Why Can't Good Be Good Enough

I do not know whether it is a personal trait or a dressage rider issue but it seems that in my world, good is never good enough. Apparently , there is even a tendency to be unhappier when things were "good" because then they were never good enough! What a contradiction! I seem to be happier at shows when scores a low such that I can claim that I knew it that we were simply not good. It is way more difficult to accept "good" results. Sure, they are not perfect and never will be but why can't we accept good results?


On the one hand, it is a good thing, too. As I am hardly ever satisfied with my performance, I always strive for progress, for making things better next time. To not get a 6 or 6.5 for the walk pirouettes, but a 7 or, like last weekend, a 7.5. Which is more likely the score I would expect. Honestly, I want an 8. He can do an 8, I can do an 8. At home, we ride an 8, but never at shows (yet). So we keep on hunting this low hanging fruit as walk pirouettes are easy for us. But why can't I be super happy about the recent 7.5? Because in my perception, it should be an 8. And once I achieve that, I will definitely complain that it is not a 9 (let alone a 10, but to be fair, this is not going to happen).

On the other hand, it makes accepting good scores pretty difficult. I get a 7 for the collected canter and I am still not satisfied. You know that in Austria we need certain scores to move up the levels as everything is regulated by a strict license system. I was working hard on my RD3 (second highest license) as it would allow us to show third level. The rules say, that you need 4 LM results above 62% and 4 LP results above 62%. So, the Austrian federation recognizes 62% as GOOD ENOUGH. Last weekend, I showed Hafl in hope of further results above 62% at LP level. I haven't written the show report yet but to tell you in advance: with a ton of luck (more details on that later), we managed to get THREE of the 4 necessary scores..in ONE weekend. Every other person would be super happy and dang proud of achieving such results. My first thought was: YAY we made it. And the second was: but it was just a tad above 62%, actually, we are not good enough, we should have scored 68%..that would have made me much more confident.

I guess with me it is a confidence problem. I cannot accept a "moderate" result when I know that I would need a "GOOD" result to feel confident. But nobody is going to point fingers when I enter my first third level next week. All my 1,000 FB friends know that we just acquired this license, that we are still at the beginning and NOBODY, believe me, would expect a score in the 70s (for the FEI Juniors Preliminary test...). So why should I? Shouldn't  I be proud of how far we have come already? And even though it was tight with the necessary scores: we did it. We should different judges in four tests that we can go above 62%. We might end up well under 60% in the FEI class, but honestly, we just started canter half pass yesterday, there is so much that we can still learn. It actually does not even has to be a good result! I can wear my shadbelly and my top hat - who cares about scores when you can have great pictures of you and your Haflinger who you actually bought as whatever horse for whatever reason, with no showing in mind? And now, he will be running his fatty bum off in the FEI Juniors tests!

Some years ago, I did not even know that we would go that way, that we might end up like this. Yes, there will be others better than we are, maybe even Haflingers that can do better (now). But sometimes, good has to be good enough and the rest will follow. It is not like that we are not training enough and doing what we can in order to get to the scores. Scores, that I consider good, and not just good enough.


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