Equestrian · Equine Article · Horse Training · Horsemanship · Lifestyle

Setting up Goals with your horse


Some Quick Updates

Hello Everyone,

It’s been a while since I’ve created a new blog post. Life has been busy and I’m getting ready to start the barrel racing season in full swing in a few weeks. Our first big event is April 16-17th. Just a few quick updates. Forest has been in barrel boot camp with a trainer in Southern Idaho for about 30 days now. I’m picking him up on Saturday to take him home. Very excited to see his progress and to start riding him again!

Roxy on the other hand has been doing extremely well! I have been lunging and riding her for about 30-40 minutes 3-4 days a week now to condition her. She is still slightly favoring her injured leg but it seems to be loosening up more and more as we rebuild her muscles. She is very happy to be back to work, I’ve never had a horse who is so eager to be ridden! I’m really falling in love with her attitude and disposition. We had a wonderful ride yesterday. I loped her for the first time and she was a Rock Star. It’s hard to not push her right now but I want her to be completely healed up before we start training hard-core.


Setting up goals with your horse

Working with her and her injury is really teaching me a lot about patience and planning. As we all know, it is hard to completely plan out everything with horses. Horses have a mind of their own and they can be very unpredictable with how they learn and how they retain certain tools we teach them. It is always important to set up a goal for you and your horse.

I will be using Roxy as an example. It is important to set goals to help plan out your riding sessions and methods you will be using.

1. Set an “end goal” that you hope to accomplish in a few years

It is important to set a realistic”end goal” so you can create a game plan and time frame for where you want you and your horse to be in a few years. This will help you and your trainer figure out steps and methods to help lead you on a path to obtain that goal.  Don’t be afraid to set an “end goal” that seems hard to obtain now! The great thing about goals is you can always set new ones and change them as you go. Along with a realistic “end goal” I also like to set aside a “fantasy goal” which relates to that “end goal”. “Fantasy goals” are goals that are possible obtain but seem almost impossible and out of reach. They are your wishes and ultimate dreams for you and your horse.

My” end goal” for Roxy is to eventually compete on her in Professional Rodeos and my “fantasy goal” is to ride her down the alley way of the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

2. Set  a “yearly goal” that you hope to accomplish this year and create new ones each following year

“Yearly goals” are extremely important, especially if you are training younger horses and horses for competition. Since most horse competitions start their calendars off with January 1st being the “new year,” I try to coordinate that with my training goals and plans. These goals can be big or small depending on what you hope to accomplish with your horse.

My “year-end goal” is to have Roxy running a solid barrel pattern so she is ready for the futurity season in 2017.

3. Set “seasonal goals” with your horse for the winter, spring, summer and fall.

“Seasonal goals” are very pertinent to competition horses. It is nice to break your yearly goals into 4 seasons. I find this very helpful when it comes to getting your horse ready for competitions. Competition seasons tend to be varied based on the level of competition and the climate of where you live and compete. Some equestrians compete year round, while most stick to late spring through early fall. Usually downtime is late fall through early spring depending on the weather in your area.

My springtime “seasonal goal” for Roxy is to have her moving consistently at all three gaits with little guidance.

4. Set “monthly goals” with your horse

“Monthly goals” relate with your seasonal goals. What you intend to accomplish by the end of your seasonal goal should be worked on with your “monthly goals”. Try to set simple “monthly goals” that will help you work on accomplishing your “seasonal goals” and eventually your “yearly goal”.

My “monthly goal” for Roxy is to have her move out freely through her loping.

5. Set “daily goals” with your horse

Lastly, set “daily goals” with your horse for each riding session. Always ride your horse with a game plan and something you hope to accomplish or work on in that ride. Make these goals simple and straight forward. For instance plan on perfecting your stops or transitions or just simply having a calm relaxing trail ride. Set these “daily goals” to help you accomplish your “monthly goals”, “seasonal goals” and of course your “yearly goal”.

*Stay tuned for a future post that goes into more depth of setting daily goals for you and your horse.*

My “daily goal” for Roxy today is to have a great second day of loping. I loped her for the first time on our last ride so I’m hoping to continue the trend without any bucking (knock on wood)!

Creating a game plan and goals with your horse helps you ride with a purpose and make every ride count. All of these goals relate to your end goal with your horse, so plan wisely and enjoy the ride.

One of the greatest barrel racers, Sherry Cervi said: My dad used to tell me when I was a kid, because I used to like to run my horses, or my pony around the barrels a lot, “You better be careful, those horses are like a pack of cigarettes, one day you’re gonna run out of runs, and you better enjoy it while they last.”

So remember not every goal will be accomplished right off the bat, so be patient, be wise, listen to your horse, and enjoy the ride!

What are your goals with your horse? What ways do you find helpful in setting these goals?  I would love to hear about your end goals, yearly goals, monthly goals etc.. 🙂


 Click here for a free monthly goal setting printable!

roxy 2




3 thoughts on “Setting up Goals with your horse

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