Memorizing show jumping courses
I have been show jumping for a long time. But lately it seems that when I get to the show it's always a different course than what I learned. I'm really good at memorizing stuff but I usually mess up when i'm in the arena competing! I had a old trick memorizing it by color but most of them are around the same color. I was disqualified out of that class at two shows for almost the same mistake. (it was really embarrassing) I just would like some tips so I don't screw up again. Also we don't usually know the course till we get there. Thanks guys!!! :D
practice, practice, practice.
Try to practice all kinds of different courses at home. Have your instructor, or a friend, make up a complex course for you. Try to memorize it on the spot and then go jump it. Then try a different one.
The more you practice memorizing different courses on the spot, at home, the easier it will be at shows.
Back when I used to ride hunter/jumpers, my trainer was always coming up with complex courses for us to do. They were much more difficult than anything we ever saw at shows, so those show courses were a cakewalk compared to what we were used to.
Once at the show, if you have multiple over fences classes with different courses, only look at the one you're about to go do (if possible). Try not to worry about your next course until you get through the first one. If you try to memorize all your courses at the beginning of the day, you might get them mixed up.
When learning a course at a show, look at the sheet that is posted, check out the arena and the jumps and say the course outloud to yourself a few times. I usually make up named for the jumps or the lines. whether it's based on color, decoration, type of jump, or location in the arena, it's up to you (example: 'blue flower' to 'outside line' to 'whale oxer' to 'inside bending line', etc). After you've got it down pretty well and can remember it without the sheet, then close you eyes and visualize yourself riding the course. Visualize every stride of the course. Visualize your distances between each line, visualize lead changes. Basically the idea is to go through the course a couple of times in your head, riding it exactly the way you'd like to do it in the arena.
But the biggest thing is just practicing memorizing all kinds of different courses at home, that someone else makes up for you. That way when you go to a show it's no big deal, you've done it tons of times before.
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You know how in the horse riding games like Riding star there are dotted lines on the floor you have to follow to the next jump? I always imagine those while walking a course, it helps me take the curves correctly too!
And then of course walk the course, and start with the line to the first jump, check the line to the second jump and then momorize the lines to first and second, then first second third and so on, once you finish, repeat the route a few times, looking around the course. If you can do it with someone and tell them how the route is, so they can tell you if you memorized correctly. If you jump later, try to watch a few riders before you jump the course and try to 'predict' which is the next jump theyll jump, to make sure you learn the course. This way you will know which points of the course are hard for you to remember. For me this works like, if I always forget the line to jump 8, While I'm riding at jump 7 a little 'light' goes on in my head reminding me that the line to jump 8 was not what i thought, so I think about it a bit harder instead of just following the more logical line to the wrong jump.
For me its a lot easier to remember linesbetween jumps than locations of individual jumps, as the jumps will all be connected that way, instead of being like spots, which are hard to keep in the right order in your mind.
Looking over the course several times like this, and especially watching other riders jump first will also allow you to pinpoint where the difficult curves are, so that you are prepared and can make sure to take the curve big enough. (In my first competition I had walked the course and was certain that on jump was in a straight line next to another jump, turned out it was a bit more back, so after making a U-turn, the jump was suddenly already there while I was still turning! In my second competition there was a similar setup, but as I watched some of the other riders make the mistake before I went in, I knew to pay more attention to making that curve big enough)
This terrifies me as I get back to jumping! Some of you who know me may recall that I have some minor neurological damage? The result of an accident followed by an illness, though essentially unrelated...
Anyhow, the only two (mental) ways this neurological situation really effects me at all is that I have a TERRIBLE time with recall of names of both people and places, and sometimes, of diseases and diagnoses (I'm a nurse, and I'll be on the phone with the one of the doc's, trying to explain that the patient is diagnosed with this or that disease/disorder, let's say, GERD, will need such and such med ordered, let's say, Prilosec. But I'll have to actually DESCRIBE the disease to them in order to get to the part where I can request the med order... (I.E. "Yes, hi, Dr. Jones! Mr. X in room 200, well, he's diagnosed with...(the name suddenly VANISHES)...um, oh you know, um...the one, with the gastric acid, where the cardiac sphincter doesn't close all the way when they lay down, and ... OH, yes, he has GERD!!"....thankfully, most of my docs are very used to my colorful descriptions, especially when I get really tired!) :shock:
Also, I have trouble with odd or unusual names which I haven't had the opportunity to see written down many times (I remember words about 98%visually, not aurally, or via hearing the word, at ALL) and I can meet someone, like, 14 times, be introduced to them by different people, basically remember their face (IF I WAS paying attention the first time! If not, look out... :oops: Totally embarassing, as it will be to me as if I have never even met them--talk about feeling like a total arse) and not have the first idea what in the heck their name is...I hate it when that ocassionally happens...
You can probably imagine that I don't "simply live" for cocktail parties with lots of introductions and new people present! Ha...:wink:
Anyway, the other way this neuro "thing" effects me, is in regard to driving/traveling directions. I live in the same city where I grew up from age 5, for half the year, when I wasn't on the opposite end of the country visiting my father for the other half of the year--on through college, then was gone for 4 years at school in CA; continued living in CA for three more years, just working, and returned to my "hometown" at that point, having been back here now for ~12 years.
By now, I should know every nook, cranny, and backroad (this is NOT a huge city at all, but I get terribly, utterly lost if I simply take a detour headed in to work at night to avoid roadwork or something, and I only work 6 miles from home! (Plus, I've been working at the same hospital for FIVE YEARS, and, I'm coming from my house where we've lived for almost EIGHT) :?
Thus, even in a lesson, the instructor setting up a course of say, six jumps, (when I was a kid), was terrifying, because I would be petrified I'd forget which was next. There might be three in a line, and then a long curve around, skipping the most obvious seeming and taking a harder jump and then two in a line out. THAT felt complex to me, so now as an adult, I am quite trepedatious about starting "real" jumping lessons soon; especially since I'll have a new instructor soon as well... :cry: (story for another thread!).
I wish I could offer you some advice, OP! I suppose I am hoping that my story will help you to realize that you are lucky it is only somewhat hard to remember...and that in time, you CAN, and most certainly WILL, improve! Imagine if it would never get better and you still had to compete with the same problem occurring! Now, don't you feel better that you aren't ME? Hehe...Nahhh, you'll do just fine. I'm waiting to hear the advice other's give ya, too, as maybe it can help me a bit! :D
I don't know how you guys do it. Once of the reasons I chose eventing is all the fences look different and they are numbered!
To the OP - do you practice different and whacky courses at home? Of course the courses at shows are going to be different than what you practice - the course designer doesn't know what you practice at home. How far in advance do you look at the course before your class? Do you walk it beforehand?
Yep, stadium is numbered too. And all the fences are different. Even if the numbers blow down, it's always something like green gate to natural brown thing to black horse-head panels, etc...I could not in a million years do a course where all the fences are white.
Thanks everyone!!!!!! :)
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