Auto Release. - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 06-24-2010, 12:38 PM Thread Starter
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Arrow Auto Release.

I know that I am capable of doing an auto release, but I'm kinda.. really bad at it. I don't fall or anything, but I can't seem to get that straight line from elbow to bit. Help?

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post #2 of 7 Old 06-24-2010, 09:36 PM
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Build up your leg! I am working on this need a really good leg to be able to do a good auto-release. Ride a ton without stirrups, including eventually 2-point (jumping position) and over small jumps, and also tie your reins in a knot and go through a jumping grid with your hands out to the sides in "airplane position". Try the basic release (holding mane or neckstrap) and then crest release (pushing your fists into your horse's neck) until you have a secure position...Don't use an auto release until you can do it well, as your horse will suffer many yanks in the mouth otherwise! Hope this helps.
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post #3 of 7 Old 06-24-2010, 09:48 PM
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Originally Posted by hrsrdr View Post
Ride a ton without stirrups, including eventually 2-point (jumping position) and over small jumps, and also tie your reins in a knot and go through a jumping grid with your hands out to the sides in "airplane position".
Just want to add to this part; jumping without reins is great, but be SUPER careful how you put your hands and arms. Don't fling them out to the sides, because you might spook your horse, and that's the last thing you want. My trainer always had me just move my hands about a foot away from the horse. You get the same out of it, but you're less likely to scare your horse while he/she is jumping. I've had a bad experience doing that and trust me, it was not pleasant. :)

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post #4 of 7 Old 06-24-2010, 10:17 PM
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If you are going to ride without reins - I highly suggest you do this while on a lunge line.

This is a great exercise for all riders, to find their seat and lower legs. Going on the Lune Line with no reins, really makes you establish your seat, core and lower leg - that way you can solidfy yourself in your tack and learn to rely on your body to support you, not your hands and arms....also you can do this exercise to get you to discover how to ride with your body, not your hands.

Those who enter the Spanish Riding School in Vienna - are put on the Lune Line for a whole year with no reins, which is what establishes those amazing seats they have and amazing cores.


Before you merge to the Auto release, ask yourself some questions first.

The Crest Release was created by George Morris for riders who cannot support their upper bodies through their lower bodies. That is why it is a crest release - so that the riders can support their upper bodies by relying on the horses crest to support them.

So, can you ride solidly enough through your heels, lower leg, seat and core - to support your upper body without relying on the horses crest to do so? If so, then I would say merge to the Automatic. If not, stick to the crest until you solidify your lower body.

If you are ready to merge to the Automatic Release, meaning you can support your upper body with your lower - then start by over exaggerating your release while in the saddle.

Start by going over trot poles - merge from your functional two point into your passive two point all the while, stretching your arms so far forward as though you want to touch your horses cheeks. Then merge back into your functional two point when you are on the other side.

Work on this until you get the grasp, then start by going over x rails or cavaletti's - funcitonal two point, merge into your passive while over exaggerating your release as though you want to touch your horses cheeks, then back into your functional two point.

Wash, rinse, repeat........

When you train your body as to where you need to be, the automatic release will start to happen as though it were second nature. Eventually you wont have to over exaggerate, you'll beable to allow your arms to just go with your horses movement over the fence.

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post #5 of 7 Old 06-26-2010, 01:29 PM
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I agree about the lounge-line and not flinging your arms out too quickly! You can also do another exercise that allows you to keep hold of your reins and still work on your position...grab each rein in a crude fist, thumbs on the inside and pointing down toward the bit on each rein. Then, as you are approaching a single fence or grid line, spread your hands wide away from your horse's neck. Don't pull, just spread them, keeping a normal amount of contact. This is slightly awkward, but it is especially good for horses that get upset or exited when you "drop" them and don't give them any rein support over fences. However, practice riding a little with your hands like that a little on the flat first so you get used to it, and don't forget that it isn't a can still jerk your horse in the mouth with this hold! It just encourages you to keep your weight over your leg and makes it virtually impossible to lock your elbows over a fence. It is only a schooling technique...don't ride to a show holding your reins like that!
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post #6 of 7 Old 06-26-2010, 06:58 PM
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There are two parts to being able to do an auto release. As most people mentioned, it is crucial to have a very solid position that is balanced and strong. You physically can't do one without it (which means you'll be hitting your horse's mouth/back over the fence) but also you MUST be able to have a good connection and following hand to your horse's mouth. This is harder then it seems. You must be able to have that straight line from bit through elbow solidly at the walk trot and canter before you even try getting it over fences. Perhaps your hands are great, I don't know. But good hands are just as important as having a solid leg. After all, the point of the auto release is NOT not having to rely on the crest for support, it's to be able to maintain the contact with your horse's mouth through every second of the jump. = more control and better/faster communication on course.

George Morris goes on and on about how riders these days don't do an auto release and how they should, etc etc etc. But I went to a clinic where he taught the kids how to do one, and he didn't start teaching them until he got to the 3"6 class. Riders who are showing/winning at A shows at 3"6 and up. There is NOTHING wrong with doing a crest release if you aren't ready. I agree with MIE completely on this. Make sure your foundation is 100% solid first, make sure you have a proper following hand, then start to practice the auto release.
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post #7 of 7 Old 06-26-2010, 08:24 PM Thread Starter
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Will do :) Thanks everyone!

Silver Serenade
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