It’s the rider, not the horse. Having spent much of my youth competing in dressage and the horse world, this was a common saying. It is always easier to blame someone or something else. In archery, one may hear, it’s the archer, not the bow. When one competes in an individual sport, there is really only one face in the mirror to blame.
Now, the archer has spent a lot, no really, a lot of time messing with the bow. As a young archer, the tweeking and changing really became overwhelming for this parent, especially during tournaments. This archer was taught by his JOAD coach, leave it alone at tournaments. Actually, she tried to teach him that, however he had the going in one ear and out the other syndrome.
Interestingly, as the archer learned, there were times it was the bow and there were times it was the archer. Thankfully, he had mentors in his corner that never sugar-coated issues that were seen. However, there were a few tournaments, that when the bow was looked at, the archer would hear, how in the hell are you able shoot so well with this.
There is something to be said for a well tuned bow. Archers are supposed to be machines. Machines that can produce the same shoot process and outcome with each arrow. If a bow is not set up correctly, arrows aren’t tuned, or the wrong bow is in the hand of an archer, it could cause problems and inconsistency on the field.
In archery, the smallest change in form can produce arrows flying differently. Even the slightest difference in face pressure can turn an X into a ten or worse…A bump of a bow, can slightly adjust a sight or stabilizer bar. Or the occasionally angry stabilizer bar hitting the ground can cause issues.
Is it the horse or rider…well, sometime it is the horse…however the small mistakes are most typically the rider. Because like archery, horses are very sensitive creatures and pressure difference and the riders nerves effect the horse. Archers should be thankful that it isn’t a live creature under them..that can feel the nerves of the rider.
As, the archer has progressed and had more coaching, rarely is the bow to blame. Typically, there was a small mistake by him, because he has confidence in the equipment and tuning. It is easier to access problems when only the mirror reflects the problem and solution.