In order to achieve a desired outcome, it is important to have direction and clarity. Setting specific goals is vital to success The saying “If you fail to plan then you plan to fail” explains this very well!
Each person’s goal will be different and therefore it is vitally important to have your “own goal” and not that of somebody else. Your goal could be anything from being able to hack out your horse to competing at BE Novice Horse Trials, neither is more important than the other, it must be specific to you and your aspirations!
Both long and sort term goals are important and must have:
So if your outcome goal is to compete at BE Novice Horse Trials and at present you are competing at BE 90 level clearly this goal is some way away, it is an aspirational goal. There is nothing wrong with this but in order for this to be realistic and achievable it must be broken down into smaller components to avoid becoming disillusioned along the way.
The diagram shows how to break down your goal into logical and progressive stages.
These are the components/skills that will need to be achieved as part of the journey towards your outcome goal e.g. develop skills that are required to compete at Novice level (movements required in a Novice level dressage test/jumping showjumping fences and cross country fences of Novice dimensions and technicality. At this stage it will also be necessary to consider the areas/technical skills that you and your horse need to improve on e.g. improve balance/suppleness/impulsion on the flat and over fences, improve rider balance and technical skills.
These will give you a “benchmark” of where you are on the journey and are smaller goals than your outcome goal e.g. to train at Novice level and to be able to perform in competition consistently successfully and confidently at BE 90 level and then at BE 100 level.
This is your ultimate/aspirational goal i.e. to compete at BE Novice level.
It is also important to set a timescale to your goals but do not be afraid to change/adapt this as necessary – horses and life can both be unpredictable!
When setting a goal it is very important that you believe it is achievable, understand what motivates you and why it is important to you as a person. Ask yourself what it will mean to you to reach your goal, you should feel excited and inspired to achieve it!
Hopefully this gives you some pointers to consider when setting your goals!
Happy Goal Setting!