Setting realistic goals - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 03-01-2011, 09:52 PM Thread Starter
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Setting realistic goals

I know that everyone has their own personal goals in riding and I'm interested in hearing how the dressagers on this board set their goals. Do most of you first set a movement you want to do without a timeline and slowly work towards that or do you set an actual timeframe to get it done? If so, how do you determine said timeframe for yourself? Are your goals competition-driven or personal satisfaction-driven?
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post #2 of 13 Old 03-01-2011, 10:51 PM
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Hmmmm well for me, I don't really aim towards achieving a movement. The movements come from correct work, they are just a build up of your basic work, not the pinnacle of dressage.
If I am aiming to get my horse out for a novice test, I will ride towards elementary at home, then the standard of work is higher and you find the novice quite easy.
My goal is ALWAYS to have my horse happy, relaxed, confident and soft in the work. I want him through and swinging. Once I get that consistently, the 'movements' just come.
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post #3 of 13 Old 03-01-2011, 11:03 PM
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My goals for my horse are just to improve upon what we accomplished, or didn't accomplish, last ride. For us it's a lot of 2 steps back, one forward. Most recently we really started working on getting a nice forward trot. Initially his balance suffered, but now it's starting to come back together with some well placed half halts. It's produced a very nice new trot for us, and I'm anxious to ride a test and see how we do.

My goals for myself are more specific. I've forced myself to do pilates 3 times a week and ride without stirrups more often to help produce a better seat. The pilates are already paying off. The no stirrup part has been interrupted somewhat by the cold weather that has been resulting in a very "up" horse this winter.

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post #4 of 13 Old 03-02-2011, 08:58 AM
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Let me say first I'm rather new to dressage (still). Interesting enough my trainer didn't really set any "goals" verbally. We just work on something, which is not there. But I have to say it's like building the brick house: first we were just aiming for straightness, then started to ask for impulsion, and as we progressed she asked more and more from us. Now the goal is to show this year (given both of us will be in good health and fit). And beginning of the year my trainer actually asked what MY goals are and wrote them down in her book to see if we can achieve them. Will see I guess...

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post #5 of 13 Old 03-02-2011, 12:27 PM
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Goals are good things to have to keep you motivated. Once you are getting up to the higher levels it is important that the horse is being exercised every day - and if you're doing it alone it can be hard to get motvated!!
It is important to set realistic ones and to be happy with any kind of progress. If we try to push the horses too fast we can wreck them. However, not setting goals will leave us in the dust.
Get your coach to help you set some, whether it is attending a show or reaching a new level. Long term motivation is key in this sport - so setting a long term goal can also be helpful as long as you realize the hard work that will have to be done to get there.
Good luck!

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post #6 of 13 Old 03-02-2011, 12:35 PM
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I'm not really a dressage rider, but I thought I would comment anyway.
I have one big long term goal that is competition driven (Complete a BN test without getting kicked out for being a hazard :roll:) which includes riding a correct test. But I also have many short term goals for me that I change from lesson to lesson.

For instance with one of the horses I'm riding, all I'm asking him to do is remain loose and stretchy and look for contact. We've made leaps and bounds in progress but sometimes it's a step backward so I just focus on improving what we accomplished in the last ride. I want to have a happy horse at the end of my ride who has remained fluid and forward.

A different horse I'm riding is a little further along and I ask him for more. Our 'movements' are still pretty simple lateral movements, but I just ask him to make a solid attempt at it and end on a good note where we have made progress.

I tend to get into the habit of wanting perfection. It's one of my biggest faults as a rider and I have to be very concious to only push myself and my horse as far as comfortable. I have to make sure that I reward every try rather so my goal for the ride sometimes changes mid-ride depending on how my horse is feeling.

Sort of a rambling answer, but hope that answers it!
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post #7 of 13 Old 03-02-2011, 07:09 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the responses! I think that setting goals is half of the battle and so much more difficult to do once you faced with doing it.
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post #8 of 13 Old 03-02-2011, 11:01 PM
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I'm not really a dressage rider, I dabble, but i'll give an answer anyway. At the beginning of the year I try and set one or two realistic goals for me and my horse. Last year my goals were to get phoenix in shape and get out on a trail ride. We achieved both. This year my goals are to get him cantering under saddle, any kind of cantering that is not completely spastic will do for now, we can work more on balance as we go along. I also want to take him to an intro show this year at some point, just to see how he reacts.
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post #9 of 13 Old 03-02-2011, 11:08 PM
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While I am not a true dressage rider, I recognize it's importance and use it with every horse I have had. I find that I am unable to set a time frame for a horse as it is really up to the horse.
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post #10 of 13 Old 03-06-2011, 07:19 PM
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I have a few different types of goals

I have goals that tend to change everytime I go out to the barn. For example, with Kitty when I go out and lunge her I see what type of mood she is in and how well she responds to me at the beginning. I may set my goal with me getting on her at the end of the ride or just getting a controlled trot.

Then, I have goals that I want to do with that horse in a more extended period of time. Once again, using Kitty as an example, this year I'd like to be able to trot her undersaddle. Next year possibly try Intro. In the long term I would like to do First Level with her.

Another type of goal I have is as a rider. I would like to become an effective rider that can ride many disciplines and many different types of horses.

"You know, for as long as I can remember, I've had memories." ~Colin Mochrie
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