How to Set Goals for the New Year

The New Year is underway. And with the new show season comes new goals for yourself and your teammate – your American Quarter Horse.

Setting goals with your American Quarter Horse is important, no matter the stage of your showing career. (Credit: Journal)

Everyone has made a New Year’s Resolution at one point in time, but did you really stick with it? This year, set some goals that you can and will achieve, with the help of your American Quarter Horse. Heed this list of seven tips to creating your goals, and how to achieve them.

  1. Concentrate on one extremely important goal: a clean ride. Placing is gravy, and you might or might not be rewarded for your efforts. But the clean ride speaks for itself. – AQHA Professional Horsewoman Nancy Cahill
  2. Write down your goals and objectives before the competition.Write them out monthly, weekly, daily, so you can track progress. Always remember to think long term: The most important achievement in any judged event has to be your performance and your horse’s performance – a personal best. – AQHA Professional Horsewoman Lynn Palm
  3. Be realistic in your goal setting. One of the first things we do with a new client, or even with our established clients as we begin a new year or start a new horse, is we discuss goals – what is realistic of the horse vs. the results the owners are expecting. - Harriet Link
  4. Make it a goal to spend quality time with your horse. The quality time we spend with our horses is a vital factor in the development of our relationships with them. Consider your goals, set your priorities and the amount of time you can allot to your horse, and make it count. The loftier your goals, the more time you’ll need to spend with your horses. – Brent Graef
  5. Find the right instructor to help you accomplish your goals. I stress the importance of creating goals for both horse and rider. Your riding goals should be based on an honest evaluation of your personality, expectations and riding skills. Once you have accomplished this step, you have a blueprint to help you select the right riding instructor to help you achieve your goals. - AQHA Professional Horsewoman Lynn Palm
  6. Keep on your goals. Stay determined and tenacious with goals that you want to see accomplished - both professionally and personally. - AQHA Professional Horsewoman Genny Miller
  7. Surround yourself with people who encourage you to reach your goals. I’ve always told parents that showing horses is like a microcosm of the world: It gives you happy. It gives you sad. It gives you excitement. It gives you dissapointment. It gives you life. It gives you death. It gives you everything. In this little world, you experience it all with people surrounding you who care. - AQHA Professional Horsewoman Nancy Cahill

As you prepare for the new show season, keep these tips in mind. You are in control of what you can accomplish, so set realistic goals and find people to help you achieve them!

For more horse-showing tips, sign up for the AQHA Daily e-newsletters at