10 ways to improve your equestrian goal setting

Improve your equestrian goal setting

Image Credit: BEF / Jon Stroud Media

You’ve probably heard that people who explicitly set goals are actually more likely to achieve more than those who don’t. If you do want to achieve more, let’s take a closer look at how you can do this via goals.

Why do equestrians need goals?

Well, simply put, none of us are perfect. Whether you realise it or not, each and every one of us equestrians has used ‘goals’ to get us where we are with our horses today. You just might not have realised that your achievements were down to using goals. Defining goals is a great way to help yourself stay on track in all aspects of your life.

Need some help getting started?

Before setting goals, take time to think about what you want to achieve. You may want to have short term (days to weeks), medium term (months) and long term (years) goals. You may want to ride at the Olympics one day, but the way you achieve it is in achievable steps of smaller goals, each having its own timescale. 

Many of you will have heard that all goals need to be S.M.A.R.T: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. If used appropriately, these can mean the difference between success and failure. 

equus bullet Goals need to be SPECIFIC: "I want to improve" is not specific, so think what about what you actually want to achieve.

equus bullet Goals need to be MEASURABLE: I want to get 65+% in my dressage test at my current level (specific) is a measurable goal that is specific as well!

equus bullet Goals need to be ATTAINABLE: If your horse is already struggling to jump a metre, it’s questionable whether he’ll be able to get jump 1.2 meters.

equus bullet Goals need to be REALISTIC: Achieving goals requires commitment. Often this means you usually need to give something up. Maybe you need to get up earlier to fit more in a day or maybe you need to go to gym to build your fitness. A goal is not realistic if you don't have the commitment to do what it takes to achieve it.

equus bullet Goals need to be TIMELY: Every goal needs a deadline to keep you focused and working towards it.

10 Hints and Tips to set you up for success

1. Use positive language to define goals

2. Set a date by which you want to achieve your goals when you define them

3. Review goals regularly to ensure you’re on track

4. Work out when you will have time to spend time on your goals

5. Accept that it’s OK if goals change or take longer than anticipated to achieve

6. Record your accomplishments at the time otherwise you’ll never remember them!

7. Reward yourself when you achieve a goal

8. Ask for help from friends and/or instructors/experts

9. Set new goals only when you’ve achieved the old ones

10. Stay positive!

Over to you!

Do you have any tips for your fellow riders? Share them in the comments below. You never know, your tip may just help someone else to be a better rider... 

Feeling motivated? Check out our selection of training aids here. Don't forget, it's free UK delivery on all orders at EQUUS, regardless of how much you spend.

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Kim Horton

Co-Founder of EQUUS and a keen equestrian, when Kim's not at her desk she's with her horse, Waldo.


  • Jackie posted on January 04 2019 at 08:01 AM

    Very inspirational post, thank you!

  • Sue Fallon posted on January 02 2020 at 01:01 PM

    Found this very interesting and inspiring. Definitely a plan to put into action. Thank you

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