The beauty of imperfection-Equestrian success, a process of learning through our ‘failures’.

by petros on November 20, 2017

We often encourage riders to reflect upon their performances both in the competitive arena as well as at home in training. This reflection needs to have a constructive aim by stemming from an accurate calibration of our view /experience of the performance as well as by its intention to build on the positive aspects while also utilise the perceived weaknesses to guide the focus of future training.

In truth we can always criticise the rider for mistakes of judgment or losses of balance but we also must recognise that the whole picture is formed in the partnership between horse and rider. Magic happens when trust has been built so that when one struggles the other helps! As an example, on the cross country course in ‘stiff’ combinations either horse or rider can experience loss of balance but if they know and trust each other well then they are more likely to get the job done and get home safe. Equally in the dressage arena when the demands of the test are stretching the horse’s or rider’s limits, a trusting and generous relationship will prove most valuable.

Nobody’s perfect all of the time; horses and riders make mistakes, the important thing is to recognise that it is these mistakes that teach us the most. Riders often worry they didn’t find the ideal stride to a fence or that their canter strike off was less than excellent. In my view, it is in exactly these moments of imperfection that the best learning occurs. The little losses of balance we experience teach our bodies and minds, even at a subconscious level, of how to cope with awkward moments and consequently we’ll become better riders and horses for it. The contrast of  when it feels ‘wrong’ with when it feels ‘right’ is most illuminating!

Make mistakes, appraise the performance with constructive critique that recognises both the positive and negative aspects, learn from this and TRY AGAIN.


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