Be Happy With Where You Are, Be Willing to Change

When we were halfway through the Walking Downhill is the Hardest Thing Connor Has Ever Done, Ever lesson two weeks ago, my trainer made a point that stuck with me.

Trainer imparting some pre-stadium wisdom in May.

We were about halfway through, past the 'I don't wanna!' "tantrum", and he was starting to get it.

"That was good!" she said.

"Yeah," I said, "There were a couple of funky steps in the middle, but otherwise it was good."

"You should be pleased with that.  He's not capable of doing every step perfectly yet, but that was a good effort and a big improvement from the beginning of the lesson."  She paused.  "Sometimes I feel like it's easy for us to make them feel like what they're giving you is never enough.  There will always be something to work on no matter what level you're at, so it's important to take a step back and say 'You did good with that!' even if it's not totally there yet.  They can feel what you're thinking."

Be happy with where you are...(first show, June 2012)

I joked, "It sounds like you're giving relationship advice too!" but it strongly resonated with me.  I'm a relentless perfectionist and pursuer of improvement in all areas of my life, and I know that he feels it.

I can be demanding, I can be disappointed with less than our best, but in the end, it's a relationship of two souls on a journey with no real end.  We have to be happy with the steps along the way to the end game at the top level we'll probably never achieve.

Like my choir teacher in high school said, to improve in singing you have first be happy with where you are, and second, be willing to change.  Protect your horse from your inner perfectionist and tell him he's done well even when your inner perfectionist wants more.  She'll always want more.

Teaching me how to ride both mentally and physically


  1. Love your trainer's quotes. Really hit home for me as I tend to be a bit perfectionist as well. Great post and timely for me...

  2. Great advice! My guy is very green, but really wants to please, and I need to remember to praise his efforts.

  3. I LOVE this post! It really resonates with me. I am so guilty of being disappointed with what my horse gives me, when I know a week ago or a month ago I would have been estatic with the exact same ride. And I know he feels it. I can tell.

  4. Really, really needed this in my personal and professional life today.

  5. That's a great reminder. Thanks!

  6. Well said. I have to be so careful with this. :-)

  7. I think this is important for all of us to remember. Good post!

  8. Very well put! This resonates with me a lot... I am the first to beat myself up over not being the 'best' even if it's miles better than where I was.

  9. Great reminder. I think a lot of riders are perfectionists in nature (I know I am) and it's hard to process that there is a lot of good & improvement sometimes.

  10. This is one of my all time favorite posts that you have written. Such a simple concept but still so important to not lose sight of.

  11. Your trainer is so wise :) I am the same as you, relentless perfectionist when it comes to myself and riding (way more forgiving of everyone else in the world though).

  12. Couldn't agree more! The quest for perfection is all well and good, and we all want to be better, but what's the point if we can't enjoy the steps along the way?


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