I went on a Speed Awareness Course yesterday (oops, was caught very slightly exceeding the speed limit on last trip home after Burghley, head full of horses!) and when one of the presenters of the course said this, it really stuck in my mind.
“Practice Makes… Permanent.”
He explained: Practice only Makes Perfect if you are doing it right. If you aren’t, you are just cementing bad habits. Make sure that the things you are practicising are the right ones, done in the right way, to benefit you and your horse in the long term.
This is why it is always worth the effort of checking yourself continually in mirrors etc, and of having lessons with instructors who are really hot on your position, not just on how the horse is going. I use a Centaur Biomechanics Visualise jacket (see photo) for all training sessions, as it enables anyone on the ground to see any asymmetry in the rider. I even ask my unhorsey boyfriend to check whether I am sitting in the middle and looking even, if I’m working somewhere without mirrors or a trainer.
Another way of putting it is “Perfect Practice Makes Perfect”… of course, striving for perfection isn’t always reasonable, but trying to make your practice as good as you possibly can will always pay dividends!