Goal setting was a meeting I attended during my time on the NCAA Equestrian team at California State University, Fresno. Our coach Megan McGee was over seeing somewhere around 80 of us girls and I believe she understood that we were each there with the common thread of the love for the horse, however, we would each lead a very different path in life.  Each of us deep down had our own dreams and goals.  Goal setting can be daunting but I feel like it’s easy to feel yourself wander about without direction until you take some time to ask yourself to really be honest about your goals/dreams.

So Im putting this blog out there as a reminder to myself and my students about how important this process is.  Im sure there are hundreds of ways to go about this, let this be your own path and get it done in whatever way feels the most natural to you.

For myself I plan to write out my goals for my current horse by starting with a BIG dream, a BIG long term goal.  From that I’ll then be able to back track from the “destination” as to what I’ll need to have accomplished leading up to it. Im going to back track here and remind everyone that the journey needs to be enjoyed and you should allow yourself to be present in the moment.  I feel like I’ve fallen prey to both sides of this- I’ve had big BIG goals in the past and I was so one sighted and focused on getting there that the present never felt good enough.  Then on the flip side I steered so far off of goals, because I wanted to “feel” present, that I started feeling like I didnt have a “purpose” to work towards.  So my current plan will be to allow myself the BIG dream/goal and then back track that to the current time. BIG GOAL- qualifications needed to get there – what do I do NOW to work on the first step. THEN enjoy the process.

So a simple way of looking at this would be

  • Long Term goal (Say this is potentially achievable in 5 years from now)
  • Goals that need to be obtained in the years proceeding that – short term goals
  • Goals that need to be attained in the more immediate future to get to the short term goals – immediate goals

Each of these segments can have multiple parts – and likely will! This blog is mainly based on an equestrian athletes plans and for many of us our long term goal might be a championship, venue, medal, rating etc.  All of these items have various qualifications that you’ll need to acquire to move through the levels to get to the “destination” goal.  Use those qualifications to help you make the short term goals and then use your gut instinct (and perhaps your trainers advice) on what you need to do in order to be prepared to check off the list of the qualifications.

Now, many of you, equestrians included, may have different goals than certain championships, etc.  Perhaps it’s to enjoy feeling safe whilst riding out in the open on a group trail ride – there is a process to get there and you can absolutely break them down to achievable goals.

No dream is too big or too small.  

Another thing to consider is you might currently not have the equine partner to take you all the way to the BIG dream/goal.  IMO you should still write out the big dream and share that with your trainer/family/team. That will help you and them utilize this time with this current horse to help you be prepared when you have the opportunity for the next horse.

Roadblocks.  These come in all shapes and sizes.  As you start your goal setting process allow yourself to write out worries and concerns you have – this will help you understand yourself better and hopefully help you determine where to spend your time (finances) on helping yourself through these areas.  Then of course LIFE WILL HAPPEN.  There will be unforeseen circumstances and changes to the master plan. BE ok with it – REMEMBER enjoy the process.  You will likely need to adapt to a version B, C, D, E, F and so on and that is totally OK.