XC schooling day (Photo Heavy) - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 21 Old 07-10-2011, 11:11 PM
Join Date: Mar 2011
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Your stirrups look a tad long. Perhaps try shortening them a hole and see how that feels.
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post #12 of 21 Old 07-10-2011, 11:30 PM
Green Broke
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Hey Spastic, nice pics thanks for sharing! Beautiful poneh.

It looks to me like you are having some difficulty centering yourself above your horse. I am not sure if you happened to see the exercise that Puck posted a couple of weeks back about building lower leg strength? Not that I think your lower leg is particularly weak but the other key element that exercise really works on is your ability to center and balance independently of the horse and tack.

All you really need to do is have an independent seat, wait for the jump to come to you and allow the jump to close the angles FOR you. Trying to artificially manipulate such things is exceedingly difficult. A good strong two point, timing and feel are the most important things. It looks to me like you are jumping yourself out of the tack in anticipation of the jump itself.

Canter, canter, jump, canter, canter.

That is all that is going through my mind in the entry/jump/exit stages. Solid two point, absorb the jump, continue. But you must begin with a solid two point.

Try that exercise out, see if it helps. If you can center above your horse with crazy short stirrups then you will find that it is a seamless transition when you 'lower' them to jumping length.

I love that you are looking up in most pics and I can see that you are a very kind rider, keep up the good work.

All horses deserve, at least once in their lives, to be loved by a little girl.

Last edited by sarahver; 07-10-2011 at 11:34 PM.
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post #13 of 21 Old 07-11-2011, 12:00 AM Thread Starter
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I think I remember that thread, I'll have to look for it. You're right, I do have a habit of anticipating the jump and jumping for him. Especially in XC where I am still a little intimidated by the fences. Thanks! :)
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post #14 of 21 Old 07-11-2011, 12:00 PM
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Hey Spastic! First of all, good for you for getting out there and taking the steps to accomplish your goals.

I wouldn't be too "worried" about your form and your position while being out there, "where's my hip angle, where's my shoulders, where's my hands, where's my this and that" - phtphthpt. I would be more focused on remaining over your horses center of gravity, and your solidity in your lower leg.

Get your iron in the correct spot, allow your heels to absorb your bodies weight and to anchor you, and re-position your calf placement. Right now you have way to open of a toe angle, close it a bit where your placement is right inbewteen the back of your calf and the inner of your calf.

Get your legs at that girth, and wrap them around. Remember, you are not ontop of your horse, you are around him - as George Morris teaches.

When you are going over the fence, remember that your horse is the one who closes the angles, not you. Stop focusing on the fence, focus on your horse. Allow the fence to just happen. You don't ride to the fence, the fence comes to you.

Work on closing your knee angle, sinking into your heels and pushing your seat back.

Your best friend while doing xc will be your 2 point position, work on this over and over and over and over. You should beable to sit in the saddle and get out of it regardless of what gait you are doing. You should also beable to stay up in it, longer than your xc course time would be. *For example.....BN is usually 5:50, so you should beable to comfortably stay in your functional two point position longer than that*

Seat tucked under you, core activated, lower back strait, hovering just over your tack. Lower leg stuck like glue. Chest opened as though you are lifting your heart, and with every upstride your horse makes, your legs are saying "come up to me" lifting his back up into your seat.

You need to work on your half halts, while up in your 2 point. Where your body tenses up, core tightens, hands come into your belly button and release. You bring your horse under you during this, and then when you get the desired rhythm and balance, you release. This is important when you are 5 strides out from your fence.

So, all you really need to do, is solidify that lower leg, and your core. Find your center of balance. FIND your sweet spot and stick with it.

I sit 5 strides from the fence. The trick is to feel your horse. Stop focusing on the fence, stop thinking about the fence and start riding your horse. Ignore the rest - the most important is what is under you, your partner...NOT what is infront of you. If you are solid in your tack, you can ride anything. 5 strides out, sit, half halt, release and remain solid. Ride your horses rhythm and the fence will just happen. Allow your horse to do his job, while you do yours - staying balanced and out of his way.

Look at those Upper Level Eventers...do they look pretty? No..but you can be darn tootin' sure, that they are solid and aren't going to go anywhere. They do not hinder their horse, they aid their horse. Find your balance, find your anchor/solidity.

The rest will just happen.

Let go of his face. You are too much in his front end. You aren't allowing him to do his job.

Find your canter, a nice cadence, impulsion gait. You want that pop and that spark in his movement. 2 point - between the fences.....feel it. Ba dum, ba dum, ba dum, ba dum. You see your fence, you line him up. Half Halt, rock him back under you, and let go. 5 strides out, sit, put him in check *come back under me* and then release. Allow him to do his job.

1) Work on that lower leg. Solidify it. Make it strong. Correct calf placement. Wrap yourself around your horse.

2) Functional two point. Solidify this. Strengthen that core, use your body in unison. YOu should beable to let him go out full force and bring him back under you in the snap of a finger - all using your body. Tighten, release. Tighten, release.

Work on your Coffin Canter. A strong, impulsive canter, where you are almost moving on the spot. Collect that energy and keep it under you - then let it go - bring it back - let it go - bring it back - let it go. IMPORTANT factor to have out on the XC course. You need to beable to open up your horse and trust him, and beable to bring him back under you in the snap of a finger.

THIS is what your Coach should of been working with you while out there. It's not about going over the fence, it is what you are doing inbetween them, that makes that fence quality.

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post #15 of 21 Old 07-11-2011, 01:39 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks a bunch, MIE :)

Still getting used to this guy, but I think I've gotten a lot of advice on what to practice with him (and me) to try and be more functional.
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post #16 of 21 Old 07-11-2011, 02:48 PM
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try thinking as you're coming up to the fence to push the weight into your heels and push your feet forward, u wont actually push them forward but if you think about doing it it will help keep them down and keep you from coming forward

"The horse you get off is not the same as the horse you got on; it is your job as a rider to ensure that as often as possible the change is for the better."
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post #17 of 21 Old 07-12-2011, 07:36 PM
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To help with the jumping ahead/getting left behind bit. When your schooling at home try closing your eyes a few strides out from the fence and concentrate on allowing your horses movement to lift you out of the saddle.Focus on keeping the same pace up to the fence and allow yourself to feel when he begins to lift up, try to think about following him instead of leaping ahead! sometimes setting up low gymnastics where you can jump a line helps me because if you jump the first fence ahead you can immediately correct yourself on the second and third!
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post #18 of 21 Old 07-12-2011, 08:14 PM
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You need to relax that back. Try to get rid of that arch. The arch is OK for the hunter ring, but it causes you to loose the elasticity you need through your back and seat on XC. As a result of the stiff back, you have lost the use of your seat and are jumping ahead of the horse. You are also grasping a bit with your knees as a way of trying to counterbalance the weight of your upper body being so forward. When you grasp with the knee, it forces the lower leg away from the sides of the horse. This allows the lower leg to slide back, further unbalancing your upper body.

Do a lot of two point with no hands on the horse's neck. This will force you to move your lower leg forward to counterbalance that upper body. You lower leg at the girth will go a long way to securing your position over fences. That leg going back will really destabilize your position on down banks/drops....dangerously.

Relax your knee! This will get it out of those knee rolls and allow your lower leg to wrap around the horse's barrel. The relaxed knee will also bend easier allowing your seat to settle a bit further back over the seat of the saddle.

You are a very good rider and I have been quite nit picky to find things to work on. I sure wish I could get my hands on you and work with you!!
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post #19 of 21 Old 07-16-2011, 07:38 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you Allison! I'd love to have you nitpick me in person! Now that I've finished preparing for the mini event, I think I'm going to be doing lots and lots of two point or no stirrup work as well as gallop sets (I was about ready to pass out by the end of cross country).

Do you have any exercises to help relax my lower back? I have pretty bad lower back and knee pain, and as far as my lower back goes, I think I tense it pretty badly to try to compensate. However this was my lower back last summer and I think I have improved...a very small amount
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post #20 of 21 Old 07-16-2011, 07:45 PM
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You have improved.

That is a problem with some hunter coaches who hammer people with trying to arch their backs. Just keep trying to flatten it. Try to hump your back. it might flatten instead.

Try not to do too much stirrupless riding. I find that this can actually aggravate grabbing with the knees and having the lower leg slip back. Do two point without putting your hands on the neck. Shove those lower legs forward (and down) until you can maintain it without propping on your hands.

Last edited by Allison Finch; 07-17-2011 at 10:00 AM.
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