Last fall we did something new at our barn. I made a goal page for each rider. It included their name, a picture of them on their horse, their age, room for them to write their goal, and a place for me to sign off when they achieve their goal.

Fall 2019 Goal Sheet

I explained to the riders and to their parents that the goal should be something that they could attain by winter. It should be something that they are working on during their riding lesson. And, if applicable, I can give them “homework” in the form of exercises to help them achieve their goal.

I gave them examples, like keeping heels down, mounting the horse by themselves, looking where they are going to name a few. My thought was if they chose this as their goal, they will focus more in their lesson on doing it and they will make better progress.

The riders came back the following week with their goal or goals. Some of them got it and had one thing to focus on for the next few weeks. Others came back with goals that would take years to accomplish. No doubt one five-year old, who is making great progress came back saying her goal was to ride in rodeo. Great! But not by the end of the year. Another wanted to jump. Sure, you will be able to, but not in the next eight weeks.

So, for those riders we refined the goal to make it achievable. And hung everyone’s goal sheet around the viewing room window for everyone to see.

Goal Sheet for everyone to see

Spoiler alert: Not only was this a good reminder for the rider as to what to work on, but I could focus on their goal during their lesson to ensure that they would be making progress towards it.

Did the riders do it? A few did and I happily took down their sheet, signed it, and took their picture with it.

So proud of their achievement

The great thing was, everyone kept improving and with their goal in mind, they tried harder to learn the skill.

This is one activity we are going to keep doing at our barn. Why not? It’s a win-win all the way around.

Pretty Pony Pastures is an inclusive horseback riding facility located in Davisburg, MI. Visit the website for details on all the lessons and activities. The recently published book, Fifty Blades of Hay, highlights how horses help riders is available on Amazon.