We all strive for the perfect distance.
We practise perfect equitation/body alignment.
We use grids...we use trotting poles...we practise our two point position for hours.
I hear coaches tell student to move on the horse/slow down the horse,...curve your broken line....hold for three allow for three....all in the name of the perfect spot.
I will hear a coach comment..."you had a long spot....you need to add move leg to move him up/whatever instruction to get the distance".
But you know....I rarely see the perfect distance at every fence every time I jump....and I somehow doubt others are 100% ...maybe 99%....but not 100% all the time either
Be it a windy day at a horse show with tents blowing away beside the ring.....horse eating trolls hiding in the jumps.....your horse is fresh/lazy...or the stupid pill one took a week ago has just kicked in and the rider is not seeing the "spots" consistantly......
BAD DISTANCES ARE GOING TO HAPPEN.
And to me...my philosophy when it comes to teaching distances.
Do not just teach how to ride the perfect distance.....but teach how to ride the distance given perfectly....cause *&^% happens....and riders who are educated....fair better in these moments.
A rider needs to understand how to use/control
all the muscles in their body to hold their jump position/alignment while assisting the horse as needed...or leaving the horse to do thier job without the rider balancing/interfering with the effort needed to clear the fence.
A long spot will expose different issues than a deep spot or half stride would...and knowing the difference could be the difference between a clear round or out of the ribbons with a rail/quit.