Jumping Critique - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 17 Old 07-31-2013, 03:16 PM Thread Starter
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Question Jumping Critique

Hi all!

I'm about to start getting ready to try out eventing, and I would love to have my position critiqued! I'm going to event on the dark bay thoroughbred with the blaze, but I figured I'd throw in pictures of other horses too. In may opinion, my lower leg tends to slip back, I could use some more weight in my heel and my crest release could use some work (i.e: more give up the horses neck - I am just concerned with getting too far forward). I'm all ears for constructive criticism. Thanks in advance :)

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post #2 of 17 Old 07-31-2013, 04:23 PM
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If you are going to try cross country then you are going to have to stop folding from the hips, hollowing your back and going to far forward.
The position you are in is not safe for CC should the horse peck on landing you are already half way off.
Watch some videos of top event riders and you will see that their butts hardly come out of the saddle and over a drop fence they are sitting as the horse starts to come down and leaning back.
Personally I hate a crest release, learn to think of your upper arm as a strong piece of elastic that, when the horse stretches gives, when his head comes back the elastic takes the reins back, this way there is no loss of contact with the horse's mouth.
CC is very different to jumping poles or fences on the flat. Much more fun and exhilarating!
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post #3 of 17 Old 07-31-2013, 07:56 PM
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Ditto most of that. You will need to keep your shoulders back. That far up the neck is inviting a broken nose over a solid fence. Think more back seat with the body and extending just your arms forward for a release. I did my first BN recognized show a few weeks ago and was surprised to see not a single rider using a crest release. Everyone was jumping out of hand. To snug up the leg, do lots of canter work with no stirrups. Really think about bear hugging your horse over the fences. You want to be tight as a tick up there, especially when jumping downhill. You look like a confident rider, so it's probably just a matter of tweaking your mechanics with a good eventing instructor.
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You just have to see your distance...you don't have to like it.
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post #4 of 17 Old 07-31-2013, 08:31 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice! The funny thing is that I've been getting into a terrible habbit of sitting down too early over the fence/not getting my butt up high enough of of the saddle (my current trainer says), and I've been trying to work on that lately. Now I'm TOO high out of the saddle....I need to find a happy medium between the two lol.
My current trainer isn't really geared towards eventing, but I'm moving and therefore moving barns soon to a more eventing friendly place.

What do you mean by "jumping out of hand?" I was never really trained for a proper crest release or anything, and in all honesty I don't care what the release is called haha. I just want to try to be as giving with my hands as possible and not catch my horse in the mouth :)
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post #5 of 17 Old 07-31-2013, 08:38 PM
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Jumping out of hand refers to the automatic release. Instead of using the crest to balance on, your follow your horse's mouth directly with your arms and maintain the straight line from elbow to bit. You look like you have more than enough balance to do it. You might want to try gymnastics for finding the middle ground on the body position. With XC, you want to do as little as possible up there so as to not interfere with your horse's jump. Think of your upper body staying still while the horse jumps up through your hips underneath you. It's a weird feeling to get used to, but keeps you really balanced and capable of jumping at speed.

You just have to see your distance...you don't have to like it.
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post #6 of 17 Old 07-31-2013, 08:44 PM
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See how the rider's upper body is back in this pic but she is giving her hands forward to let the horse use himself? This is a very safe position to emulate.

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You just have to see your distance...you don't have to like it.
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post #7 of 17 Old 07-31-2013, 08:48 PM Thread Starter
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Ohh, yeah I've heard of the automatic release. I will have to try that! My current trainer is also harping about keeping my nuckles on the horses neck, so I might have to try that at the next barn :-O

Thank you again for the advice! I will definitely think about that during my next jump session. I used to do a lot of no stirrup work, but my TB thinks it's the greatest thing to randomly buck or spook when I have no stirrups! There are a couple ponies that just plod around the arena so I might try throwing in an extra ride or two on one of them without stirrups during the week.
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post #8 of 17 Old 08-01-2013, 12:53 AM
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to me, you ride like a jumper rider. I actually like your leg in most of these shots. I dislike this new idea that a riders leg is to be locked at the girth and you are to lay your chest on your horses neck. Neither of which you are doing. You're looking up in each shot, and although you can see that you place your hands on the neck for support, your releases aren't offensive and you're not burying your hands. I'm a jumper rider whom has dabbled in eventing from time to time. My horse is a Saint and packs me around, thankfully! But with that being said, cross country is really only different because if you're the kind of rider that leans at your fences, or the kind of rider that lays on your horses neck, then you're likely going to be doing the walk of shame back to the barn while your horse does crack laps around the XC field. Hahaha! I think that as long as you anchor your heel, and keep a mind of where you're putting your upper body, you'll do swimmingly!
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post #9 of 17 Old 08-01-2013, 01:18 AM
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I cannot fathom why people are taught to collapse on a horse's neck over a fence. This seems to be in the 'hunter' barns yet, out fox hunting they would not stand an earthly of holding a horse that wants to be up with hounds nor, of being safe over the fences.
I do admit to using a crest release in that I have many times grabbed a hunk of mane or a martingale strap over an awkward fence.

Going into two point is vital to get the weight off a horse's back between the fences cc but to remain in that position going into a fence is, in my experience dangerous whether cc or show jumping. This puts the rider ahead of the movement and should a horse decide to refuse at the last moment, unable to drve with their seat.

Also, with fences being solid, should a horse hit a fence and peck on landing the rider is going to come off.

When teaching I have found the children who have been fox hunting for a few seasons might have not the best of positions riding on the flat but, by golly when it comes to jumping they have very secure seats and hands that know how to follow through and slip the reins.
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post #10 of 17 Old 08-01-2013, 02:00 AM Thread Starter
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Foxhunter: My trainer never tells me to crawl up the horses neck like that, I think it is just a bad habit I have developed over the years. I know what you mean though - it seems like hunter riders have a strong tendency to do that! I m definitely going to work on lifting my chest and keeping my shoulders back. I'm actually fairly confident that at least up until the base of the jump, I sit up straight. The haflinger pony in the last picture WILL refuse the jump if you don't sit up and ride every stride to the base of it. So it must be that right before take off/in the air I am just throwing myself at the horses neck, and basically making his job harder :-X.

I'm just having a really hard time because I feel like I'm on both sides of the spectra: either crawling up the horses neck OR sitting too early over the fence (see attached photos). My current trainer wants me to take two point like half way around the arena before the fence, which I COMPLETELY disagree with, because (for me at least) it causes me to anticipate my jump and jump waaay ahead of my horse! I'm glad to see you share my opinion.

Oxer: As of now, I have only done jumpers! I'm just DYING to do eventing but it is so **** expensive! However once I move/change barns I'm going to be able to work off many more fees than I am able to now. I'm hoping to be able to finally school CC and work on my position for those types of fences. WHEN I am finally able to event, I will probably start at the intro level so that my horse and I don't have to be worried about the height at all! Also I am of the opinion that the riders leg doesn't have to be AT the girth, as long as they have a strong base of support. What concerns me most about my photos is that I personally would like to see more weight in my heel. However I have had horses buck before and after going over fences and its not really a problem. What really gets me is when the bolt away and to the side of the jump. When we first got the haflinger pony I fell off of him about every two months or so due to his bolting antics. Luckily for me, he is short and not very far to the ground! I haven't "involuntarily dismounted" from him in a while....but I probably should go knock on wood or something now that I have said that

The first two pictures show what I'm talking about when I sit down way too early(I'm thinking, anyways). I'm thinking that my upper body is better in this third picture, but should I still have my chest lifted up a little bit more? Sorry to ask so many questions, but my instructor right now I think is more focused on how my horse is jumping than my actual position. These pictures of the bay TB with the blaze are his first time jumping 3', and I was very proud of him! Jumping hasn't always been his strong suit, but we have doing flat-work/dressage religiously 3-4 days a week and man I sure can feel a difference!


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And just for fun, here is a photo that I honestly crack up every time I see it. Just goes to show things don't always go according to plan! Both the horse and I were 100% fine and nothing bad happened. That mare is absolutely amazing and has actually built so much of my jumping confidence. She is 24 now though (actually 23 in that pic!), and still going strong but I really don't think she would stay sound enough to event.

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Thank you all so much again for your feedback, I really appreciate it!
(On a completely different topic - I need a "show name" for the dark bay TB with the Blaze. Right now his name is Blazer -- so original, I know! He is an OTTB but his owner/my trainer doesn't have his papers so I really have no idea what his sire X dam name is.)
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