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post #81 of 117 Old 08-13-2010, 06:55 PM
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I think I would rather jump like rider 2...Rider 1 just looks like she is pushing the horse, she may not think she is ruining her horses ability, but she is putting her wait on the horses neck. I find it fair on the horse to sit out of the saddle. But, I don't jump very high...yet...
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post #82 of 117 Old 08-13-2010, 08:50 PM
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Great thread, except for the needless discipline bashing.

There are some points/insights I would like to add.

I must be very lucky, I live in a part of the country where perching is neither taught nor rewarded in the show ring. Supposedly, Virginia is one of the most competitive hunter circuits in the country so that may be why. I see a lot of beautiful, functional riders in the hunter ring with classical form, and also a fair amount of perchers/posers and faux releases.

Here's some things that may contribute to perching/posing -

It's a well known, deliberate technique among professional hunter riders to stand up off the horses' back in an exaggerated fashion while showing to make it appear like the horse has more thrust/bascule than it actually does; sort of a "Look, judge, this horse is throwing me out of the tack." This may be mimiced by other riders who don't understand the purpose.

It's useful to make a distinction between hunter riders and hunter seat eq riders. Hunters must jump round and scopey to pin; equitation horses are usually flat jumpers, using a style called splinter belly or what I call "landing gear up/landing gear down." This style is considered an advantage in an eq horse as it distorts the rider's position less and produces a smoother round. However, eq riders often stand up, perch, pose, whatever you want to call it because they can't allow the horse's thrust to close their hip angle because there is little or no thrust.

Same applies to the vast majority of riders on school horses - school horses usually learn to jump flat or hollow in self defense. It's hard to learn to allow the horse to close your hip angle when there's never any thrust up through the saddle. The transition between a flat jumping school horse and a round, scopey hunter or jumper is a very, very difficult one that sets riders back a level. Some coaches and riders find the solution to be a flat jumping hunter or jumper.

Also consider equitation judging. Eq over fences is first judged on whether or not their was a consistent, flowing pace without obvious aids and adjustments, consistent spots to the fences and lead changes, then on overall design of position, then position over fences. It's entirely possible for someone who's consistently or occassionaly ahead of the pommel in the air to pin over someone with classical, functional form if the latter rider misses a distance, lead change or has an obvious pace adjustment. It's then very easy for onlookers to say accusingly "That position pins!"

In MIE's original photos, the first rider looked like an eq rider on a splinter belly jumper, the second rider looks like a jumper rider - a beautiful one on a round, bascule-y horse, so not exactly an apples to apples comparison.

Next, teaching.

I don't think the culprit here is jumping early; I produced a lot of solid, functional riders with good lower legs and correct position over fences, and I started them all trotting over poles or crossrails in two point within the first ten lessons.

Jumping courses or competing early is the culprit. Jumping early is fine, as long as it includes tons of work on form, lots of work through grids and gymnastics with and without reins and with and without stirrups. Jumping courses before you've developed a solid lower leg and a folding hip contributes to a lot of form faults.

Coaches are at fault when they drag kids to shows before they're ready (their is enormous financial pressure to do so; there's more money to be made that way that putting a solid foundation on a rider) and when they teach to the show ring trend rather than good basics.

Finally, role models -

The last great American stylists, IMO, were Joe Fargis and Conrad Holmfeld. They made Grand Prix look like Medal Maclay, and they did it in true American forward seat. Beezie Madden is also a lovely, correct rider as is Anne Kursinski. I keep hoping for the reemergence of that style; what I see too often now is the European style - rider in a full seat, horse in a dressage frame, rider slightly behind the motion and only riding "forward" over the fence itself and full contact in the air. Now that I think of it, another great stylist was Bruce Davidson. Rock solid, tactful, diplomatic and the definition of form following function. Great rebuttal to those that think equitation and eventing will never be closer than they are in the dictionary. Some of you may know him as Buck's father. Back in the day, he used to event a little.

Cookies to all who read this novel.
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post #83 of 117 Old 08-13-2010, 09:00 PM
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It is kinda strange now that you mention it. it seems to me that they are always "posing" for a picture. Like all the girls at my barn think it looks wierd when people 2-point like the way in the first pic. But our trainer yells at me if I jump like in the 2nd pic. She says it looks like I am diving into it.

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post #84 of 117 Old 08-13-2010, 09:15 PM Thread Starter
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I have to say Maura, I greatly appreciate your post, and very well said.

Interesting theories as to what causes perching and posing - and I agree with you, but I also think in area's, it is a "Form" that is taught as well.

I have a friend who is out West, and she was going on about a friend of her's who is a big A Rated Hunter/Jumper who always wins and places very well and who is a "big name" in their area. She showed me pictures, I was expecting to see very solid, classical George Morris, what I saw was "ducking, perching, porno butt and posing"

I cringed. I asked her how that form wins, and she was confused to my question, because to her it looks amazing and that's what wins. I mumbled "love to see how well she does in a show ring with GM Judging".....

At the barn I board at, very large Hunter/Jumper Barn.......and I cringe when I watch lessons and when I look at their pictures and when I watch them compeate...because they are the same.

Perching, posing, laying on their horses necks, arses up in the air "look at how pretty I am" form.

Then we have a GP Jumper from Germany, a couple of barns down the way. Compeates in the 5'0" comps, all over the U.S.A and in Germany. Very European style. But man, is he solid and can he get the job done. Every fence you watch him go over, he is out of his horses way, he is not impeading, allowing his horse to do his job, while staying solid, without laying on his horses necks, and without "looking pretty" - but functional.

It's funny, because I can pin point who's student is who's - but one is a Hunter through and through, and the other is a Jumper through and through.

I believe form does = function, as GM stresses - but I do think that there is that fine line, that is very easily crossed.

I cannot stand seeing pictures of a rider doing 2'6" with their upper bodies laying on their horses necks, perching and "looking pretty" but yet there is no function there what-so-ever, and I have to disagree that "Hunters" teach the rider how to jump solidly, I think that's a load of B/S to be honest.

It is NOT THE SPORT that teaches the rider to be solid or functional - it is THE COACH. An educated, competant coach who can produce riders who obtain the solidity and funcion in their students, without allowing holes to be created between point A and point B and from point B to point C - a Coach who cares about their students and doesn't care about what is pinning in the show ring today.

I applaud you for not taking short cuts with your students, I wish that there were more coaches out there like you.

I would far wrather see a rider over fences looking as solid as the rider in picture #2, than a rider looking like that in picture #1. I see it all the time, and I agree with GM - it's sad. I LOVE the Classical Form, and I would love to see it come back, being the norm form over fences.

Last edited by MIEventer; 08-13-2010 at 09:19 PM.
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post #85 of 117 Old 08-13-2010, 09:50 PM
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Maura- im awaiting my cookies!
MIEventer- I have to say i thought, perching, posing, laying on your horses neck was a proper position, and i did NOT look like that, so i asked my instructor about it. I think i got a 20 min talking to about how wrong that position is. Boy, that was a fun lecture. She told me pretty much exactly what GM said in this article. :)

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post #86 of 117 Old 08-13-2010, 10:55 PM
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Chocolate chip okay with you?

MIE and any others who are still following this conversation, also consider that this habit can either be self-perpetuating or self correcting. If you continue to ride flat, hollow, inverted, splinter belly jumpers, you'll never receive any incentive to change the habit. If you have this habit and then get on a scopey jumper, you'll land on the horse's ears after the first big fence and will be in constant danger until you learn to stay in the middle of the horse and let your hip work correctly.

Truthfully, I had this habit as a junior and well into my twenties; not because I lacked proper coaching (I was always criticized for jumping ahead) but because I was riding schoolies and lacked the push (literally) and the incentive.

I have a story (okay, I always have a story) ...

I had a kid and horse in my barn that I inherited from my mentor. Decent rider, fabulous children's hunter and *field hunter*, fabulous, round as a ball, scopey jumper, gave her fences lotsa air room. Thought I was doing the kid a favor when I put her on a very made eq horse that should have been way easier to ride than her horse.

She got left all over the place; she simply couldn't tell when the eq horse was going to leave the ground because there was no sensation of rocking back and taking off. Finally I just had her count strides and get up off the horse's back when she had the correct number of strides, rather than wait to feel the horse rock back and push off. Stupid and backwards, I know, I basically had to have this competent rider dumb down her riding to ride the made equitation horse. But a great illustration of how jumping style affects riding style and vice versa.
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post #87 of 117 Old 08-14-2010, 05:58 PM
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Here's a question... how are we so certain that judges are specifically rewarding perching/posing??

Let's just say one rider enters the ring, perching and posing but has a flawless course (yes, perchers/posers can have flawless courses). Nails every distance, gets every turn, smooth changes, etc etc. Second rider comes in with a flawless position that GM himself couldn't beat. Makes a small error in a tight turn, blows the distance or can't complete a change or whatever. Who wins? The first rider does. Even in an eq course. I participated in a judge's clinic a few weeks back and was shocked to hear how little importance position played in judging AN EQUITATION ROUND. (position has NO importance in placing a hunter round). They had demonstration riders come in and do courses and the judge pinned the "class" with explanations, and this scenario came up. A girl rode, who really was not a pretty rider. Hands everywhere, porno butt (or "hunter hula"), ducking, jumping ahead, etc. but laid a fantastic trip. If you watched the horse alone, it was flawless. Another rider comes in, beautiful classic position. Wonderful with her body, but made a mistake in a turn that caused her to chip to a distance. Everything else, amazing. Guess who won it? Miss Bouncy Hands. The judge didn't like her jumping ahead, he wasn't trying reward her perching/posing, but she didn't make a mistake. She just wasn't pretty about it.

Interesting huh?
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post #88 of 117 Old 08-14-2010, 06:04 PM
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Please forgive my ignorance. I have read the entire thread and feel much more educated now than when I started! I am a Western rider but do enjoy everything that has to do with horses...including English riding. I see the difference between the two positions and can see the disadvantage of posing. Its bad enough we ask our horses to jump fences with us on their backs. Riding their necks (which is what it looks like to me) is just flat out unfair.

That being said...what would happen if you had an entire class full of posers? Would you judge based upon a clean round or upon who was closes to being in classical position?

Just wondering! I am too curious for my own good!
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post #89 of 117 Old 08-14-2010, 07:38 PM
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Maura and MIE- Everything you said above provided great insight, yet again, your posts always do... so I don't know how much of a compliment that is! lol

I totally agree with MIE, the classical position is amazing, and it looks fantastic! I hate seeing riders laying on their horses necks, because no, it is NOT pretty. I think that some coaches these days are taking shortcuts.

Ooh! I have a story!
So I was starting to take jumping lessons on school horses before I progressed to taking lessons on my own horse, just for the sake of knowing that their horses were not going to go crazy on me (as my horse often does while jumping and don't worry, we're working on it, we had a great lesson today and he was FANTASTIC!). Anyway, I had it narrowed down to two trainers, one named Ryan and the other named Pam. My normal trainer's daughters train with Pam, so she recommended her.

I went to watch a lesson with Ryan, and it looked like his students were learning a lot, so we scheduled a lesson with him, as well as a lesson with Pam. My first lesson was with Pam, and she was patient, kind and not pushing me to get to a show too fast. My lesson with Ryan was next, he was kind and fun, but he seemed waaaay too competitive. He was expecting me to know more than I did, and seemed disappointed when I didn't do exactly what he was hoping. Ryan wanted to ship me off to the shows as soon as possible. He even said, "only a couple more lessons and you'll be show ready!"

Guess who I chose as my jumping trainer? Pam, because she didn't push me to go to a show when I definately wasn't ready for it. I'm glad, too, because today I had my first jumping lesson with my horse. It was sooo much fun, and my mom brought the video camera so I could learn from watching myself. Now, I always thought that I was a pretty good rider, and from the videos, I looked ok. But, man, do I have a LOT of jumping position faults. I mean, wow! I know what I shall be practicing, 2 point 2 point 2 point!

So from this, I learned that it is so much better for trainers to make the kids go slower. If they didn't, they would be sending "incompetent riders" or riders with horrible form flaws out into the show ring.

If anybody read all of this, expect brownies on your doorstep tomorrow morning.
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post #90 of 117 Old 08-15-2010, 01:16 PM
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Great discussion! I know my trainer gets so irritated at shows when the "posey" riders win! Her biggest focus for me is staying out of the horse's way so he can jump. She would have a fit if I dove down to lay on my horse's neck. She stresses that you should let the horse come up to you, not the other way around. You need to ride in the moment, and I don't see how you can do that if you are posing.
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