The Great Clinician


“Move the hip, disengage the hip, move the feet in the back, and cross over the back end” all seems to be the battle cry of most clinicians. Simply put:  move the hip over with the inside crossing over the outside leg. According to many experts this is a good solution for many of the common problems one may have on the back of a horse.

Take for example the horse that bucks;  solution: move the hip. This is much too simple. I prefer to use my much more advanced elaborate way of solving the getting the horse not to buck under you problem.

Step 1: pull the reins back as hard as you can.

Step 2: grasp the horn with the above-mentioned hands.

Step 3: tell the horse to stop in a pitch that is a few decibels higher or inhumanly lower than your normal voice.

Step 4: give up and fly or throw yourself to the ground.

Now the last step is the most important of all…

As all your companions in the the barn come running yelling, “Are you hurt?!” never, Never , NEVER say “No!”  Rather, lay there, seemingly unconscious, look up, cross your eyes, and say in a feigned voice… “What happened?”  As they lift you to your feet, moan and groan like you’re passing a kidney stone. Hobble over to the side of the arena and watch your sympathetic friends get back on the horse for you. Problem solved! The horse will no longer buck from under you.


Let’s look now at the horse that bolts. Their solution: move the hip and change directions back and forth across the arena until the horse slows down. Boring! I have a much more interesting approach. Say you’re riding Speedy down the arena and you feel it coming. His feet start jigging and his head starts a tug of war game for the bit. He wants to go. Follow these simple instructions and your horse will learn to relax.

Step 1: lock you elbows to your rib cage

Step 2: pull your hands up as high as you possibly can

Step 3: grip that horse with your calves for dear life

Step 4: brace your feet firmly against the stirrups and yell “Whoa!” or “Stop!”.  If the horse stops, you will be propelled over its head in an innovative emergency dismount.

Or you can try a more graceful approach:  transition your outcries of “whoas” to “I am going to die!  Help me!” (making sure you are at the loudest volume and the highest pitch possible.). At this point,  one of your heroic barn buddies will risk life and limb and step in front of the horse to stop it.

The last step is much like the one above. Once your feet are on the ground, roll up in the fetal position and weep uncontrollably. Be sure to throw in a couple of lines about how this is the horse of your dreams and how will you ever be able to ride it.  One of two things will then happen: a well-meaning friend will hop on and work the kinks out of your horse, or, your friends will take up a collection to send your horse to a trainer to teach it to relax.

Lastly, let’s look at the horse that just won’t move forward. The remedial opinion is: move the hip to move the feet. Well the more sophisticated approach is as follows: You will employ the ever popular “One, two, three, ask” approach.

Step 1: squeeze

Step 2: kick

Step 2.1: kick again

Step 2.2: kick again

Step 2.3: kick again, now a little harder

Step 2.4: kick harder and faster

Step 2.5 kick like a maniac.  At this point you might want to add a little extra pressure by screaming  creative yet child-friendly names. “Dunderhead”, “Stupid”, “Idiot”,  and “Noodle Brain” are some common examples.

Step 2.6-2.9: escalate the name calling and perhaps let one or two profanities slip out.

Step 3: get off the horse and yank it forward by the bit.

There, you got the horse’s feet to move.


Seriously, sometimes the most effective solutions are the simplest and they certainly are the safest. It is difficult for a horse to buck if it is crossing its back legs and moving the hip. It is difficult for a forward moving horse to gain control if you are moving the hip and changing direction and lastly the horse that won’t move has to move to move the hip. I capitulate that the experts are right.

So my non-professional opinion to all you late-life cowgirls that are fulfilling your dreams of riding a horse is this… If you don’t want to be covered in black and blue, have an emotional breakdown or simply look like a fool… you should learn to move your horse’s hip from the ground. Now I am not talking about the lollygagging, chewing gum, and blowing bubbles as I roll my eyes moving of the hip. But rather, a drop down and give me ten moving the hip with impulsion. If you cannot move the horses hip from the ground… well don’t get in the saddle.

Sometimes in life I feel just like these horses.  I want to arch my back in protest and take off bucking, but my Lord gently moves my feet until I am back on track. Sometimes I want to run away and not look behind but he faithfully changes my direction until I am back where I need to be. Lastly, sometimes I am so stubborn (shocking, I know) that I refuse to move, but God is faithful to move me forward even if it is just a little circle. He is a great clinician and His Word is his “stick and string”.

– Jeanie

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. I have taken an oath and confirmed it,that I will follow your righteous laws.

-Psalms 119:105-106


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