in gear and get this done. I secretly hope to inspire Charles to go get his Nurse Practitioner specialty too. He's way more than smart enough to do it, but he's terrified of the test - he's not the greatest at test taking. 
- Launch the pet portrait side job. I've been meaning to do this for years. It needs to happen.

Reminder: at 100 followers there will be a giveway:
A portrait of your own horse or any horse you love!

For Lily
- First and foremost: keep her healthy and happy.
- Continue mostly trail work with dressage work as cross-training.
                 *I'd like to nail a real half pass at the trot this year.
                 *I want to do a lot more trotting on the trail.
- I'd like for us to complete at least one LD (limited distance) ride this year. That's my off-handed goal for her for this year, like "Canter on the trails" was for us last year.

There are a lot more goals for her in my head, but you will learn about them if/when they happen. :D

And I wish for love, happiness, health and prosperity for us and our families.

And for you and yours too! To 2014, the Year of the Horse!

Thanks for reading!


  1. I too am ULTRA superstitious, I think having a hispanic background probably makes us more so, superstitions a lot of time run around masqueraded as tradition or turn into traditions that you feel guilty breaking. On that note though I think Goals are meant to be fluid and flexible and should be made to fit your needs and lifestyle.

    1. Agree with all the things, 100%. The hispanic background does have a lot to do with the superstitiousness, I think.

  2. Goals get me in trouble. I make a goal and then there's some big catastrophic event. This year, I'm just gonna go with the flow.

    1. Going with the flow can be a great thing! Sometimes it's just better to do your best and see what happens.

  3. Sounds like great goals! As you might've noticed I keep most of my goals secret too...not that I consider myself really superstitious, BUUT they DO always seem to fall apart if you say anything! ;)

    1. Hahaha...I'm glad I'm not the only one! :D

  4. We have a black cat. She chose J.

    I was born on Friday the 13th.

    I live with Dead Indians.

    Sometimes its not superstitious, sometimes it's real.

    I hope all of your non-spoken goals come true this year.

    1. Haha! My mom was born on Friday the 13th too. :) My brother sees dead people.

      When I was 13, I was leaning against the railing of my grandfather's wooden balcony. No one was home; I was just looking out at the property below: the chicken coop and my horse's stall. It was a 20 foot drop down the edge of a cliff below that balcony. As I was leaning all of my weight against it, the railing broke. (It was old.) I started to fall. And then someone grabbed my shirt from behind and yanked me back onto the balcony.

      I turned around.

      There was no one there.

      Totally agree: sometimes it's real.

    2. When I was six I was struck by lightning. It touched my belly. It didn't hurt. I swear that is what I remember.

      Some of us are meant to be here. I'm so glad whoever stopped your fall did so, because my life is better for having you in it, even at a distance.

    3. My mom went into labor on Friday the 13th with me, she said since my dad was born on Friday the 13th she refused to have me on friday the 13th and had me on Saturday the 14th early in the morning lol

    4. Lol That's awesome LW! Women have more power than we often give ourselves credit for.

  5. I actually don't even like to do the whole "New Year's resolution" thing. As you pointed out, we can grow as people and change during the year or things just happen and we need to change direction. Also, I totally agree with you about competitive dressage. I used to think that I could just compete my own way and keep myself separate from all the sh*t that goes on with other trainers and competitors, but eventually I realized that I just didn't want to be a part of it at all. I don't want one penny of my money to support any organization that allows animal abuse, which is what happens to a lot of dressage horses. And I don't need a judge to tell me if I'm riding well. I can hire a trainer if I really need help or just learn to judge myself. Anyway, it sounds like you have some great goals and I wish you luck!:)

    1. Thank you, Gail! I agree with everything you said re: resolutions and competitive dressage! I actually hate that the "fitter rider" goal is really starting to happen with the New Year because it's so cliche, but it's really just pure coincidence. Charles's and my schedules were so discombobulated that this is the soonest we had been able to go to the gym together to sign up...
      I don't think a goal should be set just because it's a new year; I think you always have the opportunity to start over fresh, to change. It doesn't have to be a new calendar year to decide you want to do something different.

  6. Go kick ass, even if you have to sneak up sideways on your goals. I always wanted to ride a hundred on Dixie; I hid that behind a lot of years of little goals before I ever really announced it. :)

    1. Haha thanks Funder! "Sneak up sideways on your goals" - Love this idea!

  7. I get superstitious about goal-setting, too...I tend to live with 'em in my head for a long time before saying 'em out loud and I find it works much better for me to let 'em arise organically as the path becomes clear than to come up with a goal and try to design a route to fit. Mileage may vary, but it works for us! Best of luck with all your dreams, spoken and not.

  8. Blogger hates me so if you get two comments, I apologize.

    I think a lot of the unspoken goals shall be achieved during our many shenanigans this year. I'm so excited! SQUEE!