Take your horsemanship to the next level 2020

Design your year => reach your goals

This time of year I hear from lots of horse people ready to make a fresh start in their riding. Everyone’s zipping out to the barn filled with excitement about all they want to accomplish.
Unfortunately, most of the motivation will fizzle out in the coming month or so?!?
We aren’t getting derailed due to a lack of love for our horses and hard work has never scared us off so what’s the deal?
Tough love moment – most of us suck at setting goals! 
The goals I hear most are to ride more/ride better and to be more confident in the saddle. These are vague half-hearted wishes and they’re not doing you any favors. If you want to make real progress you need to get clear about where starting from and specific about where you want to go.

Creating your 2020 horsemanship game plan

Access where you're starting from

Figure out what baggage you’re walking into 2020 with. Looking back at what you have learned over the past year and the events you’ve been through with your horse is very important to set attainable goals for the year ahead.
You also going to need to own up to the things that are not working, the weaknesses, and admit that there is room for improvement. I think Louise Hay had it right when she said: “if you want a clean house you’re going to have to see the dust”.

Envision it

Getting a vision of what you want your year to look like will help a ton when it comes to setting goals and planning your action steps. I find it most helpful to picture what you want to accomplish in 90 days, six months, and one year form now. You can think of this as putting in a custom order to the universe.

Pick out the things you would love to accomplish with your horse including physical things such as competing in two events six months from now and mental/emotional things such as having a horse that feels safe and confident while traveling. Don’t worry about how your going to get there that will come later in the planning stage. For this step just get as clear and detailed of a picture of what you want, how you want to feel, and how you want your horse to feel. 

Goal setting

Goal planning

Now comes the tough part. Picking out the things that you want to accomplish in your horsemanship is not enough. The next thing you need to do is layout the plan you’re going to take to get there. It must include action steps and a way of tracking progress so you know when you’re on the right track. For example ride more in 2020 isn’t a good goal as there are no set markers to indicate whether or not you’re on track.

I would recommend using SMART goal guidelines to structure your game plan. You can check out more on how to set SMART goals here to get started on setting goals that will serve your vision. A good example would be teaching your horse to ground tie in the barn aisle for four minutes while you change her blanket and clean her feet within 30 days from today’s date. This short term goal would be working toward a vision of having horse that stands patiently for grooming, tacking, hoof trimming, and vet care.  

In full disclosure don’t follow the SMART principles to the letter as I find it beneficial to have more room for stretch goals in my horsemanship and my equine business but the overall concept is awesome for getting the hang of setting detailed goals. 

Get Organized! Get Organized! Get Organized!

Organize your tack and gear. Figure out what needs to be fixed or replaced. Sort out the things that you no longer need. Make a list of what you need to buy, sell, repair, and donate – then get it checked off one by one. As you start rearranging the space your tack is in think about how you plan to use the items. The things that are necessary to reach your goals need to be kept handy and clean.

Organize your schedule. The number one excuse I hear from people not reaching their goals is a lack of time. You have the same number of hours in your day as every world champion rider. The problem is not a lack of time, its not prioritizing your goals. Look for the areas in your schedule that can be streamlined to be more efficient and things that can be eliminated. If your schedule has big blocks of time that get filled up with unplanned events check out the section below on saying no.

Organize your resources. This one goes beyond just money, it includes everything from manpower to cleaning out your truck. Is it time to look for a new farrier? Can your current trainer help you with your goals or do you need to step up to the next level? If you end up with an unexpected vet bill what areas are you prepared to cut back on? Knowing who and what you have lined up to help you on your horsemanship journey will ensure that you don’t get derailed by unexpected changes.

Know what you're going to say "no" to

Deciding what you will not be doing is just as important as deciding what you will be working toward. Often we set goals, get distracted, miss them by a mile, then feel like a failure due to a lack of progress.
So how do we ditch distraction?
Stop saying “yes” to so many things! I know its easier said than done. I say yes to lots of things and I love helping people out but I’ve also learned how detrimental it can be to my goals. Lighting yourself on fire to keep others warm doesn’t work out well for anyone. Get decisive, get committed to your goals, strengthen your foundation, then help others when you’re coming from a place of accomplishment and abundance.
This one is getting pinned to the top of my 2020 Horsemanship Game Plan



Better planning gets better results. Learn how to create a game plan that will help you take effective action to reach your goals with your horse at Insightful Equine.

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