Jumping critique please?? 3' jumps
I have not been on here in a while but I thought I would post some new pictures of me jumping Donna. She has been behaving amazingly lately and we jumped 3'-3'6" a couple days in a row. Don't worry, she is getting the weekend to recover. =)
But anyway, let me know what you think. Anything and everything is accepted. We were just doing it for fun. I will not make up excuses for anything. =) The only thing I REALLY notice is that i need to keep my fingers closed and sometimes I have "chicken wings". I know in one of the pictures I am not in a two-point position but that is because, the way my horse jumps sometimes I don't feel like i need to. I feel like i only need to release and I can't get my butt up?? anyone else do that??
And one just walking for fun. =)
There are a couple of things that concern me and stand out to me about these photos.
First, you are definitely snapping back in the air and/or sitting down too soon, and it's causing your horse to jump very flat and be very defensive. In photos 1, 4 and 6 you can see this quite clearly, photo one shows your horse with a very grumpy, defensive expression. Your weight should be out of the saddle and in your two point until the horse's hind feet land. You might want to put a placement rail on the landing side of the fence and practice holding your two point until your horse crosses the placement rail. I believe you'll find your horse's roundness and attitude improving if you learn to hold your two poingt through the landing stride. Your sensation that you don't need to be in two point comes from the fact that your mare jumps very flat and hollow, probably in defense - the more you're diligent about staying off her back, the more she'll start to use herself better and round. If you continue this way, I think eventually you'll start to have cheap rails behind.
Second thing that concerns me is the open fingers in photos 2,3, and 5. Usually this is a "soft" habit; exhibited by riders who are trying very hard not to restrict the horse's head and neck, but it's also quite dangerous - *very* easy to jam or break a finger on landing, and very easy to drop a rein. Softness and your release comes from your shoulder and elbow, not from your fingers, so close your fingers on your reins and work more on following from your elbow and shoulder.
Finally, you're riding in a leverage bit, with no snaffle rein, and a martingale on the curb rein. Yikes! Please, at the very least, put a snaffle rein on your three ring bit, put the martingale on the snafffle rein, and only engage the curb rein when necessary. With the set up you have now, you're constantly engaging the leverage action of the bit whether you need it or not; and there's no reward or release for your mare when she softens. Nothing about these photos indicate your mare's so hot that this is the only way she can be ridden.
By now you're asking "Doesn't this lady have anything nice to say? Jeez!" Well, yes, actually, I do! You're clearly a very able, athletic rider: your lower leg and base of support is excellent, though I'd like to refine your stirrup position a little, in photo 3, you're exactly in the middle of your mare, in textbook position, with an admirable flat, relaxed back and eye focused up. Other than the open fingers, it's a lovely photo. Your mare looks like a blast to ride and has plently of jump and a wonderful front end over the fences. I would love to see you work on some of the problems I've mentioned and add some polish to your riding; that would be something to see!
Thanks so much for that critique!! It made a lot of sense and I will defintely work on what you said. =) I do not take lessons on my pony, Donna(above), anymore as I mainly just ride her for fun and do some schooling jumper shows but I do take lessons on my other mare, Bonnie, that I am hopefully going to be eventing in the spring and my trainer has also told me to stay in my two-point position longer after a jump but I guess I only really think about it when I ride Bonnie and not also when I ride Donna.
Another thing, with the bit, You are actually the first person to tell me that. I had heard that you can use two reins on that bit but that it can also be used only with one. I will attach a couple videos of me jumping her that will better show her attitude. She actually is a pretty high string pony, not using that as an excuse, I think it actually keeps things interesting and I don't mind it as much anymore. haha
This video was taken the same day as the pictures above. There are other videos but I do not have them yet as one of the moms at the barn taped them on her Iphone and has not sent me the rest yet. =)
this second video is of us at a show jumping 2'6" when i forgot the running martingale.
this is us at a show last spring with the running martingale jumping 2'3"
I will also tell you that she has ALWAYS been high sprung. She is a million times better than compared to when i bought her. She never had any real or good training. She had just been "cowboyed" around for a while and then left in a field for over a year before I got her. She was 8 when i bought her, she is 10 now.
Thanks for posting the videos, that does help.
I don't have a problem with the martingale per se; I have a big problem with the martingale being on the curb rein and there not being a snaffle rein. That means there is never any release of the pressure. A running martingale *should* work by applying pressure only when the horse raises its head above the bit, and releasing the pressure when the horse drops its head. The rig you have on this mare never releases the pressure, so she never stops fussing and fighting it. Same thing with the leverage bit - you have to be able to pick and choose when to apply the leverage effect in order to show the horse there's a better way - when they give to the pressure from the leverage effect, you have to be able to release the pressure. If she gives or softens, and the pressure on her poll and the bars of her mouth stays the same, what incentive does she have to give and soften again?
After watching the videos, I can see this is a chicken and egg situation. Is she defensive and fighting because of the way you're riding her, or are you riding her that way because she's always fighting and defensive? I can easily believe it's the latter, that your riding style is in response to her way of going. However, what I do know is that it is up to you as the human part of the partnership to break the cycle. She doesn't *want* to be firecracker hot, she's *reacting* because of her previous history and current stimuli. She's a horse that wants to please and has the instincts to want to jump cleanly, she just needs to learn that she doesn't need to put her ears up your nostrils before you'll allow her to go forward.
Start with a snaffle rein on the 3 ring snaffle, ride on the snaffle rein and only pick up the curb if absolutely necessary. Drop the curb rein as soon as she responds. Try schooling her in over low fences in a standing martingale and see if you can break the head flipping cycle. (You won't be able to keep her in a standing; she'll learn to brace on it if you do.)
I can't possibly ad any more to what Maura said! What breed is she?
Thanks Maura! I enjoyed reading your replies... I learned a lot from them even though it's not my critique. I have a bad habit of open fingers that my jumping instructor always has to remind me of. It's because of the exact reason you said.. riding hunter on the flat I always tried to "soften" my hands with open fingers.
You need to stay out of the saddle when you jump! That is probably why your horse looks so mad when you are landing. So practice staying up in 2 point over smaller jumps before you go up higher. Also you need to close your fingers on the rein.
Thanks Maura!!! (:
Once again Maura, you have given food for thought! I'm not a jumper persay, but enjoy broadening my knowledge and taking what I can from the information I can find. Your comments are always insightful!
Thanks Maura. You have been very helpful with everything! =) I also had a judge at a show suggest that I try a snaffle pelham bit but I have not been able to get a hold of one. I also tried a low port myler bit with the lifter action on it and she seemed to like that a little better in her mouth but was really strong with it. When I first got her and was training her I was using a full cheek stubben EZ control bit but she was leaning on her forehand a lot so my trainer suggested the lifter and when I tried going back to the EZ control bit she kept pulling and I couldn't her to even slow down at the canter and my reins snapped. =/ I don't even know what I am getting at now....just rambling on. haha sorry!!!
anyway....to answer you MoheganSun....Donnas mom was a palomino paint QH and tennessee walker cross and her dad was a Morgan.
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