Episode 187: The backward cycle of learning; after, during, before

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just read a book or see a demonstration once…and just do the new thing with ease?
The reality is often quite different. I would even go as far as saying that the process is backward from what we desire.
Take the example of changing a current habit, where you release the rein, to a new habit…a slightly different release point. 
First, you must gain awareness of the new release point. Maybe an instructor or a video suggests this change.
When you go out to practice…you will often realize AFTER you have missed the timing…that you were late. 
Eventually, with practice, you’ll get closer and closer to the timing, maybe you’ll even notice DURING…but you’ll probably still notice you’re a moment late.
Then, with enough practice, you’ll see the proper timing BEFORE the moment approaches…and you’ll release with perfect timing. 
The challenge is that both the ‘after’ and the ‘during’ stages feel like constant mistakes. And you can choose to view them that way, or you can view this as the practice you need to finally achieve your new habit. 


  1. Jan McDougald on August 2, 2022 at 5:56 am

    Thank you for this podcast as you brought to my attention that the “after, during and before” is part of the process and beating myself up only adds to frustration and is not conducive to moving forward through the phases. For years I thought I had the proper alignment in my riding posture until I rode with a group that liked to take lots of pictures. I was appalled to see I had a bad case of chair seat. I had been reinforcing the chair seat muscle memory for years. Without the benefit of an instructor, pictures and/or video a rider can sure go down the wrong rabbit hole. As you pointed out, awareness is a prerequisite for moving through the three stages. Once my new Pivo gets set up I hope to move through the “after” phase a bit more expeditiously. Your explanations are so well thought out and with your different examples such as the baby learning to stand; learning how to drive and “Dessert First” all help to bring an understanding to the subject. Thank you for your dedication.

  2. Lorrie Morgan on July 14, 2022 at 8:55 am

    This really calmed me down. I was so frustrated that I am not making faster progress but your advice allowed me to be gentle with myself.

  3. Diane Fox on June 15, 2022 at 10:48 pm

    Thank you! I am working with a filly right now on feel. This will sure help my confidence!

  4. Suzanne Morisse on June 15, 2022 at 7:33 am

    Thanks I need this one .

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