Setting Achievable Goals for You and Your Horse in 2020

setting achievable goals harriet

Setting Achievable Goals for You and Your Horse in 2020

It is that time of year again when resolutions are made and often broken before the start of February. Here event rider and trainer Harriet Morris-Baumber offers advice on setting goals that are achievable.

Whatever your resolution or goal seeing it through is all about making sure they are achievable in the first place. This is not to say that you shouldn’t push yourself out of your comfort zone but in equestrianism, ambition can sometimes outweigh ability like in no other sport.

Your goals should also be defined by your horse’s ability as well as your own. Pushing a horse too far out of his comfort zone will only damage his confidence and set you back in your progress.

Effective goal setting must be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time bound. This means no vague fantasies like ‘I’d love to win an event’ it needs to be more refined, such as ‘by the end of the 2020 season, my goal is to finish on a sub 30 score’.


The Big 1, the Small 1’s and the Micro Goals

This goal might then create a series of smaller achievable goals (minor goals) that are needed in order for you to achieve the bigger goal. For example, improve the dressage by five marks, eliminate the four faults or be able to go 10 seconds faster cross-country in order to make the time.

If you’re really being super analytical then it can be taken a step further and broken down into micro goals, such as improve the free walk by one to two marks, or set off from the start box more effectively.

Often to make an improvement to achieve a goal it is about improving 10 things by 1% rather than improving 1 thing by 10%.

The Next Steps

Once you have your goal – write it down! This is the single most valuable thing to do as the process of writing it down makes it feel real. You can keep it in your purse, on your bedside table or pin it up on your desk.

Tell your circle about your goal, your friends, your family, your trainer, anyone who supports you and has an interest in you. They will be able to help and encourage you and keep you on track.


Because you are now a savvy goal setter, you have set a time scale on your goal, so you have the present date and an end goal. You now need to add in some key dates in your timeline to assess, review and repeat.

Event rider and trainer Harriet Morris-Baumber
Event rider and trainer Harriet Morris-Baumber

Staying on Track

If things don’t go to plan, for example we have heavy snow for two weeks in February; you may have to adjust your plans.

Sometimes it can be good to write down why you want to achieve this goal. When you feel demotivated or you lose confidence you can look back on your ‘Misson Statement’ and this should help to inspire you to keep going.

Goal setting is much more than simply stating you wish something to happen. Unless you clearly define exactly what you want, why you want it and how you can accomplish it, your odds of success are greatly reduced.

By setting smart goals with a timeline you can set goals with confidence and enjoy the satisfaction that comes with knowing you achieved what you set out to do.

Remember a dream without a goal is just a wish!

Harriet is available for dressage, show-jumping and cross-country lessons at her base near York.  To find out more call Harriet on (07795) 562745 or visit

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Author: Suzanne Ashton Founder, Everything Horse Ba Hons Marketing Management email:

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