Originally Posted by Allison Finch
I use a "modified" crest release. I never use the crest release I see so often in the hunter ring these days. They are putting their hands on TOP of the crest and leaning all of their upper body weight on them like a prop. This tips them too far forward and they often are almost laying on the horse's neck. The lower leg often slips back further destabilizing the rider's center of gravity. It also locks the reins and doesn't allow any actual release if the horse needs to stretch out and down.
This is all only OK if you are jumping a low hunter course that needs very little from the rider.
Just want to clarify, just because people do a crest release this way does NOT mean that it's the correct way to do it. A proper crest release should NOT affect your weight being dropped into your heels over the fence and it should NOT be leaning all of your weight on the horse's neck. All the pressure a proper crest release should have is pressing your hands onto your horse's neck as a way to aid in supporting your body in the air until your leg is strong enough to support it independently.
There are two types of a crest release:
LONG- this is for beginners learning to jump. Hands halfway up the neck giving plenty of rein so you don't hit the horse in the mouth over the fence.
SHORT- Keeping contact on your horse's mouth over the fence, but still resting your hands on the crest for a little extra support.
The goal is the Automatic release that Allison explained. It requires a strong balaned base of support and a good following hand. It is a more advanced release and IMO should not be attempted until you are able to do these two things very well. I have attended several clinics with George Morris and he did not teach the auto release until his groups that were jumping 3"9-4". His 3"6 groups were learning how to perfect the short crest release. So yes, the auto release is a wonderful thing, but the result from someone not ready can be a horse that gets hit in the mouth/back.