Why do Showjumpers sit to the fences? - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 25 Old 11-11-2013, 10:07 PM Thread Starter
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Why do Showjumpers sit to the fences?

So I was watching some high-level showjumping on Youtube tonight.
This video in particular haha. Anyway, I noticed that the riders sit to the fences and then throw themselves over at the last moment. In fact, at 2 min 30 seconds in the video, I think the lady announcer expresses surprise that the rider hand-gallops to the fence. Now, me only jumping 2 feet, I am obviously am missing something because my trainer has me hand-gallop to every fence. She says that if I sit to the fence, I'll make a big drastic motion and could get left behind.

So my question to you all is: why do showjumpers sit (or at least, it looks a lot like sitting or crotch-sitting) to the fences? Do hunters do this as well?
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post #2 of 25 Old 11-11-2013, 10:14 PM
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I never got that big into jumping (only a bit over three feet) but I'd sit between fences. Not a super heavy dressage seat but not a two point either. Jump courses are tight and sometimes you really have to ride them. Collecting them up, shortening their strides, you use your seat. Can't use your seat if you're in the air. I'd only ever canter horses, a fast, big canter but still a canter. Once I was used to it, I wasn't really left behind or anything.
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Last edited by Saskia; 11-11-2013 at 10:16 PM.
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post #3 of 25 Old 11-12-2013, 09:43 AM
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When you're jumping big tight courses you want the most impulsion and control you can get out of a horse and that's best achieved from the energy you create from a collected canter
When you're having to push a horse forward and hold it together to achieve that you need to be sitting down and 'riding it from behind' and you can't do that in 2 point.
You will see bursts of gallop in when they're against the clock or at the water jumps when the horse needs to be long and low.
I wouldn't even ride at a hand gallop over small fences as it only trains the horse to rush & 'hurdle' its fences and that becomes a problem later on when you have to retrain them for the bigger courses as they jump too flat.
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post #4 of 25 Old 11-12-2013, 01:29 PM
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Sometimes I think announcers say things just to say things to fill air time.

I would call both of those riders as having a light seat and rarely sitting deep.

Marcus Ehning, a German rider and one of the best in world right now, rides in a deeper seat. You see the difference between the way he rides compared to the two in the first video. I do not think either way is right or wrong, they are just different styles. I also do not think any of the three riders were ahead or behind the motion of their horse.


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post #5 of 25 Old 11-12-2013, 07:31 PM
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The rider is using their seat to collect the horse, which is better than just yanking on the reins.
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post #6 of 25 Old 11-13-2013, 05:22 AM
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They aren't throwing themselves at the last second actually. What they are doing is allowing the horse to close the hip angle between the rider and the horse.
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post #7 of 25 Old 11-13-2013, 09:19 PM
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Wow, that's some nice riding in that second video. OP, sitting to the fences allows for better control and adjustment of the horse's stride. It also helps keep the horse connected, balanced and helps it use itself better over jumps. By staying in 2-point around your entire course, you are missing out on the finesse you will need to navigate higher and/or more complex technical courses that you will encounter as you move up in your riding. If you are new to jumping, your instructor might just be keeping you off the horse's back to keep you from getting left behind. At some point, it's time to sit in the saddle and start riding instead of just being a passenger around the course.
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You just have to see your distance...you don't have to like it.
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post #8 of 25 Old 11-14-2013, 03:39 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the replies everybody! Today my trainer actually set up a ground rail course that's similar to a show jumping course (tight turns, weird angles). Now I really see what you mean,haha.
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post #9 of 25 Old 11-14-2013, 10:43 AM
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You will see some hunter riders in a two point for the whole course. I've posted a video on John French and Rumba already on this board, but I am not sure this is from the same class. It is not the newest video, but Rumba is my favorite hunter of all time, and John gets in his two point and stays there. The exception is when he comes to a walk in this class because it is a derby. Notice the hand gallop to the last fence.

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post #10 of 25 Old 11-14-2013, 11:44 AM
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Not sure if this is the guy you posted a video of once before - but he must have incredibly strong legs!!!
A lot does depend on the horse too - this horse looks naturally very relaxed, willing and easy going
Not sure what he'd be like over a really big wide spread though. I don't really know anything about hunters (US) but I think the max height is 4ft 6 whereas in showjumping can go from 5ft 3 to 7ft at top level depending on the class with tighter courses and a round against the clock and I think that's where you're going to need that extra driving and maneuvering power that you get from sitting down more in the saddle
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fence , hand gallop , hunter , showjumper , two point

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