Would you like to know how you can accomplish your equestrian dreams and goals? It is quite simple really. These 5 steps will help you become successful.
What do you want?
Aks yourself what it is you would like to do or achieve with your horse. Why did you buy your horse in the first place? What did you envision, what was your dream?
#1 Write it down
Buy yourself a nice notebook and make a list with all the things that come to mind when you are thinking of your equestrian goals. Nothing is too crazy, just write it all down. No one is judging. Take the time to dream away andwrite down everything you can think off, that sounds appealing to do or achieve. Don’t forget all the little things that you want to do, too.
OK, now you hopefully have a long list full of fun things to do with your horse. Next step is to make categories.
Are your wishes realistic? Can your horse do it and could you do it? If it is not possible in the near future, it might be possible in a few years.
Is it still something you would like to do? Is it fun, scary, dangerous? Is it a childhood dream or do you really still want to accomplish this? Are your old dreams still valid?
Who’s goal is it? Is it really yours or maybe it is your parents vision for you and your horse? Maybe it is something your instructor wants you to do or maybe it is something ‘everyone should be doing with their horse’, like riding.
Write down which resources or circumstances you need to achieve it. For instance if hacking out is your goal, you can write down: reliable horse, owning a trailer and pick up truck or a boarding facility near trails or someone you can hire to transport your horse. And so on. This helps you to visualize what things you have to change or what resources are there and you are not using.
#4 Stepping stones
Now that you’ve figured out what you want and what you can, it is time to make a training plan.
A big goal can dis-encourage you, so divide it into many small steps. If you want to trail ride, your training plan might contain steps like: be able to ride my horse in all gaits, horse must stand still reliably, horse stands patiently next to a mounting block, horse loads easily into a trailer, horse is bomb-proof and so on.
If you want to make it really easy for yourself, make shaping plans as well. Think about how you would train your horse to turn him into an easy loader. This is your shaping plan. Make the steps so small that they almost look too easy to even think about it. A shaping plan for trailer loading contains many steps, from ‘horse looks at the trailer’ to the end goal where he loads and unloads easily everywhere and is happy to be on the road.
Now you’ve made your training plan and shaping plans keep them in a visible place like your tack locker or your bathroom mirror. Somewhere you see it often so it motivates you to keep going.
If writing a training plan and/or shaping plans seem too much trouble for you at this point, then keep it simple. Start easy and just hang a list of your goals in your tack locker. Writing things down will make you more focused. Try it.
#5 Find an accountability partner
Write it down and planning it, is sometimes not enough. Share your goals with friends or family! Don’t keep them for your self.
The best thing to do is share them with your accountability partner. All successful athletes and business people have an accountability partner. Why not you? Find one today!
Sandra Poppema, B.Sc.
My mission is to improve horse-human relationships by educating equestrians about ethical and horse friendly training. I offer coaching to empower you to train your horse in a 100% animal friendly way that empowers both you and your horse.
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