Good examples of automatic release
I am a beginner jumper and my first show is coming up this Sunday. I'm also struggling with my automatic release, as I had been doing it wrong for a while before finding my jumping trainer and my bad habits have made themselves cozy in my muscle memory. So, I would very much appreciate if you posted good video and photo examples of how automatic release (not crest release!) is done by good jumpers. I have a visual memory and it should help me to get it right eventually, of course, just as a helpful addition to my lessons. Thanks a lot! :)
If you are a beginner jumper you are not ready to be doing the automatic release. That is a release for riders who are very stable and secure in their positions (no matter what distance your horse gets to) and have very good contact on their horse's mouth. George Morris wishes that riders would rely more on the auto release but ONLY when they are ready, which according to the clinics I've seen is about when people are competing successfully around 3"6-4" and that's when he starts to INTRODUCE the auto. Until then, you should be working on a long or short crest release depending on your level.
This might help as MANY people are using George Morris' method of crest release wrong!!
"Horse jumping release: George Morris introduced the crest release, then regretted it. Here is what he recommends now.
Horse jumping release: Most American jumpers use the crest release, which, when done right, is just fine. The problem is that it is rarely done right. To avoid the mistakes that punish your horse when attempting the crest release, try learning the automatic release instead.
THE CREST RELEASE: George Morris introduced the crest release into the hunter circuit, then almost immediately regretted it. The idea was to have a student press her knuckles lightly into the horse’s neck so that when the horse jumped, her arms would stretch forward with the horse, allowing the horse freedom of movement. This would prevent the rider from hitting the horse in the mouth with the bit, an unfortunate result of a fixed hand that doesn’t follow the horse’s head as he stretches his neck forward in order to jump.
Almost overnight, students everywhere were pressing down fiercely on their horse’s necks and resting all of their weight there at the exact moment when their poor mounts needed to reach their necks up and forward to jump. The crest release done this way not only interferes with the horse’s movement, it also encourages the rider to have loose legs because she depends on her hands and arms to balance herself when the horse jumps. As a result, the rider has a very unstable two-point leg position: Her legs swing forward or back when the horse leaves the ground. So the horse has to deal with an unstable rider as well as the extra weight of the rider directly on his neck as he jumps. If this sounds good to you, try jumping with a toddler on your back whose loose legs barely grip your waist as her hands fiercely grip your face. Just keeping your balance would be a challenge! You would probably tell her to let up with the hands already, and grip more firmly with her legs.
THE AUTOMATIC RELEASE: A better way to jump is to maintain a soft contact with your horse’s mouth as he jumps. As he stretches his neck forward to jump, your hands simply follow the motion, reaching forward. In order to remain stable during the automatic release, you must have a secure base of support. This means pressing your inner calves firmly onto the horse’s barrel so that you can safely maintain your balance as the horse jumps. Your hands are then free to follow the horse's motion. This is a much better way to perform a horse jumping release.
Perfecting the automatic release allows the rider to develop a stronger leg position, better balance throughout the jump, and a more confident horse. It is invaluable for moving through the levels of eventing, hunter, or show jumping. "
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