Perfectionism Kills Progress
Waiting for perfect kills progress. I did not wait to run a perfect event before I organised my first Equitation Science Conference, or wait to become an ‘influencer’ to lead my own Equitation Science online community, Coffee With Horse Lovers.
My ebook was born in lockdown. The opposite of an optimal time in which to be creative!
So yes, I am very not perfect.
My mind and fingers do not ‘dance together' when I write. I have affectionately named this part of me 'The Lisa Trail’.
If my typos and grammar errors left behind from my adventures navigating Equitation Science trigger you to write to tell me I am imperfect, you remind me we are all human.
You are struggling with your imperfections too, otherwise my grammar and typos would not have triggered you. I have compassion for you. You are me too. Every day I am doing the hard work to be the change our horses need. And it's not perfect. I have never done this life before. My spelling and grammar mistakes are me. It’s never going to be polished. Because my mind and fingers work at different tempos. I never used to feel like this. A shame storm would engulf the minute I read that email telling me all about my imperfections.
Today I'm really ok with me. I actually love this about myself and I know others do too. Ive done the work on my shame triggers and shame resiliency.
Please don’t mistake my going after excellence as perfectionism. I am an optimalist. I believe in optimal, not perfect.
I believe the process of science optimal, scientists imperfect. Because scientists are human too. I have compassion for researchers bias towards the science and at the same time value all scientific contributions towards finding the truth about horses. Being biased and valued are not mutually exclusive.
Fifty Shades of Subjectivity
Not even science is 100% objective. Because humans write, deliver and interpret the scientific data. I find it helpful for progress when we view scientific findings through a 'Fifty Shades of Subjectivity lens'. Accepting we are all flawed helps me gallop to the great stuff. In people and in scientific studies. I choose to believe we are all doing the best we can, with the tools we have at the time.
Being aware of our own biases (read my legacy article Horses & People magazine, September) is a game changer for horse welfare. When we shine our transparency truths (read my transparency article Horses & People magazine, November) we actually move closer, not further from the truth about horses.
I believe developing a practical tool for recognizing the ridden pain facial expressions, similar to that of an equine body condition score chart, progress. Identifying normal, pain, conflict behaviour and distress from a spectrum of facial expressions.
The research gifts horse lovers a screening process to get to know their horse.
The ears, eyes, nose, muzzle, mouth and head position were observed and coupled to “glazed expression for more than 5 seconds” “willingness to go/unwilling” and “above the bit”.
Phrasing facial expressions into shades of subjectivity against the breadth of understanding of learning theory in equitation, reminded me
Equitation Science is here to get it right for horses, not to be right.
Subjectivity in science is a great reminder for me of our humanness.
To date, scientists have yet to agree on the descriptives of the ridden horse ethogram.
If you are passionate about getting it right for your horse, not being right, come and join a safe online community, Espresso With Equicoach. Together we explore the latest in Equitation Science and all the different shades of subjectivity, supporting each other trying to get it right for our horses.
Progress over Perfection.