As New Years Eve draws near, I am always reminded of a quote from Edward Gibbon: " I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know no way of judging of the future but by the past."
That is why, in the few days before the new year, I am planning on watching all of the video footage I have from this year's rides - several horse shows, 4 clinics and a handful of free rides. I can't think of a better way to learn what I would like to improve in 2010 than to review 2009. Searching my lessons/rides for common issues, in particular those bad habits that do not seem to be improving as the year goes on, will help create my list.
Of course, we all want our horses to be more responsive, through, supple... but, I also want to fix those issues that are more tangible. How many of us could keep that weak arm in place? Our spine more aligned? Our spurs off the horse when we aren't using them?
As dressage riders, we all work towards that impossible goal of permanent perfection. However, my resolutions can include attainable goals that will get me a little closer to that goal, by giving me a few more moments of perfection (or, at least what feels like it to me) in those remember-forever rides.
The key to finding and achieving my New Year's resolutions: Systematically focusing on my/horses weaknesses, setting goals to improve what can be fixed through correct work and having the discipline to maintain a consistent program.
This is definitely not my idea or a new one, just a proven one I think is worth repeating.
So, to everyone making up their New Year's lists: May all of your resolutions come true in 2010. Happy New Year to all!