If you're still not convinced... - Page 2

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If you're still not convinced...

This is a discussion on If you're still not convinced... within the Jumping forums, part of the English Riding category

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    12-12-2010, 06:48 PM
Green Broke
Out of curiosity, where were you that you were able to see so many clinics? (BTW, excellent way to improve your riding!)
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    12-12-2010, 06:57 PM
Lucky you! Its interesting, my trainer just realized this to be very true. (Just. -.-) After a 2 month break from jumping, we went back to it, and everyone who had been excelling at the equitation and dressage we were doing rode the jumps beautifully, despite the long break. Myself included. The first jump we took my horse just wanted to rushrushrush. With a little bit of extra cuing and ground work (ground poles are a god send) between jumps, she started waiting for me to ask for the jump, as opposed to her deciding. In the old days my trainer may have encouraged just jumping the beans out of her. Dressage is such a wonderful thing.
    12-12-2010, 07:03 PM
While I absolutely agree with the overall premise - correct flatwork is the foundation for jumping - I would ask you to be careful with your word choice and be very precise in how you express it.

and I am always telling people that GP horses know minimally level 3 dressage,
Grand Prix jumpers may know and perform all the movements required at Third Level, but they don't perform them in the same frame or with the same goal. Is it important for you to be able to control a jumper's shoulders and move on three tracks at will? YES. Does a GP jumper execute a true canter pirouette or need to? Nope.

By similar logic, I could say that hunters perform Third Level dressage because they perform flying changes. Now, we know that's silly, because a hunter performs that flying change without the rhythm, cadence or suspension of the dressage horse. A hunter's flying change isn't recognizable as the Third Level horse's change, but technically, it's the same movement.

Now, the difference between a Third Level horse and a GP jumper is less than the difference between a Third level horse and a hunter, certainly - the dressage horse sustains collection, the GP jumper collects briefly, the hunter not at all, but a true Third Level horse looks a lot different performing third level movements than the jumper.

While I love dressage in and of itself, the emphasis on dressage and the dressage scores at the level levels of eventing is producing dressage-horses-that-jump, rather than brave and bold jumpers capable of an obedient dressage test.
    12-13-2010, 02:13 PM
Originally Posted by maura    
While I love dressage in and of itself, the emphasis on dressage and the dressage scores at the level levels of eventing is producing dressage-horses-that-jump, rather than brave and bold jumpers capable of an obedient dressage test.
I could not agree with you more, Maura.

The extreme emphasis dressage is having on eventing now is the root of a lot of the problems (i.e. Rotational falls, etc.). As we continue to ask for more and more collection from our upper level horses, we are taking away more of their initiative causing them to rely on their riders too much on cross country. We're not infallible, every rider makes mistakes, and if our horses can't save us from those mistakes we do make then we're more likely to see tragedies that result in serious injuries and even death of rider and horse. I think it's also a reason we see issues with horses as they move up the levels. They can perform everything in the dressage and jump the height, but they can't actively think and process what is being asked of them technically on a cross country course and that is a dangerous thing.
    12-13-2010, 09:39 PM
I just gotta ask, because I feel like I'm alone in this thinking. Do people not give their horse's enough credit for knowing the difference between a dressage test and an XC course? While my horse looks to me for the dressage phase, he merely checks in with me before each fence in the jumping phases to make sure we're on the same page. He handles his own striding very nicely and I let him do as much as possible without assistance from me. Granted we are at the very lowest levels in terms of height and difficulty, but I just cannot buy into the fact that a horse who is trained to respond to the subtle cues of a dressage test in incapable of switching over to taking the reins literally in the jumping phases. I really feel like they know why they're there. If my horse could speak, I'm pretty sure he'd say, "I got this" during the jumping phases.
    12-13-2010, 10:34 PM

Have you ever ridden a horse schooled primarily and entirely for dressage? It's very different than riding an event horse that's schooled in dressage.

Any dressage past second level, or even good, pure dressage AT second level, IMO and IME, requires a level of submission to the rider (and a frame!) that's counterproductive to good jumping.

You stated in your post that your horse has an "I got this" attitude in the jumping phases. That's cool, because that's exactly what you want in an event horse, or except at the highest levels, a jumper. Preserve that attitude in your horse, it's a good thing. Dressage training past second level completly subverts that attitude; it's supposed to.

I have two quibbles with "Jumping is dressage with speed bumps" and the current eventing situation. I say "quibble" because in principle, I agree with the OP - too many people start jumping without paying attention to the basics; and too many look for a quick fix rather than going back to the foundation. Flatwork does fix everything, I agree.

My quibbles:
One, because of legitimate safety concerns and standardization of courses, pretty much any event at training level or below is decided primarily by the dressage score. Eliminaton of false ground lines and "bogey" fences and deciding at which level to add water, technical combinations, etc., were all excellent changes that had an unintended consequence - when pretty much everybody who shows up decently prepared can jump around the course, results are decided by dressage score. This means a horse that shows a frame, movement and submission appropriate for First/Second level scores above a true Training Level horse; and that then the other competitors (all of whom can jump the jumps as well) must chase that score. This leads to dressage specialists and jumping dilettantes, which is disasterous when you advance up the levels.

Two, there are far too many riders today who take "dressage is the foundation for jumping" to heart with too little education. They're the ones you see jumping with their horses' faces cranked to the vertical, with too long stirrups, little release and adding strides in every line. Please, before you protest, I don't confuse this with good, well rounded horsepeople who can adopt a variety of seats for a variety of situations. However, dressage being viewed as the cure for every ill creates its own set of problems in the undereducated.

Doesn't mean dressage is bad, it means a misunderstanding of dressage and/or classical principles is bad.
    12-13-2010, 10:44 PM
Maura, that all makes sense. No, I have not ridden a highly schooled anything!! I do see eventing from purely an entry level standpoint. I just recently got to a place with my horse where I am starting to question how much I should be "riding" and how much I should be letting him do by himself. I don't want to undermine his confidence by micro-managing, but I do want to be able to step in if he gets himself to a bad spot. It's quite the balancing act.

I was just incredibly impressed by the riders I watched that I mentioned in my OP. The riders warmed up using exercises that involved adjusting their horses strides and I was able to watch it directly translate to adjusting the strides to and between fences. I can see the dangers of just lumping it all into simple broad terms.
    12-13-2010, 11:40 PM
Again, I agree with Maura, your horse has the ideal mind frame you need for dressage! And also as Maura stated, most dressage above second level starts to subvert this mindset.

As we continue to ask out horses to become more collected (biggest addition to upper level dressage that demonstrates this IMHO is flying changes, which are NOT the same as a flying change in the middle of a show jumping or cross country course) we start to ask them to rely more on their rider. That's where the problem really lies. Asking for advanced collected movements starts taking away a horse's initiative. When we start to make them wait for us to tell them to shorten their stride is when the problems start to arise, especially for the jumping phases. If the horse has scope and ability for over 4' (which upper level event horses should) then the last thing you should really be worrying about is the length of their stride (for the most part). First things you should be worrying about are their BALANCE and their STRAIGHTNESS. If they have sufficient scope and initiative they should be able to make the approach with relative independence. Lucinda Green made a comment somewhat recently saying that riders should stop trying to "see distances" because when we get it set in our head that "I have to get a perfect 3 strides between these jumps" or "Okay five strides until my horse takes off" we start messing with our horse's way of going and then we just get in the way of a horse that very likely had everything under control on his/her own.
    12-14-2010, 10:05 PM
So this isn't so much as a deficiency in the horses as it is the rider's over managing their horses in the non dressage phases?
    12-14-2010, 10:28 PM
So many jumper's here say oh no we don't need dressage *turns nose up at it*
- But in my opinion, if I can't control my horse and get what I want and need on the flat, how on earth am I going to get it in the air??
It took me nearly a full year of just flatwork to have the level of control on my horse that I wanted, so I Felt safe enough to jump.
And it will probably take nearly as long for my new boy who is a 7yo tb gelding. Off the track since april 2010

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