By: Natalya Gryson
Recently my trainer said to me, “I think you’re doing too much. This may seem like a contradiction from the advice I often give to make a little fixes all the time. But today my question is, are you taking time in between aids to enjoy those ‘Aahhhh’ moments?“
“You’re right, I’m not,” I replied. “And you’re not just right about riding, that tendency pervades my entire life … and gets in the way of my happiness.” Now that was a lot to uncover in the first 10 minutes of a riding lesson!
I continued to ponder as I drove home after my lesson and realized I am stuck in a mindset that never stops creating work for myself. The work is never done because it could always be better! I feel exhausted and depleted at the end of every day because I never allow myself to feel the sense of relief of actually completing anything. So I asked myself - How do I find balance between being happy with what I have created or accomplished while at the same time not become complacent that maybe there is some room for improvement? Hmmm…
Later that evening I was watching a musician perform on YouTube with my partner. This was a one-man band, so he was playing multiple instruments and singing. I was thinking how the different instruments and timing is like riding - managing all the different aids to work in coordination. I said to my partner, “I wonder how many takes went into capturing this performance? I imagine there’s lots of room for mistakes when you’re playing so many different instruments.” My partner replied, “This is a live studio performance. There are not multiple takes. When it’s just you up there performing on your own, mistakes just add character. To treat it as a mistake and try to make a correction, that is what would disrupt the art.”
That is a different way of thinking, and I like it! I don’t want to be a perfectionist anymore. I chose harmony over perfection. I choose a feeling I love over accuracy. I choose partnership over rapid progress. I want to flow in and out of mistakes with such harmony that they’re not functioning as mistakes but rather expression, even flare! And I choose to energetically flow through mistakes. Not to react in frustration or correction, rather keep flowing to the next stride. I choose to place more importance on what is beautiful and wonderful than on what needs improvement. I choose to savor the melodious moments with so much love that my horse can feel me enjoying the feeling!
We have an opportunity every day to create art with our horses. And if we approach our day with this perspective, looking at the world through magical eyes, we get to watch a fairytale unfold while others just see an ordinary day going by. I want to live my life more like that.