13 Oct Goal Setting for Young Riders
Thompson & Redwood sponsored rider, Chloe Gee, is only 15 years of age, but she has already accomplished more horse riding goals than many of her elders. She offers other young equestrians a glimpse into her goal setting process.
Having hopes and dreams is an integral part of being successful in any sport, but we can’t be successful if we don’t turn these hopes and dreams into goals and a reality. Equestrian, as you all know, can be one of the most difficult and unforgiving sports whilst being the best and most rewarding at the same time; this is why equestrians are some of the toughest people on the planet as we get knocked down continuously and thrown into the dirt (often literally), yet we always get back up and have another go at achieving our dreams. But as we all know, these dreams don’t come true unless we make a plan, because as the saying goes, ‘a dream without a plan, is just a wish’. So what’s the best way to organise your plan? With goals of course! But this is not your average goal setting, this is goal setting for young riders, this is the way that I set my goals and actually work to achieve them!
So the first step is to brainstorm (on actual, tangible paper) all the things/goals you want to achieve with your current horse(s). This can be as big as moving up a level in your discipline or as small as perfecting your simple changes! Get it all down on paper so you have a clear idea of exactly where you want your horse to take you and what you want to achieve with him/her. This is such a simple step but it works!
Then, pick out 2-3 of these goals to achieve in a time-frame you choose, six months , 1 year, or 5 years, it’s up to you. Then look at these goals and make a little note with the following information:
What do you want to achieve exactly? What is it about this thing that you need to conquer?
How are you going to achieve it? What do you need to do?
Why do you want to achieve it? What is it that makes this so important to you?
You don’t need to write a whole novel- sometimes just a few ‘to the point’ notes. If you cover all of these areas, you are already on track for success!
Now for the hardest part, I have come to realise that you can plan and plan all you like but surprisingly nothing happens unless you actually go out and work on your goals, work on your simple changes, work on your skinny combinations. Because the harder you work for something, the greater you’ll feel when you achieve it.
In 2018 I had set the goal to compete at 105cm in eventing on Tia and score a 65% in Elementary Dressage. I set these goals through these steps and I then set out to work on them. I did fun stuff like doing lots of cross country and gallop training that made me feel like I was on top of the world! I also did the “boring” but important stuff like practicing my simple changes and doing lots on the things I wasn’t good at, like my canter work. Then this year I set the goal to compete in the Advanced Freestyle at the PC State Dressage Champs on Milli, which I have only just recently achieved, get a personal best in dressage on Tia and complete a 1*Star event on my dressage score. And I am happy to say that I have done these all within the last few months! I credit it to the way I set these realistic goals. You should also notice that my goals are fairly big but are achievable. I use words like: complete, get a personal best, and compete; instead of words like: win, beat, and place. This is really important as if you set a goal to win an event, so many things could go wrong, or not your way or it might just not be your weekend, because let’s face it, we’re riding animals that weren’t made to do what we ask them to do. When you set a simple goal like compete at an event or complete an event, you are setting yourself up to succeed, and it’s not lowering your aim, it’s making sure that you can achieve your goal and be able to move on to the next one. And don’t be afraid to make mistakes and have bad days, bad weeks even, because the greater your storm, the brighter your rainbow.
Getting the motivation to accomplish something that is difficult can be very challenging, trust me, I know. But if you just get yourself to achieve one thing, one thing that you’ve always wanted to achieve, I can almost guarantee you that you’ll be left wanting more, and that’s your best motivation. I hope these simple steps can assist you in achieving your dreams, and if they do, I would love to hear about them! So please leave me a comment or send me a message about a goal that you’ve set and accomplished or even just working towards.