I think a huge part of being a good rider is knowing when to ask for help... and being able to make informed decisions without necessarily following the flock...
I've been riding for over 15 years. I wouldn't call myself a professional, there's been the odd time I've accepted money for lessons or for a training ride or two, but horses are not my main occupation by any means. That being said, I would say my knowledge on the topic is comparable to an individual with a level one or two.
In the past I have been known to be quite stubborn. The last horse I broke ended up breaking me on the side of a barn. After many months of sitting around recovering I had a lot of time to think. What went wrong? Why did I keep riding such an unruly creature? Why was I taking all this on without any help? How did I become so stubborn!
I think all that time off really drove it home... I got on after some time off, showed some horses for a friend, rode the arabian circuit for a bit. I aquired after that a lovely gelding for free who was quite a handful.. I have had him a few years now and though I would not put beginners, or even a lot of intermediate folks on him, he knows his job, and does it well.
I bred a colt a few years ago, he's coming three now. A very athletic, very flashy pinto Oldenburg... (the kind of horse you draw lots of pictures of in math class as a kid).. he's been really lightly started under saddle.. slow and steady, the right way as not to fry his pretty little brain.
One day I was pushing for a lengthen trot down the long side and I guess the lil man had enough and BRONCED me. I hit my head so hard I lost vision in my right eye for a bit afterwards. A trip to the emergency had a smarmy ER doc telling me "You know, Christopher Reeves died falling off a horse... guess you better find another sport.." -insert eye roll here- to which I replied (probably cross eyed from concussion) "Guess I own two horses, so that's not really a reality for me."
So what is the reality? I got another five weeks out of the saddle after that to think some more. I thought about my previous accident.. what went wrong.. I felt like smacking my head on a wall because here I was doing it again.. a huge complicated job of breaking a horse to ride aaaaaaaaall by myself with no help.
This time I'm asking for help! I've found a lovely patient guy with soft hands who breaks TB's for the track. Her's used to riding very spirited, fragile brained little ones and I have personally seen him deal with some pretty rank 2 year olds... and hey, 300 bucks a week? WORTH IT.
I've got to spend that anyways buying a new helmet.