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It's That Time of Year Again-Goal Setting Time!

Updated on August 27, 2018
Ellison Hartley profile image

Ellison is a professional horse trainer and riding instructor. She runs a summer camp program and offers kids a safe introduction to horses.

It's Goal Setting Time

So what you might say?! This time of year happens every year, so what's the big deal. The big deal is that if you take advantage of it, this can be a great time of year for you and your horse.

Nice Temperatures and Fewer Flies

The weather is cooler and the flies not being around the farm make life a lot more pleasant for all of us. You don't have to get up first thing in the morning or stay out half the night to ride your horse without getting heat exhaustion. I'd say those two things are pretty positive

It's All About Routine

If you are an adult and not going back to school, I'm sure seeing summer go makes you sad at least a little bit thinking about the vacations you went on and fun things you did. Now it's just back to the grind, back to the routine!

Horses thrive on routine, most people do too really. This being said, use the upcoming fall season to you and your horses best advantage, get into a routine and make some goals and plans for how to make them happen!

Horses, just like us, thrive on routine. Just like these guys waiting  by the fence at feeding time.
Horses, just like us, thrive on routine. Just like these guys waiting by the fence at feeding time. | Source

Everyone's Goals Will Be Different

We can use mine as an example, even though they are sort of only indirectly horse related. I sustained a TB(brain injury) on March 13, have since developed post-concussive syndrome so I'm in the midst of a long recovery.

My goal for the fall is to get comfortable walking with my walker outside and get back to working a few days a week. Obviously, beginner lessons aren't an option since they are to hands on, but I plan to get back to teaching my more advanced students that don't need my help on the ground.

My plans to make this happen is to continue practicing using my outdoor walker, to continue doing my physical therapy exercises. Most importantly though to start reintegrating myself back into the barn atmosphere since it is very intimidating to me being back there after all these months off.

My support system for this is my boyfriend, who understands how I feel, knows what I want to accomplish and is going to support me in doing so. Even if that does involve a little pushing every now and then.

What Should Your Goals Be?

The possibilities and scenarios are endless really. If you spent most of the summer out of the saddle your goal may be as simple as to get back into good physical riding condition. So your plan would maybe involve an exercise routine or be riding without stirrups.
If you worked hard and showed your horse every weekend all summer, maybe your goal for the fall should be to decompress and relax. To just have fun and bond with your horse again.
Maybe you hope to show in the springtime so want to get a jump start on new skills in case winter weather slows you down for a while.

This is the 9 or 10 year old me. At the time my goal was to ride Frostline forever! Then it moved on to being a professional horsewoman later in life. To a point, I have achieved that goal, but I'm still working and learning everyday.
This is the 9 or 10 year old me. At the time my goal was to ride Frostline forever! Then it moved on to being a professional horsewoman later in life. To a point, I have achieved that goal, but I'm still working and learning everyday. | Source

You Don't Have To Own A Horse, Or Even Be Involved With Them Yet To Set A Goal

That is the great thing about Horsemanship. It's a journey, we all get on it at different times. Some stay on forever ( me) some enjoy it for a little while then get off.
If you ride in a lesson program your trainer will be able to guide you in setting goals and a plan to achieve them.
If you are a kid still dreaming of convincing your parents to let you take lessons. Ask for odd jobs to earn money to help pay for lessons. Research local farms that have beginner programs, and read as many horse books as you can. That way when the time comes you will be more than prepared. Your parents will also be impressed with your responsibility.
If you are a working adult who always dreamed about getting involved with horses. Treat yourself and look into a local place to trail ride. Fall is perfect trail riding weather. Volunteer at a local horse rescue, they always are looking for help. If you want to take lessons, look into local farms with adult riding programs. There are many who start riding as adults, you are not alone, so don't be afraid to give lessons a try.
If you interested in horses, but not sure in what capacity yet, use the fall and winter to learn as much as you can. Go to county fairs, and horse shows. Research local farms and see what they offer. Read about horses in books and magazines and figure out how you'd like to begin your journey with horses. Whether it is a big way or a small way, you will be glad you did.

Helpful Hints

Tell other people about it! Telling people will get them excited about it with you, they will ask you about how things are going and inspire you to push forward.
Write it down! Written goals seem a lot more legit if you ask me. Write your goals where you will be forced to see them. If you are an adult, a post-it note at work or reminder on your phone. If you own a horse, keep a written copy with your things at the barn. Make sure your instructor knows so they can hold you accountable. If you are a kid, tell your parents. They want to know what you are interested in and will be proud of your maturity making goals and working towards them.

Just A Few More Things

The fall is time for the beautiful weather that we should all take advantage before the cold of winter sets in.
We are all on our own individual journey with horses for our own individual reasons. A life with horses is no different than a life pursuing any other passion. If you set goals, work hard and hold yourself accountable, you can do whatever you set your mind to with horses.
If you are well on your way on the journey, I think it is great that you have found the horse life, as I have, there is none like it!
If you are just embarking on your journey with horses, I'm glad you have decided to. You won't regret it.
Whether you are already on the crazy horse train or are looking to get involved, feel free to contact me, I'd be glad to help you with your riding plans and goals. If you are just now considering getting involved I'd be just as happy to give you guidance as well. Feel free to contact me with any questions.

Best of luck to everyone in their fall horsey endeavors!

Just keep on working toward your goals! You will get there. Somewhere over the rainbow all our horsey dreams will come true!
Just keep on working toward your goals! You will get there. Somewhere over the rainbow all our horsey dreams will come true! | Source

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