"A dream written down with a date becomes a goal. A goal broken down into steps becomes a plan. A plan backed by action becomes a reality."
I have no idea who wrote the above statement, but there is a lot of truth to it. I have always had a bucket list. Every year, I pick one or two things off the bucket list, and turn them into a goal. Because of that, I have accomplished a few things in my life, including traveling to various destinations, buying a house, and taking a cruise. Of course, writing "Laundress" was on that list, too.
Cams Lady and I waiting our turn at a Ranch Horse Show. After I saw this picture I decided
I needed to buy some longer jeans for riding!
Originally, this year's goal was to win a 4D barrel racing buckle. For those that aren't familiar with the "D" system of barrel racing, it was designed to give everyone a chance. Say the fastest horse and rider run the pattern around three barrels in 16.5 seconds. That will be the 1D time, and will win the 1D division. The 2D division will start at 17.0 seconds. The horse that hits 17.0, or comes the closest to that time above 17.0 will be the 2D winner. The 3D break will be at 17.5 seconds. The 4D break is a full second longer, at 18.5 seconds.
I teach goal setting to my alternative high school students. We use the SMART goal system. Essentially, we look at our goals and decide whether they are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time Bound. I got to looking at my goal, and thinking about all the flaws. What if they don't award a buckle at the end of the National Barrel Horse Association (NBHA) Wyoming District 2 series? They didn't last year. Year end awards were tack and other equipment. Barrel racing in the D system involves a bit of luck, too. It all depends on how you and your horse clock compared to how the 1D winner clocks.
I decided to modify my goal. My new goal is to clock in the 18 second range consistently throughout the season this year. I know what steps I need to take to reach that goal. My trainer has me loping circles on my horse, Cams Lady. We are working on circles of various sizes, and increasing our speed. We spiral in at a lope, and spiral out. We work on maintaining consistent circles around a single barrel. Again, those circles vary in size. We are also working on counter bending. (This is an exercise that increases the flexibility of the horse. Their front end moves around the hindquarters, enabling them to move smoothly around a bend.)
I would like to say I ride every day, but that is not realistic. I work full-time as a teacher. Today, I had an after-school parent meeting at 3:45. My husband is an instructor at the University of Wyoming. He teaches an evening class on Tuesday, so that meant having supper early. Sometimes life just gets in the way of our plans.
We will see what happens this summer. For now, my dream is written down. It is broken down into steps. I am doing my best to turn those steps into actions. I will keep you posted.
#Quarterhorse #barrelracing #goalsetting #SMARTgoals #NBHA #alternativehighschool #horsebackriding #teaching
Jennie Lawrence is the author of Soap Suds Row - The Bold Lives of Army Laundresses 1802 -1876. She also writes a regular column for African Violet Magazine, and has done freelance work. She has started to dabble in children's literature as well.