“Do or do not. There is no try”.

It’s a profound statement and could be considered sage advice, but as wise as Yoda was, I’m going to disagree. I believe Yoda’s advice is incorrect as it implies that you get it right the first time. But who does that?

I have met many of those, in the same camp as Yoda, who would say that trying is not good enough, that you just need to get out there and do it. While there is some merit in this notion – to stop dithering around and just get on with it – it can and does put many people off trying because of the seemingly high expectation that is placed on the outcome.

‘To make an attempt or effort to do something’ is the standard dictionary definition for try and, for the most part, having a go is exactly what we are doing, especially when starting something new.

When teaching a horse something new, it involves asking the horse to attempt to respond to our request. And, on the slightest hint of an answer from the horse, we must recognise their attempt and then reward them – with treats, giving them space, releasing pressure or grazing.

Trying something new should be rewarded even if the outcome was not quite what you wanted.

Trying means to take a chance and it doesn’t matter if it is something new, something old or something you’ve done a thousand times but want to make better. What matters is you’ve taken the risk, you’ve made a stand for what you want to achieve, and you’re on your way.

Me? I’ve tried lots of things, some of which worked and some which failed spectacularly, but I’m still trying. Trying to conquer fear and trepidation. Trying to ride a perfect circle (or at least a round one). Trying to relax and breathe. Trying to build a website. Trying to write a blog post. Trying to conquer perfectionism in everything.

There is a wonderful, if slightly outdated, Australian saying “ ‘Ave a go, ya mug!” (often yelled at the car in front waiting at a traffic intersection) which sums up my attitude to trying – take a chance at what you want to achieve, see where it takes you and enjoy the ride!

Maybe I’ll try to paraphrase Yoda’s words – “Try and try again. There is no shame in trying.”

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Allyssa Carlton

I’ve loved horses forever but only in the last few years have I owned a horse. Now I belong to a grey Arab mare named Aine. When I’m not horsing around, you’ll find me writing, cooking, reading and drinking coffee and wine. I share my home with my barista husband, one of my two daughters and her tiny dog Patrick.

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