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  • What tactics or strategies are in flatwork horse riding

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    07-16-2012, 01:10 PM
  #11
Yearling
I remember posting in your other thread! It's great to see how your daughter has progressed.

Quote:
What elements should always be present in a jump for the form to be good, and in what elements more variation is allowed for to account for personal preference etc?
In my opinion, basic good form over a jump is:

*Heels down, legs at girth.
*The rider should be in two-point or at least something similar. Not over-jumping but still allowing the horse to get over the jump easily.
*There should be some sort of release, so the horse doesn't get caught in the mouth and become sour to jumping.
*Chin and eyes should be up, either looking at the next jump or barn wall.

Quote:
This makes sense. At what point do they start teaching not to approach at 2-point? From my point of view she`s such a new rider, I`m surprised she`d doing jumping at all. But she loves it, and it seems that the instructor is safety oriented. So hopefully that`s okay.
I was taught to not approach in two-point once I started doing "real" jumps. That means not trotting/canter poles but cross-rails and such. Not saying that what anyone does isn't real or anything! However, different instructors have different ways of doing things.

Quote:
This makes sense, thanks. How is it taught? Are they just instructed to move their hands forward?
It's kind of funny, I was just always taught to "release", and it was understood that it meant I had to move my hands forward. My current instructor is working on getting my release to be more "correct", and not over-doing it, things like that.

Quote:
Am I right in my understanding that there are several `correct` ways to jump, based on the discipline? Is one way better than the other, or they are just different techniques?
I believe you're right. I don't believe one way is necessarily better than the other.

Is she currently learning to count strides to the jumps? (While cantering). That may be a precursor to her instructor getting ready to transition her to approach in her regular seat and then learn "feel" in order to get into two-point at the right time.

Also, it will get easier for her once she's almost always cantering the jumps. It's smoother and feels much more comfortable, at least to me.

Some things I noticed:

*At times I couldn't tell if she was in two-point or a half-seat.
*I'd really like to see her have a stronger two-point. This will come with time and practice in the saddle, but see if you can get her to exercise at home as well.
*Her legs seem to be a bit unstable.
*I think she could benefit from leaning back a bit. I know some barns/disciplines teach a rider a more forward seat, but this just seems kind of unstable to me at this time. If she was my student and I liked a more forward seat in my riders, I would have her doing lots of two-point, no stirrup work, stuff to help strengthen her muscles. Once she was stable in that position, I'd transition her to the more forward seat. That's just me though, and I'm not an instructor, haha!

I'm being picky for someone her age. She is a good rider and I can see her becoming very good at whatever discipline she chooses!
     
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    07-17-2012, 12:24 PM
  #12
Foal
I love your involvement and support for your daughter! Personally I think she should be doing more flat work, she is on a great horse who know his job! I really want to see her riding the horse instead of just sitting. Does she jump every lesson? I noticed some posting struggle, and she throws her body quite a bit (can cause tons of problems later). I think it would be really cool to see her master walk trot canter, then go back to jumping. But that's Just me :) She has soooo much potential.
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    07-17-2012, 07:28 PM
  #13
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cinder    
I remember posting in your other thread! It's great to see how your daughter has progressed.



In my opinion, basic good form over a jump is:

*Heels down, legs at girth.
*The rider should be in two-point or at least something similar. Not over-jumping but still allowing the horse to get over the jump easily.
*There should be some sort of release, so the horse doesn't get caught in the mouth and become sour to jumping.
*Chin and eyes should be up, either looking at the next jump or barn wall.



I was taught to not approach in two-point once I started doing "real" jumps. That means not trotting/canter poles but cross-rails and such. Not saying that what anyone does isn't real or anything! However, different instructors have different ways of doing things.



It's kind of funny, I was just always taught to "release", and it was understood that it meant I had to move my hands forward. My current instructor is working on getting my release to be more "correct", and not over-doing it, things like that.



I believe you're right. I don't believe one way is necessarily better than the other.

Is she currently learning to count strides to the jumps? (While cantering). That may be a precursor to her instructor getting ready to transition her to approach in her regular seat and then learn "feel" in order to get into two-point at the right time.

Also, it will get easier for her once she's almost always cantering the jumps. It's smoother and feels much more comfortable, at least to me.

Some things I noticed:

*At times I couldn't tell if she was in two-point or a half-seat.
*I'd really like to see her have a stronger two-point. This will come with time and practice in the saddle, but see if you can get her to exercise at home as well.
*Her legs seem to be a bit unstable.
*I think she could benefit from leaning back a bit. I know some barns/disciplines teach a rider a more forward seat, but this just seems kind of unstable to me at this time. If she was my student and I liked a more forward seat in my riders, I would have her doing lots of two-point, no stirrup work, stuff to help strengthen her muscles. Once she was stable in that position, I'd transition her to the more forward seat. That's just me though, and I'm not an instructor, haha!

I'm being picky for someone her age. She is a good rider and I can see her becoming very good at whatever discipline she chooses!

Thanks. Some answers.

She is not told to count steps.

I haven't heard her trainer mention "half seat" at all. She's told to be in 2point, but also to sit up straight. Is this the half-seat?
     
    07-17-2012, 07:39 PM
  #14
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Equitation4life    
I love your involvement and support for your daughter! Personally I think she should be doing more flat work, she is on a great horse who know his job! I really want to see her riding the horse instead of just sitting. Does she jump every lesson? I noticed some posting struggle, and she throws her body quite a bit (can cause tons of problems later). I think it would be really cool to see her master walk trot canter, then go back to jumping. But that's Just me :) She has soooo much potential.
Thanks! Her horse loves to jump.

Her lessons are only 30-35 min a week. For the first 15 minutes she does rides in 2pt, and /or without stirrups. Is this what is called flatwork? This is an example:


It was her first time cantering without stirrups, so she wasn't very balanced. As a mom, I'm just impressed she isn't afraid of it!


For the second half she does the jumps. For the last 6 or 7 lessons she did the jumps every time.

Is the posting sruggle when she is circling before getting the horse to canter? She told me she struggles there, with the need to transition to canter, and get into the 2-pt.

Personally I thought she'd be doing walk trot canter for much longer before jumping (from my non-horsey mom perspective ) . It seems she just learned to canter so recently. I don't want to second guess the trainer, but I guess I'd like to try to ask her what are the benefits (if any) of jumping earlier rather than later?
     
    07-19-2012, 06:14 PM
  #15
Foal
Yeah walk trot canter is "flat work" Im really not a fan of having her trot and canter without sturrups becasue her legs were flying every where. Her seat with sturrups is not yet strong enough for her to sucessfully trot and canter without sturups. I didd't jump for years, because I had to master the basics. That's what she really needs to work on, the basics. I woiuld really stress troting especially. Learning to correct way to post (diagonals) and how to control your horse's pace through your post. Lots of 2 point at the trot really gearing her muscles up. Working on some sitting trot, trotting without sturrups. Then trotting over some poles and crossrails. Im just worried that if she doesn't have the basics before she jumps, then she will have to go back and learn them later (very frustrating). Flatwork is the key! If you want to be sucessful jumping you HAVE to be sucessful, confident, fluid, and correct flatting. Your daughter is very impressive though she has a very natural seat, wich is very good for the future :)
     
    07-19-2012, 10:10 PM
  #16
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Equitation4life    
Yeah walk trot canter is "flat work" Im really not a fan of having her trot and canter without sturrups becasue her legs were flying every where.
How are her legs supposed to be? She was told to really relax them and to let them dangle. Is this a valid strategy or is this not done?

Quote:
Her seat with sturrups is not yet strong enough for her to sucessfully trot and canter without sturups. I didd't jump for years, because I had to master the basics. That's what she really needs to work on, the basics. I woiuld really stress troting especially. Learning to correct way to post (diagonals) and how to control your horse's pace through your post. Lots of 2 point at the trot really gearing her muscles up. Working on some sitting trot, trotting without sturrups. Then trotting over some poles and crossrails. Im just worried that if she doesn't have the basics before she jumps, then she will have to go back and learn them later (very frustrating). Flatwork is the key! If you want to be sucessful jumping you HAVE to be sucessful, confident, fluid, and correct flatting. Your daughter is very impressive though she has a very natural seat, wich is very good for the future :)
[/QUOTE]

Thanks! I was also under the impression that she wouldn't be jumping for at least another year, so I was surprised she was started on jumping this spring. I'm not sure how to bring these concerns with the instructor. I don't have that much knowledge and I don't want to sound critical. But on the other hand, I don't want my daughter to be disadvantaged by not getting the right basics.

What I would like to know if there are different approaches taken to this, that all lead to the same final result. One approach is obviously to wait until walk trot canter are very strong and then to start jumping. This makes sense to me.

On the other hand (and I'm speculating here, as I don't really have the knowledge) is it possible to work on both the basics *and* jumping at the same time? Or by jumping too early one will certainly end up with compromised flatting?

Does this depend on the discipline of the instructor or even the number of weekly lessons that a child can have? Obviously my daughter can't really progress that fast, as we can only afford 30 min per week. This week it went to 35, and I was pleased even with that.

This is almost her entire flatting part of the lesson this week:


She was on a new horse, who wasn't nearly as eager as the horse she rode for the last several months, so she had to work more on getting him moving.

After that they did the jumps. I stood at a different angle, and I can see how floppy her legs are.


These two videos are a typical lesson for her, the way it is split into flat work and jumping. Most trainers wouldn't do it this way, and would just do flatting at this stage? How potentially detrimental can this be for her?

I'm back to thinking that I don't really know how to address this with the trainer. I don't really think I can dictate how to teach and not sure switching would be a good option either.
     
    07-19-2012, 11:06 PM
  #17
Yearling
Quote:
I haven't heard her trainer mention "half seat" at all. She's told to be in 2point, but also to sit up straight. Is this the half-seat?
It doesn't sound like it. It's kind of hard to explain, but to me it's like the middle ground between a regular seat and two-point. I also bring my butt off the saddle and keep contact with my saddle only lightly.

Here's a quote from Yahoo answers which I think explains it nicely:
Quote:
In a half-seat position, the rider's seat bones are lifted out of the saddle, and only her pelvis has contact. It is used for jumping when some seat aid may be necessary, especially for sharp turns, when riding downhills, on the approach to potentially spooky fences, or when the rider wishes to collect the stride. This seat is a compromise, allowing the jumping rider to have greater control than when he rides in two-point, but still allowing him to keep the majority of weight off the horse's back.

Half-seat is often seen in hunt seat, show jumping, fox hunting, eventing (jumping phases), and at times in dressage for training purposes, to help lighten the horse's back.
Quote:
Is the posting sruggle when she is circling before getting the horse to canter? She told me she struggles there, with the need to transition to canter, and get into the 2-pt.
Personally, I did see it there. I don't know if her instructor has been telling her/reminding her but you're supposed to sit the trot in order to canter. This is also helpful (at least for me) for keeping the horse at a nice trot speed for a trot-canter transition. So she should sit, cue, and then go into two-point- it's not all at once.

Quote:
Personally I thought she'd be doing walk trot canter for much longer before jumping (from my non-horsey mom perspective ) . It seems she just learned to canter so recently. I don't want to second guess the trainer, but I guess I'd like to try to ask her what are the benefits (if any) of jumping earlier rather than later?
Many people have a lot of expectations a rider has to meet before they can canter or jump. Jumping in particular can be hard and potentially dangerous for a rider who's unprepared.

However, I did go over a few jumps before I should have even seen a cross-rail. I feel that while it's often better to approach jumping later, there are a few benefits. In my opinion, it can increase confidence in your riding, and help spice up your routine.

Quote:
How are her legs supposed to be? She was told to really relax them and to let them dangle. Is this a valid strategy or is this not done?
Stable, strong legs, especially in jumping are very important. You want them to pretty much look still. However, tense legs are not good. You also don't want to start a habit of someone gripping the saddle with their knees, an easy mistake to make when you are otherwise tense. This may just be a tactic for now, but this is why I said I'd have her be doing exercises to help strengthen those legs.

Watching your latest videos now. Here are some of my observations:

*Elbows should be back. They are straight now.
*She seems to be gripping with her knees to me (it was a fault of mine for a while). A tell-tale sign is the way her lower leg swings back while her knee remains in contact with the saddle.
*Her heels should be down.
*I would like to see a subtler post and again, bring those elbows back and have her lean back and relax.
*Her two-point needs a lot of work. She doesn't seem to be solid at it yet.

I think she needs more work on the basics, but continuing to jump cross-rails and tiny verticals could be beneficial for her. Nothing bigger than 1'5" at this point at a stretch, I would say.

Honestly, and sorry if this contradicts what else I've said as I haven't really thought about it until now. But in almost all cases, I prefer a very strong w/t before a canter, and then a solid canter before starting with small cross-rails with maybe a small vertical thrown in. The problem is that you really can't jump effectively until you have the basics down. At this point, I don't think she's solid enough in general to be doing a ton of jumping. Some? Yes!

Quote:
These two videos are a typical lesson for her, the way it is split into flat work and jumping. Most trainers wouldn't do it this way, and would just do flatting at this stage? How potentially detrimental can this be for her?
My instructor splits up a lesson into flat work and jumping for my group, and in my experience it works quite well. However, at this stage, I'd feel most trainers would stick to just flatting. Maybe you should talk to her instructor and ask for her reasoning. Just say something like, "I was wondering why my daughter is jumping so early?"

Good luck and I hope I helped!
     
    07-20-2012, 11:05 AM
  #18
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cinder    
It doesn't sound like it. It's kind of hard to explain, but to me it's like the middle ground between a regular seat and two-point. I also bring my butt off the saddle and keep contact with my saddle only lightly.
The half-seat hasn't been mentioned or explained yet.

Quote:

Personally, I did see it there. I don't know if her instructor has been telling her/reminding her but you're supposed to sit the trot in order to canter. This is also helpful (at least for me) for keeping the horse at a nice trot speed for a trot-canter transition. So she should sit, cue, and then go into two-point- it's not all at once.
They haven't covered this yet either. She is told to ask the horse to canter, and that's all.

Elbows haven't be mentioned at all. She hasn't received any pointers on her two-point in months, she's asked to do it and that's all.

The heels and hands (thumbs on top) are mentioned in lessons.
Quote:

Watching your latest videos now. Here are some of my observations:

*Elbows should be back. They are straight now.
*She seems to be gripping with her knees to me (it was a fault of mine for a while). A tell-tale sign is the way her lower leg swings back while her knee remains in contact with the saddle.
*Her heels should be down.
*I would like to see a subtler post and again, bring those elbows back and have her lean back and relax.
*Her two-point needs a lot of work. She doesn't seem to be solid at it yet.

Quote:
I think she needs more work on the basics, but continuing to jump cross-rails and tiny verticals could be beneficial for her. Nothing bigger than 1'5" at this point at a stretch, I would say.

Honestly, and sorry if this contradicts what else I've said as I haven't really thought about it until now. But in almost all cases, I prefer a very strong w/t before a canter, and then a solid canter before starting with small cross-rails with maybe a small vertical thrown in. The problem is that you really can't jump effectively until you have the basics down. At this point, I don't think she's solid enough in general to be doing a ton of jumping. Some? Yes!
Thanks. I guess she isn't donig a ton of jumping, eh? Or is it considered a lot?

Quote:
My instructor splits up a lesson into flat work and jumping for my group, and in my experience it works quite well. However, at this stage, I'd feel most trainers would stick to just flatting. Maybe you should talk to her instructor and ask for her reasoning. Just say something like, "I was wondering why my daughter is jumping so early?"

Good luck and I hope I helped!
You've been very helpful, thank you! I'll ask some questions next week.
     
    07-20-2012, 05:23 PM
  #19
Foal
Yeah, she definitely needs some basics before jumping. Jumping is fun, but she is not being set up correctly and safely. What I like to say to help "frog- type legs" is to act as if you were giving your horse a hug, horses need to be comforted. When she was trotting her legs weren't secure at all. What she needs is practice on the flat. I noticed that she was bent forward, and her hands were stiff. When a beginner rider is introduced to a horse they should not jump unless confident to do so. When she was jumping, she was bouncing around the saddle, luckily she is on a nice calm horse. On many other horses her bouncing would have been dangerous. I don't believe she is strong enough to be cantering cross rails. She needs to be worked more on the flat before things get messy. Your daughter has a natural jump, she can handle it. She just isn't being taught correct. Its like younger horses, JUST BECAUSE THEY CAN JUMP, DOESN'T MEAN THEY SHOULD. :)
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    08-05-2012, 05:04 AM
  #20
Weanling
I haven't been able to read the entire thread word for word, but while your daughter IS handling the fences well given her experience, I do think more flat work and no stirrup work would do wonders for her.

Many trainers get their beginners jumping soon after w/t/c because if the kid (in this case) is interested in jumping, they want to keep it fun and keep the kids interest (whether it truly be for the kid's happiness or for the money, etc.).

The new view of the jumps makes it even more clear that your daughter doesn't quite yet have the leg muscles to jump safely. It is like she is having to use her stirrups as a rocker to rock back and forth when going over the jumps. She can't use her legs to keep her seat, as she doesn't have the muscle or experience yet to do so.-- This is by no way knocking your daughter or her ability, it is just pointing out the flaw of starting to jump too quickly. In a few spots in some of the videos, you could see her getting popped out of the saddle, which can be dangerous if she can't recover quickly enough.

I also found it a little interesting that she was already doing bounces (a fence right after another) and combinations. Again, she seems to handle them well given the circumstances, but when I first learned to jump it was only one fence, then build it up from there. I would tend to think that a bounce is bad for a beginner over fences, as if the rider doesn't ride the first fence well and needs to collect themself, they won't have time to do so before the next fence and of course the horse will either 1) refuse because they know something is wrong, or 2) they will jump it anyways and the rider would mostlikely go flying.

I am not sure what your daughter's stance on this is but see wht she thinks about focusing more on her flat work to ensure a stronger AND safer seat for over fences. If you and your daughter agree, maybe present it to her trainer that while she does enjoy jumping, she would like to focus more on strenghtening her legs and seat so she can excel more over fences. Like I stated, no stirrup work will help.... walking, trotting (posting as well), cantering, over poles, etc. If she takes weekly lessons, maybe see if she can have one jumping lesson a month instead of ever time she rides.

Your daughter is a great little rider and will go far, but I agree with what some other members here have been saying in trying to work a little more on the basics before jumping. It is a lot of work, but much more worth it to start working on the foundation now than have to come back to it later in order to progress with her riding. Once the fences get bigger, a rider without a good foundation will not do well and it will become very dangerous.
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