Can I teach her to pick distances? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 10-03-2010, 11:54 AM Thread Starter
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Can I teach her to pick distances?

I was reading that thread about distances to a jump when I realized how much easier it would be if my horse just did it herself. The only thing I could think of would be jumping on the lunge line so she is forced to get her distances. First, is this wrong? Second, she actually hates the lunge line. I've heard she had the crap lunged out of her as a baby so she actually will endanger anyone in the area if she is lunged. This was never a big deal because I've never had the need to lunge her. So, what should I do? Can I do anything?
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post #2 of 13 Old 10-03-2010, 07:52 PM
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A horse can find a distance if the rider is riding them to the jump correctly. Learn how to jump and ride to fences in a correct, balanced manner and the horse should be able to pick out the distance they see for themselves.

Jumping a horse = Getting wings!
Why live on the edge when you can jump off?- Greenwood Horse Trials Tee-Shirt
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post #3 of 13 Old 10-03-2010, 11:03 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by StormyBlues View Post
A horse can find a distance if the rider is riding them to the jump correctly. Learn how to jump and ride to fences in a correct, balanced manner and the horse should be able to pick out the distance they see for themselves.
I'd agree, but its not just me. A very experienced rider got on her and rode her beautifully to a jump, and she took it enormous. Next jump, same situation, but she went in really deep. I don't know what's wrong.
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post #4 of 13 Old 10-06-2010, 07:14 AM
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Some horses prefer a deep or long spot. We prefer a deep spot over a long spot. It takes time to develop an eye for a person or the horse to figure out the whole jumping thing. I dont think you could force a horse to get the distances. Sometimes when you ask for a long spot, the horse might say heck no! and get a better spot then where you thought you guys should be taking off. Practice and patience will help. Ride to the fence and let it come to you.

It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows. --Epictetus
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post #5 of 13 Old 10-06-2010, 07:33 AM
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Finding a good distance is one of those things that some horses can do (provided their riders do not mess them up). Some being the important word in that sentence. A good packer will find all eight on their own with little or no input from their rider.

Those are the special horses that so many wish they had.

The rest of us have to learn to see a distance and help our horse find them.
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post #6 of 13 Old 10-06-2010, 09:22 AM
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Some horses will start to see the distances, but you should see them as well, as it can get dangerous if your horse is leaving from crazy spots or without you knowing you're leaving. It's best to see the distances yourself and learn to ride the different distances. Hope this helps!
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post #7 of 13 Old 10-06-2010, 10:57 PM
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The secret to finding your distance is... pace. line. rhythm.

You pick the pace that is best for your horse, the course, and the situation. Most horses have a specific pace that makes jumping the easiest for them. (not too slow, not too fast)

You find the best path to the jump. Sometimes it involves a good corner, hitting the jump perpendicular, sometimes you'll angle the jump, etc.

You find your pace and STAY ON IT. No getting faster or sucking back.

if you get these 3 things correctly you will hit every distance. the difficulty is figuring out what "correctly" means and doing it. :)

As far as teaching your horse how to find the correct distance: proper flatwork, and gymnastics gymnastics gymnastics.
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post #8 of 13 Old 10-06-2010, 11:40 PM
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remember, horses have VERY limited overlapping vision. As a result, they have no depth perception, to speak of. Distances come from the rider OR from courses that are very prescribed in their striding.

As an eventer/jumper, where distances are used as an eliminator, YOU must learn how to judge the distances with your good stereo vision. Then, you must learn how to infinitely adjust your horses strides to get them where they need to be to do well.

Yes, horses can get to jumps better with experience. But it is often as much luck as actual knowledge.
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post #9 of 13 Old 10-09-2010, 04:39 PM Thread Starter
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All this is good to know. We're both learning to pick better distances. Sometimes I'll be stupid and think that I have to take a jump from one spot and ask for it....And then have it be a stride away from the jump. Sometimes she'll be stupid and ignore my aids, no matter how much I try, and then proceed to go in super deep or long.

I've been wanting to do grids and gymnastics lately. I might set some up later.
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post #10 of 13 Old 10-09-2010, 04:48 PM
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I'm super lucky my horse is such a natural jumper, I'm mostly just along for the ride. It is very important to be able to see distances and ride to them, and easier to learn if you're on a natural or very schooled jumper. I count A LOT, even just riding around. It is very important for any discipline you do. In dressage one has to count to flying changes, count to the end of the ring to know when to come back from a lengthening and just generally for making an accurate test. In jumping, it's obviously to be able to get over the fences more easily. The most important thing though is to keep the rhythm. If the horse gets out of rhythm, it is nearly impossible to see distances for us normal people. Keep a big, rolling, 1 2 1 2 1 2 in the canter and only slightly adjust at a time, sit up more to come back and give more room in the contact for more forward. Never make a huge change before a fence.
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