Align Your MInds: Setting Riding and Training Goals with Your Trainer

We’re almost a month into 2018, and while New Years Resolutions may have come and gone (c’mon, we went to the gym for a whole week!), it’s the perfect time to start looking at your riding goals for this year. USHJA certified trainer & instructor Jasmin Stair of Jasmin Stair Stables at Fortuna Del Charro in Rancho Santa Fe, California gave us a few tips on how to set your goals for all areas of your riding, and why you need to do it now. 




Don’t wait until halfway through the summer to start thinking about your year end goals. Set a time to sit down with your trainer this month or as soon as you get back from the first early year shows, and get clear about your season goals. Check out new opportunities together, and develop a strategy for the year. Take a look at your budget, what finals you’d like to qualify for, and your current confidence level and decide together what goals to strive for.

Are there any new incentive programs for your horse, such as age group classes that would be appropriate for you as a pair? Are there new medal classes offered, or medals that you’ve always wanted to qualify for? Are there any shows you’ve being dying to go to? If you’ve been wanting to move up a division, now is the time to broach that subject with your trainer so that you can decide together if that’s the best move for you, and start putting together a plan to get you there safely and strategically.

If you’re sticking with your regular division and planning on attending similar shows as last season, then your goals may be more nuanced. If you have a young horse then your focus may be more on building their confidence at shows and building yours in your partnership. Or, this could be the year that you build strength and perfect your eq! The important thing is having something to aim for an focus on throughout the year so that you are riding with purpose and intention, and can feel accomplished and fulfilled at the end of the year.

One goal that I think most amateurs can benefit from is reducing stress around riding. Whether it’s comparing your ride to someone else’s in lessons, getting anxiety before going in the show ring, beating yourself up for mistakes, or just an undercurrent of worry: it all takes the fun away from riding and keeps you from improving. Focusing on being in the moment in your ride, developing a great relationship with your horse or horses, having good and open communication with your trainer, and having a solid plan that makes you feel supported while you grow as a rider are all perfect goals to have this year.

The last thing you want is to wait until right before year end championships to decide what your goals are. Don’t rush yourself! Take full advantage of your year by getting clear with yourself and your training team now and you’ll set yourself up for a fantastic season.


Jasmin Stair is owner and trainer at Jasmin Stair Stables in Rancho Santa Fe, California. Jasmin specializes in hunters, jumpers, and equitation and believes that a personalized, hands on approach to developing the equine athlete and confident, capable riders is paramount. JSS is a boutique style program that offers a supportive environment to help clients reach and surpass their goals.

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