This is how I plan my Equestrian Year for 2018

Being successful gives me so much joy! Let’s talk about ‘success’ for a moment. This is what is mean to me. Success is what you want to achieve, not what others want for you or wanting to achieve what others have achieved.
I think the best way to ‘measure’ success is 1) Only look at your own accomplishments and only 2) compare yourself with yourself. 3) Achieving goals that you’ve written down (so you can actually achieve them and the criteria are not changing all the time). 4) Having fun and enjoying the journey is a big part of success for me!



The year 2017 was very rocky for us: I was still recovering from the shock of Kyra’s diagnoses:  EMS (equine metabolic syndrome), while Kyra was still recovering from her laminitis attack and al the adjustments I had to make to keep her healthy.

That whole thing was a real bummer and influenced our training and lives in many ways. Well, it’s part of life and I still feel very successful considering the circumstances.

Trick your Brain

Today I looked back on my 2017 achievements so I can plan for 2018. Before I plan new goals I always want to give myself a head start and take the time to realize first what I already have accomplished.
In this way setting new goals will be very exciting, knowing that we will simply built upon the foundation we set in the past 8 years together!

How to look back on your accomplishments

I have 5 important sources that help me do this in 15 minutes:
  • My photo folders that I organized year + month, so I only had to peek into 2017 January, 2017 February and so on to see what we’ve done. I make pictures and/or a video of every accomplished goal.
  • My video folder that I organized the same way as my photo folders: 2107 Jan, 2017 Feb and so on.
  • My 2 training logbooks (one at home on my pc and the one in the barn in my tack locker).
  • My Jar of Success. I did this in 2014 and 2015 and forgot all about it, but now I remember how much fun it is I will restart!

A few of my 2017 goals we have accomplished


January:  I taught Kyra to ‘hug me’. A nice trick training exercise from the book Trick Training, written by Jain Brand. Thanks Jain!

Kyra cantered on the long reins over one side of arena. A huge improvement!

February: We accomplished our shittiest goal ever (house training my horse).

I taught Kyra to trot a figure 8 around two barrels.

I mounted Kyra at liberty (=without tack, watch the video here)._house_training_horses_hippologic

March: I taught Kyra to rock back and forth as preparation for a seesaw and the levade.

We worked really hard on diminishing Kyra’s resource guarding in her paddock around food and in the arena (where I am the resource). Maxine Easey from Horse Charming was a great help. Riding is so much easier and relaxed without the frustration and anxiety of Kyra under saddle.

April: We worked on better behaviour with the farrier. We still had to polish the goal behaviour, now I found a good farrier everything goes so much smoother! Thank you, Keith Dixon.

May: This month was all about teaching Kyra not to crowd me when I bring her food. This is just an advanced way of the Key Lesson ‘Table Manners’.

June: Vacation time for Kyra!

July: We participated in a positive reinforcement clinic from Shawna Karrash from On Target Training and Connection Training. We practised on the advanced level of Key Lesson Patience. Wow, that was so helpful! At first it felt like doing a step back in training, but once we fixed that hole in our training we skyrocketed forward in everything else we did! Thank you Shawna!

August: We practised some more cantering on the long reins.

September: On Facebook someone asked me for a video about how to teach your horse to ignore grass under saddle. So I made that video. A simple and very helpful exercise. The  ‘no grazing-exercise‘ still benefits me every day! Wow, so powerful!_frustration_in_training_horse_hippologic

October: I moved Kyra to another barn and my Key Lesson Patience was a lifesaver. Kyra was so nervous and stressed out, this exercise kept us both safe and gave us a lot of confidence!

I started offering the HippoLogic Clicker Challenge #1 online, so we had to practise for that and got to the ‘Red level’ (expert level).

I didn’t have much time to train because I was a speaker for three days at the Mane Event, the biggest horse expo in Canada. One of my personal goals.

November: We started riding in the indoor arena of our new barn and we are doing great.

We did many walks over the huge premises and it was awesome. We went to the dyke and enjoyed the most fantastic views. I can’t wait to ride there in Spring!

We also participated in the second HippoLogic Clicker Challenge and achieved the ‘Blue level’ (intermediate) which was great because I didn’t have much time to practise.

December: not yet started.

Besides this long list I achieved many small riding and husbandry goals too.

Now I have a list of almost all the things we achieved in 2017 and I can compare it with my long term goal list to see what the next logical step in training would be. Easypeasy.

Take a look at your long term goals

Look back and reflect: Are your old dreams still valid? Sometimes your goals change so every 6 months or once a year you have to check if your compass is still pointing in the right direction or if you need to adjust your course.


Now I see what I have accomplished in 2017 and compared it with all my long term goals I have clarity about my steps in 2018. I can start planning.

I will choose one trick training, one husbandry, one groundwork (long reining, work-in-hand, walk my horse in hand) and one riding goal each month.Set Your Equestrian Goals and Achieve them_HippoLogic

Share your thoughts!

How do you plan your year? What have you planned for you and your horse in 2018?

Please let me know in the comments. I’d love to read them and get inspired by your goals!

Happy Horse training!

HippoLogic.jpgSandra Poppema, B.Sc.
My mission is to improve Human-horse relationships by connecting equestrians with their inner wisdom (you know what is good for your horse if you look into your heart) and sharing the simple principles of learning and motivation. I offer online horse training courses to give you the knowledge and experience you need to train your own horse in a safe and effective way, that’s FUN for both you and your horse. Win-Win!
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1 thought on “This is how I plan my Equestrian Year for 2018

  1. Pingback: Set Your Goals and Achieve them in 2018! | HippoLogic

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