Setting Goals for Success with Elsie Rieger

Like for many riders, the last few competition years have been a pretty big fail, with most events cancelled and the horses barely even leaving our home. Because of this, it was kind of hard trying to think of what to write in a blog, after all, I didn’t really do anything! But then I realised that I actually did three really important things;

  1. Practice
  2. Practice
  3. Practice

I also set goals. After qualifying at the BARE Equestrian ENSW National show horse championships that first year, I realised spending so much time at home practicing was the best thing that could have happened for both Darcy & I as a team.

A bit about me 

I have worn & loved Bare Equestrian a long time before I was given the amazing opportunity to be an ambassador, and it wasn’t just because of their riding gear but because they support all riders, no matter what they do or what their goals are, because all of us love horses.

My horse Darcy was bred by my family and we’ve grown up together, but getting to the stage of riding him at competitions has been a big challenge. The show we did manage to get to at the end of the year came after seven months of not competing and I have to admit that I was not really expecting it to go as great as it did.

Turns out hard work and setting goals really does work!

Even though we didn't really know if things were going to go back to normal in 2021/2022, I think that having goals is the one of the best things to do to keep busy and keep getting better while we waited to see what happened.

Who can benefit from setting goals?

Any rider can benefit from setting goals, whether they’re a show rider like me, an eventer, show jumper or even riders who don’t want to compete. Goals are good for being prepared for shows but also for anyone for wants their horse to be educated and go well.

How to set goals

There’s lots of different kinds of goals you can set. Maybe your goal is to ride at the Olympics (that’s a pretty big one) and if you’re a junior rider like me, then it’s a long term goal and you’re going to need smaller ones along the way.

The seven months I spent practicing with Mr Darcy my transitions, my hands (because he is still relatively inexperienced), lengthened trot and simple changes. Taking him out was a lot of pressure because he was so successful with his previous rider in his first year under saddle, but that is part of goal setting – making little steps along the way to achieve your bigger goals. 

You can also set goals for every ride or schooling session that you do.

If you have a coach then you probably already set goals, or maybe if you’re a junior, your parents also help. That’s important I guess, even though my goal would be to do every single show in Australia every year but that’s not the same for my mum!

Also, you have to remember that stuff happens with horses so goals sometimes have to change or be put on hold because of an injury, and that’s the best thing for your horse.

Goals don’t just have to be about the actual riding either. Maybe you need to get fitter, (or like me, get better at doing your homework quicker so you can ride more!).

A final word

I think that the absolute most important goal that every single rider should have is to remember always how lucky we are to have horses. Whether we ride for fun, for a job or for a sport, we should appreciate the people around us like coaches, parents and supporters who support us every day and most of all our horses who deserve everything for helping us make our goals and our dreams come true. 

What are your goals for 2022/2023?

Also pictured with Elsie is her mentor Courtney Cremasco @courtneysperformancehorses.