Jump/Flat Critique? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 05-10-2009, 08:23 PM Thread Starter
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post #2 of 6 Old 05-10-2009, 08:44 PM Thread Starter
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Whoops I forgot I could post pictures and not just links on this site. This will make it easier. :)

Mare Jumping


Pony Jumping

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post #3 of 6 Old 05-10-2009, 08:48 PM
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they both look very nice. their knees are nice and tucked and square. you, look great too. I like how you wait for your horse to jump.(something im getting better at) except the first pony pic, you were ahead a bit. but overall, all three of you look awesome!
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post #4 of 6 Old 05-11-2009, 08:52 AM Thread Starter
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post #5 of 6 Old 05-11-2009, 09:35 AM
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you, look great too.
What is it that you are seeing to give you this determination?


You have very lovely horses and you all look sharp and well turned out. But I would rather see functional over pretty. Your horses are keen jumpers and obviously love to do their job, despite their riders errors.

Don't get me wrong, we all flub up - I even do too. I have faults and am not some perfect rider either. But critiques are here to help one another.

What I really see in every single picture, is a rider with a very weak, unsuportive, unfunctional lower leg.

So there are a few reasons why a rider does this -

Improper leather length
Unfunctional heels
Knee Pinching
Anticipating the fence
Riding the fence, not their horse

All leading to/sums up to - Lack of security in their tack.

So - what is going on here? Knee pinching - when one pinches their knees for a base of security in their tack, they cause a multitude of sins. Your lower leg flings back, your upper body flings forward and you are either left behind or way ahead.

While I don't see you ahead allot, I do see you left behind.

Don't worry though, these faults are fixable, and many people pinch their knees for a base of security, because they aren't being taught correctly on the flat before they are permitted to go over fences. So you aren't the only one here.

SO - when you pinch your knees, there is a reason behind it. You are not allowing your heels to do their job. A rider MUST, MUST, MUST allow their lower leg to do it's job - or everything else goes out the window.

Really studdy Beezie Madden and a few other greats like George Morris and a few others on the Canadian Equestrian Team and the U.S. These riders really have impecable form over fences - when I watch them ride to a fence, take off, over and land - their lower legs DO NOT BUDGE.

Those are the riders we want to look up to, those are the riders we want to studdy and strive to follow suit.

So, how can we fix this?

1) Proper iron placement, proper leather length. Your iron must be at the ball of your toes, where the outter bar is at your pinky toe and the inner bar is at the ball of your big toe. Your leathers should be between 100 - 110 degree angle.

I don't see these faults with you

2) Get your legs at that girth. Open your knees, and use your inner calf like you should be. We must remember to be AROUND our horses, not ontop. So get those inner calves at your horses girth, and wrap yourself around.

3) Heels deep. Your heels must beable to take your upper bodies weight - this natural flow of weight must beable to go from your upper body, seat, into your lower legs and into your heels. Our heels must beable to anchor us in our tack - they are our base of security. Without our heels, everything else goes to pot.

Domino Effect.

So - work on lots of two point. I mean, LOTS. Not just here and there or 5 mintues here and a few there - I mean, LOTS. Everytime you are in that saddle, get those legs to that girth and learn to use them functionally.

Another reason why we want our legs wrapped around our horses girth - is so that we can not only support our horses to the fence - keeping their backs rounded, impulsion and rhythm, but to also give them the feeling that we are with them every step of the way. We don't want to abandon them at that fence, meaning when our legs fling back and arent on our horses side - some aren't fortunate enough to have horses to cover their patooties when this happens - that' when we get refusals because that support is not there.

I would also suggest lots of lunge line work with no reins. This will force you to learn to gain a functional seat and lower leg.

Remember, our heels must beable to do their jobs!

So when you fix your lower leg - this will aid you to stay with your horses center of gravity and their motion.

In all your over the fences pictures, you are either ahead, or behind. I haven't seen one where you are over your horses center of gravity.

I am going to guess that when you aren't anticipating the fence, you are behind the verticle.

When we anticipate the fence, when we ride the fence and not our horse - we jump ahead. Also when we have no base of security in our tack. You know that fence is there, your horses know that fence is there - so why focus on it?

Focus on the most important factor here, which is what is under you, not infront of you. Ride your horses rhtyhm, focus on where you are in your tack, focus on control and straitness - and allow the rest to happen.

It is your horses job to get you over that fence, not yours.

And my suspicion of you getting left behind - is because you are allowing your upper body to get slightly behind the verticle on approach to the fence.

Legs at girth, heels taking bodies weight, sitting on all 3 points of our seat, upper body just slightly ahead of the verticle.

I think that once you get your lower leg fixed, allot will come into play.

Start going over xrails and cavaletti's.

Remember - it isn't the fence that matters, it is the rhythm and where you are in your tack.

Jumping is dressage with speed bumps - get on that lunge line with no reins, and work on your seat and legs. While on the lunge, go over cavaletti's and xrails. This will also force you to sit and wait and remain supportive and over your horses center of gravity.

I hope that helps :) :) :)
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post #6 of 6 Old 05-11-2009, 10:08 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the great in depth critique, those were taken last summer (August), Below are some pictures from a mouth or so ago (I think I posted them on here too....?), would you say I have improved?

Thanks again!

Last edited by Freedomjump; 05-11-2009 at 10:18 AM.
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