Figuring out and setting goals - beginner

       The Horse Forum > Riding Horses > English Riding

Figuring out and setting goals - beginner

This is a discussion on Figuring out and setting goals - beginner within the English Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • Goals for beginner riders
  • Setting horse riding goals

Like Tree5Likes

LinkBack Thread Tools
    10-19-2011, 02:05 PM
Figuring out and setting goals - beginner

Hi all! I'm new here, and a new rider, so please be gentle :)

I just recently started taking English lessons. I had maybe five or six lessons, 14 years ago, but never really even learned to post the trot reliably. I'm now 32, so getting a bit of a late start.

Anyway, I am one of those folks who does better when I have a goal in mind. For right now, I think it's just getting the basics down. I've just started to work on posting, for example, and I have a heck of a time trying to steer and post. I can only take lessons/ride once a week right now, though I am going to try to increase that ASAP.

I'd eventually like to do some jumping, and maybe work on dressage a bit so that I am a better rider and more in tune with the horse. But every time I try to google search riding goals, it seems like they assume I know a lot more than I do. How can I figure out a goal for, say, a year from now, and then figure out what steps I need to take to get there? I'd like to approach my trainer with at least half a clue of what I'm talking about.

I would like to show at least locally, so maybe tips on what classes there are and how people get started would be great. I read through the USEF rulebooks but they're a bit over my head.

Sorry for the long post!
Sponsored Links
    10-19-2011, 04:58 PM
Green Broke
Keep them realistic, which means keeping them small. By setting too big of a goal, you set yourself up to fail, or not accomplish it in a set matter of time.

Right now, a realistic goal would be to figure out posting and steering at the same time. Once you have that down pat, master the canter.

Local shows don't always follow USEF rules, so don't worry about that for now.
Posted via Mobile Device
    10-19-2011, 05:45 PM
Thanks! That's a good idea. I just like to have a larger goal in mind and then write down the smaller, measurable steps to get there, if that makes sense.
    10-19-2011, 06:06 PM
Maybe start with the end goal, and then breaking down the parts needed to get there.

Goal: Want to jump
1. Learn to post and steer
2. Be able to W/T/C in good balance
3. Be able to trot & canter in half seat
4. Ground work over poles
5. Jump

There's obviously more in there, and you'll pick up some things more quickly than others, but you get the idea. Every part of riding involves building on some other skill. If you tell your instructor what you ultimately want to do, he or she should be able to develop you a way to get there in steps. Have fun and welcome back to riding.
    10-19-2011, 08:35 PM
Super Moderator
I like the thought of keeping goals small. AND being open to whatever comes to you lesson by lesson. You might go along great for a few weeks, then something comes up that is a stumbling block, and you will need to back down a bit and deal with what is in front of you. Or, the horse has some behavioral problems one day, so your lesson is how to motivate a stubborn horse (or whatever). Be flexible and be open. Be observant of yourself and the horse. The less you are looking ahead, the more you will see what is here and now, and riding is very much a thing of the here and now.

However, a nice one year goal would be to do an Intro Level show next Spring. That's just walk trot, but if it's at another locale, you'll be challenged with riding a horse that might be afraid of a new setting, stage fright and all the rest that goes with showing. I think that would be a great goal for next Spring.

Good Luck. Take videos and share them with us!
VelvetsAB likes this.
    10-19-2011, 09:38 PM

Tinyliny, that is pretty much exactly what I was wondering but didn't ask very well, I guess -- what's a good intro to showing? An intro level walk/trot seems like something I could really work towards.

I'll try to get someone to take a video. Sharing... I dunno!
    10-19-2011, 09:52 PM
Super Moderator
Great sparrow! YOu will be glad you get videos now because in a year you will have forgotten how hard it was to post when you first started.

I remember when I first started and I had to ride my lease mare a mile to the arena for a lesson. We would trot much of the way and I was all over the place. I would worry that I was going to fall off before I even got to my lesson. Posting required me to actually "think" about it, every step of the way.

Now, I can post without much "thinking" at all. And, for the most part, I can post fairly effortlessly for long periods of time. It is very natural to me now. I so wish I had a video! But I do not.
sparrowrider likes this.
    10-20-2011, 04:35 AM
I too have just restarted after about 15 yrs out of the saddle (37 yrs old now) but I too go to a weekly lesson and the rising trot has me stumped lol, riding is deffo not like riding a bike lol. One thing I did find helped was taking my stirupps up another notch.

Although last night my lesson went really well, I felt so comfortable and it all seemed to flow well, that is right up to the end when we do a few cross poles, he decided to refuse a few times, but I managed it in the end.
I think I need to go more than once a week, an hour just is not long enough for me.

Riding is so exhausting to be yet so relaxing, I stayed and watched the show jumping after my class, I find it very helpful to watch the more experienced riders and their positioning.

I do have more fear though even just on cross poles, children bounce - adults break lol
sparrowrider likes this.
    10-20-2011, 06:39 AM
A good goal for you for the end of the year would be probably be to jump very small cross-rails or verticals at a trot. However, you may be farther along or not as far as that by the end of the year, and both are ok. Like others have said, remember to keep your mind open and if you feel like you are stuck on something don't get discouraged. It took me a few months to get my posting right!

Now, my instructor has a mental list she keeps of things you have to do before you move up to certain things. Here's the one she has for moving up to cantering:
*Be able to walk with and without stirrups
*Stand up in stirrups at the walk and trot'
*Two-point at the walk and trot
*Post on the correct diagonal
*Circle at the trot
*Change directions when trotting
*Be able to post with and without stirrups
*Be able to sit the trot with and without stirrups
*Be able to extend the trot

And there's the unsaid things: Can you do all this with a decent posture? Can you control more advanced horses while doing these things? Etc.

There's a LOT of stuff that goes into riding. I'd recommend reading a LOT of books. That way not only would you learn more about horses and riding, but you would also be able to set yourself realistic goals.

Before you do entry level showing, ask if your barn has any "Fun" shows. These shows are more for the spirit of it rather than to actually win anything, though they do usually have ribbons and maybe trophies. They don't usually require any special clothes (though you are supposed to dress nicely) or any very special grooming (but you are supposed to make sure your horse is groomed as best as you can). These make some good practice. But, if you have no choice but to do regular showing first:

*Make sure to bring a friend or two. They should preferably know something about horses or be able to learn in about two seconds. These people are your Grooms for the day. They will help you groom and tack up your horse, help keep track of which classes are happening and how many classes there are until your next class, give you a leg up if you need one, give you and your horse last-minute touch-ups while you're mounted and waiting for the other class to head out of the ring, and MORE! I would also make sure these people love you, because it's hard work .

*Make sure you know any rules the show may have.

*Make sure you know which classes you are in and how many classes you have to get ready inbetween them. (It's a good idea to try to get the worse of the arena dirt and/or mud off of your horse before you go to your next class if you can).

*Make sure there is somebody listening to the loud speaker!

*Bring money. You will get hungry and thirsty.


*Show sheen is my preferred shining spray. Make sure NOT to spray on the saddle area as this makes it very slippery.
*If your horse has white markings, baby powder works nicely for them.
*Baby oil for the ears and around the eyes.
*A spray bottle full of water is handy. I usually use it to help braid manes, but there's probably all sorts of ways you can use this.
*Fly spray.
*Curry comb, dandy brush, and a finishing brush.
*Mane and tail comb/brush.
*Hoof pick.
*Hoof paint. (If that's what it's mind just went blank lol!)
*Rubber bands for braiding.
*And more. The internet has tons of good ideas for making your horse look perfect on show day, the ones above are just what I usually use.


*Saddle pad
*Lead rope
*Any other things you may need


*Bobby and safety pins

And HAVE FUN! Remember, it's for fun, not so you can win! (Even though winning is a lot of fun, too )
sparrowrider likes this.
    10-20-2011, 11:59 AM
Wow, thanks! Cinder, that mental list is the kind of thing I was looking for. I have a copy of Centered Riding and I also have a copy of Hunter Seat Equitation coming in the mail.

We've been doing some work over ground poles, at the walk and at the trot, which is fun. I have a lot of work to do! And don't worry -- I'm not thinking about all this so much while I'm actually riding. I'm just a list maker. :)

Quick Reply
Please help keep the Horse Forum enjoyable by reporting rude posts.

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Horse Forum forums, you must first register.

Already have a Horse Forum account?
Members are allowed only one account per person at the Horse Forum, so if you've made an account here in the past you'll need to continue using that account. Please do not create a new account or you may lose access to the Horse Forum. If you need help recovering your existing account, please Contact Us. We'll be glad to help!

New to the Horse Forum?
Please choose a username you will be satisfied with using for the duration of your membership at the Horse Forum. We do not change members' usernames upon request because that would make it difficult for everyone to keep track of who is who on the forum. For that reason, please do not incorporate your horse's name into your username so that you are not stuck with a username related to a horse you may no longer have some day, or use any other username you may no longer identify with or care for in the future.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Old Thread Warning
This thread is more than 90 days old. When a thread is this old, it is often better to start a new thread rather than post to it. However, If you feel you have something of value to add to this particular thread, you can do so by checking the box below before submitting your post.

Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Figuring out my horse. katbalu Horse Talk 10 09-22-2011 10:44 AM
need help figuring out his color littrella Horse Colors and Genetics 13 08-30-2011 07:54 PM
Setting Goals for Oneself CharliGirl General Off Topic Discussion 4 07-21-2011 10:39 PM
Setting realistic goals Shasta1981 Dressage 12 03-17-2011 12:10 AM
Figuring out what is wrong Bluemoonlvr Horse Health 3 01-05-2011 08:02 PM

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 08:18 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0