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Progress Needs a Plan

How do you know you are progressing? Does a show prove it? What if you have an unbelievably disastrous show of no fault of your own? You’re riding your test in an arena by the road. Your professional-minded mare is a totally listening to you but then comes the attack! Two motorcycles decide to see how close they can do 90 mph and rev the engine near the arena at A. Remember A is right by the road. Your mare reacts with a huge buck and then several small bucks. The motorcycle guys are elated they got a response so rather than leave THEY COME BACK! You’re deep in concentration preparing for the half pass and don’t really see them coming back but there you are cantering by A and they pull simultaneous wheelies. Your mare loses it. Now your concentration is broken. Test? What test? You’re riding for survival at this moment. Your test turns into a bucking good time with your mare a bundle of nerves. Was that your best performance? Nope. You managed to salvage some of it, but not all. The score was kinda crummy and the judge’s comments were some nice moments, some very exciting moments. Not what you want to see and you get the feeling there was some betting going on whether you would stay on!

This is a true story! I rode this very test early in the season. Did it define my progress? Nope. Why? I have my training plan. I could go back through and see how much progress we’ve made. How much more cadence in the trot half pass is there. The flying changes are getting straighter. I knew the judge didn’t see my best but I didn’t just rely on that one test or that show weekend to define my progress. I had a whole mountain of weekly training plans to rely on to remind me the journey is still good! If you want to go beyond just using shows as your progress monitor and to check out my planning system, visit, or stay tuned for next week’s Two-minute Training Tips! You can always email me questions at

#TwoMinTrainingTip #Tuesday #Danielle #show #planning #training #test

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