Figuring out and setting goals - beginner - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 25 Old 10-24-2011, 07:24 PM
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: The Deep South
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I agree about setting small goals. I try to give my trainer a small list of goals every 6 months so she knows which direction to go with me. Back in May I sent her the following goals:

-- Able to WTC solidly. (Getting there)
-- Better transitions. (YES! This I've accomplished.)
-- Do a local flat show in Aug-Sept. (Now aiming for Feb-March)
-- Be able to do a short 18" course in lessons by end of December. (See Goal No. 1. Although it may still happen, if only at a trot.)

BUT -- there's been a lot going on with me at work, summer camps at the barn meant no lessons for about a month (I did hacks instead), my trainer moved barns, all the schoolies I were riding were left at the old barn, and for the past month I've been learning to ride a new horse. And I love him to pieces, but he's a bit quicker than the old WP QH mare I was riding before.

Then again, I don't really mind that I'm not quite where I want to be. I decided early on to be fluid with riding, knowing that I'm older and heavier and def. out of shape. And because I have a 50-60 hour a week job, unlike when I was riding in college. I do push myself, don't get me wrong, but I don't want to put so much pressure on myself that it stops being fun.
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post #22 of 25 Old 10-24-2011, 10:18 PM Thread Starter
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I had a great ride tonight. Leg position is getting better, posting is getting easier, it's all sort of clicking and I can post around the arena four times even in my "bad" direction. Thanks for all the input, everyone!
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post #23 of 25 Old 10-24-2011, 11:11 PM
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post #24 of 25 Old 10-25-2011, 06:53 AM
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Sparrow - I realize planning, goals and attainment are the staples of modern life but in horse riding you are dealing with two organisms which don't write down lists of aims and acheivments.

The first organism over which you have very little control is the part of your brain which directs the reflexes back to the horse between your thighs. Its the bit which keeps you in the saddle. You may think you told that muscle which prevented you from falling to perform that twitch - but your conscious brain had very little to do with the response. By the time you had thought what to do, if you hadn't reacted instantly - before you could even think of what to do, then you'd have been on the floor.

You will learn to ride by rote - constant repetition and not by conscious brain power. So the timing of any acheivment is not within your power. Be patient. Ride as often as you can and once you can sit to walk, trot and canter, then ride as many horses as you can find in the riding centre.
Incidentally don't try riding a friend's horse yet - that's another can of worms.

Secondly - there is that 600 kg hunk of muscle, blood and bone on which you are sitting. It is an animal with a mind of its own and it doesn't read or write. But within a few minutes of your sitting on its back, the creature has you sussed. If it weren't a school horse, then it would have you off in an instant. Be nice to it and take a few tidbits in your pocket and hide them from the instructor.

Lastly , I should mention that you are a 32 year old lady. You are going to struggle when competing with a 16 old girl, the daughter of a farmer who has been riding her own pony since she was 4. Over the years her body has adapted to the stresses and strains of riding. She'll have a strong pelvic floor, flexible ham strings and well developed muscles in the lower back. She'll have no fear. She has already been there, seen it and done it and has earned the Tee shirt. Just watch and learn, you can't compete.

All you have to do to become a passable jockey is ride, ride, ride - as often as you can. And get ready to fall off - that is only a question of time too.

Most importantly enjoy this wonderful sport - it is a game, a relaxation.
It is also a marathon, as you will find out.

PS Taking Pilates lessons will help.

Last edited by xxBarry Godden; 10-25-2011 at 06:56 AM.
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post #25 of 25 Old 10-26-2011, 12:27 PM
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Funny, I didn't start jumping regularly until my 30's and it NEVER occurred to me that I COULDN'T compete against some teenager who has been riding since diapers. Maybe I'm naive! :) Other than that I agree wholeheartedly with everything Barry said - right down to the pilates (though I prefer yoga)

As for goals, I am like you - I need to work towards something. If I leave a lesson and my coach hasn't said "work on X" I'll ask "What is my homework for this week?" and that becomes my small goal.

I think competitions are perfect for giving one a sense of accomplishment. I have had only a few opportunities to compete so far but my first goal was to compete 2'6" hunter- which I did even though I'm sure my coach wouldn't have cared if I wanted to kick it back to 2'3" or even 2'. Then my goal was to survive a season of hunting in Ireland...I'm still here so that box gets checked. Then my goal was to first survive an open level hunter trial (done) and secondly to complete all obstacles (done) and finally to do a clear round (had to circle back on 2 jumps - one brush and one double steeplechase - killers, both of them). Point is that they were all stretch goals allowing me to figure out what little goals I need to reach to get there. This way all those exercises in the arena have a purpose and I'm not just going through the motions.
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