Problems with distances

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Problems with distances

This is a discussion on Problems with distances within the Jumping forums, part of the English Riding category

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        02-04-2014, 04:34 PM
    Problems with distances

    I used to take jumping lessons but it's been a few years. We always jumped courses in an arena and I always knew how many strides should be in between each jump. Now I like to go on trail rides and I found a bunch of trees down from a wind storm and I've been jumping them, but I realized I don't really know how to visualize a distance. I know you should plan to take off about 6' before a 3' jump, but my instructor always said don't look at the jumps look over them or your horse will look down too so how do you visualize your distance if you can't look at the ground to see where you're supposed to take off? I've tried it looking over the jump but I have no way of knowing if I'm 6' to the jump or not and my jump ends up choppy or to long.
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        02-04-2014, 05:17 PM
    Super Moderator
    I tend to look at the jump as I approach it and then up and ahead once I'm in the air - but you should know the course before you even start out
    You should learn to get a feel for your horses stride - practice with ground poles changing the distances
        02-04-2014, 05:56 PM
    Thanks I'll try doing that. I don't have a lot of room at my place for doing gridwork, although I loved doing work with poles and grids. I'll go find some trees on some bush trails and do my polework there haha Its just so weird, I jumped for years and was told how to find your distance etc. but never actually had to do it. I always knew it was 6 strides or however many between each jump and we did lots of lengthening and shortening of stride to make it 5 or 7 strides and stuff but I never thought about where I was taking off. I'm thinking the lesson horses just knew where they needed to be haha
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        02-04-2014, 09:52 PM
    I completely disagree with trainers who say you should never look at the jump and instead gaze off into the distance. It's simply makes no sense. How in the world can you negotiate anything you aren't even looking at? I also look at the fence until it disappears between my horse's ears. By looking down, I mean with eyes and not with the whole head. If you tilt your head down on approach, you will throw off your horse's balance. If you ever have had whiplash, you know how much your head really weighs.

    I've played with it both ways. Almost 100% I look at the fence, I get the distance right. Almost 100% of the time I take my eyes off the goal, we miss it. I don't care what the books and instructors say. If it works, it works.
        02-05-2014, 01:47 AM
    It only makes sense to look at where you're going, which is what was confusing me. I was taught it was a crime to even look down with your eyes but I'm going to try it next time I ride and see how I do.
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        02-05-2014, 03:40 AM
    "Don't look at the jump" is taught so that you don't make a habit of staring at the jump as you go over it. This is important because focusing on the jump you're jumping will make you look down, which in turn makes you tip forward (more and more the closer you get to the jump), unbalancing you, and making the horse look at it too. You should be looking up for your "next fence" even if there isn't one, you need to be planning your path before you jump the jump, and seeing it. That being said, I usually look at the jump until I see my distance, which is usually 2-3 strides out. At that point you're planning your path when you land.
        02-05-2014, 09:27 AM
    Super Moderator
    If you train yourself to look where you're going you should be able to keep your eyes ahead - not at the ground or down at the jump and still see where your ideal take off point is going to be with just a glance.
    I'm the worst person in the world for getting lost around a course so I'll walk it as many times as I can and then watch as many other people go round before I do!!
        02-05-2014, 12:07 PM
    Green Broke
    The best way to get your distances down is to have a consistent pace.

    I'm sort of on the fence (teehee) about the 'don't look at the jump' debate. I think you can still know your distances without staring at it xD
        02-06-2014, 03:36 PM
    I look straight ahead. It's really about the length of the stride. If you look down before a jump it completely throws off your balance, and if you look around you could run into the jump. If you are riding an experinced horse, I wouldn't really worry about getting the takeoff right, the horse most likely knows this. However if you are riding a somewhat green horse it really is the stride. It will take a couple times to figure out what speed and stride length the horse will need. But that is only how I learned to do takeoff correctly.
        02-07-2014, 12:24 AM
    My mare is well broke but not really a jumper. She's jumped small stuff but it's not like she's a trained jumper. The highest she's jumped is about 3'. I think you guys are all right. I'll practice my striding and use some poles, let us get used to jumping together and work from there.
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