What's with my horse's form?

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What's with my horse's form?

This is a discussion on What's with my horse's form? within the Eventing forums, part of the English Riding category

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    08-08-2011, 05:55 PM
What's with my horse's form?

Stacie C. Lynch Photography - E-mail Address Required

I know we're not supposed to post pics of other riders, but I need you all to see this in context. Moderators, feel free to yank it if it's inappropriate. Look at the top 4 pics. It's me and 3 other riders jumping the same fence. I'm the 3rd photo. What concerns me is, while the other horses are jumping up with tight knees like there's an actual jump there, my guy is taking it more like a big canter stride. He either has poor form or just doesn't respect smaller stuff anymore. We just recently started cooking with gas where jumping is concerned, so I'm finally going to start challenging him more in terms of height. He does tend to jump in a guarded form since I used to commit the cardinal sin of catching him in the mouth. I'm happy to see from these pics that it's finally fixed. Any input on why he's jumping like that would be appreciated.
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    08-09-2011, 07:24 PM
The photo, in my opinion, has been captured at a slightly different point during your jump. To me it looks more like he's already starting the descent of his arc, whereas the rest of the horses look to be on the ascent.

What I would do, were I you and worried about his neatness over fences, is start doing some grid work with him. One exercise my coach set up recently is really good for getting a horse to be a little more clever and quick with their front end.

Set up three jumps, oxer, vertical, to an oxer. Both oxers should be square (front and back rails the same height). From the first oxer to the vertical is 10 feet with a placing pole in the center, from the vertical to the second oxer is also 10 feet with a placing rail. Before the first and after the last oxer should be a placing rail at 9 feet. You can jump this in both directions. Treat the placing poles at the beginning and end as another "jump." Basically you want the horse to get to teh base of the first pole, jump the oxer in with the same amount of power, one stride over the pole, over the vertical, one stride over the second pole, over the oxer, and then out over the last placing rail. Not only will it teach them to be quick with their feet but it will help teach you and your horse how to maintain power and balance throughout the exercise.

I hope that all made sense. I'm exhausted, lol.
    08-09-2011, 07:28 PM
Yeah, it makes sense. Sounds fun too. He just always looks like he's jumping down rather than up to me if that makes any sense.
    08-09-2011, 08:23 PM
That makes sense. It might be in part to his conformation, tbh. We've got a horse that tends to land downhill, but he's also built slightly downhill. It's just something that you have to try to improve as much as possible. Grid work can really help with that, but sometimes it's a fault you have to learn how to ride correctly. As long as you're always staying strong through your core and supporting him up and forward then he has to figure out where his feet go the rest of the time.

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