Always aim for perfection but be happy with improvement
At every stage of every horse’s education, you should always aim to improve. Even if you’re walking a circle, aim for a ‘perfect’ circle – where the horse walks the exact track you ask, at the exact speed you ask, with the exact bend you ask. This may sound easy but it’s actually very difficult. These ‘perfect’ circles are what I always aim for. Whether a horse has been ridden once or one thousand times, until he walks exactly where and how you want, you don’t have much at all.
Initially he may cut in on the circle, run out of the circle, move too fast or too slow. Another horse may walk half the circle, then cut in and rush on the other half. Yet another may bend to the left when he moves to the right. These are some of the things horses will do if you don’t concentrate on exactly where and how they move.
I don't expect any horse to walk a 'perfect' circle in his first lessons. It takes months of careful training before a horse begins to move exactly where I want, with the bend I want, at the speed I want. If he walks two or three steps in the manner I ask today, perhaps we'll get three or four steps tomorrow. Always remember, how much you do today isn't important, it's where you'll be tomorrow, next week, next month and next year that really matters. The most important thing is to keep every horse confident and relaxed.
If you aim for a 'perfect' circle, you'll constantly improve. If you allow your horse to walk any old circle, at any old speed, you won't improve. Be happy with any improvement, no matter how small. Remember, you can always do more tomorrow.
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