What It Takes To Become Good At Something

There is days when I am sure that I will never become a good rider. It seems that I have worked FOREVER already and still I am not perfect - let alone CLOSE. Countless (as it seems) hours of training, endless repetitions and still, I am not where I want to be. It can be pretty discouraging to think that you do something over and over again and still not be really good at it. Let's be clear: that sucks. Really. How many more rides can it take to eventually be an expert?

You may say that you cannot give a proper answer to that. In fact, there is a number when you google it: it takes on average 10,000 hours of doing something in order to become an expert. TEN THOUSAND. Does not seem that much?!

Early years
Let's do the math: we (average amateurs) ride an hour five days a week. That sums up to 260 hours of training a year. That would mean 38.46 years of training in order to reach the 10,000 hours! 38 YEARS! I am 31 now, no chance that I am an expert yet!

Let us assume that professional riders ride 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. Sums up to 40 hours a week and 2080 hours a year resulting in reaching the expert status in 4.8 years - with no breaks, no holiday, no showing, no lame horse, no rider being sick. That is also the time that it would take us amateur riders to be an expert in our profession (ok, a little bit longer depending on how much vacation you take a year).

First time on this great poney

So, how can you claim to be an expert when you are an amateur rider riding an hour a day? You can't and it will simply take longer to become even close to one. It does not mean that you will never be an expert or really good at something BUT you should not expect to be anytime soon.

That should take away some pressure of us amateurs. Especially when competing against pros. Or people who had horses way before us, who ride more than one horse a day, who have better trained horses, better trainers, better training facilities, more money. Yet another reason why comparing yourself to others is simply invalid!

What shall we do now? Stop trying? Not an option for dressage riders as we always longing for perfection. The only option we have is to try to do more - more riding, more reading, more watching, more observing, more trainer lessons. And stop thinking that we need to be experts, that we need to be as good as fellow pros. We might not become pros anymore (you read that right, I am simply to old for that s***), but still, we can become better than we have been yesterday - every day!

One of our first outdoor rides

These days, we were working for the first time on flying changes. I have never ridden flying changes before, Hafl has never learned flying changes before. We are both learning. We are super happy for every change that works out, we know that there are more that go wrong than the ones that are at least acceptable at the current state. So we need to work on it, work on the preparation on it, work on my coordination. For hours. And more hours. And I am sure that we will get them at least somewhat right until March and our first show of 2016.

I cannot believe that we even got to the point of riding flying changes. When I bought Hafl, I was not at all ambitious, had no idea about showing or dressage. And today, I can see myself riding upper level dressage.

Statistically, it will actually even take more than the 10,000 hours to make it to the Olympics, more money, more horses, more trainer but on top of that, it needs determination and motivation - at least some things than you could work on more than the one hour of riding a day - no matter if you are an amateur or a pro.

One of last two week's rides

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