“Perfectionism is self-abuse of the highest order.” Last week my D.C. gave this quote to me. I have always beaten myself up about my riding but, it wasn’t until recently this year I realized, with the help from many others, that this habit of mine is a problem. Being perfect is impossible. When perfection is all you strive for, you are unable to realize when you have a good ride or something was done right.
I am preparing for my C-3 and am told I’m ready but, the only thing that will catch me at my rating is my need for things to be perfect. I learned sometimes “good enough” is alright. This year has been a huge struggle for me in that area. When a national examiner says to you that you look miserable while riding, you should probably consider changing your body language. I always knew that sometimes afterwards when I discussed my ride I may have been a little harsh but, it was a surprise to me that everything in my body said how I was feeling before my mouth did. Now, I’d like to argue and say that is my concentrating face! Attempting to be perfect will take away from the fun and our original love of riding.
Don’t be too harsh on yourself. It will get you absolutely nowhere and will cause you much stress and pain in riding. Certainly, you may strive to be better but, don’t strive to be perfect because you just can’t make it there EVER. Even the top riders at Rolex continue to have refusals, eliminations, and falls. The same woman who wrote my opening quote said this, “Perfection leaves so little room for improvement. So little space for acceptance-or joy.” Those words are so true. If you are constantly thinking about being perfect, which is unattainable, you will always be telling yourself the ride was terrible and you’ll be upset. My instructor always tells me while I am riding in the dressage arena to “ride the gait I have” meaning, don’t look too far ahead to the next step because most likely you will ignore the “now.” Improve what you have at the moment and continue to build up on that. You can’t change everything in a single moment. Good things take time, so don’t beat yourself up!