Finally! Willie is getting back into gear! *pictures!*
As I'm fairly sure a lot of you know, Willie had a fairly long little break of about 2 years, and in June I started working on getting him back into shape. Yesterday I finally got some picture of him jumping. He's been doing 2'0" and 2'3" for about 2 months now so today I bumped a few of them up to 2'6". He totally didn't care, lol. Just hopped over them! My boyfriend had fun with his awesome camera taking pictures, so I'm posting all the ones I really like here.
Any tips on my position would be helpful, as I have nobody on the ground to help correct me as I ride and my boyfriend knows absolutely nothing. I can see some of my own mistakes, but I'm pretty proud that I haven't had a lesson in almost 2 years and I still look alright. I really want to start working on getting Willie neater in the front end, since he's really not (at all) right now. He hasn't been rubbing or touching the fences at all, but I'd rather not let him get it into his head that it's okay to be sloppy. If any of you know some good exercises for that I'd be grateful!
And then this one just because it makes me laugh. I can just hear Willie, "Mom you're so weird, stop it!"
Congrats on getting back into the swing of things! You two look great, and I <3 Willie!!
Your position, first thing that shouts out at me is your lower back and its' over exaggerated arch. Work on straitening it.
Also, you're opening your knee's too much - imagine your body being like the folds in an acordian. I am sure you've heard me say this already :P - but you know what the folds do when you close an accordian....they ....well, close.
So, imagine your knee angle and your hip angle like the folds in an accordian. Close those angles, don't open them. So when your horse goes up, that's the accordian closing, and your angles close.
So, in your pictures, your knee angle is too open, and see how your seat is towards the front part of your saddle - when it should be over the center of your saddle....soooo, you want to push yourself back.
So close your angles, and push your seat back. And...straiten your back.
To help your boy with his knee's - I have no real advice, but I have read GM's columns and articles about making your horse jump bigger fences, and verticles.
I'll have to go through all my PH magazines to see if I can find articles where he discusses this...
I definitely noticed my back when I looked over these pictures. I almost wish I had posted them in the order they were taken, because during my ride I would stop and check out the pictures to figure out how I needed to adjust myself and some of the ones where my back is straighter are the ones from later in the ride, lol.
I've always had a problem with my angles being too open, I'll definitely work on it more and see if I can't drag Mitch out again to take pictures in another few weeks (I've only been jumping once every two weeks, don't want to strain Willie too much) and make sure to post them to get some more critique!
I think I remember reading something where GM said upright, larger verticles are good for getting your horse to jump through their back and snap their knees up more, I'll try looking through the magazines I have up here as well to find them. I also remember he had a bit of a rant about some oxers getting horses into the habit of jumping flat, haha.
Yeah, that's very true. Oxers are much easier for horses because they don't have to "round" as much as they would over a Verticle.
LOL - When I was walking my course at Honey Run Team Challange, I was walking the course with a 12 year old and a couple other kids in an around that age. I made the comment "Man, there are a TON of oxers on this course" and one answered "That's good, because horses like those better because they don't have to exert themselves as much as they would if they were verticles"
I stopped and look at him, this little 12 year old with a thrilled, but cuirous face asking " How in the world do you know that already?" lol
I totally understand about jumping only so much, and I'm super proud of you for not making your Mr. Willie not jump that much, that's wonderful! I'm in the same boat with Mr. Nelson. While we are preserving our horses legs, we're neglecting ourselves eh....sucks doesn't it.
BUT, you can work on your form when doing flat work, and while hacking as well. You can ride up in your functional two point, and decipher a spot on the groun that you are approaching to be your fence, and when you get to that point, go into your passive two point. Legs around your horses girth, heels deep, close angles, push seat back, release - remember, it's all 1 fluid movement.
Easier said than done unfortunately - but practice does make perfect.
I think that is great that you are able to look back at your pictures, have you tried video footage? I find video's help too. You can watch how your position was on approach to the fence, the rhythm, what your horse was doing under you and then the fence.
Trust me, I've watched my newest video from HRTC umpteen times already. I've torn it apart :P
Haha, it totally sucks not being able to jump more often. I'm certain he could handle the jumping more, but I'm definitely not willing to risk it because, well, it's super expensive! Lol. And it's just not worth it in the end. He doesn't /need/ the jumping practice, he's wonderful even if he hasn't been over anything in months, I'm the one that needs it more than he does.
It's definitely much harder to practice a functional two-point on the flat, so what I might do is just set up poles in the covered arena when I'm doing dressage work. It'll help me and it'll get him to lift his back and work through his topline a little more. One thing I've always noticed is that his dressage improves immeasurably when I'm working him over fences. Everything in between them looks so gorgeous I wish jumps were a part of a dressage test!
I currently don't have a video camera I can use or else I would definitely use video footage too! On the bright side, big cameras are nice because they can capture so many frames so I do have a lot of each "stage" of us jumping and I can see where I started to go wrong. A lot of it is just me being a little /too/ enthusiastic, I think, so I overcompensate, lol. Practice makes perfect!
Comments were already covered on position. You do look **** good for not having been doing it for awhile. As for tightening up those knees, bounces work well for my horse. Two cross rails 9' apart. Stay out of his way and bring him to it in a nice even canter. If he's really good at it, you can add some more cross rails instead of just the two.
Another exercise would be same two rails 18' apart, the equivalent of a one stride in and out.
Depending on your horse's stride, you can go closer than 9' and 18' to really challenge him. I saw a clinic last year where the instructor had horses doing a grid of 4 cavallities at the 1' height space 6', yes 6' apart and had the horses canter it. It was insanely hard, but the good riders got it done. It definitely improved their jumping later in the clinic.
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