Saturday, June 9, 2012

Finnigan... Step One

So a little over a month ago, I did this super crazy thing. I bought a horse. And not just any horse. I bought a 5-year-old off-track Thoroughbred. I've always loved OTTBs and championed the efforts some put forth in finding homes for them after their racing careers are over. So it made perfect sense that I would end up with one of my own!

So here are the details:

Registered name: Fire Slanger
Nickname: Finnigan (Finn for short)
Namesake: Seamus Finnigan

Used to be this:

Now is this:

So here's the deal. Finn and I are still getting to know each other, and we're slowly learning to understand each other. There have been roadblocks, and no doubt there will continue to be roadblocks. But my goal is to be the best rider I can be, and for him to be the best horse he can be. In order to do that though, I have a few mini goals. My plan is to list them here on my blog and slowly work on conquering them all. I plan to document some of my progress here as well.

Mini goals:
1. Work on my form - I need to keep my legs steady, work on keeping my legs from slipping back over fences, close my angle over fences, and focus on getting a good release. I can achieve this through awareness and lessons.
2. Strengthen my core, legs, arms... okay, everything - I can work on this through exercise and riding. I'll be slinging some hand weights around at least twice a week, along with cardio twice a week. And obviously, I ride whenever I can! :)
3. Create a deeper connection with my horse - This will simply take time, both in the saddle and on the ground. But I look forward to continuing to get to know him.
4. Get Finn ready for the Sport of Kings Challenge in Fall, 2012 - I want to compete in this show. To succeed, we're going to continue working together, finding where we're struggling and where we're excelling.
5. Get Finn bending properly - I want my horse to become more balanced. To do this, we'll do a lot of circles, serpentines, ground work, and good old fashioned riding time.
6. Continue teaching Finn to jump - He can jump 2' right now, but after a few fences his attention span and focus go out the window. I need to keep this in mind when we are jumping and slow things down. I don't want him to be burned out and frustrated--this needs to be an enjoyable experience for us both. Slowly as he becomes used to this new job, I expect his mind to settle down to business more.

I think the above goals are all very feasible, and accomplishing them will really help us as a team. I look forward to chronicling how things are going for us!

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