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zjcgw 10-18-2011 09:02 PM

Critique my horse and I! show no mercy
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Yes, there are many flaws in my riding, I am just trying to improve. So any input would be wonderful!!
My horse, as you can see, jumps very hard so it is very very difficult for me to stay with in over jumps. My trainer can barely do it. Any tips on how to improve that? Thanks!

denali | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

_mg_0201-L | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Screen shot 2011-10-18 at 8.45.23 PM | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

tinyliny 10-18-2011 09:17 PM

I could not possibly critique you. I think you ride wonderfully. I love the second shot of the links listed.

MyBoyPuck 10-18-2011 09:17 PM

I gotta say I really hate the crest release in general. The mere fact that you have to crawl up the horse's neck to provide it combined with the finite length of the human arm almost always results in the entire upper body tipping forward. If you're jumping stuff that big on a horse with that much scope, time for automatic release.

For starters, take your knees off the saddle. Forget about everything you ever read about knee contact. Take your knees off and distribute your leg contact evenly from the calf down. Canter around with no reins in half seat keeping your shoulders centered over your knees. Once you have that muscle memory down, canter over ground poles and cross rails, things that require no movement on your part other than a release. When you get to the obstacle, just release with your arms. No upper body other than unbending your elbows. Much easier said than done, but once you separate your arms from the rest of your body, you'll be able to keep your body with your horse's huge jumping effort while still providing a release. Once your arms are independent, move onto real jumps. When your horse jumps, just fold at the hips and release. Gymnastic grids are an excellent exercise for developing the muscle memory for folding.

That's all I've got. Hopefully more experienced jumpers will ring in. Love the horse.

kaykat31 10-18-2011 09:22 PM

The first photo isn't the greatest angle for critique, but it does show that you pinch your knee. Make sure you ride off your lower calf & wrap it around the horse, opening your knee! If you pinch your knee, it leads more to balancing off your hand, throwing the horse off balance as well, and makes your leg slide back O/F. I like your release in though! Love your position in the 2nd pic, beside the slight pinch of the knee, I don't think the knee pinch is as harsh in this pic, and with the lower height, it only made your leg slide back maybe an itty bit. In the 3rd pic, it looks like your forcing down your heel, you want your heel down, but relaxed, and again, wrap your lower leg/calf around the horse. Also, bend your elbows alittle more, to make a straight line through your elbow, to the bit. In the last pic, it looks like you really threw your body to catch up to him in the jump, this simply makes him jump faster & not as well as he is capable of. Again with the getting off your knee & riding with your calf. As for help staying with him, just make sure your riding on your pelvic bone, and sitting over him enough going towards the jump & sit still o/f, so you don't have to throw your body to stay with him. Good job!!! (:

kaykat31 10-18-2011 09:25 PM

To add, if you use the crest release correctly, and ride off your leg while doing it, it does not tip you forward because your simply pushing your arm forward & into the horses neck(that's not the best wording probably but). I don't trust the automatic release as much as the crest release, imho.

ErikaLynn 10-19-2011 10:00 AM

I noticed some peoples comments about taking you knee off the saddle. What I think you should have even contact through out your whole leg, thigh, knee, and calf. You are putting too much pressure on your knee. When you are going over a jump try and stick your legs out in front of you and sink your heals down, that should help you distribute even contact through your whole leg. Your leg should look similar to this picture when you are in the air jumping
Screen shot 2011-10-18 at 8.45.23 PM | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

I'm Ok with your crest release, but try not to get too forward, your butt should stay hovered over the saddle for the entire jump...some pictures you are jumping ahead and ducking onto the horses neck, and your leg slips back.

Practicing your 2-point on the flat should help with all of this.

Other then that, I think you look like a very strong rider. Your position is good otherwise.

You have a very beautiful horse, except he jumps a little flat.. He almost has it, but he seems like he is being restricted from using his back.

Good luck.

ErikaLynn 10-19-2011 10:50 AM

I also want to ask...are you jumping him in a chambon? I thought they were only used while lunging.

Allison Finch 10-19-2011 11:24 AM

Most of what I would have said, has been said.

Yes, there are some photos of her jumping in a chambon. I am amazed any trainer would be OK with that! Especially as it is being used without a neck strap that would keep it from drooping way down if the horse lowered his head. SO dangerous. I keep picturing the horse putting his head way down and a leg getting over the straps....

You said to critique, and this is where my critique got focused. Please rethink using that device under saddle this way.

Elana 10-19-2011 11:39 AM

Agree with what has been said so far. Lose the chambon!! If you need a chambon you need more flat training first. Remember.. most of the time a horse is on course is spent BETWEEN fences!

I really like this horse's jumping (yours not so much! LOL). This horse is scopey and raises his knees.. looks careful not to touch the fence. He has a somewhat hollow back in photo number 2 (with the chambon on). I suspect the Chambon and insufficient flat work may contribute to this.

zjcgw 10-19-2011 07:18 PM

We were advised to use the chambon by Don Stewart, one of the top trainer in the country if you have not heard of him. And if you notice, the chambon is loose over the jumps, therefore not hindering his ability to round at all. If anything is negatively effecting the way he jumps, it is me. My trainer and I would never do anything to put my horse in danger.
But thank you guys for the input! it is very helpful :)

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