It is so easy to get caught up in the details of riding and lose the feel for what we are doing and the connection to the horse. Those details are important, but riders often drill, drill, drill trying to reach perfection and yet they continually get disappointed and frustrated. Being perfect is an impossible task. A vicious cycle begins as the more they try to be perfect the further they get from their feel. As the feel for what is happening lessens, so does success. The struggle for even more for perfection continues. Does any of this sound familiar? In lessons, riders often depend on instructors to give all of the answers to all problems every step of the way. This also gets in the way of feel as self-discovery disappears. What would it look like if you shifted your perspective and decided to let go of perfection, let go of focusing on so many details and instead be more open to finding your feel and the connection to your horse? What would it look like if you let go of some of the dependence on your instructor and instead looked to solve some of your problems yourself?
Creating a perspective shift from one of perfection and tight control to having an open mind and a sense of discovery can be very freeing. It takes practice and work to do so. You have to keep reminding yourself to shift your perspective again and again in order to create the new habit. That requires self-awareness and honesty. Look to find excitement in your sense of discovery when riding. Instead of saying, I am not good at, say I am excited to discover my feel for riding. Embrace that discovery and let go of trying to be perfect. Don’t tell yourself that you are too nervous, not good enough, not smart enough or not.. (Insert label). Instead say, I already have many skills and I am going to believe in my ability to stay present with myself and my horse. Bring your awareness to your horse and your riding and ask yourself what is happening with your ride. Then make the necessary changes and see if it works. Become an independent thinker. When you do this your lessons will be so much more rewarding and you will be able to grow and learn outside of your work with your instructor. You will learn more, have more fun and look forward to every ride!