Form Over Fences - Page 11 - The Horse Forum
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post #101 of 117 Old 08-16-2010, 09:15 PM Thread Starter
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So then lets look at the Coaches, if the Judges only get to work with what is entering into the show ring, lets go back a notch on the pyramid.

Lets take a look at the Coaches, as George Morris said in his critique

I do not want to pick on this rider because she is only riding as she was taught, but our riding teachers need to reeducate themselves in the why and how of true equitation.
I understand that there is no true answer as to why Coaches are teaching this form, and as others have stated, I am glad to hear that there are Coaches who frown apon Perching and Posing and are teaching Classical Functional Form - but sadly, there are just as many who aren't.

We are obviously seeing it. We, including George Morris are seeing it all over the place from the Hunter Ring, the Jumper Ring, the Eventing Fields - this form has merged into a "world of its own".

At the barn tonight, I was able to listen to a lesson going on in the "Main" ring, that was full of young girls on barn owned school mounts. The Coach was telling them to just stay there and not interfear with their horses, to just "perch" there and allow their horses to do the job. They were riding around without using their seats, upper bodies forward on their horses forehands, and just....not moving. Then when they were approaching a fence, they didn't really have to do a whole lot because they were already or darn near close to what we see as "posing" over a fence.

They were sent off, one at a time, riding a whole basic course with outside diagonal, and blah blah - doing nothing but point and shoot. this where this form starts? By Coaches who teach these younglings to just "not do anything" but to look pretty ontop of their mounts?

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post #102 of 117 Old 08-16-2010, 09:31 PM
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I got the Dover catalog today, can you guys tell me what you think of Peter Pletcher's position on the cover? If you guys don't have it I can try to scan it in or something, but I'd have to figure it out haha

There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man. ~Winston Churchill
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post #103 of 117 Old 08-17-2010, 08:15 PM
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I wasn't there, and I didn't see and hear the lesson, but from the way you described it, I don't have a problem with what was being taught.

It sounds like a low intermediate lesson, where the students have mastered basic design of position but not advanced aids. What was taught, and I hope still is taught, in hunters, is that the best round is the one in which that rider does as little as possible. if you've done your homework; and you pick up the correct pace and balance in your hunter circle, you should be able to ride the entire course from two point only providing your horse with steering cues - pace and balance were established in the hunter circle.

My choice of words there was deliberate; because every XC clinic I attended (including Wofford, Karen Lende O'Connor, Lucinda Prior-Palmer Green and others) and every eventing instructor I ever listened to emphasized similiar basics - the *horse* is responsible for the "spot" or distance; the rider is only responsible for pace, balance and direction. Everything else is the horse's job. So why is instructing low intermediates to sit still and do nothing an issue? Were these riders at a level where they could see a different distance coming out of the corner and move up to it? From your description I think not.

Also, I found this comment to be telling:
They were riding around without using their seats
Yes, because that's correct for hunters. Hunter seat riders only use their weight for an aid, opening and closing their hip angle. Using your seat is incorrect on a hunter. Now, I know that seems strange to an event rider, to give up that all important seat aid, but a hunter should shorten and lengthen, and even change balance, according to the hip angle and position of the upper body.

Now get ready for a big shock: back in the day, when GM and I were both young(er), you could show hunters and hunter seat eq successfully without *ever* sitting the canter. AND I remember people complaining about "all this d*** belly dancing" and sitting on the horse's back like that ruining a good hunter.

In addition, something I was taught, and taught to my students, was *never* to make an adjustment or change in pace, balance or direction closer than three strides out from a fence; at closer than three strides out, the horse can no longer clearly see the fence or judge distance, so if you interfere with him, your "eye" better be darn good.

The old Litteaur training sequence for teaching hunter or forward seat riding, which I still stand by, is as follows: elementary level - the goal is authority over the horse, with non-interference of the horse's natural movement. Riders ride on loose reins, and concentrate on the correct sequence of the aids. Elementary level riders jump, and jump low courses, on loose reins, in two point, grabbing mane for their release. The goal of intermediate riding is passive following, or learning to be a good passenger. Principles of following seat and passive, following hand are introduced. Low intermediates jump courses keeping contact around the turns, and using elementary release techinique (hands forward three strides ahead.) High intermediates have perfected passive, following contact and use a crest release. The goal of an advanced rider is invisible aids, subtly and positively influencing the horses' way of going. Advanced riders use active aids, within the horses natural rhythm, to influence the horses' way of going and use an automatic release over fences.

More in a minute...
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post #104 of 117 Old 08-17-2010, 08:29 PM
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Maura, that may have been the most informative post I've read in years. The last paragraph about what was expected at each level is very interesting. Apparently I've been riding hunter style all along since I tend to stay off my horse's back throughout and as you said, and open or close my hip angle to adjust my horse's stride. I know I was taught by a hunt seat instructor all those years ago. Now it makes sense of how I was taught.

You just have to see your don't have to like it.
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post #105 of 117 Old 08-17-2010, 08:38 PM
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So, to continue from the previous, low intermediates instructed to stay in two point, do as little as possible and steer to the fences seems reasonable to me.

The transition to intermediate to advanced is the trickiest, according to Litteaur, and most riders (and their horses) are better served continuing to ride at one of the lower levels. I suspect the what drives this thread and interests posters is how to make that transition from the Litteaur intermediate level to the advanced level. Sorry, that may require another novel length post.

Last point before I quit for the night:

Every jumping discipline has its typical form faults -

Hunters perch and have hollow backs and lay on the neck.
Eventers have "eventer's release" and a characteristic upper back roach.
Jumpers tend to pivot on the knee and snap back early on landing.

Each discipline can tell you why those faults are characteristic of their discipline; but essentially, that's an excuse and a rationalization.

The great riders and great stylists, whatever their discipline, have always ignored what can be expected and what can be excused, and strived to perfect their form regardless. That's what makes them great and worthy of emulation.

So if you're an aspiring rider, find one of those great stylists (PS - kathryn - not peter pletcher on the cover of the Dover catalog) and emulate them. Don't makes excuses that all the other (insert discipline here) riders look like that; strive for better.

Last edited by maura; 08-17-2010 at 08:42 PM.
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post #106 of 117 Old 08-17-2010, 08:39 PM
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Tks, Puck.
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post #107 of 117 Old 08-17-2010, 11:04 PM
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Points taken and understood. What I posted is how most local shows I have been to are judged, with the rider being judged almost or as much as the horse... probably also because most of the judges are trainers and are judging their own kids... I have not been to a 'real' show in years and, now you guys said something, I do remember that... thanks, really, no sarcasm, for the reminders so I won't make a fool out of myself if I get to a rated show ever again...
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post #108 of 117 Old 08-18-2010, 10:28 AM
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Thanks upnover. That definately will help....but I dont know how much the USEF rules would apply to me living in Canada, although some of it would be the same.
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post #109 of 117 Old 08-18-2010, 10:33 AM
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Look closely at the prizelists for your local shows, schooling and otherwise. Most will have a sentence somewhere that says "Run in accordance with the USEF rulebook, with the exception of the height of fences." There is a lot of latitude for individaul judge's preferences, but the shows *should* still follow the USEF rule book. When in doubt, looking at the judge's cards will shed a lot of light on those preferences.
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post #110 of 117 Old 08-18-2010, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by kathryn View Post
I got the Dover catalog today, can you guys tell me what you think of Peter Pletcher's position on the cover? If you guys don't have it I can try to scan it in or something, but I'd have to figure it out haha

I got the dover catalog the other day, and I do think there is something wierd about his position. I don't have it in front of me right now, so I'm going from memory, (and I'm not an expert at jumping), but I think his leg is a little far back, and it looks like he is seriously laying on the horse's neck. He is also making a funny face which I find amusing.
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