new year goals cowgirl magazine
Natalia Devencenty winning a AQHA world show title. Photo by AQHA Media Team.……

“New Year’s Resolution” but horse version? The end of the year is a great time to start planning forward, while making goals for the next season. Plan a few shows or rodeos to hit and start thinking about your goals to accomplish in your respected area.

When it comes to setting goals make sure you are keeping yourself in mind. Set goals that you want to accomplish for yourself. These can be big goals, such as winning a regional title. Or smaller goals such as making a paycheck or catching all your steers to make the short go in a jackpot. Don’t be concerned about what others want for you. Ensure you make your goals for yourself.

Be specific about what it is that you want to achieve, write them down and visualize yourself achieving them. Make a plan on how to achieve your goals in the arena and seek help if help is needed. Another wonderful tactic is telling people that are close to you about your goals. Keep your goals close to your mind, talk about them, read them, and work daily towards achieving them.

Make it affordable and set yourself up for success. If you have a coming three year old that you want to show at the cow-horse futurity, make sure you can afford to accomplish your goal. If you know that going to the National Reined Cow Horse Futurity is just out of the question for you financially and physically, then think about going to a smaller futurity and setting your goal there.

Hold yourself accountable for success too be able to happen. Like everything in life you cant just wish it and it come true. Make a plan to execute it, whether that be roping the calf dummy every day or working your trail horse over raised poles. You have to hold yourself accountable for the goal to become a reality. Other great ideas such as watching film of prior champion runs help you set your mind for success. Try to look for at least three key tactical points for each video. Ask yourself, “What made that a great run? How can I accomplish that accuracy?”

Set proximal (short term) as well as distal (long term) goals. Setting multiple goals for the new season is vital, make sure to continue to challenge yourself and grow with each goal. Set performance or technique goals instead of outcome goals. Ensure that your goal is quality, not about winning only. If you set goals for quality runs/performance, you are more likely to achieve your goals and succeed. You have no control over other peoples’ performances, so focus on you and your horse and push yourself forward.

Last but certainly not least, set goals in each of the four pillars of sport: technical, tactical, psychological and physiological. Setting goals in the different quadrants makes you well rounded as a competitor in the arena.