It’s that time of year again…when one chapter closes and another one begins. That silly little tradition of creating “resolutions” isn’t just reserved for the general masses, it’s also something that can be quite beneficial for the equestrian. Over the past few years, I have made it a point to create a list of “goals” for myself when it comes to horses – sometimes I’m able to achieve them, and sometimes I’m not, but the act of doing so allows me to stay more focused. Why not begin the New Year with some resolutions that may help to both keep you on track and challenge you to try something new?
Make a List and Check it…as Many Times as You Need
The act of taking a quiet moment and sitting down at your desk to come up with a list of goals can be quite cathartic. It allows you to look back on the year behind you and see where you have accomplished what you set out to do, and where you can improve. Get yourself a pad of paper and a nice pen – or even sit down in front of the computer if you like – and start making a list of things that you would really like to do both with your own horse and with horses in general. Try not to make the goals too lofty, these aren’t bucket list items, they’re things that you will be working toward actually achieving in a year’s time.
Be Realistic with Your Equestrian New Year’s Resolutions
When coming up with your equestrian New Year’s Resolutions, try to think about the things that you mean the most to you. Would you like to become a stronger rider? Would you like to build a better relationship with your horse? Would you like to learn a new discipline? Would you like to take a “horsey vacation”? No resolution is too small – you may want to spend the entire year learning new ground pole techniques or perfecting your form over cross rails; you may want to work toward your first blue ribbon in the show ring. Whatever you decide, write it down, because the next step is coming up with a “way to get there”.
Make a Plan
Now that you have your list written out, you’re going to go back and write a description under each goal with steps that you plan to take to achieve those goals. If you wrote “learn a new discipline”, you’re going to have to decide which one, think about finding a trainer, you may need to acquire some new tack, or even consider leasing a horse or using a lesson horse – factor in the costs for these things in a ballpark way. If your resolution is something more simple, like build a better relationship with your horse, how are you going to achieve this? You may want to consider attending a few horsemanship clinics, or doing some online research, purchasing some reading material, etc. The point is that we are not just setting goals, we’re figuring out how we’re going to make these things happen.
Live Your Plan
Everyone knows that most New Year’s Resolutions fall by the wayside in the first couple months of the year. Whether this is because people have created goals that are too lofty, or they simply didn’t have an actual plan, the point is that it does you no good if you can’t make these things happen. So, once you have your list written out – with a few lines as to how you plan to achieve your resolutions – make sure that it is displayed prominently in your home. I like to put my lists on my desk; it’s a place that I look every day, and it allows me to refocus myself when I’m feeling unmotivated or discouraged. When you have achieved a goal or resolution, take a marker and put a nice little check mark beside it on your list – this will keep your motivated.
Don’t Get Discouraged
Resolutions are goals that we set for ourselves, and they are meant to be positive. Sometimes we will set goals that we can’t achieve for one reason or another, and that’s okay! Don’t be discouraged, and feel free to reevaluate your resolutions throughout the year. You may have begun the year with a goal to show at Regionals, but life may have taken you in a direction that makes that impossible, so replace that resolution with something else that is equally as fulfilling but also achievable.
As the year draws to a close, take a moment to look back and really feel the blessings of everything that you have been able to accomplish. As you look ahead, look ahead with positivity and joy. Remember, this time next year you’ll be looking back on that list you’re writing right now…what do you want to see?