HI Spy: What are Your Riding Goals?


What are your riding goals?Riding instructors are often greeted by new students who proclaim at their first lesson that they dream of riding in the Olympics. Of course, a more realistic goal would be to try and win a local, regional or national medal. But there’s nothing wrong with lofty aspirations, right? Dreams are what compel us to climb back in the saddle even after a fall or a rough day. Only through determination and desire will we eventually jump that oxer, perfect the canter or remain calm when our horse spooks at the neighbor’s barking dog for the hundredth time.

As riders, we all aspire to reach some level of achievement. Often it’s a measurement of personal success, such as conquering the fear that comes after a riding accident or learning to be more pro-active in dealing with a horse’s aggressive behavior. Other riders seek more tangible rewards. They set their sights on winning a blue ribbon in an equitation class or qualifying for the finals at a year-end show. Finally there are the very practical goals that just need a little bit of fine-tuning to make them a reality. For example, an avid trail rider may be determined to get her hydrophobic horse accustomed to crossing water. A good dose of patience coupled with some wisdom from a veteran trail rider or a knowledgeable clinician will help her achieve that.

So what is your goal? What’s the one thing that you dream of achieving as a rider? We’d like to know, whether it’s something connected to a particular horse or an aspiration you have as an individual. Share your riding goal with your fellow readers here at www.HorseIllustrated.com. Just click on Submit a Comment below.

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  1. I want to one day compete in the Madison Square Garden National Horse Show one day in dressage. Only right now, I’m still learning to perfect my canter…

  2. My ultimate goal is to be as good a rider as one of my friends she is the best rider ever hands down. There is no one on the planet that can ride better than her. I am not kidding!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    there never was & never will be
    another rider as good as she

  3. I’m in college to major in Equestrian Science, so I have to take a riding class. Right now, I am in Fundamentals of Huntseat. I have been riding for 10 years, but I was forced to take a break last year, so my riding position is way off. So I want to be able to become a better rider than I was last year, & I hope that I will stop tilting my head while I ride!

  4. My goal is to be able to…well….i guess be able to ride a horse that is my perfect match and be able to know how he is going to react..weird, huh? but that is my goal because we would be so in sync that i wouldn’t have to worry about having my horse be forced to do something…just an opinion….

  5. My riding goal is to know my horse. I would like to be able to ride my horse and stay calm when she spooks but I would also like to know what she spooks at and what scares her the most. I would love to ride my horse in a rodeo here in town or in other rodeos around the state. I would like to compete in pole bending, barrel racing, or the keyhole race. Winning is not one of my dreams (although it would be nice!), but having fun and getting to know my horse better is my main goal.

  6. My riding goal is first, be able to my my faveorite horse Heaven. I would love to show her at the louisville Saddlebred horse show. I also would love to be able to canter Heaven in nearby fields. I lastly want to give Heaven the best life.

  7. first off, GREAT article…
    My goal is to learn English riding, and one day, jumping and eventing! My horse is the ideal eventer, but I have no knowledge of english riding.I am starting lessons soon!:)

  8. First and foremost, I would want to train my horse to be the perfect horse for everything that everyone loved. And I would want me and my horse to be absolutely trutsting of each other in any situation. Lastly, I would like us to become a good barrel racing team.

  9. My goal is to work with my horse enough to go to a jumper show in our area and get through it with out any big mistakes. After that we can build up to bigger and better goals…like going to an event!!!

  10. I have a young paint gelding that I’ve been working with. I hope to be able to get him competing eventually in both barrel racing and reining.

  11. This is my last year riding in the interscholastic equestrian association and i would give anything to ride at nationals this year but i dont know if i am a good enough rider but i am determined to get there!

  12. One big goal of mine is to be able to ride and control a horse with no bridle or saddle; a video of Stacy Westfall’s saddle-less, bridle-less musical freestyle inspired me beyond words. Now I’m entirely determined to reach that goal someday, no matter what.

  13. I’m on my university’s equestrian team, and since being accepted onto it one of my biggest goals is to get a first place ribbon in the hunter equitation classes at the shows. The classes are always huge, with at least twenty competitors, so it is definitely a pretty big achievement!

  14. Go Diego Go, my 7 year old QH Appendix gelding, has a very fitting name to his personality. He loves to race right through his bit and take off the minute he doesn’t feel you on his mouth. Although my overall goal with Diego is to land a spot on the Texas A&M equestrian team, my current goal with him is simply to ride at a trot/canter at a consistent pace on the buckle of the reins. One step at a time.

  15. I ride English, but when I’m with my horse, I ride her bareback only because we both like to get tuckin’ up with and get riding. I would like to ride her over a jump bareback. That is my main riding goal for my whole life, and I have tons of time to get it right since I’m only 13.

  16. One day I would like to be on a collage riding team and win a championship in jumping. I want to one day win a gold medal in the olympics, but unlike the little kids who clim that in their first lesson than quit riding i’m going all the way.

  17. My goal in riding is to be one with my horse. I had that relationship with my first horse years ago. I just had to think something and we did it. Now I need to build up my strength after several injuries and a few missed years of riding in order to have that wonderful feeling again. Nothing would be better than achieving that.

  18. My goals for my riding career are to have successful training for my new recently retired race horse for the upcoming show season and receive a ribbon. That would make all the long hours and hard work I’m going to be putting in this cold winter way more than worth it and prove that our bond is strong and we work well together.

  19. My most important goal as a rider would probably to better understand the horses I ride and quickly observe what differences I’m going to have to account for in every new horse that I ride. My long-term goal is to show my mare, breed her, and train the foal.

  20. My goal as a rider this year is to perfect my equitation at the trot and possibly canter. I also want to do my first 4-H show next summer. I think it’s a fairly reasonable goal for my age and riding experiance!

  21. My goal is to ride three times a week after being off for 5 months due to a stress fracture of the hip and broken toes from my horse. No other “big” goals, just get out there and ride.

  22. i would like to begin showing OHA (Oregon Horsemen assiciation) it’s circuit showing. i would LOVE to ROM in western pleasure and possibly see about showmanship and halter, since my horse isn’t registered. we could try for an english one, eventually. but my main goal is to show on the OHA circuit and possibly ROM in something. 🙂 if little miss Dayzi was willing. 🙂

  23. I am taking lessons and working on my balance, so I can be a better rider for my horse. Also do some competative trail riding next year. Those are the goals for now.

  24. My short term goals are to finish training my 16 year old Saddlebred this winter. He was never really finished when he was young so we have been working hard on ground work and will begin under saddle within the next couple weeks. Long terms goals are to get him in shape for endurance riding. We both love to be outside and I can’t wait to start training next summer!

  25. I am a beginner rider in the final 1/3 of my life. My goal is to ride my paint horse Lady commpetantly and to develop a mutual respect between us. Nothing fancy,just a good trail ride and some arena work.

  26. My goal is the win the Maclay Final. It’s a bigg goal because I’m only eligible for three more years and I don’t have a horse of that caliber, but I’m still working as hard as I can!

  27. My riding goals don’t include medals, ribbons, championships or anything materialsitic in the horse world. My goals include having a connection and communication with the horse I ride and understanding him at a deeper level. To me, that’s more important than a ribbon!

  28. My riding goal is to train my 17 month old filly to be a willing, versatile partner, capable of participating in multiple activities to the best of her ability, and enjoy doing these things with me. And so far her attitude tells me she will.

  29. I’m currently retraining my ex-racer for the hunter ring. My goal is for us to be competitive next year in the schooling shows that are held where I board him. Can’t wait for the day we bring home his first blue ribbon! Maybe we’ll even try for a year end award!

  30. Ribbons can show how good you are, but sometimes the strips of fabric don’t matter so much. Of course I would love to be on the U.S. Olympic Dressage Team, and to win the upcoming Championship, but probably my one true goal is to be able to ride dressage so beautifully not through shere force like some riders do, but by understanding the aids and you’re horse, and that is a goal that sometimes takes a lifetime to full fill.

  31. I just want to try to learn as much as I possibly can about horses and riding. I am training a mare right now, and she’s come so far already and I want to see how far she can go. Her canter has improved so much and it just keeps getting better and better. Im working on getting her to set her head and teaching her not to rush jumps. She has so much potential and Im so proud of her.

  32. Well, i look forward to getting my arabian/thoroughbred cross mare to actually canter like she’s suppose to. We’re still working on it:).

  33. My biggest riding goal is to take my mare,Jasmine,to the APHA World show.I wouldn’t even worry about getting a ribbon.Just riding into the ring of a big show like that,on a horse that I trained,would be a major achievement for me.

  34. I have two goals My first goal is to get to the American eventing championshipds by the time I’m sixteen. My second goal; is to ride at Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event!

  35. My riding goal for time being is to achieve a proper sitting trot. I bounce like crazy! For farther down the road, I would like to train young horses.

  36. One of my top goals is to either take home the blue ribbon is horsemanship. Another top goal of mine is to eventually train and break my own horse. I have started working on it but it will take awhile to accomplish.

  37. My goal in my riding life is to show and place in Las Vegas or Scottsdale with a purebred Arabian dream horse, especially in a dressage division. Arabians are one of the most unique and able horses, and the feeling to be able to perform with one of them as partner of my own would be unparalleled. Even taking part in such a glamorous competition at such a demanding level in a sport and with a breed I am so passionate about would exceed my wildest aspirations. We equestrians are diehard dreamers who hold to our hopes and find purpose in everything we do. Ride on!

  38. My goal is to be a good enough rider that is confident & talented enough to own my own horse oneday. After that, the skies the limit! 🙂

  39. I would really like to work with my new six year old this year and be able to compete him next year. He is a great horse and it would be great if he could be confident enough to jump 3″3 fences. My trainer thinks we can do it 🙂

  40. My goal is to get my horse Winston in shape and get the courage to do some local shows. Winston is a rescue and I am really exited to ride him more often.

  41. I’ve been riding Lucky Penny for five years straight. My riding instructer had me begin a jumping career as Lucky soon got very bored and stubborn with dressage-I didn’t think a horse could get bored of dressage because it requires alot of work.But after five years of the same competition,my riding instructor said that both my horse and I looked bored,and jumping would perk us up.I have won two local huntseat classes in
    Mass.My goal is to try our hardest to win or at least enter the olympics.

  42. I have finally given up riding my 30 year old gelding and he is enjoying his time at leisure. But my goal now is to get my Paint mare, who is fairly green, to remain calm under the saddle for trail riding. This evening I gave her a first lesson in spinning in a circle. She did quite well.

  43. I am an older rider, back in the saddle after a 20 year absence. I want to feel confident enough in my horse, and my riding that I can go to a show or on a trail ride without thinking about all the awful things that could happen. I am so fortunate in my steady horse that she allows me to concentrate on improving my riding and not worrying about what she will do. I love being back in the saddle and owning a horse again. My most ambious goal is to compete in dressage again, and to ride the trails without fear.

  44. My goals may be small patatoes to some people, but big aspirations to me. I finally fullfilled my life long dream of getting my own horse at the age of thirty. I quickly realized it wasn’t just get on and hit the trails, when I got bucked off. I’ve been working with a trainer to get rid of Sadie’s little mare tantrums, like bucking and spooking and to gain confidance in myself. My goal is to be able to trust each other enough to ride out on those trails, whether it be with a friend or all by ourselves. I just want to enjoy each other’s company and see the world with my best friend on four legs.

  45. My goals would be to spend more time riding my horses, and to play more horseback games with my brother and sister. I also would really love to be able to ride my 8 year old mare, Cheyenne, bridleless!

  46. I want to be the best rider I can be for my horse. If I can work hard to do that, he is going to work hard for me .And then we will be a team.That is to me , much more important than a blue ribbon.

  47. I’ve always wanted to be the best, my goal is to one day make it to the Olympics. I know this is a little far fetched but if your gonna dream, why not go all the way? I’m still at the bottom of the eventing world and when I went out to buy a horse to help take me to the top, I fell in love with a big green horse with tons of potential but the dangerous habit of ditching his rider. But wev’e come so far in justa couple of months and I know we have what it takes to be the best. Even if I never reach my goal it’s worth trying. After all its not worth winning if you don’t have to fight for it!

  48. I would really like to be short listed for the Olympics in eventing, but my first goal is to keep my hands still at the sitting trot.

  49. My biggest riding goal actually isn’t just about me, it’s about my horse, Cherokee, and me. I want to reach a point of understanding and respect with my horse where there is a complete trust on each side, and we’re able to work together as partners, and as a team. He’s only a year and a half old, so we have a long road ahead of us, but I know with alot of patience, this is a goal that we can both reach!

  50. my goal is to get better at barrel racing and buy a really good horse to do it on. Right now my crazy, lazy mare isn’t cutting it

  51. The biggest goal I would like to achieve with my horse is to ride her at a trot confidently. We were progressing very nicely when she whirled on me and bolted, fell off on purpose and broke two ribs. Back to square one!

  52. My riding goals, are to be able to make it to the World championship in saddle seat riding. But first i want to buy my favorite horse heaven. I then want to save saddlebreds from the saddlebre rescue and unwanted horses.

  53. My greatest goal as a rider would be to be a good horseman (or rather, horsewoman). When I meet a new horse, I want to be able to understand him/her. I also want to be able to ride like a professional — confidently and steadily. When I ride, I want to feel the horse, sense his/her feelings or reactions.
    Winning a blue ribbon isn’t as important as being connected with your horse.
    God created horses for his glory and for our pleasure. We can enjoy God’s creation better when we understand them.

  54. Well, first I would like to be better with my horse on the ground as well as in the saddle so I would like to learn how to join up with my horse. In the saddle I would like to get really good at posting and be able to keep my body in the right position to encourage my horse to keep a steady paced trot.

  55. My riding goal is to compete with my MFT filly in endurance. We have competed at the fox trotter world show, but my filly has WAY too much energy for a regular competition class and gets bored, and since I want what is best for her we are expanding our horizons to hopefully find her perfect job. Hopefully this will bring us together and make us a stronger team. It doesnt matter what you do with your horse, as long as you and your horse enjoy it!!

  56. Just being able to ride again would be my ultimate goal. My knees have gotten so bad that I can’t ride at all. It was unfair to my horse who was fit and anxious to go on long trail rides like we used to and I sold him to a family who loves him and spoils him just like I did. Now he gets to go out on the trails as much as he likes with a girl who adores him. He takes very good care of her. I miss him terribly, but know he is happy.

  57. Earlier this year, my goal was to ride without fear, or at least get rid of the unreasonable fear I had. Today, my goal is to enter a local trail competition, just to see if we can do it. At 53, it would be a whole new experience.

  58. Right now my goal is to be able to ride my horse tackless (by the end of winter)and improve my bond with him. I know it’ll take a lot of work but getting there is the fun part!

  59. My goal is to train my 4 yr old Paint Mare who was rescued last winter from starvation and neglect. She had never been properly trained or ridden, so I’ve been teaching her ground manners and respect. She is a quick learner with a gentle personality and has accepted the saddle & bridle without complaint. I’ve taken her on two local trail rides this summer and never once did she panic or bolt . My goal is to eventually show her in Western Pleasure, Trail classes and Trail riding.

  60. My goal is to better understand my horse. I just met her recently and still don’t Know that much about her. I think that it is important to know what your horse best responds to. Some horses respond better to clucks, others taps, and yet others pushes.

  61. My ultimate goal as a rider is to learn how to joust! And I don’t just mean the training skills that most competitions consist of now (riding against a quintain and using rings to test accuracy) but to actually joust against another person, just like in the Renaissance Faires!

  62. I’m a junior rider and ride up to fourth level movements on my Dutch Warmblood and plan to show First Level and Second Level next year. I really want to be a trainer and show up to at least the Intermediare levels by the time I’m 25. I know it won’t happen on this gelding, my present horse, but it’s good to dream!!! 🙂

  63. My riding goal is to achieve a connection with my horse that noone else feels. I want to be able to sit in the saddle and understand every twitch and movement from the horse below me, know their meaning. I want to ride that horse and know exactly how to ask it to do exactly what I want. I want two minds, basically, to become one heart. One single, outstanding animal that can soar above expectations.

  64. My ridding goal would to be able to help horses that have behavioral problems easily. Being able to save a horse from being put-down or being able to help retrain rescue horses so they could be adopted. Mainly being able to form a close bond with any horse and understand them and help them. Almost like a horse whisperer!

  65. I want to be able to jump anything! And to compete in Show Jumping, Dressage, Reining, Cross Country, Barrel Racing, ect. I also want to be able to know whatever what my horse is thinking and how to ride bareback! I basically want to do anything you can do with a horse!!!!!!!!

  66. My goal is to own my own horse and do trail riding and enter my horse in the local fairs. I still do riding even if I don’t won a horse. I have mastered walking, trotting, and loping and I want to master and gain confidence to gallop. I am 13 and will own a horse by the time I am 14.

  67. My short-term goals are to sane-ify my Arab and work on consistency. Long-term goals include jumping and showing more with my new horse. With the pony, I want to keep working on line-driving and hopefully get a cart behind her before 2010.

  68. I just rescued a appaloosa filly that is a year and a half old. I hope that in the future we can make it to the Appaloosa World show. Knowing that i did the training myself and we got that far would make me happy even if we dont get a ribbon.

  69. I want to improve my greenie’s manners, and since he is still young, take him to the Appaloosa World Show someday in a Hunter Jumper division (if there is one?)

  70. I really hope to make it to the Hampton Classic with my Hanoverian. I know he has the potential, and we’re working on 4’6″ers. I want to make sure that i push my heels REALLY down, too. There’s always room for improvement.

  71. I want to keep my horse sound and make it to the NBHA Ohio state finals. I would also like to develop a stronger bond with my horse and be able to ride him bridle less in an enclosed arena.

  72. My riding goal is to get my horse to jump even though I ride western. He is frightened by the jumps. This summer, when I go trail riding, I want to try to jump some small logs. That is my goal summer for riding.

  73. I am thrilled to be starting dressage lessons soon. I am also interested in doing some low level jumping. My main goal is to become a better rider for my horse and to find a few things that we both really enjoy that we can both excel at.

  74. My horsey dream is to complete an endurace ride. It doesn’t matter if we come in last, I would just like to finish with my horse.

  75. Oh, this may sound crazy, but I want to get my misbehaved but adored western mare to the jumping courses… lots of work ahead, I guess, but it’ll all be worth it.

  76. one day i want to jump right now i am focusing on easier shows but my real goal is i want to be jumping cross rails in 2 summers of course some of you are jumping so high already but i am focusing on my horse and my position right now but i hope to compete in jumping or just to jump one day

  77. My dream is to be able to master all dicsiplines even side saddle! My mom always says: “You aren’t a good rider until you master all dicsiplines.”

  78. My dream is to ride in a Mustang show where adopters can see my Mustang at work and watch the brillance and beauty of the animals that I hope they will give a home and love forever. I know I love Mustangs! I do not care if I win, only that the wonderful, spirited horses find there “Home on the Range”

  79. I want to compete at prelim with my Andalusian/Arabian Carino. When I bought him in November he wasn’t even cantering and now we are about to show at BN. It would be amazing to compete at that level on a horse I trained.

  80. I have been horse crazy as long as i remember altough i just started riding about one year.I love it. I really want to win a local or regional jumping show. My riding instuctor will probably begin teaching me this month or next (i cant wait). I i become a good enough ride i might go for a national show and then the olymipics. If i cant jump then i will try reining but jumpining is so much more ME. Well, those are my dreams and i hope with all my heart they come true soon!!!

  81. My riding goals are to be a jumper and barrel racer. I know that your spost to stick with one discipline but I love them both! And I also want to beable to get my own horse soon so I can go to shows and because I’v always wanted one!

  82. My horse goal would be to go on rides all the time without having any problems with my horse,Patty.Once that happens I’ll start to look at barrels and maybe Rodeo Queen!

  83. The one thing I dream of achieving is being 100% connected with my horse. We are mostly now, but we are still working out the kinks. Even if this never happens it will not affect the 100% love between me and my horse Little Bit!

  84. My riding goals are to be able to own my own horse and to jump like my trainer. Her and her Grand Prix horse are amazing jumping about 4,6 at the least. I admire her so much.

  85. Although I don’t participate in any equine classes, one of my top riding goals would be to become an experienced barrel racer. I would also like to train horses and understand them too.


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