Letting it percolate 

We have all been there.

You ride a few days in a row, and something is just not clicking. Maybe you are working on something new, learning a correct leg-yield perhaps, or pushing to improve the quality of some existing training, such as demanding more collection at the canter, and it is just not happening. Your horse is frustrated and tense, and so are you. You take a few days off, and the  timidly attempt the same problem during your next ride. All the sudden, it just clicks. No more confusion- everything just flows easily, and whatever was blocking you before is now working well.


Rio.3.29.17 from Kelly on Vimeo.

Video of our post awesome ride stroll

I think every long-term rider had experienced this special brand of magic. My question is, what causes this phenomenon?  I like to joke that Rio must be practicing while I’m not there- but I am genuinely curious how this happens. My theory is that whatever was causing trouble has had time to percolate, for you and your horse. Setting down something challenging, and coming back to it in a few days, just seems to have this magical quality.

What say you? What is your theory?

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  1. My theory is that when we are actively working on a problem, we try too hard. And then we get frustrated with ourselves. And then try harder. And then confuse ourselves and start doing extra things that make it complicated. So when we take a break and then try again, we go back to simple because we aren’t expecting as much. We are expecting to fail and since we have no pressure we do it. We are very complicated creatures, humans. 🙂

  2. I like your theory and agree. I also think that for some horses, it’s too much all at once. And when we give it time and go back to it, they’re like “oh is THIS what you wanted?” I truly believe horses have to figure stuff out themselves, and for some it comes easier than others. I know my mare Georgie would get so frustrated sometimes and then the next time I rode her did exactly as you described.

    1. Exactly! It’s like a light bulb just goes on, and they all the sudden understand. I love that feeling- but I also makes me feel slightly guilty about the prior struggle. Makes me wonder if I wasn’t being clear/demanding too much the first time I asked. Sigh!

  3. I actually believe it’s from giving the synapses time to close/form. I used to have a peer-reviewed or scholarly article about it, but I’m not sure where it’s at, right now…I recall an anecdotal story from it about a horse being taught lead changes with no luck. Horse pulled a suspensory and had time off. After coming back a year later, the horse had confirmed changes. Wish I had more concrete info, but if I ever find that article again I’ll send it your way!

    1. No way!! Definitely share if you find it, because that sounds like exactly what I am talking about. I really do feel like they are better if you introduce something then leave it for a few days. I’m hoping to start changes on Rio soon- hopefully he doesn’t need a year off to get it! ?

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