I've been thinking a lot about the future. What I want to do after my kids are launched. I have four years until my youngest will go to college, so I have time to set some foundations and make plans.
Besides either working part-time or volunteering more seriously, I need to decide what I want to do with my riding life. One option is to keep doing what I am doing, keeping a backyard horse and working on improving using online resources. Riding for the joy of riding and learning, with a bit of video analysis thrown in to make sure we are correct. Another option is to upgrade my next backyard horse to something that can be competitive at local dressage shows and maybe do a bit of fox hunting or lower level combined training. Something fun that likes going out and about. The most ambitious option would be to buy a purpose bred dressage horse with the intention of doing rated dressage shows and working my way through the levels.
I have to say, if I could only keep doing what I am doing right now, I would be pretty happy. I feel like my riding has improved so much and my relationship with my horse is so fun, that the present would be fine for the future. But, I do miss showing and getting out and about a bit. After thinking about all the options, I had the epiphany that I do already have a backyard horse that could go out and about, I just need to put the miles in to get him settled and steady. With the tools that I now have from the TRT Method I think we stand a reasonable chance of getting there. It will probably go something like this in the beginning though.
There is a wonderful local dressage circuit with eleven total shows in 2017. I am thinking I will keep working at home on the Dressage Naturally techniques polishing First and Second Level. At the same time we will also work on the advanced TRT Method stuff at home and aim towards some of those local shows doing the three Intro tests over and over. We'll shoot for this year but if it takes until next year to get our ducks in a row, that is ok as well. I think by doing something super easy at shows, that will also take a lot of the stress factor out for him.
After he (hopefully!) gets settled we will move on to harder tests more in keeping with where he is in his training. If he hates showing, and/or continues to be pretty tense out and about, I will let him be my super duper backyard pony. I will then plan on the next horse having some mileage before I buy him or her just to be sure it is not an issue. If I do end up being able to show Jet on the local circuit, I think I will have a much better idea if with the next horse I want to continue to show at the local level, move up to rated shows, or not bother with showing at all. This all being subject to kid activities, weather, lameness, and life in general. Stay tuned!