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  • Writer's pictureLaura

How to Set Challenging yet Attainable Goals for the New Year.

Updated: Feb 18, 2021

t's January... a time for optimism, for looking ahead to all the excitement and promise that a new year brings. And it's time to figure out our own personal goals and ideas and how they fit into the excitement of this new year.

Having goals for the year, the show season, whatever time frame, is important! However, it's just as important to be flexible with those goals... especially since, as equestrians, these goals are reliant not only on ourselves, but on another living, breathing creature, who has good days, bad days, injuries, etc... As equestrians, our goals are not just our own. We have to always consider our equine partner into the equation!

Because these goals are not just our own, I'm a big fan of having "ideas" for the year, rather than "goals". As one of my favorite movies advocates, "it's much easier to change an idea," and I think this is very important for those of us involved in horse sports because it's not just about us, the human athletes. At most, us humans are only 50% of the equation. Our equine partners have their own physical and emotional needs and as riders, we have to be sensitive and understanding of that. We also have to be willing to adjust our own goals, or "ideas", to our equine partner's needs.

As we, riders, look to set goals for the upcoming year, I feel there is one other "real life" principle we need to draw from... as investor extraordinaire Warren Buffett has said time and time again, it's not about "timing the market" as it is "time in the market."

This is especially true for setting goals with our horses. Our horses are long term commitments. A real, successful partnership is not about one good show season. A top notch equine partner takes years to develop. One only needs to look to Laura Graves and Verdades, aka Diddy, to see the real benefits of "time in the market" when it comes to developing a young horse. Laura spent YEARS chipping away at her goals and developing this horse to the success they have now. When developing and measuring your own success, be mindful that true success in dressage is a process... and a slow one, at that!

I challenge all riders out there to keep these thoughts in mind as we formulate our goals for the upcoming year. Keep in mind the "big" picture and know that the "big" picture could easily take five or ten years, not just the current show season... And whatever "ideas" you have for this year, if you nail them--awesome!!! And if you don't, it's OK, and it doesn't mean you're still not on track to hit your long term, "big" picture goals.

Like investing, a horse's dressage career is more about "time in the market", than "timing the market." Be ready and willing to put in the time!!!

Happy riding in 2019!!!

What are your riding ideas or goals for 2019?

What are your long-term ideas/goals?

How will your 2019 ideas/goals help you hit your long-term goals?

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