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Ponderings of an Equestrian Professional

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Have you made a resolution or set a goal for 2023?

Here we go again. Everywhere on Social Media I'm seeing posts about Goals, more than resolutions, which is a good thing, but it does feel as if we are being bombarded with the idea of goals. Type 'Goal setting' into the search on Pinterest and you'll be scrolling through images for hours. Yes, I am guilty too, but today I'm going to consider why we should all be thinking about our goals and stepping away from resolutions.

I've been guilty of making, and breaking resolutions, so much so that I gave up. What was the point of setting myself up to fail?

My worst one was a resolution to stop smoking, which didn't last a day. When I was successful giving up that particular habit I set myself a goal to not smoke for a month, with a reward of buying myself a gift with the money I saved. The goal was successful, I haven't smoked since and it has been years now.

Keeping a horse is expensive, yet many of us do it. If you sit down and look at how much you spend on keeping your horse you will find that each month you are spending what some pay for a weeks holiday on your horse, EVERY MONTH. How many non horse owners take 12 holidays a year? I know that is a choice we make, and we do not regret it. The question is do you enjoy the time you spend with your horse? Do you ever get bored? Do you wish you were doing more?

A goal does not have to involve competing. It could be to hack out more, maybe trying new routes, finding new friends to ride with. Maybe you would like to feel more confident handling your horse, or you would like to expand your horse care knowledge. Of course, competing can be a goal, to ride a dressage test, go clear round jumping or maybe even brave a cross country course are as valid as goals as the team places our elite riders set their sights on.

So what would you like to do with your horse to increase the enjoyment you get from horse ownership?

Once you have this target, then you can plan how you are going to achieve it. Mindset coaches are trained to use SMART goals, goals that are:

  • Specific

  • Measurable

  • Achievable

  • Relevant

  • Timely

All good points but I have a caveat for Equestrians when it comes to the timely part. I'm sure we all have stories of the horse being lame, or a vehicle breaking down meaning it was not possible to compete at a competition you had planned to go to. So we, as partners with these big animals that have their own agenda (often to hurt themselves), have to remember to be ready to change the plan, while holding onto the goal. Yes it may mean waiting until next year if you are trying to qualify for something, but that is OK.

So have you got any goals for 2023?

One of my personal goals is to get back on a horse, which will be a reward for losing weight, another goal. I have a plan to lose weight which involves monitoring my diet and increasing my exercise. I'm really enjoying Aqua Fit at the moment and am managing 3 or 4 sessions a week. Yes, I find the exercise part much easier than the diet, but I'm working on it, and I'm looking into the various sources of help available.

Are there any issues that may limit your ability to achieve your equestrian goals? I may be able to help, message me and we can look into what I can do for you.

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