Goal-Setting with FR Mentorship Clients

goal setting FR mentor.jpg

As we prepare to close out 2018, it’s a natural time for reflection on the past year. What did we achieve? Did we meet our goals? How did we grow and mature?

In January 2018, Kate and I launched The Freelance Remuda Mentorship Program, and we worked with a stellar group of mentor clients. It’s been one of my greatest joys this year watching these driven horsewoman drill down on their freelance goals and then make them happen.

So rather than Kate and I share our own reflections, we wanted to turn the reins over to a couple of our clients, and shine a light on their journeys. We’re so proud of y’all, and we look forward to what 2019 has to bring you!

Kelli Kissack

Kelli was our first client to book with us, and she’s worked with us on the Masters Mentorship program all year. She’s seen outstanding success already, with her work being featured as the cover story for Western Runway.


2018 Goals:

My goal was to “relaunch” my freelance career. After freelancing for three years during and after college, I took a marketing job in the tech industry. While I enjoyed my time in tech, I missed writing about my favorite topics - horses and the western way of life. I knew I wanted to return to freelancing, and I wanted to do it very well. My specific goals in working with Kate and Abigail were to refine + improve my writing style, sharpen my story pitching skills, and grow my knowledge of working with larger publications.

How did you work to achieve them?

My first step was to enroll in a mentorship with the Freelance Remuda. I firmly believe in surrounding myself with people who are doing what I want to do, so signing up for the opportunity to learn from Kate and Abigail was an easy decision. Secondly, I worked towards my publishing goals by building relationships with regional and national publications. Even though 2018 was a crazy year of life spent rodeoing with my husband and moving our home across the country, I am thrilled to have five stories published in December in great publications.

How did the Freelance Remuda help you?

Too many ways to count. The personal mentorship sessions are invaluable. The community and support in the Facebook group is a daily motivator. I always listen to the podcasts with a notebook nearby. Kate and Abigail have created something that was sorely needed in the equine media community.


Can you tell us about goals you reached this year that you're proud of?

The highlight of 2018 is having my story about Shada Brazile appear as the feature story for Western Runway magazine. I also landed a bi-monthly equine column in my community’s newspaper, the Belle Fourche Beacon, and I have four other articles coming out in December. This year was challenging for our family, and I’m proud that even though there were times I wanted give up on writing professionally, I didn’t quit. A dream is worth chasing and so is a career I love.       

2019 Goals:

Build wonderful working relationships with publications I’ve admired for years and write as much as I can! My pitch list is quite long, and I can’t wait to get these ideas out into the world. I also plan to continue taking online writing courses to improve my craft, and I plan to launch a podcast in March called Way Out West with Kelli Kissack.

Anything else you'd like to share?

Thank you, Abigail and Kate, for the work you’re doing!

Anna Sochocky

Anna was our very first video call, and we had a wonderful Lesson Session with her. She took our advice and ran with it! Her story about packhorse librarians was published in Untacked Chronicle of the Horse. A second piece on buffalo soldiers was published in the January/February 2019 issue of same magazine.We appreciate her taking the time to share her thoughts as she’s healing from a broken wrist.

2018 Goals:

1. Refine areas of focus for writing to three targets: Horses, health, and history 

2. Major revision of my Equi/libris website

3. Have three pitches accepted for publication that meet target areas

How did you work to achieve them?

To achieve these goals I reviewed my writing strengths, where I struggled, and where I felt most natural on the page. I realized that my strengths were not in medical topics, but were in areas where I could tell a story of history or in a portrait of some sort. My interview skills need improvement, which I am working on.

Can you tell us about goals you reached this year that you're proud of?

I am proud that I met my three stated goals with the help of the Freelance Remuda, fellow American Horse Publication conference attendees, (AHP session speaker and journalist/professor) Jacqui Banaszynski , and self-reflections.

2019 Goals:

1. Build a social media schedule I can stick with

2. Focus on building my strengths in writing about historical topics and portraits of people working with horses to help others

3. More creative personal writing about how horses have played central role in my health.

Brandyl Calley

Brandyl spent six sessions with us through the Masters Mentorship honing her skill set and freelance routines, building her portfolio and website and developing pitches. She’s since seen her work published in several magazines.



For 2018, I really wanted to get a solid understanding about freelancing and what all it would take to be successful. It also had been a while since I had written stories for magazines, so I wanted to build my confidence back up. By the end of the year, I also wanted to have a story idea published or in the works to be published. Thanks to the Freelance Remuda, I was able to have the confidence to reach out to magazines to pitch my ideas and reached my goal of being published.


Between the online meetings with Abigail and Kate, listening to their podcasts and doing some online research that they recommended, I was able to make it to my goals. I honestly did not know it would happen as fast as it did.

How did the Freelance Remuda help you?

The Freelance Remuda helped me in a few ways. Although I had written for an equine magazine before, it had been a long time since then. I was very nervous and timid about writing again. Sometimes when you go too long without writing, you start to lose faith in yourself. Abigail and Kate worked with me through hands-on assignments and guided me back to believing in myself. They were also very knowledgeable about all the business aspects of freelancing, and provided tools to help me become more organized. Not to mention they had great recommendations about pitches and who to pitch them to, which was very helpful.. 

IMG_2567 copy.jpg

Can you tell us about goals you reached this year that you're proud of?

The biggest goal that I am proud of is being published in two magazines that I grew up reading as a little girl: Horse Illustrated and Young Rider.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I just can’t thank Abigail and Kate with the Freelance Remuda enough. They are professional, knowledgeable, trustworthy, kind, and so helpful. I don’t know if I could’ve accomplished my goals this year without them 

Alison Armstrong Rehnborg

Allison worked with us on our Futurity Mentorship (Plus a Lesson Session), and she is killing it as an equine media freelancer—-her work has appeared in several publications and she received an AHP Equine Media award this past summer.

Blog Photo.JPG

2018 Goals:

Inspired by the Freelance Remuda podcast, I wanted to branch out and develop some new freelance clients to expand my business. I also wanted to work on developing pitches for articles and start including photography along with my writing. I’d always felt a little intimidated by the idea of getting into photography, so I thought 2018 would be the year to dive in! And finally, I wanted to attend the AHP Conference in Maryland and make some new friends in the industry.

How did you work to achieve them?

My first step was to book the Futurity Mentorship course with Abigail and Kate. I knew what my goals were, but I wasn’t quite sure how to pursue them on my own. With their help, I was able to start identifying specific, concrete goals for the year and start a manageable plan to achieve them. After my mentorship course ended, I kept working on my goals: researching magazines online, subscribing to a few and reading them each month so that I could get a feel for their style and substance, and developing my own ideas for pitches. I went to the AHP conference determined to meet people and had a wonderful time connecting with my tribe and learning new things. Then when it came time to branch into the photography, I took a leap of faith (and booked another quick session with Abigail and Kate!) and met my goal. 

 How did the Freelance Remuda help you? 

 Kate and Abigail are experts in their field, but they’re also friendly, approachable, and encouraging. They want to do well, but they also wanted me to do well – and that matters. Their support, combined with their expertise, helped me decide what I wanted to do, equipped me to do it, and then made me believe I could do it. The Remuda Facebook group is also a great way to learn from other freelancers in the field, get answers to questions, and feel connected to a larger whole. 


I pitched, wrote, and photographed a training feature for a new client, which will be published in the spring of 2019. That’s a huge goal that I still can’t believe I conquered. I can’t wait to see it in print form, but until then, I get the joy of knowing I accomplished one of my most intimidating goals. I also pitched some stories that were accepted by publications and are already on my writing roster for 2019. That feels great!

 2019 Goals:

More photography! I also plan to merge my non-equine videography skills into my freelance equine journalism. And of course, keep writing.

Anything else you'd like to share? 

I once had a professor say in college that anyone in the horse industry who isn’t connected to an association of some kind is doomed to fail. While I spent a long time in my career proving him wrong, I will say this: you won’t fail if you don’t belong to an association, but it’s a whole lot more fun succeeding if you’re doing it alongside people who love to do what you do and cheer you on. 

Abigail Boatwright