Catching the success train…stopping at goal setting-ville, re-evaluation-town and keeping an eye on the long-game…

“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.” ~ Pablo Picasso

Giving a man a bow and an arrow and telling him to shoot will cause him to ask you “At what?”. Without a target, there is no purpose in shooting. Giving the archer a target and challenging him to hit the bulls-eye provides him with an aim that will challenge his skills and provide him with an objective. Goal setting gives us a sense of intention, provides us with the motivation to keep trying every day and to seek for the positives in times of adversity.

Most people who regularly ride horses will quickly become practiced in the art of setting new ambitions. From wanting to master rising to the trot, right through to becoming a polished top level competitor, there is the potential to shoot high at every stage. It is important to be very honest and realistic with yourself and to set short, medium and long term goals accordingly.

Equine enthusiasts also have to factor in the infinite variables attached to achieving their aims with horses. Lameness, injuries, illness, the weather, the ground and many, many other potential issues have the ability to derail even the best laid plans.

When things go wrong – as they so often do with horses – it can become all too easy to lose motivation and to find yourself wondering if the juice is worth the squeeze. We sacrifice so much to enjoy a life with horses and it can sometimes feel like we are doomed to fail regardless.

If you suddenly find yourself no longer able to pursue your current objective, it is important to carefully evaluate your situation and understand what now is – or isn’t – possible.

Picking a new intention appropriate to your changed circumstances can be a good way to help you overcome the disappointment of no longer being able to proceed with your previous goal and at the very least it will provide you with a plan going forward. Having a plan derailed by misfortune, accident or injury to horse or rider can be very difficult to cope with. When you have worked hard for something, it can feel incredibly unfair when you are no longer able to continue.


It is important to keep one eye on the long game and the other eye on how far you have come. We can get so hung up on pursuing our ambitions that we sometimes forget to look at how much we have already achieved. This is as important for riders to apply to themselves, as to their horses.

Finding the positive in everything is a very necessary life skill for anybody involved with horses on any level and realising that you are already doing well can be vital when it comes to motivating yourself, if and when the going gets tough.

There is no straight path when it comes to achieving success within the equine industry. Remaining as flexible with your options as possible and striving to have a plan B will allow you to roll with the punches and will help you to rise above problems in a positive and objective way. Remember that our journey through life with horses is supposed to be fun and even though at times it is anything but, there’s really nothing else most of us would rather be doing.


Tips for success-

1 ~ Be realistic at all times.

2 ~ Stay positive!

3 ~ Don’t take it personally when things don’t work out. Analyse, evaluate, recalculate and try again.

4 ~ Set short, medium and long term goals. Remember that you can put as many steps as you need to on the road to achieving your ambitions.

5 ~ It can take years! This is NORMAL!!!

6 ~ Say thank you and be kind at every stage. A lot of people will help you on the road up to success. You may well find yourself needing them on the road back down.

7 ~ Keep smiling. It makes you look approachable and fun and you just never know who will come your way.

8 ~ Surround yourself with those who inspire you, but be your own inspiration too.

9 ~ Celebrate each goal and victory as you achieve it, no matter how small.

Remember – you are already running laps around the man (or woman) on the couch!!!


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Article by Christa Dillon.


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