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First scenario: You go to the clinic and watch it work perfectly for the horse and rider.

You come home and try it and after a short time of pseudo-success, it all falls apart (again)!

Alternate scenario: Your coach teaches you something new, and the lesson goes well.

Then you ride on your own and simply cannot get the same results.

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At first, you might blame the horse. Or you might think that the clinician/coach did not explain it well enough. Maybe it is the weather, the saddle, the bridle... you get my drift!

You wonder - why does it work for others when it doesn't work for you?

Dependency happens on so many levels

The dynamic dependency of riding

There is no getting around it: there is an interconnectedness in riding that you simply cannot escape. Everything has to "jive" before the final picture of ease and comfort presents itself. In fact, horseback riding can essentially represent the highest sense of "holistic" that you can ever imagine.

In riding, nothing can be done in isolation. If you change even your weight from one side to another, or from forward to back, you can instantly feel the difference it makes to the horse. If you learn a new "technique" at the clinic, and you bring that home, beware that a single change will not be effective if the rest of what you are doing stays stagnant.

What I'm trying to say is this: if you think one skill/technique/method/movement will be the answer to your riding dreams, you have to know that you will be disappointed.

Everything depends on everything else.

Your horse will quickly explain to you that there is more than one aspect to ANYTHING in riding. There is no miracle bit, no fantastic rein aid, no leg position, or anything else in isolation that will make the difference you are seeking.

The secret to riding is that everything matters. If you want that new leg position to be effective, you probably need to shift your weight, move your shoulder, flow better through the seat, half-halt more accurately, even think calmly (and so many other aspects) that it might become discouraging to think of all the parts to the whole.

But there is hope! It comes with patienceperseverance, hard work and a sense of humour. You need to know that there is no "all-or-nothing" solution to your riding woes, and you must seek all the answers over time.

You might find that the super-duper rein aid will in fact be beneficial if you combine it with a small change in your position, a better flowing seat, and a myriad of other possibilities. Of course, you need a good eye on the ground to help you along your path, and you need to expand your awareness of the many skills that are required to produce the final product.


Back to the rider in the clinic who demonstrated the technique so well: she probably made all the minute changes to her position/aids to make the miracle aid work effectively.

In your riding lesson, chances are that your instructor can catch all the small corrections that need to be done during your ride. Although everything falls together while she is teaching you, you will likely only remember parts and pieces that will not be as effective when used in isolation.

Once you have the experience and feel to make small adjustments, the area you are focusing on will indeed become significant to the overall picture. And your horse will thank you for it!

What are your experiences with a "miracle cure"?


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Do you want to keep reading? You might enjoy:

The 99% Lucky Rule: Why horse people are lucky most of the time!

How To Be An Active Horseback Rider (a.k.a. Riding With Intention): Use self-talk during those sticky situations.

When "Good Enough" Just Isn't Good Enough in Horseback Riding: At some point, you really do HAVE to get out of your own backyard.

The #1 Rider Problem of the Year: The Outside Rein: Correct use of the outside rein is essential to your riding success.

One Comment

  1. Just love this article!! I remember thinking that every time I learned something new or my position was changed, that everything else would fall apart. This is a beautiful way to explain why that happens. I will definitely use this in teaching my students that in order to improve on one thing, we need to adjust everything….awesome, thank you!