How to time your striding towards a jump? help? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 17 Old 08-23-2012, 11:38 AM
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Put a pole on the ground in the middle of the arena.

Start cantering over it. You want the horse to take a step right in front of it and then hop over the pole, not just take a stride over the pole. Practice, practice, practice. This will help you develop your "eye" for the distance. You'll start to be able to see "Oh, I need to ask him to collect a little more" or "Oops, we're 5 strides out on a short one so I need to ask him to lengthen so we can get there in an easy 4."

Also, work on the horse's adjustability and strength. Do lots of flatwork and hill work to start helping him build muscle and gain strength. It'll be much easier for him to jump from the correct distance when he's strong enough to do so. As for adjustability? You want to be able to have a five stride line and do it in 8 strides, or 9 strides (or 10, or however many you think you can possibly get without stopping or breaking to a trot), then come around and do it in 4 (I'm not saying do this right now, but this is what you need to be working towards in the long run). In each gait practice asking him to shorten his stride (without pulling on him!) and lengthen his stride (without letting him get off balance). This is where the conditioning and strength of the horse comes in. He can't be balanced and do all these things if he's not strong enough.

Also, get a knowledgeable trainer. Sooner, rather than later.
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post #12 of 17 Old 08-23-2012, 06:56 PM
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Once your eye begins to develop, it will come in phases.
Phase 1: you can tell whether you have a good distance or not, but if not you don't yet recognize whether you need to lengthen or shorten stride.
Phase 2: You begin to recognize when you need to shorten your stride to get to a nice distance.
Phase 3: You realize that since you recognize a good distance and a short distance, then when you don't see anything, that means you need to lengthen.
Phase 4: Finally, it all starts to become automatic.
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post #13 of 17 Old 08-23-2012, 10:35 PM
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I have had the same problems in the last few months. Now that I am jumping larger fences my paint welsh pony mare is having a hard time finding her own distances and guess what! Now I have to do the work:) Anyway, you need to do two things: As you are coming around a bend and showing Maverick the fence, look at the base of your jump and visualize having your roses feet planted right there before takeoff. Second: Get a jumping coach! They will help you with the rest:)
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post #14 of 17 Old 08-24-2012, 12:36 PM
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This is an excellent article by Scott Stewart that is well written and easy to practice if not all, at least some of his basic exercises.

Never Miss Another Distance! from Practical Horseman | EquiSearch

This article by Erynn Ballard is also very good.

See the Jump, See the Distance from Practical Horseman |

Both articles stress the need to obtain and maintain a good quality canter.
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post #15 of 17 Old 08-27-2012, 01:58 PM
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Adding onto from what the others have said... Sometimes it is best to stay out of your horse's way and allow him to find his own distances. Having a horse and rider learning distances together sounds like a beautiful thing but in reality it's unsafe and can teach both horse and rider some really bad habits. At the moment I think it's best not to worry about YOU figuring out striding and leave that job to HIM.

I'd suggest working with canter poles to begin with, spaced about 12 feet apart (the average canter stride. You may need to adjust this). Work on cantering those smoothly. Once you've gotten that down, work on a single tiny crossrail. Pick up a canter and establish a steady and energetic pace before you even think about heading towards the jump. Make sure your approach is perfectly straight and DO NOT cut your corner. Then keep that steady pace as you head towards the jump. Sit back in a full seat and don't pull on the reins. If you are leaning too far forwards you upset his center of balance and make it difficult for him to find a good takeoff spot. As you approach, count (one, two, one, two) in your head. Really learn to feel the rhythm and only 2-point when your horse's feet come off the ground. If you do all this, you are allowing your horse to figure out striding without you getting in the way. With practice, he should learn to get his striding.

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post #16 of 17 Old 08-27-2012, 02:14 PM
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Some really good answers here. I have little more to ad that that a good coach will help you learn to adjust YOURSELF to the new horse.

Over the years that you rode your old partner, you learned his speed, his striding and his temperament and subconsciously adapted to him. Now, you need to develop that same "feel" with the new horse.
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post #17 of 17 Old 08-31-2012, 12:52 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the answers guys I'll be sure to try them all and keep you posted :) I start my lease on him on Saturday (I'm SO excited) so I'll have PLENTY of time to ride him (like 4 years worth of time :p ) and try the ideas :) Thanks a LOT for posting!!

Lots of you are mentioning to get a trainer. I DO have a trainer...she has over 40 years of expirience and she's a GREAT rider. She taught me how to ride from the beginning and taught me how to position when to cue the horse, etc etc. I doubt I'd even be able to get Maverick to jump before since he had a HUGE refusing problem and she helped me get him over that. The thing is she's more of a western rider. She can teach me how to jump the horse but she can't teach me everything about JUMPING since it's not quite her thing. My family can't afford to get me lessons AND a lease so I had to pick one or the other. My trainer (aka Mavrick's owner) is VERY good with this and totally understands. I'm practically her daughter so I can come to her whenever and she'll help me for free. Occasionally like before a show or whatever I'll have money saved up for a real lesson.

But anyway that's why I don't have a real jumping trainer (or my own horse). I can't afford it. Just thought I'd explain that :)

Thanks a LOT for posting!! I'll be sure to update on Maverick's progress when I start riding him regularily :) Thanks!

Oh Cowgirl Up
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