The Pain of Perfection

As I sit down to type I feel the usual surge of emotion. It isn’t debilitating but I sense it none the less. The need to be perfect is something that controls my life and probably many other lives too. I deal with it and think I mostly overcome it but it is still there inside me.
Today I will post this draft immediately which is quite a departure for me; usually I will leave it as a draft for some time and tinker many times until it reads right. It won’t be perfect but I will hit post anyway.
Why share this morcel on my horse training blog? Because it doesn’t switch off when I train my horse or for that matter my dog and unsurprisingly it was the same home-schooling my child.
This morning while walking the dog (which brought all this to the front of my mind) I met two other dog walkers; I sensed that both felt the pain of perfection.
The first had two dogs that woofed at mine- not agressively but it drew attention to her and them; the handler overtly told the dogs off in a way that I could hardly miss. Only vocal but for two tiny lap dogs a little over the top. The second walker moved their dogs into a gap to let me pass and fed them copious amounts of treats to distract them as I did.

Why does perfection matter? Why does it matter what others think of us and our family (either human or animal) and why do some appear not to give a hoot?

I always tell students to cut themselves some slack yet I struggle to do this for myself. I need to promote my business but often I feel crippled by the pain of perfection and end up not bothering.

And the point of this post regarding horses? (see there I started with ‘And’ but today I don’t care)
Well I think one of my horses is acutely aware of the pain of perfection. Lately I have met a number of other horses who I think probably do too. Anthropomorphism is alive and well; that said the sense/result is the same. Some horses are happier to make mistakes and some less so- it corresponds with the pain of perfection.
The stress of doing regular things like walking in-hand, moving a shoulder or sometimes even just knowing how to be around a human is just much more tricky for some horses.
Today I will cut myself some slack and I will play some more with Chapiro who, undoubtedly, shares my pain of perfection.
I am going to hit publish and go to work- perhaps later I will read this armed with a glass of something fizzy and realise that part of beating involves letting go; on the other hand I may just squeam with embarassment!

2 Replies to “The Pain of Perfection”

  1. Hey, yes, cut yourself some slack. If you aim for perfection, you’re going to go a long way towards achieving it. The work that you do with your horses is fab, and a breath of fresh air in these days of force and brutality. If more trained the way you do, then there would be far more happy horses.
    And (see what i did there?), I’m not sure my grammar is up to much these days…..x

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