Hunter Critique - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 07-26-2011, 12:24 AM Thread Starter
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Hunter Critique

Okay, here's a video from Excel's first show July 9th. He came off the track a year and a quarter ago, (is 6 now) and I've owned him for a year. At this show, we got a 2nd and a 5th in Eq. and Pleasure classes, and a 2nd in 18", 3rd in 2', and 4th in 2' Working Hunter. I switched from Western to English a year and a half ago, and had a jumping lesson early July. Other than that and a few pointers from my aunt and uncle, I'm self-taught. I found an eventing trainer who I'm going to set up lessons with soon, and I have jumped Excel less than 5 times over the past year.

The judge said I have a very nice leg at the trot, and that Excel has lovely movement. I got some comments on his movement from other people in the show barn, too.

On to the video. I REALLY need to work on my release over fences (jumping starts around 4:00). I need to use my corners more, but Excel was pretty set on jumping with absolutely no room to set himself up, so I was fighting him a little there. On the flat, I've been working to help Excel with his leads, as he has a tendancy to pick up the left more than the right. My uncle and aunt, who train reiners, are giving me instruction over the phone on this.

Warning; there's music.

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post #2 of 7 Old 07-26-2011, 08:22 AM
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what you really need to do is flat work to get this horse OFF his forehand. He "falls apart" after a fence and when he turns when jumping.

I would stop jumping and go back to flat work and get him together under you.. and work on transitions, circles and training him to work off his hind quarters and get off his forehand. He needs to learn how to balance, change leads and all the rest before jumping. He turns stiffly.. puts his hind quarters out of position and does not 'bend.' His flat work is the reason he has issues with leads.

Remember, jumping is fun but MOST of the time the horse is on the flat BETWEEN fences. You can train jumping any time.. it is the flat work between fences that makes for good jumping.

There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man. ~Winston Churchill
(or woman!!!! ) Dinosaur Horse Trainer
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post #3 of 7 Old 07-26-2011, 09:55 AM
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You really need to tidy up the jumping a lot. It's not bad, but you are very sloppy with turns, striding, pace, and finding the correct spot. I think you need to shorten your stirrups a hole and really ride that horse. Some points you are just there and letting the horse figure out everything for himself. You really need to sit and help him to ever fence.

I suggest doing a lot of ground poles at the canter..and do gymnastics to help your horse keep a nice even pace, and it will help eliminate the rushing without you having to pull on his mouth so much.

You're off to a good start, just work with your horse not against him...and be more tidy with courses..everything should flow seamlessly especially in the hunter ring.
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post #4 of 7 Old 07-26-2011, 11:43 AM
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You have a lovely horse. There are, however some real issues you need to work on before you do much more jumping. As has been said, your horse is very unbalanced on the flat. Until this is fixed on the flat, your jumping will continue to suffer.

Number one, you need to get that horse balanced! She is extremely heavy on her right shoulder. When she is going with the right shoulder to the outside, she pops that shoulder and overbends, sliding to the outside. You pull on the inside rein which only serves to increase the overbending. You need to close that outside leg on the girth and hold that shoulder. Use your leg to push to horse towards the left shoulder, instead of using your left rein to try to turn her.

When the right shoulder is on the inside, she is counterbending with her nose pointing to the outside. This is because all of her weight is on the right shoulder (on the inside). As a result she will collapse into the turn and you will find it very difficult to use a large turning radius. She will be stiff and unable to bend, as long as so much weight is down on the right shoulder. So, you try to use your outside rein to try to pull her into a larger turn. What happens then is you are pulling her out (instead of pushing her out with your leg) and forcing even MORE weight onto that right shoulder makeing matters worse.

In this case you need to work on this circle (clockwise). Do not use your hands to pull the nose out to keep the same size circle. You need to put that right leg at the girth and push her onto that outside (left) shoulder. The outside rein must be firm and consistent to allow the horse to move into it and support the left shoulder. Inside hand is near the neck giving half halts to help increase the bend. If you are familiar with leg yields, you are almost leg yielding the horse to the outside, trying to make the circle bigger using just your leg. In the beginning, it helps to put more of your weight into the outside stirrup (left) to help shift some of your weight off of that right shoulder. As she becomes more able to bend, shifting weight off the right shoulder, you can lessen your weight shift.

Does any of that make sense? I am happy to try to explain it fuller, if you need. Feel free to PM me for more info, or ask here.

Hope I have helped a little.
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post #5 of 7 Old 07-26-2011, 12:55 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you guys, that helped a ton.

A lot of the problems with balance (not all of them, but some of them) are from him being distracted. The show atmosphere made him pretty nervous and he was bending to the outside and had his head in the air like a giraffe, so I was squeezing his inside rein to remind him to focus. He needs lots of work with moving off pressure still. I'll start researching exercises to get him off the forehand.

Like I said, I haven't jumped him more than 5 times in the year that I've owned him. My friend rides IEA and is coming over sometime this week to work with him on his lead changes and balance.

Thanks again, guys!
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post #6 of 7 Old 07-26-2011, 01:54 PM
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YOu got such a good seat that I think you can now put more focus into haveing more meaningful contact on your reins. If you get your hands into a better position (thumbs up, elbows at your side with some bend in them) you will better be able to access your core to do some of the things that are advised by the above posters to "put your horse together" and ride more actively. Your leg is so solid, your seat so good, just the upper body/hands need to do more of their part.
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post #7 of 7 Old 07-26-2011, 02:23 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, TL. I have a huge habit of piano hands, and he's so different than Molly that I'm still figuring out what it takes to have him collect up and come on the bit.
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