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Saturday, 11 January 2020

2020 Goals

Sitting & writing my blog post a year ago looking at the year ahead & what I’d hoped to achieve seems like two minutes ago! Let’s face it, 2019 flew past, but when I think back about the year, I seem to have managed to cram SO much in. I’m going to dedicate a bit of a round up post of the full year, so keep your eyes peeled for that, but for now, I’m looking forward & thinking about the goals that I’d like to set Louie & I.

I’ve already made a pretty major change to life with Louie...I spent from 21st December with no livery, just the occasional bring in help. I’d forgotten how much I’d enjoyed the exercise, getting up early, and doing all my hard jobs. I feel like the only person in the world that unintentionally lost weight over Christmas as I was doing my yard jobs every day alongside riding, and as I’d been saying for a few months before, I really needed to do more exercise & was thinking of joining the gym to go to after I’d been to the yard on an evening.

The thing everyone always says..."I will join the gym" & never actually does. Yes, that was me. But I’d not because I was concerned I wouldn’t find the time after a day at work and the riding, I’d always have an excuse to not go. I used to go every morning before work when I was on a 9-5, but now I have flexible working I much prefer opting to start before 8am and leave around 4pm. It means I don’t get home so late. I also realised after riding I was waiting about 30mins before giving Louie his tea, cleaning my tack or boots, or just prattling on.

So this January, I’ve put the two together, and decided to use that 30mins to muck out on a night. It would be exercise, although not high cardio, and was clearly already doing me good. I also made the decision to try turning Louie out on a morning to get me up and active before sitting in an office for the day. With flexible working, it also means when it’s lighter, I can opt to ride on a morning. I’m trying to be mega efficient, so while Louie eats his breakfast, I skip out his stable & tidy it up, complete with water top up & haylage net being hug, all ready for when the year brings him in.

I’ve now done this routine for one week, and decided to deep bed during the week and lift out on the weekend. I’m at the yard for about 20 minutes on a morning, and takes me about 40 minutes after riding on an evening, including getting water and haylage ready for the next morning. All the while, Louie enjoys a double session with his Equilibrium massage pad on...!

So, that’s a pretty major lifestyle change we’ve made to kick 2020 off with, and one I’m hoping will leave me in better shape, helping me to lose some of those extra pounds!

What about the goals I have for in the saddle?

Well, let’s start with dressage. I haven’t re-affiliated to British Dressage yet. My membership runs out at the start of December, and with Christmas, family & friends staying, and doing a bit more showjumping, I just haven’t done it. But I fully intend to & push on with PetPlan qualifications, as well as aiming at Novice Regionals.

Last year, I set out that I’d like to have a go at Elementary, which was a little out of touch, but from our training at home over the last few months, I’m confident that 2020 will see us enter into that level.

In October, I took delivery of my beautiful Voltaire dressage saddle, so I’ve spent a lot of training sessions at home on our own "playing" with my position to help it improve and become more effective in the saddle. I want to work on my upper body and a forward hand, with an effective & accurate leg aid. I still have the tendency to sit with my weight down the right leg, and I think that will always be there, but being more conscious of it means I can soon adjust to be balanced when things aren’t going as they should because of it.

I finished up 2019 on cloud nine about our showjumping...All the hard work finally felt like it had clicked together and we had such a fantastic time up at Morris that I was fuelled with determination to push on & take the next step in our training.

If I look back at the goal I set 12 months ago, I can proudly say we’ve achieved that...Getting over (literally!) spooky things underneath the jump & making sure Louie is full of his own confidence. This year, I’m not going to set out affiliating to British Showjumping as I don’t think we’ll do enough to warrant it, but I would like to jump round British Novice classes at a number of venues.

One element that was clear from Morris was to be tidier when riding round the course. I’d like to neaten up and make sure we’re technically better as we progress through the year. Sometimes it’s easy to get fixed on the height you jump and going out jumping, but a big thing I’ve learnt over the last few years is the real influence that correct riding can have on your performance.

As I’ve already mentioned, I’ve made a change to life by switching from Monday - Friday full livery to doing Louie myself each day, just with a little help by getting him brought in on an afternoon. I’m hoping that this will put me back in a bit of shape and begin to strengthen some of the muscles I use in the saddle too.

Andrew & I can be so disorganised, so we’ve committed to do a weekly food shop every week. I know, it sounds so bland and easy, but it’s just not how we’ve done it for a lot of years. We’ve got the first week under our belts, and with some delicious meals to look forward to on an evening, we didn’t miss the Christmas sweet tins too much! Hopefully this will mean we have a much better and varied diet, and will also help me shed some weight in the coming months.

I’m also keeping my mental wellbeing in good order too... I really believe that thinking positive makes a more positive world around you. So I’m making a stance to stay well away from any of the January blues conversations that are literally EVERYWHERE, and instead looking for the positives. I think this stretches right across life and not only in the saddle or with my blog.

Blog Goals
Last year, I thought my goal of reaching 1,500 Instagram followers was almost impossible, but with A LOT of reading about how to get your account noticed & grow a following, all without spending a single penny, I put some tactics in place, sceptical as to the results. Today I sit on 5,348...As my goal is always to share our stories in a genuine way and push traffic to our blog to read longer updates like this one, I’d love to reach the 10,000 milestone and gain that amazing linkable story feature! Let’s see what happens over the coming 12 months...

I did a similar approach with my Facebook page, almost doubling the number of likes. I’m just under 1,000 and would like to see us reach 2,000 by the end of 2020. While this, & the Instagram goals are very vain and all about follower counts, I’m also keen to maintain, if not slightly grow, my levels of interactions from people on my content.

I feel I did a great job of increasing the focus on my blog - increasing the posts, varying the content to wider topics and I undertook a huge redesign in August. I still thorough enjoy writing my blogs, much more that keeping up with social posts, as I still find it a great way to reflect and move forward with our journey. I get really lovely messages about my blog and how personable, genuine and relatable it is, so my goal here to to always maintain that!

Looking forward to 2020
It’s going to be a great year for us! I feel we are heading into the next 12 months on the best foot EVER...I feel more together and more of a partnership with Louie than I ever have, and have had so many moments in 2019 that proved patience, hard work and dedication really can make things happen.
I’ve set out many challenging goals in the above post but can see a pathway through to achieving each one. I’m looking forward to what 2020 will bring, where our journey will go and how this post will look in December/January next year!

Whatever you’re goals and ambitions for the future, stay positive, and remember that even the smallest steps move you forward.

Enjoy the journey!

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