(“They look good on paper and they work some of the time.”)
Here’s a rhetorical: If you are assembling some sort of casserole or soup that includes canned vegetables, and it doesn’t say low-sodium on the cans, wouldn’t it be smart not to throw in the salt that the recipe calls for until you taste it?
That’s my argument against using generic aids. They look good on paper and they work some of the time. But they don’t take into account horses whose attention varies or horses who move off one leg easier than the other or horses who are asymmetrically bendable.
In a single movement—In turn on the haunches, for instance—your outside leg may not want to be in the same place on the horse’s side every single step. By his reactions he’ll tell you where to put it. In a rein- back to keep the horse straight your aids may also have to be asymmetrical, They may even have to change step-by-step. Tempi changes? More of the same. While you are busy counting and giving the aids for the changes (which themselves may not be the same each time) you must also keep the rhythm with your hips, monitor your horse’s straightness and longitudinal balance, and keep him pliably soft. You guessed it – to accomplish this, you have to be flexible and thoughtful with the aids you give. As that 20th century dressage philosopher, Mick Jagger, once said. “They can’t always get what they want; they get what they need.”
Assuming you remember to do it…