When you don’t hit your goals

When it comes to horses, goal setting can be a double edged sword.

It’s great to set a goal and put in the work to achieve it, but when we’re dealing with horses, there might be things that we can’t control, and hyperfocus on the goal we’ve set for ourselves could be detrimental to our horse’s wellbeing, or to our own enjoyment of our horses.

In September, my goal was to drive Rocky 20 times. I knew it was pretty lofty, but figured that by setting it high it would mean that I would take every chance I got to drive him and hopefully see some real progress.

I started strong, and was on track to meet my goal … until we got to the top of the list for all our fencers and other contractors, and I ended up having to spend my days keeping horses out of their way with no safe place to drive even if I did have time for it. And while I probably could’ve powered through and met my goal by driving in the evenings just before dark, or in the very early mornings before anyone arrived, that would’ve made an already stressful time even more so, and I probably wouldn’t have been the best driver for my horse under those circumstances.

So I only drove him 10 times, instead of 20, but I don’t feel like I failed my goal. My goal was simply there to get me out and driving consistently, and it did that, as much as was reasonable given the circumstances.

It would be easy to beat myself up and say I didn’t reach my goal of 20 drives, or even come close. But in the spirit of the goal, driving my horse as much as I could, and helping him to use himself well and make a difference in his way of going, we did well, made good progress, and learned a lot that will help us move forward in the future.

Do you get discouraged when you aren’t able to hit your goal? Or are you able to see the benefits from working towards it, and feel good about the attempt?

After all, if you aim for the moon, even if you miss you’ll land among the stars. You just have to open to the idea that the moon isn’t the ONLY goal worth achieving.


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