How to Critique Jumping Effectively

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How to Critique Jumping Effectively

This is a discussion on How to Critique Jumping Effectively within the Horse Riding Critique forums, part of the Riding Horses category

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    12-27-2010, 12:41 PM
How to Critique Jumping Effectively

So, I am a born and raised jumper/eventer, and that's the true love of my life! So, as I've been scrolling through some critiques of jumping threads, it's been kind of scary.
It takes a lot of confidence to post knowing that there are a typical variety of people on here who will bring out all of your flaws; loud and clear, and I'd like to congratulate you!

Anyway, as I've been looking, there are a few things I've noticed... Especially with the comment "looks like you're pinching and holding on with your legs". This comment really is difficult and vague to someone looking for advice for a few reasons.
First of all, in order to stay on, it's pretty much a requirement to grasp. Good balance dictates exactly how much because ultimately, that is the key to jumping-balance. So when that comment, "you're gripping with your knees" comes out, it doesn't say anything other than the fact that maybe the critique-er has never jumped. (?). So, if you're looking to make a constructive comment and see that they're gripping too much maybe consider saying that.

Now, I just want to say, I'm not trying to tell you how to critique and I don't want to sound like a know it all, rather I'm trying to make these more beneficial and helpful for those looking for pointers.

SO here is an image off Google that I'd like to point out. I know that there is, and never will be, a "perfect" jump by any rider , but this one to me comes pretty close.

So, in this picture, I think it really demonstrates:
~The rider's center of mass is really directly above the horses back/protrusion of withers
~A solid release where the horse is reaching for the contact, and forming a brilliant bascule
~Rider's body is contoured to the horses's shape, allowing for a nice over all image

THINGS that need "work":
-Rider's leg has slipped much further back than one would like to see, and the toes are pointed down instead of heels
-The rider is further off the saddle than we'd like to see, and really has quite a bit of space between the saddle and butt. This will just promote the rider to come and "fall" back down harder on the horse.
-Looking down; the riders eyes are down over the jump which is a common fault. She should keep her eyes up, and over to the next landing or jump.
-Her knees appear to be off the saddle, which limits contact and prevents the rider and horse staying connected in the basic areas.

Things to look for and keep in mind:
-What is the horse's face looking like? Happy? Expressionless?
-Does the horse "reach for contact"? Often times the rider has a good release and the horse (if it's well trained) will reach for that contact and people commonly say, "not enough release".
-How are the riders hands?
-Riders arms and Elbows? Are the arms slightly larger than/less than 90 degrees (anywhere from 80-100is acceptable).
-Are the elbows "flapping out" or tucked in to their body?
-Rider's face and direction of looking? Is it ahead or down on the jump that they're going over?
-Where is their center of weight appear to be? Over the horses neck?
-Are the legs gripping "too much" or look too far back?
-Are heels down and toes up? Also, are the toes sticking out instead of staying tucked in/parallel to the horse's side?
-How far off the saddle is the rider's seat? If there's enough to see through to the other side, then it's most likely WAY too much. There should be at least one point of contact on the seat.
-Is the rider's back concave and arched so that they look to have a swayback? That doesn't create the ideal picture. It should shape around the horse, like in the photo above.
-The foot should lie directly under a line created by hip-knee-foot *ideally*, which almost never happes, but you could just look for how close/far away it lies.

Hope this atleast refreshes people and helps!
Thanks for reading!
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    12-27-2010, 12:41 PM
If you have a picture of a jumper that you'd like me to critique, you can post it here too! Thanks!
    12-27-2010, 07:07 PM
See to me that pic looks like the riders weight is going down hill - and way to forward... she has no weight in her heel so if she was to land and the horse was to stumble she would be far from stable (Or on the other side if the horse through a stop before the jump)

Hmm will see if I can find one off google that I like...

Ohh and if you are gripping with your knees - then usually you are pivot foward meaning no weight in the ankle - loosing stability of youe entire position... hence why it is not a good trait to have - often comes from being in front of the movement

Above is IMO only
    12-27-2010, 07:22 PM
Yes jody111 I agree with you completely and just forgot to throw that in! I think pivoting is commonly mistaken as "gripping" as well! Thanks!
    12-27-2010, 07:25 PM
Wow its pretty hard to find a perfect equitation pic isnt it,..... just was having a search... theres a girl that used to come on here who used to be pretty good - pintogirl or similar... will see if I can find a pic from her
    12-27-2010, 07:28 PM
I searched for decades to find that one up top! Literally like 45 minutes. I know it's really embarrassing! I wish it was easier
    12-27-2010, 07:35 PM
Jody, look for Beezie Madden and George Morris.
    12-27-2010, 07:41 PM
Touche - very nice mieventer...

It helps if I know who to search ;) I have friends with nice eq but it wouldnt be fair to put up pics from their FB

Beezies legs are to die for... she's pretty consistant
    12-27-2010, 07:51 PM
Originally Posted by MIEventer    
Jody, look for Beezie Madden and George Morris.
From the I've seen George Morris has a hunched back sometimes when jumping, but a lot of the pictures and times I have seen him ride personally he has had winter jackets on :P but he is an amazing clinician (a bit harsh in his younger days)
    12-27-2010, 09:52 PM
Agreeing 100% with Ak (as usual!) I HATE constantly seeing "don't grip with your knees!" clearly, these critics have only 'theory' knowledge. If you don't grip properly, you lose contact with the saddle and your legs tend to 'flap' because, after hearing this, riders have no idea WHERE to put their legs! True, gripping too hard will cause your horse to lose forward impulsion, but so does an unbalanced rider trying to right themselves by gripping the horse's face instead!
Ak, I'll post a pic later for you to critique ;)

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