Originally Posted by Tymer
Its so weird, because my last lesson was literally giving me crap about my distances. It almost made me cry, because I thought I was solid on it.
My rule of thumb is when in doubt, push harder, just because I can take a jump huge and sit it comfortably but if she chips in I get all screwed up. She doesn't choose good distances on her own. When I let her do that every single jump is deep or wide. I can usually just tell when the jump is going to be awkward, then I usually just ask for it to be big rather than small. I wish I could get that one trick that fixes it. You know how things like this work- You can't figure it out but then one little thing gets it right for you. I need that.
If all you are doing is verticals and smaller, narrower jumps (i.e, not oxers and high jumps), pushing for the long spots won't always hurt you, although it isn't always the smart move and can increase your chances of knocking a rail. Once the jumps get bigger and wider, pushing for the long spot can start to get dangerous. Not that there isn't a time to move up for the long spot, just that there are also times to take the tight spot too.
Working on lots of trot fences will really help you to feel the horses jump and learn to stay with them, even when you need to take a tight spot. It really helps you to feel them squat and push off the ground.
Trotting fences is also great for horses that get quick off the ground or lounge at jumps. It can help teach the horse to sit back and push off the ground, instead of lounge at the jump. That is what I am doing with my green jumper now. She would hurl herself at jumps, so we took her back to walking over jumps up to about 18 in-2 ft for about a month, then trotting her over jumps (we've worked on that up to about 3 ft) for several months. She's finally starting to learn that she has the power to get over the jumps without hurling herself at them. Only when she is solid and quiet jumping at the trot is she going to start cantering them again.