Quo Vadis is Latin for “Where are you going?” (Before I decided on a business degree, I was a philosophy and classical studies major so forgive me the chance to toss in a little Latin.) In this mini-series, I’m going to articulate where I’ve been, where we are now, and finally where Nibbles and I are heading. This is a personal exercise to make me think critically about my goals but also to further introduce myself to the wonderful blogging community that has supported me so much already.
If you’re just joining us, check out Part 1: A Riding and Not Riding History and Part 2: Current State of Affairs.
A goal without a plan is just a wish.
I don’t know who said it first but I’ve found this statement to be 100% true. I tend to have a lot of ideas and ambitions but if I don’t set tangible goals along the way of a strategic plan, I don’t arrive at the destination.
I’ve seen a lot of you write goals on your blogs and I’ve always admired the practice. I took a stab at goals for Nibbles in spring of 2014 and made progress or accomplished 50% of them. Very shortly thereafter, I lessoned with a trainer who asked me what my goal was with horses. My answer: I honestly don’t know right now.
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking and I’ve come to two conclusions:
- My riding is important enough to me to deserve a strategic plan.
- That strategic plan, once written, can change.
I’ve hesitated over writing out goals because I didn’t think my plan could change. Silly, I know, but I had that mental hurdle. But who says your goals can’t change? Right now, I want to compete. Maybe I’ll get a few shows in and go, you know, I enjoy this a heck of a lot more at home. Or maybe I’ll say man, this is my jam, we gotta up those competitive goals. And that’s the beauty and genius of goals – they can be fluid if you let them.
And because I am that person and I love strategy and lists, I’m going to push myself to make these goals S.M.A.R.T.
So, readers, here are my fluid but S.M.A.R.T. goals. This is where we are headed.
Short Term Riding Goals
- Commit to bi-weekly lessons to primarily improve my in-the-saddle fitness and prepare for taking over Nibbles’ primary training by October 1, 2015.
- The goal is not perfection. The goal is getting my mind and body saddle-fit.
- When Nibbles arrives, commit to 4 rides per week for the first 30 days. Evaluate number of rides per week thereafter.
- This is more about me managing my time better than a matter of what Nibbles needs so it may adjust if she mentally needs more/less.
- Compete in one (dressage) schooling show (on Nibbles or another horse) in at least Intro C by December 31, 2015.
- Ideally on Nibbles but since I’m a recycled-green-bean myself, I’m flexible.
Short Term Nibbles Goals
- Research and reserve a boarding barn in my area within a 40 minute commute and with an indoor arena by October 1, 2015.
- This is already under way and it looks like stall board is my only option. More $$ than I hoped. No really promising leads yet however.
- Maintain level of training at all gaits and including leg yields through May 1, 2015 (AKA when winter is finally gone from this far north). Evaluate strength for more complex work or additional training thereafter.
- This is conservative. I want trainers’ opinions on how hard to push and what to add to her repertoire when.
- Obtain saddle fitting and reflocking to ensure optimum comfort by December 31, 2015.
Short Term Together Goals (after Nibbles is local to me)
- Commit to bi-weekly lessons that advance both myself and Nibbles’ training towards Training Level through December 31, 2015.
- Schedule trail rides at least twice monthly depending on buddy availability to continue Nibbles’ exposure to all the things through December 31, 2015.
- Continue incorporating trot poles and cavaletti into Nibbles’ training regime. If possible, introduce cross rails for cross training, strength and confidence building by December 31, 2015.
Long Term Together Goals (aka the scary but awesome)
- Obtain our USDF Bronze Medal by December 31, 2020.
- Complete a limited distance ride by December 31, 2016.
- Break Nibbles to drive because why not whenever I can find someone with a harness and cart.
- Take my stepdaughter to her first leadline class on Nibbles by December 31, 2017.
- Ride bridleless. Someday.