Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Alberta, Canada
• Horses: 0
Is this the 4 year old mare? My first concern is to take her off jumping and get her relaxed at all three gaits, moving laterally and bending through the ribcage. Right now her nose is in the air (she can't see the jump!), her back is inverted, and she doesn't know where her legs are supposed to be. You will really start to be able to sit and ride her better when she RELAXES. I think she'd do really well coming off jumping for 6 months to a year and getting to learn the basics, solidly.
That's how I got into dressage. I started having problems with my (then) mare rushing the fences and finding distances when we reached about 3'. We stopped jumping completely for almost a year, and MAN what a difference! We were black and white different from pre-dressage training.
Anyways. Finding distances.
To get a good bascule over the fence, you want to take off and form a perfect arc over the fence, and land the equal distance away from the fence on the other side. This arc should be equal on either side, with the top of the arc directly over the fence. If you are too far out, (i.e. Jumping "long") then the horse will flatten out over the fence and land too short on the other stride. The opposite is when the horse gets too close in to the jump (i.e. "chipping" the fence) and then has to pop up higher in front of the fence to clear it, think deer hop, and ends up landing either too close in to the base on the other side, or too far out.
Okay, so start out with a line that is exactly five strides apart. Ride that line and feel what it feels like without worrying about distance.. worry about your position, but let her figure it out at first. See what she does. Then try and get 5 strides in, and see what it takes to do so. What you want is the horse to take 5 equal strides between the two jumps. You want to find the line in front of the jump that allows the horse to jump with a smooth, equal arc over the jump. Take a moment on the ground to LOOK at the jump and see where that would be. Position the top of the arc over the middle of the jump, and see where that equal arc looks like on either side of the jump. Draw a physical line if you want to.
Now ride that 5 stride and visualize the point you picked out, and ask the horse to jump when you want it to take off, not when it wants to take off. That means controlling the stride right to the base of the jump, and staying with her throughout the entire line. Ride that until you get an equal 5 strides. Then play around. Squeeze down to 6 strides, lengthen out to 4 strides, see what it takes to get the horse to jump at that line that you've imagined.
Did that help at all? Do you need more explanation?
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