I feel pretty comfortable in saying that we have all heard and said the saying, practice makes perfect. After all, we do ride horses! I say this saying all the time to myself, for everything in my life. Cooking? Practice makes perfect. Trying something new for the first time? Practice makes perfect. Trying to nail that one stride, or wanting the perfect distance to that long run oxer? Practice makes perfect. But, does practice make “perfect?”, or are we setting ourselves up for disappointment with this saying? I believe we are putting unneeded pressure on ourselves by striving to be “perfect”. Because who’s definition of perfect are we trying for? Are we striving to be like John Doe at the barn who can jump anything and doesn’t understand what fear is? Or are we striving to be like the person in the next office over who has been in the field for 10+ years? I strongly believe we should be practicing to be our perfect selves. Because everyone’s definition of perfect isn’t the same, and that is okay!
I believe that saying practice makes perfect, means you are practicing to be the best version of yourself. You are putting in the time, energy, and hard work to gain a new set of skills to help you achieve something. We want to continue on practicing to be our perfect self because it is the best gift that you can give! It is hard-work, repetition, and not giving up that is allowing you to reach your definition of what perfect is. Being equestrians, we thrive on having the perfect rounds at shows, having the perfect practice at home. We want those red ribbons, the acknowledgment, we want the judge to tell us that we had the perfect round. Practicing and hard-work allow you to achieve all of that; hard work pushes you to be your best self – your perfect self.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t be using this saying, “practice makes perfect”, or continuing to aim for having the perfect lesson, the perfect distances. But, we should be working towards becoming a better version of yourself. Working towards that perfect practice, working hard for developing the skill set to help you achieve your goals. Practicing to be perfect is encouraging yourself and other’s around you to continue on the path to greatness. To continue working hard to be YOUR definition of perfect.
Now, this is my personal belief but I strongly feel, anything you do for the first time, putting yourself out there; you’re already on your way to being your perfect self. You’re riding a different horse for the first time – perfect. You have already won. You have practiced for this moment. Whether you’re a seasoned rider or starting riding lessons for the first time, you’re already perfect. Why? Because you are TRYING. You are giving it all you got. You are making yourself vulnerable for the ups and downs, the highs and lows, that come along with trying something new for the first time. As you achieve your goals, you can strive to be better, to continue working on your perfect self.
My favorite memory of becoming my version of my perfect self, is when I went through a gymnastic line with Abbey. Was it flawless? Nope, it was scary and rough. Would it be worthy of a red ribbon? No, not even close. But it was perfect because I achieved something. I had put in the work, the energy for this moment, and I did it. I succeeded and it was perfect because I was reaching my version of my best self. I always try to find achievements in everything that I do, especially with horseback riding. Looking for the small wins gives me the push to continue to work hard and continue to be my definition of my perfect self. I believe practicing to be your definition of perfect helps instill discipline, and fuels the passion. Despite the setbacks I have been faced with, I am still here. I am still trying. Am I perfect? No, but am I trying? Yes, so to me that is perfect. Do I have a long way to go? Sure do. But I am ready to face the challenges, ready to continue to improve, to show others and myself, my version of my perfect self.
Hard work does pay off in so many ways. I can’t stress this enough. “Practicing to be perfect”, putting in the work, the time, to become your version of your perfect self truly does pay off. Others around you will notice all the work that has been done. Before you know it you will be nailing that one stride, getting the perfect distance to the long run. And maybe, just maybe, winning all the pretty ribbons!
The more you do something, the harder you try, the better you become. Don’t let failure scare you away because, you, ARE ALREADY PERFECT.
❤ The Nervous Equestrian