Tuesday, February 11, 2014

CBF Boarder Stories: The Road to Young Riders

I asked one of our younger boarders, Allison Kohlberg, to tell us a little bit about her goal of making it to the North American Junior Young Rider Championships this year. She's spending the winter in Florida as a working student and, as I understand it, working hard from dawn until dusk, so we are thankful that she found the time to write this guest post for us. You can learn more about Allie and her horse Clover Hill's progress on her own blog. Best of luck, Allie and Chloe! -- Casy

When I signed up to spend the winter in Florida, I was not expecting 30-degree days in the pouring rain, which is why I am sitting inside writing this. Oh well, I am learning to make the best of the situation I guess! All of this “cold” weather down here has given me some time to think about what I want to get out of this winter training with my coach, Jeanie Clarke.

As my horse Chloe and I have developed our relationship over the past four years, my expectations and goals have had to adapt to numerous bumps along the road. For example, during the first winter I had Chloe, she managed to scratch her left cornea, and was stall bound for four weeks. Although she is not “thoroughbred hot,” 28 days of not being able to move around took quite a toll on her, and she grew a bit of an attitude during our daily walks. During this time, my goals were simple: 1. Do not die leading the horse and 2. Make sure the horse does not move faster than a walk. Although these may seem to be primitive goals, it gave me something to work for every day.

I strongly believe setting goals are a great way to progress throughout life, not just in riding. Goals like running a marathon, acing a test, or galloping around the Olympics give us all things to look forward to, and help us to think ahead and plan accordingly.

Currently, I have a big goal that takes a lot of planning, hard work and a whole heap of good luck. Competing at the North American Junior Young Rider Championships (NAJYRC) this summer is something that I have been working towards for the past two years. After a jump lesson in the spring/summer of 2012, we sprung into action. Numerous things had to be addressed, and right away we started discussing different possibilities. The biggest concern was for Chloe. Could she jump the height? Would she hold up to the amount of work? Would she stay sound? Then there was the question of what I would have to do to enable myself the opportunity to even get qualified.

That is where what I am doing down here in Florida comes in. We realized early that for me to have the best chance of qualifying, I would have to travel south. Because we did this, I was able to approach my school, get the plan approved and finish all of my classes a semester early. From this, I learned how important it is to think ahead, because if I had not, I would not have been able to fulfill my requirements.

None of this would be happening I had not set a goal for myself. I am fortunate enough to have people around me who are constantly helping me inch closer to it. Goals of all kinds are important because they encourage people to go out and do something. For horseback riders in particular, they help us plan how to best utilize our limited time, whether your goal is to go on a trail ride every day, trot 30 minutes or just have fun with your best friend.  Especially in these dreary winter months, make a goal for you and your horse every day, and I hope you will be surprised at how much more useful your time at the barn will feel like!

Stay warm and happy riding!

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