Cyrus new yearLooking back on 2013, did you meet some of your goals?

Goal setting is critical to any sort of development, but especially to horseback riding. It is easy to overlook personal development when you ride horses because the pure enjoyment of being with your favorite equine often outshines the sometimes more difficult process of learning. 

I feel that I have personally made gains especially in the timing of my aids, my overall balance and my ability to ride the horse with more "commitment" (or engagement?) from my body. Because of those fundamental gains, I feel freer to work on skills I felt were so far beyond my reach before.

As with anything you learn, with new mastery comes new horizons to explore and new skills to develop. As we enter 2014 and the Year of the Horse in the Chinese Zodiac (beginning Jan. 31, 2014), here are the top ten areas I would like to keep developing. They are presented in order of importance.

10. Ride regularly.

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9. Take more lessons/ride in clinics/audit more clinics/read more books.

8. Initiate more from the seat.

7. Build in more personal challenge. Work more regularly on higher level movements: four tempis, pirouettes, half passes.

6. Keep finding the difference between mediums and extensions.

5. Find more movement (looseness) in my upper back.

4. Keep developing a softer, more inviting contact.

3. Open more through the hip and pelvic floor so that my legs can lengthen. More yoga, anyone?

2. Keep working on developing true collection, with more energy.

1. Listen to the horse.

Do any of these goals resonate with you? What will you work on in 2014?