Thursday, February 10, 2011

Goal setting for the Riding Season

Goal Setting is the most effective way to prepare yourself for the upcoming riding season.  Each horseman has different goals for themselves and their horse.  What you want to accomplish during the riding season is very important.  Start by looking at what you and your horse have accomplished in the past.  This gives you a starting point for this year.  Ask yourself some questions and answer them to give yourself the basis of this year's goals.  Rank you and your horse's skills this will give you an idea of that what are your strengths and weaknesses.

When setting goals you want to have different stages.  Start with what you want to accomplish in the first month.  Then move to what you want to have accomplished after 3 months and finally what do you want accomplished at the end of your riding season.  Make sure the goals are realistically attainable.  You want to be confident that your horses abilities and your own are at the level to reach your goals.

Tell someone else about the goals you have set.  If you use a trainer talk with them and express what you want accomplished in the upcoming year.  If you work on your own tell someone that can monitor your progress.  Most importantly write them down.  This will give you a visual reminder of what you want to do.  Post the list somewhere you can reference it frequently.  The door to the tack room, above your saddle, or on the horse's stall these places are frequently seen by you.

Make the goals concrete, measurable goals like flying lead change, forehand turns around a cone, or picking up the correct lead.  This will allow you to know what needs to be done.  Then you need to find what steps need to be taken to reach that goal.  Set some goals that can be measured in show performance, if that is what you do, like 1st place in two shows or a jump run without hitting a standard.  Your goals should be to improve your weakest aspects of your riding with your horse or your horse's weakest skills.  For the horsemen that only trail ride set goals like will get my horse out 3 times a week or will cross a bridge or creek smoothly.  Once again make the goals attainable and measurable.  

This will make your riding season rewarding!  Check out the books that I have recommended and the products that will help you accomplish your goals and make life easier at the barn.

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