Effective Goal Setting for Equestrian Athletes

Effective Goal Setting for Equestrian Athletes

Setting goals is extremely important for equestrian athletes. Our sport is extremely challenging and competitive, and the judging in many of our disciplines is subjective. With effective horseback riding goals, we can measure our progress and reward ourselves accordingly.

We’ve even created a print-out for you to track your goals! You can download the file for free in the link at the end of this blog post.


The Fit Equestrian

It’s important that you set our own health, fitness, and riding goals, and refrain from copying the goals you see your friends or competitors setting for themselves. It can be hard to determine what your personal goals are, but it often helps to take a step back from social media and reflect on your own riding. What would you like to achieve in the next 6 months with your riding? In the next year? In 5 years?

Let’s talk about the difference between concrete and abstract goals:

Concrete goals are measurable goals that often contain a number. Examples include…

  • Jump a full course at 3 foot
  • Squat 100 pounds
  • Win champion at a horse show

Abstract goals are not as easily quantifiable, but are equally valuable. Examples include…

  • Feel more energized
  • Be more confident
  • Eat healthier

It's important to have a mix of both concrete and abstract goals and to break them down into actionable habits.


The Fit Equestrian Resistance Bands

Turning your goals into habits:

The first step to completing your equestrian goals is to break them down into actionable habits. What steps and lifestyle changes do you need to take to reach that goal? This is especially helpful for abstract goals - you can create more concrete habits that will provide structure and guide you towards your goal. Let’s take a look at an example of how to break down concrete and abstract goals into actionable habits.

Concrete goal:

  • Move up to the 3’ Hunters


  1. Take at least one lesson each week
  2. Strength train 3x per week
  3. Warm up & cool down your horse properly to keep him in his best shape

Abstract goal: 

  • Have more energy throughout the day


  1. Get at least 8 hours of sleep per night
  2. Eat at least 3 different vegetables per day
  3. Drink 2 liters of water per day

See how these habits give us a road map to completing our end goal? Setting goals is important, but if we don’t break them down into daily and weekly habits we don’t set ourselves up for success!

Another method for concrete goals is to set smaller goals along the way. For example, if you want to show in the 3” hunters, and you are showing in the 2’6” right now, a great short term goal would be to show in a 2’9” first! Want to run 5 miles? Try setting a smaller goal of running 2 miles first so that your end goal seems less daunting. 

The Fit Equestrian Goal Setting


Rewarding yourself:

It’s important that you reward yourself for completing a goal! You should write down all of these rewards so that they motivate you along the way. Try to keep your rewards unrelated to the goal you’ve set. For example, if your goal is to eat healthier your reward should not be to eat a slice of cake. Try getting a massage or buying something nice for yourself instead!

Ready to set some effective goals? Download our Free Goal Setting Guide by filling out the form below. We'll email you a copy of the guide after sign up, if you can't find it (don't forget to check your spam folder) feel free to email us at hello@thefitequestrian.com.

Get your Free Goal Setting Guide

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