3… 2… 1… Happy New Year! Yes, it’s that time of year again – when we look back at all we’ve accomplished, experienced, and endured this year and prepare to make the leap into the next trip around the sun. For many people, a large part of their focus this time of year is on those “New Year’s Resolutions”. Even if you aren’t the type to make resolutions for the new year, goal planning is an important part of your equestrian lifestyle. Whether in the show pen or on the trail, goals give you a benchmark to measure your progress throughout the year. Use this as a guide as you formulate your equestrian goals for the new year.
#1 Use SMART Goals.
Okay, this is basic. But so important. It can feel overwhelming when you start to plan your goals, but these building blocks will help. Building goals that are SMART means they are
- Specific – clear, concise, and well-defined.
- Measurable – how will the goal allow you to track your progress?
- Attainable – is the goal realistic and within your reach?
- Relevant – does the goal directly correlate with your “bigger picture” life dreams?
- Time-bound – set a target date by which you want to reach your goal, so you can keep yourself accountable and on track.
#2 Aim high but be realistic about your situation and your horse’s abilities.
You can’t set your goal to win a D-1 barrel race if your horse is only capable of D-3 speed, or to win the Grand Prix if your horse’s ability taps out at 3’. And that’s okay. Your goals exist to help you achieve the highest level of performance that you and your horse are capable of as a team. Perhaps your goals are not even show-ring related. They can be as simple as enjoying a peaceful trail ride or standing quietly for the farrier. The true measure of accomplishment is that between you and your horse, not what the world portrays as the highest level of achievement. Challenge yourself for improvements, but consider your horse’s strengths and weaknesses as well as your own to develop a plan that benefits you both as a team.
#3 Confide in a friend or trainer.
A trainer or experienced friend can verify your goals are realistic or even challenge you to do more. Aim high. Trainers specifically can help you develop timelines and plans in training to achieve those goals. If you don’t have a trainer, it is not a bad idea to get some lessons and bounce your ideas off a professional for some sound advice to set you up for success. It could be as simple as giving you some drills to practice at home or setting up a lesson plan to help you achieve those show-ring dreams. Your friends can also help you stay accountable and support you along the way.
#4 Think positive.
There’s a big difference between “I will shut off my spins on time” and “I will not have spin penalties”. Focus on what you will accomplish versus what you will not do. Mentally, this affects your entire outlook and approach toward your goals, with the first being much healthier than the latter. Positive thinking sets you up for success by helping you maintain focus and a good mindset regardless of any setbacks or difficulties that may come.
#5 Don’t get discouraged or lose sight of why you ride.
Why are you here? No matter the setbacks, always remember how far you’ve come and why you love to ride in the first place. Be forgiving to yourself and your horse, and reward each of your efforts as a team. Keeping things fun and positive will help you avoid burnout or losing the joy of riding. Your goals shouldn’t make you feel discouraged but rather build you up. At the end of the year, give yourself credit for how far you’ve come, what you’ve accomplished, and where you want to be.
We have plenty of supplies available for all disciplines to help you get ready to tackle those goals. You can shop all our products at FarmVet.com 24/7. You can also call one of our friendly Sales Associates at 1-888-837-3626 or email your order to email@example.com.
Need some ideas on what you want your goals to be? Read our blog HERE for some New Year’s Resolutions ideas for you and your horse.
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