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post #21 of 41 Old 12-15-2010, 12:23 AM
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It's more of too much teaching the horse to ask you what to do instead of knowing what to do on their own and taking the initiative to do it. That's why having a horse who is very mentally prepared at the upper levels is important just as much as having them physically prepared. When you hit prelim your horse should know "Okay, I don't run flat out at jumps. I sit back and shorten my stride just a little because that makes it easier for me to get over and keep my speed." Obviously, they don't think about it in a process like we, as humans, would. It's the training from the lower levels to come back before the jumps that is coming through.

For example, my horse is schooled enough to know that he's supposed to come back and balance before jumps. A lot of the time I don't really have to ask, I just have to make sure I'm not in his way. I rode a retired CCI*** horse and honestly the only thing I had to do was bring my shoulders back a bit and keep my leg on. He did EVERYTHING else when it came to the jumping. I just had to stay out of his way and steer.

"Always be yourself. Unless you can be a unicorn. Then, always be a unicorn."
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post #22 of 41 Old 12-15-2010, 09:44 PM
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Originally Posted by MIEventer View Post
Dressage Is Jumping With Speed Bumps.
My trainer is always telling me that. My horse and I are learning how to do all of the movements properly now, and there is such a difference in the way he jumps and the way I ride. Dressage is so beneficial for horse and rider. It really lets you see where you and your horse are weak.
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post #23 of 41 Old 12-16-2010, 01:00 PM
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My Boy Puck,

I wanted to revisit this subject and explain myself a little better. I reread this thread and thought I sounded a little discouraging and a little like a wet blanket.

If you saw some neat flatwork exercises and were inspired by the high quality trainers you saw, good for you! I in no way meant to rain on that parade. Continuing to educate yourself by auditing lots of clinics and getting new ideas is terrific.

Personally, I like to make a distinction between flatwork and dressage. Now, that's not exactly universally accepted as a distinction, but for those of use that ride jumping horses, it's useful. Here's why I think so: the goal of dressage, besides the gymnastic development of the horse, is complete submission to the rider's aids and the development of sustained collected gaits. For jumping horses, we want the gymnastic development, but not the submission or the collected gaits.

I think any horse that jumps, period, needs to shorten and lengthen stride, develop three clear paces at the trot and canter, and do simple lateral work, at a minumum, leg yield, turn on the forehand and turn on the haunches. Shoulder in and haunches in are good additons to that repetoire. Horses that jump XC need to be working towards *five* clear paces at the canter/gallop in order to have flexibility and that automatic rebalancing that Strange talks about.

For a jumper, I'd add counter canter, flying changes and a modified turn on the haunches at the canter (refered to as either a short turn or a rollback.)

But I call all of this work *flatwork*, not dressage, because of the different goals of the work and also because the difference in the amount of frame and contact used in a pure dressage horse and a jumping horse.

So, if you change the sentence to "Jumping is flatwork with speedbumps." I am in 100% total argeement with it. I know it sounds like I'm being ridiculously picky about word choice, but would you want your horse to carry his submissive attitude and frame from the dressage arena out to the XC course?

I had a horse in my barn once that had, IMO, done too much "dressage" and not enough flatwork for an event horse. He could not hack out on a loose rein, period. He would wander off the trail and bump into things unless you rode him with an active leg and contact AT ALL TIMES. Now, a horse that actively seeks the contact and *wants* to be between the rider's leg and hand is desirable in dressage, but can you imagine riding that horse cross country? Or around a difficult jumper course?

And I agree with Strange that some of the horrific rotational falls being seen in eventing these days are a result of horses being overly reliant on the rider's aids, and being ridden completely between the rider's leg and hand. One video looks like the horse simply didn't take off but crashed the fence because the rider midjudged the takeoff. I don't want to ride that horse either.

Oh, and if your horse gives you the feeling of "Don't worry, I got this." when pointed at a fence, you're probably fine.

Would you please share some of the things you saw at these clinics that you thought were interesting?

Last edited by maura; 12-16-2010 at 01:09 PM.
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post #24 of 41 Old 12-16-2010, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by maura View Post
Oh, and if your horse gives you the feeling of "Don't worry, I got this." when pointed at a fence, you're probably fine.
Informative post Maura, I hadn't thought dressage vs. flatwork like that before but it certainly makes sense when you explain it like that.

Just highlighted the end bit cos I loved it. Only ever had one horse that was truly like that but it sure was a great feeling.

All horses deserve, at least once in their lives, to be loved by a little girl.

Last edited by maura; 12-16-2010 at 01:09 PM.
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post #25 of 41 Old 12-16-2010, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by sarahver View Post
Only ever had one horse that was truly like that but it sure was a great feeling.
Lol I totally agree Sarahver. It can be hard to find horses like that nowadays, but when you do find them they're worth their weight in gold!

"Always be yourself. Unless you can be a unicorn. Then, always be a unicorn."
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post #26 of 41 Old 12-19-2010, 08:06 AM
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I used to jump some, and I was kind of bad because my horse was always going too slow or had too much momentum..... I guess I should learn Dressage if I try again... Your post was very useful, MyBoyPuck!

"A Bad Day Riding With Dad beats a Good Day Shopping With Mom."
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post #27 of 41 Old 12-19-2010, 10:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Strange View Post
Lol I totally agree Sarahver. It can be hard to find horses like that nowadays, but when you do find them they're worth their weight in gold!
So true! If I ever find another one like that I sure won't be letting them go.....ever

All horses deserve, at least once in their lives, to be loved by a little girl.
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post #28 of 41 Old 12-19-2010, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Alcatrazjmpr View Post
My trainer is always telling me that. My horse and I are learning how to do all of the movements properly now, and there is such a difference in the way he jumps and the way I ride. Dressage is so beneficial for horse and rider. It really lets you see where you and your horse are weak.
I completely agree Alcatraz! If GP Jumpers spend up to 5 or more days a week working completley on Dressage -there's a good reason behind it, and we should follow suit and learn from them. I'm not saying we should be doing the levels they are, or the amount they do - but we should start to understand how important it is, and start incorporating this in our daily riding - so that we, just as you have discovered, can ride our courses functionally, competantly and allow our horses to use themselves to he best of their abilities, to perform the job as well as we can.

which is what you've been experiencing, and I think that is WONDERFUL!

That's why I love threads like this that MyBoyPuck started, because it really emphasises the importancies of Dressage and the fundamentals that the discipline gives us, to competantly do Dressage and competantly compete at Eventing and etc, etc, etc.

I see Western Fanatics taking Dressage lessons even - Reiners, Barrel Racers, Gymkannah fanatics, etc, etc - and I LOVE IT!

Everytime I go to Clinics taught by Upper Level Competators - George Morris, Jim Wofford, Buck Davidson, Jim Graham, Ian Millar, Dorothy Crowell, and etc, etc - they always stress that phrase to those who are taking that opportunity to learn from them "Jumping Is Dressage With Speed Bumps"


~~~~

Quote:
Absolutely!! There is nothing more important for jumping then 1) learning how to be effective as a rider and 2) getting your horse fit/balanced/responsive. I've never understood people who jump who turn their noses up at Dressage. They will never be truly successful over fences without it. I'm not saying that dressage is the end all for me, but it's definitely a necessary means to an end.
Great post Upnover!

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post #29 of 41 Old 12-19-2010, 02:42 PM
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Great post maura I like to make that distiction too !
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post #30 of 41 Old 12-19-2010, 03:00 PM
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Actually, Wofford is one of the most vocal critics of the current situation and how the over emphasis of dressage is killing horse's initiative and independence over fences and setting the stage for rotational falls.

And George Morris, while being uncharacteristically sloppy with his word choice and using flatwork and dressage interchangably, does not advocate dressage at second level or above for jumpers. In his current excellent PH series, you never see him ride a horse in more than a 1st level frame, though he is very precise and incorporates lateral work that's introduced at higher levels in the dressage tests.

All we're really talking about her is a choice of words; flatwork vs. dressage. I absolutely agree that a horse should be obedient, forward and supple on the flat before over fences, and that the solution to most over fences problems can be found on the flat.

So why do I have such a strong bias against calling what we do to warm up and prepare our horses to jump well and correctly "dressage?" Well, partly it's the point above, about keeping the horses' initiative and independence intact.

Partly because I think a distinction should be made between flatwork to supple, warm up and prepare a horse to jump and dressage for dressage's sake, work that's goal is submission and eventually collection.

And partially, it's old, bad experience. It was very, very common at PC rallies and horse trials to see someone newly excited about dressage canter down to their fences in a deep seat, behind the motion, with their horses's face on the vertical or behind, believing they were doing well, because after all, they were "doing dressage." Or doing the same thing in stadium, adding three strides in a 7 stride line. It makes for bad jumping. And I still see examples of this confused riding style at local horse trials, and it still makes for bad jumping.

Do I think any of the knowledgable and experienced people posting in this thread think it's a good idea to approach a xc fence in a first level dressage frame? No, of course not, I'm sure you don't. But less experienced and educated folks than you can and do interpret "Jumping is dressage with speed bumps" EXACTLY that way, and it makes for some ugly, unsafe jumping.

So, if you won't go for "Jumping is flatwork with speed bumps." how about "Jumping is lower level dressage with speed bumps." or "Jumping is dressage with speed bumps but please be careful how you mix the styles of riding?"

Last edited by maura; 12-19-2010 at 03:14 PM.
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