Cross Country critique! BN and Novice - Page 2

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Cross Country critique! BN and Novice

This is a discussion on Cross Country critique! BN and Novice within the Horse Riding Critique forums, part of the Riding Horses category

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    08-12-2012, 12:00 PM
Originally Posted by MudPaint    
As Maura covered the critique to the T... I'll comment on the martingale. Now others may disagree with this opinion, but I was always taught, when working a young or green horse. No gadgets. Work/train your horse so you don't need them. A good flat/dressage foundation will take you further. Jumping, even XC, is 90% flat work. You just have to remember to do your flat work. So no.... I think at this level, you should fix the high headness, and learn how to deal with it rather than use a martingale.

I've seen too many horses be martingaled up when they are still green and because the foundation was skipped, can't be jumped safely without one.
Originally Posted by Oxer    
^^^ I agree.
After a little over a year, my horse goes on the bit and moves off my leg appropriately. But it took a lot of time, riding 6 days a week, and trainer schooling every thursday as well. My trainers still pushed me to use german training forks and draw reins. But I chose not to use such things... and the time I put in has since paid off. But boy, is it a lot of work!
Exactly my thoughts. Molly was extremely high-headed and resisting when I got her, but I worked through it and never used any gadgets. I'm always hesitant to add things that I don't think are necessary. Our barn manager practically had to drag me into the tack room to switch out my snaffle for an elevator for fuxhunting. I know my horse and can keep control with light contact on a snaffle, but everyone was absolutely convinced that he would get rowdy and strong in a field of 25 horses. Guess who was right?

No martingale, then. The only time he gets high-headed is when he's looky, not when he's strong. I softly half-halt to get his attention.
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    08-12-2012, 12:27 PM
I totally know how that goes. I expect my trainer to know what is going to be best for both me and my horses training. But with that being said, sometimes I have to really take a stand on how i'm feeling about something, and leave it at that.

I did notice however, that your martingale is really quite polite. I hadn't even noticed it in the pictures because your horse has no opinion of it.
    08-12-2012, 02:39 PM
There's no martingale on him in the pictures. The extra loop you see in some is the excess rein
    08-12-2012, 04:00 PM
Super Moderator
Maura did an excellent job critiquing. I appreciate that you are'nt using a crest release to balance yourself. I would also like to see a tad bit more contact, though.

As for your lower leg, I am concerned about how far back it slips. You are grabbing a bit with your knee which makes contact with your lower leg difficult. This can be the "kiss of death" on XC. If your horse were to stop, you would be pitched forward and, without that lower leg forward, you would be off over the horse's ears. No fun.

Get that lower leg forward so that it stays at the girth. Let go with that knee and stretch that leg forward. It will burn a bit as you stretch, but you will lengthen the muscles on the back of your leg with work. Then, if the horse quits on you, you will have a rock solid leg to keep you from pitching forward.

Maura was talking about my release. My "modified" auto release is one I often use when riding very aggressively. It is much like what you are trying, by clamping a bit on the sides of the horse's neck. But you can see I keep contact. If the horse needs more rein, I am in a place to give it. While my lower leg seems to have slipped back, due to the steep angle of the horse, if it were much more forward, I might be behind the motion and have to be pulled over the jump by the reins. The question needs to be.....would I be able to be in balance if I were in this same position standing on the ground...or would I pitch forward or fall back. That balance is what you want. I'm not perfect here, but I am OK.

A full auto release is simply when, with contact, you have a straight line between elbow and bit. Like my avvie. I am actually hardly "clamping" on the neck here. Your lower leg needs to be under you for good balance.

maura and PintoTess like this.
    08-12-2012, 04:10 PM
Thanks! For strengthening my lower leg, would you suggest anything other than a lot of work in two-point, gymnastics, etc.?

Also, does anyone have any pictures of long versus short crest releases? I'm not sure I'm quite clear on the arm positions for those.
    08-12-2012, 04:11 PM
Just wanted to say you guys are looking good ! You have really come far together =]
equiniphile likes this.
    08-12-2012, 06:11 PM
Super Moderator
I agree, equiniphile, you really are going nicely!

I have my students doing two point with no hands. I have them on the lunge and have them ride with their arms out like airplanes. First at walk, then trot, then canter. I will set up a lunge jump and have them "airplane" over the one jump until they can keep that lower leg forward to counterbalance their upper body at all gaits and one jump. Then, I will set up a grid and have them run the line like an airplane. They get their reins back when they can keep their seat back and leg forward. If they jump ahead of their saddle and slip that leg back, they are not happy campers!! LOL!

This video is not mine. They are hunter riders, but it illustrates what I mean. See when the kids have no way to prop up their upper body with their crest release how steady their lower legs are? They HAVE to be or they will topple forward. One kids gets her reins back and uses a crest release and, WHAMMO, the body is propped up and the legs go back.
    08-12-2012, 06:18 PM
Super Moderator
I agree, equiniphile, you are looking great!

I have my students on the lunge line riding two point with their arms out like airplanes. They stay at walk, until they can maintain their balance. They have to keep their lower leg forward to counterbalance their upper body. Then they go to trot, then canter. When they can maintain their balance without propping themselves up with a crest release, I put a jump on the lunge circle. They jump like an airplane until they are comfortable. Then I'll put them through a jump grid like airplanes. This will teach you a solid lower leg.

This is not my video, but they are using similar jumping. See how solid those lower legs were getting? Then, one kid does a crest release and,WHAMMO, the lower leg slides right back as she uses the crest release to prop up her upper body. More airplane work for her!!

    08-12-2012, 07:39 PM
Thanks, that's really helpful! I might have to see about borrowing a horse to try this on, as Excel still needs a steady rein contact as well as seat/leg aids to drive him to fences so he doesn't duck out. Although, if we can try some of it on the lunge I could probably try it with him.
    08-13-2012, 12:45 AM
Super Moderator
I see that the post that I thought was lost actually did post. Oh, well....double your money!!

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