Goals are a great way to track your progress in your training and showing. Though setting them can be a difficult task and can become very frustrating if you don’t know which direction you want your horse career to go. Here are some tips on how to simplify the process of setting your riding goals.
I like to start with a final, and rather big goal, that will take longer to achieve. This is your long term goal. It could be that you want to qualify a big show at the end of the year. Think of this as the end of the tunnel. This should not be too easy to obtain. If you are showing at third level dressage, you should not be trying to qualify at training. You shouldn’t be able to do get to this goal without working for it. Goals are supposed to challenge you, so if it’s too easy then it should be crossed off your list.
In order to get to this bigger goal, you need to have check points along the way. These are ways to measure your progress and guide you on your journey. For example, there may be a new type of movement in your new dressage test that is causing your scores to be not so good. A check point or short term goal, is to master, or at least get better at, this movement. The majority of your short term goals should contribute to your long term goal in some way. Think of these as your to do list for the year or however long you think your big goal will take.
Ask your instructor what they think of your goals and see if they can help you make a plan on how to get there. Schedule a time to sit down and work through the process of getting to the end of the tunnel. You may realize that it will be harder than you thought and may have to be set one aside for later. Use your instructor’s knowledge to your advantage and save yourself from the heartache of watching your goals slide through your fingers.
Not all of your goals have to be serious show or riding goals. They can be fun and silly things you do with your friends. You could want to learn how to vault or play polo or jump bareback. Your goals could also be to learn a new skill around the barn. Goals are things you want to do and they should be fun. If it isn’t fun why are you doing it. Now, not everything will be sunshine and rainbows but overall you should enjoy the process of obtaining your goals whatever they maybe.