“I thrive off having something to work towards, although perhaps it would be better described as having a target to chase”

Sarah Johnstone tackles the tricky topic of confidence in this month’s vlog and reassesses her goals for the season with the help of EquiRatings.

Hi everyone! I hope that your season is going well now that we have passed the mid-way point. It’s been a very busy month for me, with all things ‘go’ business-wise, plus I’ve been out and about on Woody a fair bit training and competing.
 
This month I’m going to talk about goals. I set goals for everything in life, including my riding, my business and my personal life. I thrive off having something to work towards, although perhaps it would be better described as having a target to chase as I’m always going at 100mph. For me, goals work best when they are achievable, measurable and time-bound – this means that you haven’t made them impossible, you’ve made it specific and you’ve set a timeframe.
 
I like to re-evaluate my season at this point and reflect on how I’ve got on and what changes I need to make, then edit my goals moving forward. My original goal this season was to stick at BE100 (not move back up to Novice again) and make it through the season with Woody staying sound following 18 months off with a tendon injury. However, now we are four events in (BE events only) and he is sound and feeling mega, so it’s time to re-evaluate.
 
EquiRatings came up with a fantastic formula to calculate how your season is going so far by measuring your power score and your reliability rate. Your power score is an average of your three best finishing scores, so mine is 35.5 + 35.8 + 37.5, divided by three, which equals 36.2. I instantly recognise that this is much higher than in previous years; 2017 was 31.9 and 2016 was 32.0 (Woody didn’t compete in 2018).
 
We’ve had four out of four clear cross country rounds, therefore our reliability rate for cross country is 100 per cent. I know my goal needs to include lowering my dressage score as cross country isn’t upping the score and we’ve only had two poles down this season so far. 
 
So, my new goals are:
1. To maintain my reliability rate of 100 per cent on the cross country.
2. To get my dressage back down to a 32 or lower.
 
I’m going to stick to my original goal and not move up to Novice, even though Woody is jumping better than ever. However, with my reliability rate in mind, I’ve scheduled a BE105 run in September – a meet-in-the-middle solution. To achieve my dressage goal, I need to spend more time riding actual tests, and getting him consistent and flowing into each movement as this is often mentioned in the judge’s comments. Therefore, I’m going to ride through a different test once a week to improve our rhythm in the white boards.
 
We’ve only got two events left before we have a break and come back for some winter (surely not already?!) show jumping and dressage. 
 
Best of luck for August eventing!