Hannah Burnett has been a good friend to Eventing Nation throughout 2010. Hannah started the year off by guest blogging her spring for Eventign Nation. She finished the year up with a win at the Fair Hill CCI3* aboard St. Barths and she was named to the USEF 2011 training list earlier this month. But Hannah has never been one to rest on her laurels and she was kind enough to write about her thought process for looking ahead to a new and perhaps the most important year of her career. Thanks for writing this Hannah and thank you for reading.
Hannah and "Nike"just after winning Fair Hill
It's that time of the year to make goals and plans for the upcoming season and new year's resolutions, and to look forward to having the opportunity to change things from the past year. Anyone who has been around me for more than 3 minutes can tell you I'm not a very organized person in any way--ask my roommate Lauren K :). I have the nickname "tornado" or "hurricane Hannah" for a reason. This personal flaw is something that has really gotten on my nerves over the past year in my riding and in the barn. The only thing that can make me motivated to be organized is goals. Consequently, a few weeks ago when we were making our list of winter/spring events, I decided to make a list of very detailed goals. I'm going to share my "method" of making goals and how to achieve them:
1) First make a list of what events you are planning to do and the "ultimate goal" of your year. That may be to move up to Training by the end of the year or to do a fall 3-day.
2) Think about the things you need to improve to get to your "ultimate goal."
3) Next, make a list of everything you would like to make exponentially better than last year. I have two columns for this: ME & MY HORSES. More than likely these will overlap quite a bit but that should help you connect the two.
For example, under the 'me' category I have put: DRESSAGE
-Work on a better contact by improving the elasticity of elbows
-Become more comfortable in the dressage arena
-Improve upper-body position and core strength
4) After you make a list of all the things you really despise about your riding and want to see really improve, write how you plan to improve them. Try to be imaginative and think out of the box.
--Become more comfortable in the dressage arena (ride at least 1 horse a day in the dressage arena and practice in corners for 30 mins.)
--Improve upper-body position & core strength (video-tape rides or have a friend say aloud when I'm slumping. Take Yoga 2x/wk, do 50 crunches/day)
5) Next make a list of things that you are good at and would like to continue to improve. Do the same with the 'How To' in parentheses next to it.
-Keep lower leg strong (practice jumping position for 10 minutes/day at least at the walk. Ride without stirrups)
-Keep improving seeing a distance to a fence (at least 3x/wk while doing flatwork or before jumping, see how many strides I can count out-loud to a rail on the ground. Also when jump schooling)
Remember to make the goals and How To's really simple but specific. Not just "get better in dressage." This will set them in your mind while you're riding and help you see step by step ways to reach your goals. Remember that watching yourself ride on video is an extremely useful tool.
Also include your goals for your personal fitness and the fitness of your horse. You can make a fitness schedule for both after you make your goal list. This is the first thing that comes to my mind when making goals for an upcoming eventing year seeing that I can no longer fit into my show breeches...personal problem, you might say, but more than likely everyone has gotten soft through the holidays and off-season.
Not only do we have to get more fit, our horses are also coming back into shape. Make sure you take this into account when bring your horses back into work. You wouldn't run for an hour with weights on your back if you had sat on your couch for 2 months. Build them up slowly. Our horses walk for at least 2 weeks before they do any trotting.
Hopefully that will help everyone get back into gear for a great upcoming year! Good luck, Happy New Year, and go eventing!!