5 Ways to Step Into Your Potential with Your Horse

by | Jan 12, 2020 | competition, equestrian, fitness, goal setting

A couple of weeks ago I was at a goal setting meeting with my riding coach, Stephanie Goodman. It was a group meeting for the barn to talk about 2020 plans and longer term vision.

During that meeting, people were voicing their 2020 goals and plans with their horse. At one point, someone asked Steph, “What goals would you set for us?”

Her answer was intriguing. She answered that most of her clients under-set their goals. She thinks people have far greater potential and ability than they strive to achieve.

I’ve known this about her. Usually Steph has more faith in my abilities than I do, and I find myself wondering, “What would it feel like to see my potential from her perspective?”

Of course, there are many reasons people don’t step into their potential:

✅You might have other priorities and just aren’t in a life season to put forth the effort. Maybe you just took a new job, are having a baby, taking care of a sick family member, or have non-horse related goals (really, it happens!).

✅You might not know how to make a plan. That big goal would be awesome if it wasn’t so intimidating. You really have no idea how to get from Point A to Point B.

✅You didn’t even know that more is possible. The idea that you could reach higher and go further in your riding never occurred to you.

✅You don’t know how to direct your energy to a big goal. You set the goal, make a plan, and struggle with being consistent. How do you get baby steps to add up to something bigger?

✅And you might not feel the drive to that big goal. That stretch goal with your horse isn’t what gets you going. You love your relationship with your horse without the added pressure of a stretch goal.

For me, I’m stretching into 2020. I haven’t pushed myself in the riding arena for the last few years because my focus was elsewhere (aka growing my business!) but this year I’m feeling the energy and drive come back to my riding. It feels so fun!

Here are 5 ways to step into your potential:

1. Make a plan.

I know this sounds so basic, but many times you don’t reach your stretch goals because you simply didn’t plan to stretch. Horse sports are complicated, which makes them fun/intriguing/challenging, but you need to make a plan for two athletes – yourself and your horse. Map it out!

2. Hire a coach, or better yet, coaches.

Stretching means you’re going where you’ve never gone. So how do you expect to know how to get there, or what to do once there? A coach helps you navigate the unknown, gain skills to move toward your goal, and keep you on track with your plan. They can also help with a little motivation and inspiration when times are tough.

Think about your areas of focus to meet your goal. You need to gain riding skills, but you also need to train yourself off the horse to be an athlete.

Riding coach – this person helps you in the saddle. You take riding lessons, get help with training plans, and do your “horse stuff” with this individual.

Fitness/nutrition coach(es) – these resources help you out of the saddle to create and execute on your fitness and nutrition plans. There are options here ranging from 1:1 coaching to group coaching to online programs. Decide what works best for you, and your budget, then find a program and stick to it!

Mental skills coach – this is for mindset training to help you get focused, deal with fear or anxiety, or train your mind much like you train your body. Again, you can find 1:1 coaching, group programs, or online DIY classes. Whatever option you pick, consistently do the work!  

3. Make your goals public.

Tell the world you plans. You’ll feel a little pressure to step up and follow through. When we’re reaching for something just out of reach, sometimes we need a little pressure to push past the fear of failure.

4. Find a “goal partner” for accountability.

Look at your training plan. It’s going to be multi-faceted because it will include training you + horse, training just yourself (fitness/nutrition/mindset) and conditioning work for your horse. Is there an area you struggle with? Perhaps riding your horse is the easy part, but eating healthy food is a struggle. Find a friend who will be your goal partner. You can help each other be accountable. As backwards as it seems, being accountable to another person is often easier than being accountable to ourselves (but that’s a whole other topic!).

5. Create a tracking tool.

What gets measured gets managed.  After you create a training plan, use a weekly tracking tool to monitor if you’re following your plan. Research shows that humans are optimists. We over-estimate how well we follow through with action plans (oops!). Often times if you’re not making progress, it’s because you’ve skipped one to many training sessions, workouts, or meal prep Sundays. The good news is this is a simple problem to correct.

I’ve provided a tracking tool you can download HERE.

This is one I use that aligns with the Consistent Athlete Commitments I teach in Equestrian Athlete Fitness365. It helps you monitor riding your horse, your fitness plan, eating healthy, and mental training, which are all the elements to be an effective athlete.

Start your 7-day free trial of Equestrian Athlete Fitness365 and get a 12-month training system for your body and mind. You also get membership in the Consistent Equestrian Coaching Club to help you stay focused on your fitness and weight management goals. Click here to learn more and sign up today. I’d love to see you there! 

Let’s Connect

Sign up for my email list and get the Equestrian Athlete Weekly Checklist. This tool helps you track actions that support being an equestrian athlete. It’s a great tool to help you work off the horse so you can be better on your horse!


Hi, I’m Shelley!

My exercise philosophy is simple – consistency beats perfection, strength should radiate from our core outward, and short, high intensity workouts are awesome. I’ve been a physical therapist for almost 20 years and see so many people struggle with consistency, accountability, and injury. Intrepid Wellness was born out of a desire to help people gain confidence, embrace the importance of fitness, and go after their goals.