My train of thought, is that with each new horse you work with, you ruin it a little less than the last. None of us on this forum are perfect riders, in fact, no rider world wide is 'perfect'. At the basic level, it is easier to define good and skilled riding. When you get to a higher level, there are so many more differences of opinion in how a horse should travel.
Think of it like a tree. Your foundation is the trunk, as you climb the trunk it branches off into 4 or 5 sections, all of which branch off into another 4, and all of those another 4, so on and so forth.
I am someone who WANTS to ride right. I think that I am now on the right track, but every time I get too comfortable, I get a new piece of information that changes how I ride. I am never stagnant in my riding, always willing to change, to accept new ideas and try them out. If they don't work on one horse, I'll try them on the next.
Riding is something that is continually growing, there is yet to be a 100% Dressage test at any level - it gives every Dressage rider something to aim for!
I work off the horse to improve my riding, I'm at the gym 5 days a week, running, cycling, weights and more core work than you can imagine! In the saddle, I regularly ride without stirrups, or reins in one hand, or with a whip under my hands, behind my elbows etc.
There is no time to celebrate if you want to ride 'right'. If you stop to celebrate for more than a moment, you'll miss the train to the next stage of training. You cannot allow yourself to get blinded by a moment of success.
Today, I FINALLY rode the best canter-walk transition I've ever had on Spighi. The half halt came straight through my back, he shifted onto his haunches, I was able to ride with next to no contact, breathe out, and hoorah, straight to a beautiful, balanced walk.
But tomorrow I want to do it better!!!!