It’s the end of December… time for the holidays, for festivities, for being together with friends and family. It’s also the perfect time to reflect on the year past and think about the beautiful and difficult times you’ve been through with your horse.
Did you learn from your horse? What did you achieve together? What do you regret? What made you happy? And how does your horse feel about it?
A yearly reflection is a very effective exercise in mindfulness. It will make you become more aware of your horse, of yourself and of your state of mind. You’ll learn what makes you happy and what doesn’t. It deepens the things you’ve already learned, and it will make you appreciate the year past even more, both the big and small things. It will make you more grateful.
This practice can also help you to set new goals for the year ahead. By looking back, you’ll reflect on how you want to continue, or how you might want to go in a new direction.
To help you, I’ve made a list of 44 reflective questions about the past year with your horse: questions about what you and your horse did together, what you’ve learned, what you’ve experienced and achieved.
I advise you to take your time, perhaps an hour or even more, because it’s best to write it all down. Don’t give answers only in your head but please take the time to write them all down, as writing can help you to focus. Documenting your answers also allows you to go back read it later, and it will be easier to set your goals for 2019 this way.
Reflective questions about 2018 (or any other year of course)
- If your horse could describe how he has experienced 2018 in 3 words, which words would he choose?
- Describe in 3 words how you’ve experienced your horse.
- Which new skills did you learn?
- Which new skills did your horse learn?
- In which activities (which training component, which exercises, etc.) did you put the most energy and why?
- What did you discover about yourself as a horse trainer?
- What did you discover about your horse?
- What problems/challenges did you overcome?
- What problems/challenges do you plan to overcome?
- What do you think could be the causes for these problems/challenges?
- Of all the things you’ve achieved, what fills you with the most pride? Why?
- What are you most thankful for? Why?
- What do you think your horse is most thankful for?
- What has been your favorite activity with your horse this year? Why?
- What has been difficult to do together with your horse this year? Why?
- What activities made your horse happy? Why do you think that is?
- During which activities did you see that your horse lost interest and motivation? Why do you think that is?
- How has your relationship with your horse changed? Are you happy with it or not?
- How has your training with your horse changed? Are you happy with it or not?
- What was the most touching moment together?
- What was the most thrilling moment together?
- What was the saddest thing you experienced with your horse?
- What was the funniest thing that happened with your horse?
- What was your biggest discovery?
- What compliment would you like to give your horse?
- What compliment would you like to give yourself?
- What little things together with your horse gave you the most day-to-day pleasure?
- What little things gave your horse the most day-to-day pleasure?
- How was your physical health this year? How do you think this affected your horse?
- How was your mental health? How do you think this affected your horse?
- How was your emotional health? How do you think this affected your horse?
- How were you able to develop yourself spiritually? How do you think this affected your horse?
- How was the physical, emotional and spiritual health of your horse this year (answer each level separately)? How did this affect you?
- Which thing did you do together for the first time ever in the past year?
- What was your biggest goal for 2018? Did you achieve it? Why or why not?
- What worries did you have that turned out to be unnecessary?
- What would you love to do again next year with your horse? Why?
- What regrets do you have and would like to do differently next year? Why?
- What activities got you into such a flow that you forgot any notion of time?
- What horse-related topics did you increase your knowledge on?
- From who, which book, which movie, which website…did you learn the most this past year?
- What new habits did you develop?
- What advice would you give to yourself for the new year?
- What advice would you give to your horse for the new year?
Take your time for this, because in my next blog article I will share some questions that can help you to set your 2019 goals. The answers you give to these reflective questions will be of great help!