I have to admit that I didn't read all the posts (got about half way through).
When I use a crest release (which I normally do), I do NOT feel as balanced as when I use an auto release. Why I normally use a crest release is that I am a beginner when it comes to jumping, yes, I have been jumping for over a year, no, I have never had a real jumping lesson. I feel more confident with a crest release, though I feel less balanced. If I knew how to use a proper crest release (like Allison's), I KNOW I would feel way more balanced in the saddle.
Now, I am not depending on my hands in any way (I do a lot of no hands to make sure that I don't get dependent on my hands), but if my hands aren't placed correctly, I get thrown off balance.
Here is my crest release: Picture 291 002_0001.jpg
I went into the jump with very loose reins (one of my faults is having to loose of reins at all times...). I am perching in this picture as well. Though I do like the look of this picture, in my opinion, this jump is all wrong. I pretty much dropped my reins, shoved my heels down, jumped ahead of Bear, and said, "Here Bear, jump the small cross rail, im just going to let you do ALL the work for us!" Luckly Bear was a lesson horse for little kids learning to jump, so he will jump for me, but that isn't always going to be there for me, so I need to learn to jump NOW. (Yes, I am hard on myself)
Here is my crappy auto release: blah.jpg
(Sorry it's blurry!!) First off, this mare was a Pre-Olympic show jumper, though I had a very hard time jumping her. If I dropped her (which I did a lot), she would run out. I fell off of her a few times because of this (though the times I fell off she did a dead stop at the jump and I flipped over her head (MY FAULT!)). Though I didn't release as much as I should have, and I was just nervous because she was rushing the jump (she hadn't jumped in a while, was in heat, and she was feeding off of my energy). This was the smoothest jump I have ever ridden. I feel bad for catching her in the mouth, but this was my first attempt at an auto release so give me a break.... ;]
**Note to readers of my post: The picture of me on Bear (the grey), is my most resent jumping picture. The picture of me on Heidi (the black who just so happened to be 25) is a year old now. I have only ever had two people point out my faults when jumping in person, and those werent lessons...
I prefer auto releases for myself, though I use my crest release more. My goals are to learning to use a proper crest release and the proper auto release.
PS: I have never learned so much from any other forum, love you guys!