If you ask for 1% a day, in 100 days you will have 100%.
I'm sure everyone has heard this bit of horse logic. I actually hadn't heard it before a few weeks ago, when my trainer prided me on using this really well.
The idea, is not to ask too much of your horse, or yourself. It will only lead to frustration on both ends. There have been some times that I can specifically remember not being good at only asking 1%, and I remember being upset and frustrated those days. Looking back, I realize that I was asking too much of my horse, and I cannot expect her to be perfect at something new the first time I ask it of her.
One time, I wanted to get her to lay down. So I spent forever one day, trying to get her to lay down. Every time I felt like we made progress, we would backpedal, and it would be tough to get her back there again. Thinking back on it, if I did it until I got progress and stopped, and then repeated that everyday, I bet I would have a horse that could lie down for me by now!
However, most of the time I have employed that logic very well in my riding. For example, when I first got her, she wasn't very responsive to 'whoa' or stopping. She would, but she would meander down from her gait and eventually stop. I began saying whoa, applying light pressure, and then backing her up. At first, it was pretty ugly, but I was gentle and never ripped off her face to make her stop faster. Instead, I just kept the same light pressure while she was slowing down, and slowly she took less time to slow down. After a few months of this, she SLAMS on her breaks. But, it's not just at fast speeds. Even at a walk, if I say whoa, she will jerk to a stop. We have achieved this because I only asked for a little at a time, and eventually we are awesome at it.
So, my friends, remember this! We often expect perfection in our horses, but we also have to remember that it takes time to get there! There will be some things that your horse will pick up much faster than others, and its our job to get improvement from our horses, but at a pace that they understand and feel supported in!