Setting SMART Equine Goals in 2020

At the beginning of the year, I like to set my goals. This includes personal, academic, and of course my equestrian goals. I have always been a goal-oriented person, but it wasn’t until attending a personal leadership conference my sophomore year of high school that I started setting SMART goals. This changed my outlook of how I set goals, and how I achieved those goals. Especially during the beginning of the year, I am hoping to share how I apply these rules to my equestrian yearly goals. I always write my goals in pencil or something erasable, this way I can always remind myself that goals are always adjustable when needed.


Having a specific goal is more than just saying I want to win 5 shows. This piece of the goal is the who and the what. These two questions help you develop a strategic plan to help you achieve this goal. For example, this year I am hoping to get back into showing, as since I started college I took a step back. I knew that I couldn’t just jump into the show world again, I needed to prepare myself. To complete this goal I want to find a lease horse, work on my position and leg stability, get more time in the saddle, and gain confidence by starting small. Through creating small specific steps to reach my goal, it doesn’t feel as big anymore.


This statement helps you think about how to measure your goal. I find it easier to measure goals when you think about each specific goal that you set in the section above. After thinking about your specific goal, you have to break it down to see how you will determine if you met those micro-goals that lead to your big goal. I find this step difficult, and change it a bit to fit my goal style better. I decided to reward myself for each micro goal. I make myself “reward checks.” These checks include the goal, when I need to complete it by, what the reward is, and who it goes to as sometimes your reward can be for someone else. I know typically in my equine goals, my rewards are for myself, horses, my parents, and my trainers.


A big reason why I found that my goals used to not be completed is due to achievability. My goal would not be things I could achieve realistically achieve within the timeline I set out. While you do not set your timeline until later in the process, start thinking about it now, and decide if you will be able to complete these goals. For example, if you say I want to go to qualify for a big show this year, but even if you win every show you compete in this year you won’t accrue enough points, you have to understand that this goal isn’t achievable at this time, but could be turned into smaller goals that lead to a big long term goal.


When looking at your goals, it is important to think about if you want the goal you have created, and if it matches your goals for the year. When I make my goals for the year, I typically keep them all in the same category. For example, this year all of my goals are show oriented, and my goals last year were about my riding fitness. They all were different, but each goal helped me work towards one main category that I decided to make my focus for that year. Keeping your goals categorized will help you make sure that you are not wearing yourself too thin, and can work on what you want for that year.


Each year I will typically make 3 one year goals, 1 three year goal, and 1 five year goal. This helps make sure I am thinking about the future but keeping the majority of my heart set in the present. It is always important to plan for the future, but to remember to live for the now! When making each goal timeline, I try to think realistically about the goals and if they will need adjustment based on the micro goals. Always continue to remind yourself that these timelines can be adjusted as things happen!

Thank you for reading! I hope that this blog will help you encourage yourself to continue to strive for each aspect of your goal! Tell me your goals in the comments!

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