It's easy to get caught up in perfectionism. The kind that holds you back and makes you stop before you even start.
Take horse riding, for example. There are so many successful riders out there to compare ourselves to. They make it all look so easy. Their horses just cruise through their movements effortlessly and seemingly without a care. Everything just comes together or them - simple, smooth and fuss-free.
But don't be tricked into thinking that those riders didn't put in their dues long before we ever came on the scene. Invariably - the ones that are the most polished, the most prepared and the most perfect - are the ones who have put in countless hours and thousands of repetitions in the process of just getting " there", to the moment you are watching them.
So what can you do?
Recognize that the path is long but filled with joy and adventure. While you work with the long term in mind, identify what you can do in the short term.
Then just start. Figure out what you can do today. Make it easy enough - maybe just 5% more difficult than you want to - and just do it. Push through the exercise, no matter what the result. If you end up with a hollow horse, note the discomfort, and put effort into changing something so that it might become better in the shortest time possible. But still, give it a go.
Then take some time to rethink the situation.
- Find some help.
- Get an instructor.
- Read a book or two.
- Watch other people's lessons and clinic rides.
- Watch some good videos on YouTube.
- Talk to your friends and peers and see what works for their horses.
But there is no answer more critical than getting well-informed, educated feedback. What you think you feel might not be what it actually looks like. What you want might not be where you or your horse are ready to go. Horse riding is one of those things that always requires an eye on the ground, and an expert opinion can help you avoid reinventing the wheel. It might also help keep you safe and your horse happy.
In our yearning for instant gratification, we tend to want things to fall into place quickly and easily. Be willing to let go a little and allow yourself room to explore, make mistakes and grow. Your horse will benefit from every effort you put into yourself, and so will the horses you ride in the future.
However, you have to start somewhere.
Once you start, you will invariably take another step. And another. And soon enough, you'll find your way to places you never thought you could get to - and it all started with that first step.
So today, get off that computer, get out to the barn and do something. Your horse will appreciate it and you will be better for it. Start somewhere, and soon enough, you'll be amazed at what you can achieve!
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If you’d like a structured, but personal tool to set goals, take a look at the new Goal Setting for the Equestrian: A Personal Workbook. The pages are designed for you to set and keep track of your progress over the course of a year.
Included in the book:
- design your overarching goals
- long- and short-term planning,
- debrief your special events such as clinics or shows
- reflect on, plan and evaluate your goals
- sample goals and pages
The Workbook is available for instant digital download so you can print the pages right off your computer. There is also the option of a paperback version if you’d rather have a professionally bound book to hold in your hands.
Read more here:
When "Good Enough" Just Isn't Good Enough In Horseback Riding: What does it really take to improve?
7 Great Tips For Beginner Horse Riders: Here are a few ideas to help you navigate your way through your first steps (walk, trot and canter).
8 Ways To Help Your Horse Achieve His Highest Potential: Regardless of what we want to do with our horses, our first responsibility is always to the horse.
42 Ways to Learn, Play and Grow With Your Horse: Horses give to us in countless ways. We play, learn and grow with them, making horseback riding not merely a sport (which it truly is, like no other), but so much more.
Top 10 Ways to Reward Your Horse: A happy horse is a willing partner, and many horses will give everything they have if they feel your acknowledgement and generosity of spirit.