New Year's goals for the equestrian

If it’s too cold to ride your horse, find another activity to do with your horse, or for your horse. These alternate plans will still help lead you to your ultimate goal.

Happy New Year! Let’s hope 2020 brings you lots of positivity and joy. The New Year means it’s time for annual resolutions and goals. Of course, my resolutions and goals will have an equestrian’s twist to them.

The single most important thing you can do when setting your goals and resolutions for the upcoming year is to break down your big goal into several little goals. These mini-goals allow you to see your progress and reward yourself frequently. By achieving many little successes, it helps push us along to the big goals. It encourages us and rewards us often for our efforts.

For example, if you want to show your horse at the nationals this year, that is an admirable goal, but set small goals that you can check off along the way.

Little goals would be: work your horse at least five times a week, attend a local show, then, attend a regional show before trying to qualify for the national competition. These little goals helps you prepare to take on your large goal but also reward your daily effort. It stacks the deck, so to speak, in your favor to succeed.

Studies show that most people start out with a great attitude but then in only a few weeks they forgo their goals or resolutions because they don’t reap enough value for the effort they are putting forth.

To reap more value, make each goal meaningful to you. Make your goal hit home emotionally so you have a vested interest in it. Your motivation is different than another person’s. You are a unique individual and so is your horse. You have personal drives and values, which have been shaped by your life experiences and these can differ from the drives and values of other people. This is why you’re drawn to and motivated by certain things that others may not be. This is also why you need to make the goals you set meaningful to you.

Make your progress visible. Throughout the year you will experience motivational highs and lows as you work your way toward your goals. The visibility of progress is especially important when you’re going through a low period so you can look back and reflect on the results you’ve already had as a reminder that you are making progress. This is also the time you can evaluate if you aren’t making progress and change your direction, if you need to, with your horse.

During this time, stay flexible. Don’t be rigid. Adapt and overcome adversity. If it’s too cold to ride your horse, find another activity to do with your horse, or for your horse. These alternate plans still help lead you to your ultimate goal. Don’t let a little roadblock stop your progress.

Pick a goal this year and break it down so you can get as much value and growth for you and your horse as possible. Happy Trails!

LORI RICIGLIANO is a horse judge, trainer, riding instructor, equine photographer and clinician. She also hosts a weekly syndicated equine radio talk show “Hoof Beats with Lori”. Lori has held her horse judges license as a USEF / AHA — “R” rated licensed horse judge for more than 25 years and currently operates Ricigliano Farms Horse Training and Riding Academy near Kent, Minn. She can be reached by email or phone for any questions at 218- 557-8762 or riciglianofarms@gmail. com. Her website is www. RiciglianoFarms.com

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