I am going to go out on a limb here and suggest that our sport attracts more than its fair share of Type A personalities, perfectionists and people used to getting things done.
How interesting then, that dressage lacks the one quality that this type of person might find most satisfying – total perfection. You can’t pitch a perfect game in dressage.
That is why I found it so fascinating when I was driving in the car this morning, listening to the radio, and I heard the term “Perfect Enough”. What a wonderful idea – especially for dressage.
Why do we torture ourselves, “riding around in circles” all day long? Because there is an end point in our minds: When the ride is perfect enough.
A good rider will have a very clear idea of what is perfect enough for them to be achieving short and long term goals. When their rides become perfect enough, they are on top of the world.
We all cannot ride 10 horses like Totilas every day and perform like we were at the Olympics during ever minute in the saddle. Instead, we strive for the best we can get if we work as hard as we can.
Maybe our jobs keep us from riding during the week or we can only afford a horse that will never make it past Training Level or an illness keeps you from riding more than 30 minutes at a time or you can’t afford to go take more than 1 lesson a month – what is important is that you decide, with the limitations of life, what is perfect enough for you.
Regardless of what that means to you, remember that no one in this sport expects eternal perfection. As dressage riders, we share that spirit of getting in that saddle and working towards a ride that is perfect enough for us. Good luck working towards yours!