“Goals are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off the obstacles.” Yes, yes, I know that I’ve got it backwards. It’s supposed to be “obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off the goal.” But maybe backwards is right. Therein lies the conundrum.Obstacles are so useful at helping us to avoid pursuing our goals. How many times have you heard or have you said: I would love to …(fill in the goal)…. but I can’t because … (fill in the obstacle). Finances, dependent children, job pressures can all provide us with legitimate excuses (aka obstacles) that are valid reasons why we cannot attain our goals. Goals can be scary. Goals we publicly admit to are even scarier. Other people will know what we are aiming for. They will know if we don’t make it. AWK! So, bring on the obstacles to protect us from our goals. Obstacles do this so well that sometimes we tell people that we, ourselves, are the obstacle. “Well I’m just not good enough.” Or” I’m not the kind of person who can take on that kind of thing.”
The problem with allowing the obstacles to obscure our goals is that we wake up one day and find that the chance, the opportunity,is gone. With that in mind I have decided on my goals for this winter competition season. And yes, I will follow the SMART plan. Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Relevant and Time Bound.
My first goal is to ride the Intermediare 1 test. This test is the one that follows the Prix St. George test. I have already competed with Biasini at the PSG level so this is the logical next step. I have already started working on some of the exercises from this test at home with my coach Belinda Trussell and will continue to do that in my training in Florida where I have trained for the last eight years with Lou Denizard. I aim to be able to ride the test at a show in February if all goes to plan.
The Prix St. George and the Intermediare 1 are the two tests that make up what is known as the Small Tour. The Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special are the Big Tour and that is the level that is competed in the Olympics and World Equestrian Games. My next goal, my longer-term goal, is to compete in the Amateur Division in a CDI (Concours Dressage International). This is a Big Goal. BIG!
The amateur division has only been introduced recently as only professionals would normally compete at a CDI. A CDI is the Big Time with 5 very senior international judges sitting around the ring, a veterinary inspection before the competition begins where the horses must be jogged for the Ground Jury ( judges and a veterinarian) before they are allowed to compete and stabling is in a special restricted area with only those with permission and special armbands allowed into the stabling area. In a CDI the judges expect a high standard and even as an amateur I will have to look like a semi-professional to get decent marks from these judges.
As I said this is a Big Goal!
I will be working toward this goal over the winter as I will need to have qualifying scores to submit to my National Federation and request a “Permission to Compete”. Also horses competing in a CDI must have an International Equestrian Federation (FEI) passport to show they have been vaccinated and registered. Biasini already has one of these so that is already in place.
At all of my shows I will need a support team; someone who can assist me on the ground with some of the horse care ( feeding, stall mucking, hand walking, tack cleaning, water bucket filling etc.) my coach who will guide me through the warm up before the test and the debrief after the test, and my husband who will still love me no matter what my test scores will be.
Competing in a CDI is the goal for the future and it will be on the calendar for the next competition season. Finally I have enlisted the help of sport psychologist Dirk Stroda because I know that mental fitness is just as important as physical fitness. My eyes must remain firmly fixed on my goals. The obstacles will just have to step aside.