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tblagg1110
Jul. 12, 2005, 01:00 PM
I have a question about an eventing person's riding position. I recently went to watch a clinic and just didn't understand if this was the way these people were trained or if this is proper in eventing. The clinic was stadium jumping so they started off with small fences and never got higher than 3'. But I saw that people had their reins really long and their hands spread pretty far on either sides of the horse. I ride with a shorter rein and my hands together. And I kept seeing people really working their horse's heads by taking one rein and the other so that the horses looked like they were wagging their heads side to side. Also over the fences which they were only trotting over there was no release, at all. Also no one had their heels down, but had their feet loose and were just letting them wiggle. IS that typical? Please explain. I want to go watch a another clinic, but want to know more background

tblagg1110
Jul. 12, 2005, 01:00 PM
I have a question about an eventing person's riding position. I recently went to watch a clinic and just didn't understand if this was the way these people were trained or if this is proper in eventing. The clinic was stadium jumping so they started off with small fences and never got higher than 3'. But I saw that people had their reins really long and their hands spread pretty far on either sides of the horse. I ride with a shorter rein and my hands together. And I kept seeing people really working their horse's heads by taking one rein and the other so that the horses looked like they were wagging their heads side to side. Also over the fences which they were only trotting over there was no release, at all. Also no one had their heels down, but had their feet loose and were just letting them wiggle. IS that typical? Please explain. I want to go watch a another clinic, but want to know more background

Janet
Jul. 12, 2005, 01:09 PM
Yes ansd no.

Some of it is typical but not correct.
Some of it is not typical.
Some of it is correct/intentional.

First of all the correct/intentional. The lack of a "hunter style release" is intentional. An eventer, like a jumper, often needs to rebalance and change direction in the first stride on landing. To do that effectively, you need a following hand (aka "automatic release"). When it is done right, it does not interfere at all with the horse's jump. But with a less than perfect rider (that is all of us, right) it soemtimes DOES interferes. But as long as you don't actually get left, slightly too much contact over the top of the fence is a much lesser evil that not being able to balance/turn on landing.

With very low fences, the horse doesn't need to actively use his head and neck over the fence, so "no visible release" is not surprising. With a a bigger fence, you would (hopefully) see something you would recognize as an automatic release.

Janet
Jul. 12, 2005, 01:12 PM
Long reins, hands held wide.

There is an exercise when this is intentional, but generally you want the reins shorter, with the hands closer together.

When you land off a big drop, you often need to slip the reins- meaning you land with reins taht are too long. But you may still need to rebalance and turn before you have a chance to shorten your reins. SO we do an exercise where we intentioannly ride with long reins, to practice dealing with it. It also helps teach you to use weight, leg, seat and eyes for steering, not just reins.

Who was the clinician?

Janet
Jul. 12, 2005, 01:15 PM
Wagging the head with the reins, aka seesawing, is almost never correct.

Was the clinician telling them to do this (in which case I would ask why)? Or were they jsut doing it on their own?

Were they doing this with the long reins and wide apart hands? If so, maybe they were just trying to figure out how to steer with long reins.

Janet
Jul. 12, 2005, 01:17 PM
Heels down is, if anything, even more important in eventing, because it provides the all important base of support. However, I have to admit that, at the lower levels, there are far too many riders who do NOT keep their heels down.

clivers
Jul. 12, 2005, 01:32 PM
Well said Janet,
Re: heels not down - was this in the non-jumping part of the clinic, 'cause in dressage that extremely deep heel that you see in hunter & equitation is not desirable because it leads to inflexibility in the joints of the leg (heel, knee, hip...there's a cascading reaction). Yes, it's sometimes very useful when anchoring one's leg over fences, though.
Also, regarding the wagging head: Some riders will deliberately flex and counterflex their horses (ie strong bend to the inside for a few strides, then strong bend to the outside, all with long frame and sometimes long reins) in order to supple their horses at the start of a workout. You may notice that quite a few international showjumpers will do a few strides of that as they enter the ring.

See ya...

tblagg1110
Jul. 12, 2005, 02:47 PM
Thanks for explaining. THe group I saw I think was newer to the sport. Some people did automatic releases and one girl did not release and no hip angle change at all but her horse seemed really hot the whole time. About the wagging heads. It was not during a flat session, but was during the whole thing and they weren't just warming up. The clinician was not worrying about anything really that the rider may have been doing wrong so far as equitation or hands or anything. They weren't really working on exercises for themselves, but were doing more grid work for the horses and letting the horses figure out goofy things.

Heinz 57
Jul. 12, 2005, 03:17 PM
IME it is very common for those riding hot horses to a) not ride the jump and b) not ever let go of the horse's face! Its that fear of 'if I let go, he will run faster', however untrue it may be.

I'll occasionally do a grid or even some singles with long reins - but only on my friend's prelim./int. experienced horse, not on my greenie. Its very relaxing if you are a tense rider to canter up to a jump almost on the buckle, and use your body and your eyes to control the pace and turn. It fine tunes both you and the horse's senses, as long as you have one that generally listens!

Plus, it can force you to be really independent with your hands, allow you to practice different releases, etc. without yanking your horse in the mouth.

Seesawing and heels up are BIG no-no's! Neither one produces anything but a pissy horse and a sloppy rider.

horseguy
Jul. 12, 2005, 03:44 PM
tblagg1110 <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">I kept seeing people really working their horse's heads by taking one rein and the other so that the horses looked like they were wagging their heads side to side. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
I see this more and more and it drives me a little nuts. It seems to be a fad, a bit of equestrian pop culture. There are several methods, well tested by time, for softening a horse besides wagging the neck and head. There is no need for a "new" method, especially one that messes with the horse's lateral balance.

Generally, eventers employ the “balanced seat” which is the traditional military seat. There are many books on the balanced seat. You can search for authors like Harry D. Chamberlin, Vladimir Littauer, Gordon Wright (teacher of George Morris), Sally Swift, Sue Harris, and others who’s roots are in military riding. Next to the dressage seat, the balanced seat is the most written about. The American Hunter/Jumper seat is a derivative of the balanced seat in much the same way that lite beer is supposed to be beer.

eventable
Jul. 12, 2005, 03:51 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">The American Hunter/Jumper seat is a derivative of the balanced seat in much the same way that lite beer is supposed to be beer. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

*choke* I should know by now not to drink water while reading Horseguy's posts. LMAO.

Carol Ames
Jul. 12, 2005, 04:10 PM
Unfortunately these are bad leftovers fro the old BHS days, which, Anne Kursinslki brought to the longlisted riders' attention in the 1980ies when she first coached them, and, it continued with Ginny Leng around the same time; there is this stupid idea that thee should be no releases with an event horse, with all due respect I doubtthat there are even a half dozen riders who event with solid enough positions to correctly use an automatic release.Even with a`crest release , and, grabbing mane there are lots of swinging lower legs, and seats returning to the saddle in the air. At Anne and, Ginnys' clinics there were many advanced riders who, had their reins taken away from them , and looped around their horse ' necks, so they could not pull. and, several of them ended up horses, and, riders on the ground, when thed horses could not leave the ground. You will find the same belief anmong many older pony clubbers that , horses cannot jump unless tgeir heads are down! I have heard that from many riders ,
'/ but how can they jjump without their heads down?"followed by, "Now my dressage is better, but my horse won't jump" What does that say about some misguided hough "certified" instructors?

bornfreenowexpensive
Jul. 12, 2005, 04:29 PM
At a JW clinic this spring--he really lectured that you do not jump with your horses heads down like you are doing dressage. The horse has to see the fence and they see by looking down their nose. If you have their chin on their chest they are not going to see the jump!

I think bad riding is bad riding (and I see it with hunter/jumpers too). In the JW clinic, he bascially took the reins away from several riders.

I do not see a big difference in how I jump an event horse verses and how I was taught to jump the jumpers except for some x-c fences (and perhaps how you jump stadium on day 3 after a 3-day). I think there is a difference between a "release" and following a horse. You give a release in the jumpers, hunters and most jumps eventing but you do not in x-c where the horse jumps some of the fences from speed more like a timber horse. If you watch a good jockey with a timber horse, he is not giving a release but is with and following the horse. If you have a bridge in your reins and are galloping over a fly fence cross country, you may not be giving a "release" over the top of the fence, but with the bridge and your hands in their neck (or in my case, fingers wrapped in the mane)--you will be following and not restricting. The horse uses that as support over the fence. I could be totally wrong but when I asked the question "Why can't I give a nice release x-c" a good friend who has ridden in more *** than I will spectate at said to me...because your horse will flip over. They need the support over some of the cross country fences at speed.

eventable
Jul. 12, 2005, 04:44 PM
There's also the simple fact that with some of the hunter-style releases I've seen, it's a surefire way to end up flat on your back in the middle of the XC course, with nothing to look forward to but a long walk home. That's not to say that you shouldn't give.

Meredith Clark
Jul. 12, 2005, 10:36 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Why can't I give a nice release x-c" a good friend who has ridden in more *** than I will spectate at said to me...because your horse will flip over. They need the support over some of the cross country fences at speed. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

BornFreeNow... Thats a really good point, one of those things you always sorta thought about but never said out loud for fear someone would laugh at you! I think horses do need support over jumps and you can't just throw the reins away, thats why i don't understand people who ride x-country in big harsh bits and just throw their hands up the neck before the fence, it just seems like mixed messages.

LisaB
Jul. 13, 2005, 06:07 AM
The head wagging thing. Hmmm, interesting when jumping. Whatevah. BUT in dressage, you do over bending, counter bending. Works wonders on the Winstonator to get him to unlock and use his hind end without me pestering him. It's a bending from the leg, not just the head. But I certainly wouldn't do that when approaching a jump. I have done it on occassion between fences because he would lock. But not wagging, just a bend, counter bend. Now, with a proper half halt we have, I use that.
Hands low and wide. Absolutely when teaching a youngster. It should look like you're driving a truck, channeling the horse to the jump. This way, they can't pop a shoulder or wiggle. Another Winstonator thing. Sucker is flexible! Now we don't have to do that, he actually listens to my legs.
The non auto release. Well, I think you would understand that when you do your first downhill jump http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif But it shouldn't be a death grip. It should be quite soft. You don't see Kim Severson releasing up the neck, yet her horses head and neck are stretched over the jumps and she still has perfect contact.
Legs flopping. ACK!!! How friggin' dangerous! We usually do have the death grip in the leg. The ankle and knee are pivot/cushion points but the leg remains stuck to the side.
Sounds like a bad clinic to me.
Where are you? Maybe some folks here will tell you about auditing some other clinics.

AllyCat
Jul. 14, 2005, 12:04 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by bornfreenowexpensive:
At a JW clinic this spring--he really lectured that you do not jump with your horses heads down like you are doing dressage. The horse has to see the fence and they see by looking down their nose. If you have their chin on their chest they are not going to see the jump! </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

BornFree...that is one thing I really had driven home to me at the Wofford clinic I attended. They must be able to look down their noses at the fences. Pulling them into a dressage frame is dangerous in any jumping endeavor.

Not to hijack the thread...I think the head-wagging thing is really weird myself. Asking the horse to bend comes from the legs and seat more than the hands. Wagging the head is just hand riding. Allowing a long rein is a great way to learn to move with the horse over fences (if the horse is well-behaved for the exercise).

I'm curious who the clinician might have been. Some clinicians are really picky about equitation. Others focus more on how the horse goes. I think both approaches can work in the right situations.

persefne
Jul. 14, 2005, 07:56 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by AllyCat:
I'm curious who the clinician might have been. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I think, at this point, everybody is curious about this...but it doesn't seem the OP is willing to reveal that. It's too bad, because those of us who do clinic and train with certain riders might benefit from knowing who it was that directed some of this riding. Of course, even the greatest of trainers can't control what a person is/is not doing to/on a horse, so maybe it was just a group of inexperienced riders. Would be helpful to know more about the situation so we could assess more before spending all this time giving feedback regarding what "may have been" or "might have been" going on (head wagging, heels up, long reins, loose seats, stiff releases, etc.). Is this for real? I may be lucky, because I've never seen a group of clinicers who are such bad/inappropriate riders, on the whole.

I also second the suggestion that another poster made about finding out the OP's location and recommending another clinic for auditing. You would really learn a great deal, after experiencing this past clinic, to witness a clinic with an entirely different clinician and set of riders. It would give you some perspective on what everybody has offered in explanation here, as well as in regards to some of the more detailed specifics of our discipline.

ideayoda
Jul. 14, 2005, 08:12 AM
Bad riding over fences (no equitation)is just that. Ideally everyone would start with developing balance and (what is now called) automantic release from the beginning. The crest release (developed by gm to sell horses quicker) has destroyed the U.S. domination of style. This is not only the perview to hunters, but is everywhere.

The only difference, there is really no addressing the lack of it in eventing.

A person who saws the face will likely get stuck with a horse behind the leg, destroy the dressage work, and have stops at fences. It is impracticle and poor riding.

Swimming lower legs do not support good or safe jumping, and if the heels are not down there is no steady support to the fence. Obviously no release to trot fences, is minimal equitation, there must be a slight amount (no alot, no ducking, etc) and will end up with horses which are too quick to fences.

The entire English style of eventing (slipping reins, leaning back at end of drops) has taken over from the dominant caprilli style of elegance cross country because that style takes time and focus.

I would say at one point it all was balanced seat, but it jumped the track to loss of equitational standards both places.

(So, horseguy.....are you col k?????....)

Seal Harbor
Jul. 14, 2005, 09:20 AM
Let me set things straight. George Morris did not "invent" the crest release as a way to sell more horses, it was part of a teaching program. As one advanced and became a more solid rider one also advanced their release to an automatic one. It was meant merely to help build confidence and keep the rider from balancing on the horses face. That was back in the day when a rider spent time on the lunge line without stirrups or reins as well to develop an independent seat and hand. No one appears to do that much anymore.

The crest release evolved to that perchy hands above the mane, upper body support in the show ring sometime in the 80's. It was never meant to be anything more than a stepping stone to a proper automatic release. If you will go look at George's book or if he still does the Practical Horseman critiques - time after time under the pictures of some now BNT/BNR - he says all they need to do is lower their hands for a perfect following hand for a straight line from bit to elbow, an automatic release.

People took George's intermediate stepping stone in learning to ride and made it the final product for the average rider. I have pictures of Rodney Jenkins from the 70's doing a crest release on hunters, he never rode with George. He is such a natural rider that no matter what he does up there, he is showing the horse off to it's best and staying out of it's way. Of course Rodney wasn't doing that floaty above the horse crest release either, not leaning on his hands either and not on every horse or every jump.

Lynda

horseguy
Jul. 14, 2005, 12:15 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Let me set things straight. George Morris did not "invent" the crest release as a way to sell more horses, it was part of a teaching program. As one advanced and became a more solid rider one also advanced their release to an automatic one. It was meant merely to help build confidence and keep the rider from balancing on the horses face. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Since we are revealing truths here, I’d like to add that there is a tooth fairy and reindeer can really fly.

tblagg1110
Jul. 14, 2005, 12:24 PM
I don't want to say who the clinician was for 2 reasons. #1 people here may ride with the person and I don't think that the clinician is a bad trainer and obviously knows more about what he wanted to work on with his riders and I am just a bystander. Also it was just a small clinic at his facility and I think that everyone who did the clinic rode with him and boarded there except two. He is not a big time trainer and really doesn't show or anything himself.

bornfreenowexpensive
Jul. 14, 2005, 12:55 PM
Sounds like you need to go to a few events and other "bigger" clinics. Eventing is no different than any of the other sports. There are many approaches to the same things--and just because they are different doesn't mean they are all correct or incorrect. There is good riding and bad riding. Good trainers and not so good trainers. A lot of event riders cross train and will show their horses at both dressage shows and regular horse shows. I've been to some pretty major rated jumper shows and run into people I know showing their event horses in the high A/O jumpers for some schooling (and probably to win a little cash!). And also been to rated dressage shows (when dragged in to help my DQ friends) and seen event riders riding competitively against the DQs!

That's what makes this sport so fun (and hard)--you have to be versatile which comes from good solid basics that shouldn't be different in any of the equestrian sports. Hell, I've taken reining/ranch horse lessons on my little western boy and heard the same things I hear in a dressage lesson on my event horse (only I get to then go and chase cows which is almost as much fun as cross-country!)

RunForIt
Jul. 14, 2005, 02:05 PM
I respect the OP's decision not to say who this trainer/clinician was - that wouldn't be all that productive, HOWEVER, I would suggest that should you audit another of this person's clinics and some of the stuff you've described happens, ASK the clinician WHY he/she has the riders do these things. Most trainers don't mind auditors asking questions; I'm surprised the riders didn't ask. http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/uhoh.gif

enjoytheride
Jul. 14, 2005, 03:58 PM
I think if HJ people tend to have the sin of overreleasing, eventers have the sin of under releasing. This I see mostly on lower level people, starter, BN and some Novice. You see it less at the upper levels because not releasing over a 4 foot wide table is not going to end pretty.

Generally they stand up in their stirrups and snatch their hands back toward their body.
I think it's a combo of bad trainers and scared riders. Any trainer should be able to tell the difference between throwing your reins away and ripping the horse's face off!

If you are green to XC or jumping ahead of your skill level, or on a hot horse the snatch and kick may seem like a good way to stay on your horse and keep him from running away after the fence. The horse is forced to jump with a flat back and his head up in the air, which is why it tends to go away the further up you go. You can see it on a stadium course really well where the RUNLIKEHELLKICKJUMPTURN seems to be a viable alternative for many people!!!

I think that either the rider or their trainer doesn't understand that their really is a way to not interfere with your horse's face over a fence while still having enough contact to control the landing path and getaway.

If you watch a smooth XC ride the riders don't seem to be seperate, they gallop/fold/unfold all exactly in time with the horse, their arms move almost as if attached to the horse's face. They retain enough contact to guide their horse over a bounce combo into a water drop with a sharp left hand turn over a boat then a right hand bending line up over a skinny.

Their stadium courses are smooth while being fast and the horse never looks like it's being run over the fences.

Dr. Doolittle
Jul. 14, 2005, 06:35 PM
Thank GOD Enjoytheride!!!! (I was hesitant to even post on this thread, based on some of the earlier responses, but you hit the nail right on the head, so thank you!! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif)

There is *no* reason to (or excuse for) "standing up in the stirrups and stiffing the horse in the mouth", and the BIGGEST offenders are lower level riders!!! (It's upsetting to watch them--to say the least--and no one ever says anything to them...ahem!!! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif...)
(As a coach/trainer, I find this appalling, at best--and an indicator of either fear or an absence of an independent seat/hand, as well as general unpreparedness...Riders should be secure and balanced BEFORE they jump--ANYTHING!!...http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_mad.gif

My biggest pet peeve is watching the local HTs, and seeing MOST of the riders there committing the "worst crimes" against the horse--hitting them in the mouth and not getting off their back(s)--even over small fences--this results in the horses running to and launching at the fences, as a result of fear and defensiveness. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_mad.gif (Which naturally worsens the "vicious cycle"...)

If you watch the pros (and some are more "tactful" than others http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/winkgrin.gif, but a good number of upper level riders are able to follow forward when their horses jump, and go WITH the horse--even--GASP! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_eek.gif--when the horse needs some "support in the air--over a big fence! The horses will NOT "flip over" if you don't hang on their faces in the air over the fence--in cross country, but ESPECIALLY in stadium! (Which is the schooling lesson to which the OP was referring...)

PLEASE, former hunter rider, don't think that this is "correct" event riding--or correct ANY kind of riding O/F--just because you saw it once at an eventing clinic. Okay, flame away...I'm in a mood, because I have been to one too many HTs where my student were the ONLY ones in the schooling area not "riding backwards"--over two foot fences!!, and actually giving their horses their heads!! (As a result, their horses are able to use themselves, and are therefore calm and rideable--what a concept! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif)

In fact, I'm starting a new clique tonight:

The "Release Nazis clique"...enjoytheride--please join! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Phew, okay...stepping down off of soapbox...

enjoytheride
Jul. 14, 2005, 06:49 PM
LOL, I was expecting to get bashed there!

I don't mean that ALL lowerlevel riders do that, I just think it's an inexperience/trainer thing. There really is so much more to jumping then "point horse at fence, hang on."

You do see the opposite at HJ shows, mostly it's a beginner rider laying on their horse's neck and throwing the reins to their nostrils from about 6 strides out while their saints of horses continue to the fence.

I think it's human instinct taking over, the desire to curl into a fetal positin and brace for bombs is very very strong. You really have to ignore instinct and stay soft.

If you don't believe my watch someone getting a green spooky horse around an XC course.

They have to stay in contact enough with greenie to support and encourage it while it flails its way sideways towards the log jump, head in the air, nostrils flaring, all four feet in the other direction, prop, big leap over. But even if their leg slips back while the horse jacknifes over the fence the release is there. Always. Actually I kind of like riders on green horses just as much as the pros, because the good riders can stay out of the way while supporting.

PiedPiper
Jul. 14, 2005, 06:58 PM
Dr. Doolittle-

Haha, I have been trying to figure out how you know me and who you are!?! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_confused.gif Your above post had it come screaming to me, lol. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

How are you doing, and how is your girl? I have saved the last two Christmas cards from you and was just looking at them the other day. http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/winkgrin.gif

We most definitely have to get together, I am living in Centreville now. Doing a FPP outing any time soon?

bornfreenowexpensive
Jul. 14, 2005, 07:46 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Dr. Doolittle:

follow forward when their horses jump, and go WITH the horse--even--GASP! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_eek.gif--when the horse needs some "support in the air--over a big fence! The horses will NOT "flip over" if you don't hang on their faces in the air over the fence--in cross country, but ESPECIALLY in stadium! (Which is the schooling lesson to which the OP was referring...)
. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

good post and I do NOT disagree with you. I guess you missunderstood what I had meant in my earlier post. I tend to be a soft float the rein to them type of rider almost to a fault. By not "releasing" and supporting over a fly fence, I did NOT mean hang on their face but to be following (i.e. put a bridge in the reins and plant your hands in their neck). My friend was stating that by floating my horse the rein (which is my instinct) or, to an extreme, dropping them by throwing the reins at them in a hail mary crest release, in front of fly type fences they CAN flip over. I have see more than one flip. But if you can not stay with your horse and not interfer, you probably are not ready to be galloping at speed over large fly fences anyway. Catching a horse in the mouth or pulling on them is the worst kind of error a rider can make but a common one--and NOT unique to eventing. Go watch a children/adult jumper class some time--can be down right scary!

eventable
Jul. 14, 2005, 07:52 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">You do see the opposite at HJ shows, mostly it's a beginner rider laying on their horse's neck and throwing the reins to their nostrils from about 6 strides out while their saints of horses continue to the fence. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Having seen far too much of this, all I can say is it's about balance baby!!

RunForIt
Jul. 14, 2005, 08:20 PM
I've read this thread with LOTS of interest - for Lots of reasons - now, since the hunter folks are involved - can someone enlighten me as to why (what is the reasoning) do "hunter" riders lie down on the horses' necks? I don't get how the horse actually can jump!

Dr. Doolittle
Jul. 14, 2005, 08:32 PM
HaHa!! I guess I really AM "the release Nazi", by rep, if nothing else! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

So what happened to your boarding facility, if you're living in C-Ville? (You should probably just PT me http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/winkgrin.gif)

Anyway, I would love to see your new boy in action! I'm probably going to be going for a FPP school at some point before DRHT--they close the course on August 7th--and doing some N or T stuff with my girl after that...and I am frequently there with students. (BTW, she's been doing great--has been kicking butt at huner shows all spring and summer, and doing well in her "fledgling" eventing career...)
Good to hear from you, in any case--keep in touch! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Seal Harbor
Jul. 14, 2005, 09:06 PM
Run for it - the reason why they lay down is they really have no base of support. They aren't with the horse. They are also not the pros doing something to "show" the horse off, who also manage to stay off the horses neck. After that big release the ones who don't ride so well also tend to snatch the horse back on landing. I rode for years with people who knew how to ride and teach, spent time on the lunge line, jumped with no reins or stirrups, did gymanstics, rode on outside courses (yes I'm old) up and down hills and those were hunter classes. Even the under saddle class at some shows was held on the outside course. That could be fun. I've ridden in equitation classes on outside courses. About 30 years ago. You actually had to be able to follow the horse, stay with them and not interfere if you wanted a prize.

Then came the 80's and people had money and wanted to win at horse shows in the rated divisions 6 weeks after they first threw a leg over a horse. Hence the perch position so they didn't totally ruin the horse that was packing their butt around. Oh and they didn't ride with George. Of course many, not all, of the riders never really learned to ride. Some of them had no talent for it either.

I was teaching in a different area from where I grew up and heard the term "roll up" yelled at riders at horse shows. Um, what the hell is that? http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_eek.gif And for them to get in jumping position - what is that? The trainers meant - stick your hands on your horses neck and close your hip angle. Wrong, that is not riding that is being a passenger. Somehow the concept of two point, and allowing the horse to close your hip angle, following their mouth with a soft hand was completely foreign.

I grew up in the east, actually rode with people taught by George, Victor Hugo-Vidal, Wayne Carroll, watched the great juniors grow up to become great professionals and never ever heard the term roll up or jumping position used. Until I moved further west. This was in the 80's and not where I live now.

There was also a very short period of time in the hunter ring where people were riding with their leathers way too long. I never understood that one. Perhaps it was to counter act the laying on the horses neck? I don't know, it didn't last too long.

I actually spend more time on this part of the forum because I like the eventer attitude, I like looking at the pictures of your homegrowns and OTTBs who are being ridden correctly, look happy and are doing well. I like seeing an automatic release done correctly. My sister events in NC and I've enjoyed watching her when I get the chance. You all look like you are having a blast. That's what it use to be like to horse show in the hunters over an outside course, granted it was only 8-12 jumps and not too much solid stuff, we did have our coops and whatnot, but it was fun and we did gallop. No more.

AllyCat
Jul. 14, 2005, 11:45 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Lynda:
That's what it use to be like to horse show in the hunters over an outside course, granted it was only 8-12 jumps and not too much solid stuff, we did have our coops and whatnot, but it was fun and we did gallop. No more. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Lynda--boy do I remember that! I loved the outside courses. We only rode in the ring for a rank beginner show. Everything else was on an outside course where one of the first few fences jumped OUT of the arena. We jumped up banks, over posts and rails, into closed combinations...and I was in the beginner classes! It was amazingly fun!.

Came back to it after years of hacking out on trails and building jumps and ditches out of logs and stones. Was bored out of my skull by the third show in a sand ring where everyone schooled the course ahead of time and we all rode Outside-diagonal-outside-diagonal ad nauseum.

Switched to eventing in 6 months. Never turned back.

What the heck does "roll up" mean?

And for those of you debating the "stand in stirrups, lift horse's front end off ground release"...I spent about two years UNTEACHING a few riders who worked with a lady who rode like that and taught like that. Unbelieveable. Poor horse.

LisaB
Jul. 15, 2005, 05:14 AM
In the defense of the hunter riders(GASP! After they dissed me when I was 12 for getting big knockers), I have witnessed that there's a big gap between the true A rated folks and the other B and schooling show hunter riders. The big time A rated ammys and pros looked like what GM teaches and have absolutely no trouble switching to x-c. In fact, I've seen a couple of first time converts and they have schooled over training level fences and questions with ease.
In essence, there should be no difference. An effective rider is an effective rider.

RunForIt
Jul. 15, 2005, 05:32 AM
I've spent a year so far, TRYING to undo my Novice student's "lift the horse off the ground" teaching from her dressage/Hunter coach (I've actually heard her say those words! - "lift him with your hands") (woman is fine with dressage, but her jumping instruction is AWFUL!!!). The problem is exacerbated by the fact that my student is deaf; once she learns something its difficult to explain WHY its not/or is, helpful to the horse. When I first started teaching her, her horse was pulling rails on 2'3" fences because she was throwing him off balance. Things are much better now, and since Novice courses aren't that technical, she has time to reorganize, and THINK in between fences. However, when I set up bending lines and roll back fences, the old "lifting" creeps in - aarrgghh!!!!!! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_mad.gif http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

Magnolia
Jul. 15, 2005, 08:47 AM
Here's the deal:

If you ride with an event coach who thinks it is OK that your heels pop up and that you are grabbing the horse in the mouth over fences, find a new trainer.

If you ride with a hunter coach who thinks it is OK that you kiss your horses mane over every jump and your leg totally slides back, find a new trainer.

I admit to committing all 4 of those sins, sometimes all at once. I have NEVER ridden with a trainer that actually encouraged those mistakes. I don't think anyone encourages that, I think some "instructors" don't have an eye to see it or don't have the knowledge to get those issues corrected. And they come in both hunter and eventer styles.

Dr. Doolittle
Jul. 15, 2005, 08:59 AM
Yes, I agree--one sees some truly wretched riding O/F in the warm up areas, and NEVER have I a seen a "trainer" or "coach" (standing right there; surely they have eyes! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif) addressing any of it. http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/sigh.gif

Don't they know what they're looking at?? Don't they *realize* that it's BAD, incorrect, unsafe riding?!? http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_confused.gif (not to mention unfair to the poor horses!) (And they are getting paid to stand there, and offer--what...input?? http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gif)

Most of the time I think the riders in question should stop competing, and go home and work on basics--for a long time...they are simply NOT ready to show. But are they even taught correct basics *at* home?? Ugh...

persefne
Jul. 15, 2005, 09:20 AM
Ok, since we're asking/answering questions about hunter position vs eventer position, as well as incorrect vs correct riding in general, I'm curious about something (Lynda, maybe you can answer this). What is that thing with the crest release that hunter riders do where they "hover" or "levitate" their hands over the horse's braids, rather than setting their hands on either side of the crest? Why on earth have no contact? Is this to prove strength of body/seat/legs? It seems to me that if you just laid your chest on the lower neck, you'd be able to levitate your hands, regardless of seat/body. I was just curious about this technique, because you can bet your sweet hiney that if I did that on either a xc or a stadium fence with my horse, we'd both end up landing somewhere on our noses...and I'd completely deserve it!

tblagg1110
Jul. 15, 2005, 11:28 AM
I want to clarify some info. The people at the clinic weren't releasing at all and wagging their horse's heads and stuff but the trainer during the clinic never encouraged or discouraged them from doing this. Anything about their equitation he really didn't say anything about. He would just say "Good, good. or move him up" I have seen some other jumper clinics and was surprised that the clinician wasn't really giving feedback or anything. Just setting up fences and letting the people ride through it. I would expect more even from a general lesson.

horseguy
Jul. 15, 2005, 12:39 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">since we're asking/answering questions about hunter position vs eventer position </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
A brief history might be helpful in at least agreeing on proper terminology.

What people have been calling the eventer seat here on this board began early in the 20th century when a man named Caprilli, put forth the idea of what he called the “forward seat”. Caprilli apparently choose the word “forward” because the contemporary seat at the turn of the last century was a straight legged, feet out in front, butt up against the cantle, hands on the buckle over every jump position. This seat was centuries old and went back to the days of knights in armor. It was called the chair seat, the forked seat, and various other names.

Caprilli, who tahght his new and radical forward seat at the Italian Cavalry School, disliked writing, and only 17 pages have been found of his commentaries on riding. His student Piero Santini (“Riding Reflections” 1933, “The Forward Impluse” 1937) is credited with the most direct written information on Caprilli’s methods.

One by one the cavalry schools of the world adopted Caprilli’s forward seat. The French at Saumur and the US Cavalry School at Ft. Riley KS were among the early military riding schools to accept the forward seat. The Germans were among the last, adopting it in 1938. The period from 1902 until the mid 1930s was a very fascinating time in the history of the forward seat. There was a great deal of debate, analysis, study, and some conflict on what it should be, and how military riding would be most improved by using this new seat. During this time of transition the name “forward seat” was replaced almost universally by the term “military seat”. As the general public began to modernize their riding by the use of this new seat a more civilian sounding term, “the balanced seat” came into wide use. By 1940 the “balanced seat” as it was called was the preferred method of riding throughout the world.

Soldiers, eventers, polo players, fox hunters and every rider who had to negotiate obstacles and terrain rode in the balanced seat long into the 1950s and 60s. In the US one name stands out as the “father” of the American version of the military/balanced seat. That is Harry D. Chamberlin ( http://www.militaryhorse.org/features/dimarco/hdc.asp) (Riding and Schooling Horses” 1935, “Training Hunters, Jumpers and Hacks” 1938). He was probably the greatest American rider of all time. He was the main force in compiling the last US Cavalry riding manuals before the Cavalry was dismounted in 1943. Gordon Wright, an instructor at the US Cavalry School and thus a direct “descendent” of Harry Chamberlin, compiled the Ft. Riley military riding manuals for civilian use (“The Cavalry Manual of Horsemanship & Horsemastership” 1962).

The 1950s and 60s in America saw the post war economic boom. People who before the war who could not afford a car, now had two. Leisure time became an industry, and many people took up riding that never had been on a horse before. Horse showing became the next big thing. A rider and student of Gordon Wright named George Morris became an internationally acclaimed horseman in that boom period. George Morris, who was soon to become the leader of the new “hunter seat” movement in America, is therefore directly in the line of correct “decedents” from the original military or balanced seat. What he choose to do with his lineage as a rider can only be fully judged by history.

Pony Club with their manuals written by Susan Harris, a student of fine military riders in her youth, and Sally Swift, also a student of the military seat, have carried on the tradition of the true balanced seat in the US, as have many others who learned the balanced seat as children before all the cavalrymen were retired or gone. Also, many British, European, Australian, New Zealand, and other foreign riders who were/are untainted by the American H/J methods have kept the traditional balanced seat alive and well here in the US.

There are purists, myself included, who take great issue with any connection between the historic “balanced seat” and what has become the contemporary “hunter seat”. I cringe for example at H/J barn websites that even mention the balanced seat. Most do not have any appreciation of the history, fundamental principles, or traditions of the “balanced seat”. To them the “balanced seat” is an empty phrase which they adopt in ignorance and apply to their off balance releases and other poor riding methods. I do not blame George Morris for creating the “hunter seat” monster because I believe his short cuts were well intended, but I find it interesting that his attempts to correct it are limited to a few words here and there about how riders should move up to the automatic release. It would appear that he would like it both ways, like a pope who enjoys absolute authority, but declines responsibility for what young students receive under the H/J system.

My point is that there is the “balanced seat and the “hunter seat”, and it is useful to make the distinction between the two. The use of the proper terminology avoids confusion, and fraud against the public where offering one instead of the other might be the case. Students now as eventing grows in popularity should beware that more and more H/J barns and instructors are using “the balanced seat” to describe their methods when in fact most have no concept of how to teach it.

Seal Harbor
Jul. 15, 2005, 01:34 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by persefne:
I'm curious about something (Lynda, maybe you can answer this). What is that thing with the crest release that hunter riders do where they "hover" or "levitate" their hands over the horse's braids, rather than setting their hands on either side of the crest? Why on earth have no contact? Is this to prove strength of body/seat/legs? It seems to me that if you just laid your chest on the lower neck, you'd be able to levitate your hands, regardless of seat/body. I was just curious about this technique, because you can bet your sweet hiney that if I did that on either a xc or a stadium fence with my horse, we'd both end up landing somewhere on our noses...and I'd completely deserve it! </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif Because they can't even do the crest release correctly. Hence the hover, it's called posing. Sometimes it's because someone missed a distance, and couldn't get their hands to the crest fast enough, but if they were using an automatic release then it wouldn't matter if the distance was missed they wouldn't have to make that move. Just follow the horses face.

Back in the day (geez I'm old enough to hark back!) many of my older friends also foxhunted and one of them rode in steeplechase races - ammy ones til his girth broke at one race and he broke his arm and that was that. His wife told him he was too old. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif These people could probably have evented with no problem. George also preached that if you have the chance to ride any horse be it a cutting horse or fox hunter or race horse or Saddlebred do it. It was good for you, expanded your riding education. Which made you better. Many hunter show folk don't even ride their own horses during the week. They meet them at shows.

George's formula for teaching and riding came from his years with Gordon and Bert he tried to make a comprehensive cookbook for people to follow - well apparently they don't understand all of it. It has morphed. From comments he has made in print he isn't happy about most of it either. Which keeps him in jumper land.

The other thing that is so missing from this horsemanship equation is stable management. When I was a kid I was a sponge - read everything I could get my hands on, listened to anyone who could teach me anything, I was lucky, had some of the best in the business in my own backyard or at least close. I can take care of a horse, sick or well, get it ready to show, keep the barn neat and tidy, horse happy and healthy. Many kids these days can't. Don't have a clue, can't clean a stall, don't even know if their horse drinks lots of water normally or not or how much their horse eats. Couldn't tell you if the horse is sick or if they can, figure that out what is wrong with them. I know there are kids out there who can it just seems to be fewer of them. That is just sad. Another reason I like hanging out here.

Lynda

persefne
Jul. 15, 2005, 01:53 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by horseguy:
My point is that there is the “balanced seat and the “hunter seat”, and it is useful to make the distinction between the two. The use of the proper terminology avoids confusion, and fraud against the public where offering one instead of the other might be the case. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

YIKES! Ok...so, when I said "hunter position vs eventing position," I really should have said "hunter seat" vs "balanced seat?" Your information was astounding, Horseguy, but I want to make sure it *did* clarify for me, rather than the alternative...confusing me. If it *isn't* "hunter seat" vs "balanced seat," then I am confused! I can't even remember what I was talking about, now, when I said "hunter position vs. eventing position." I'll have to go back and reread my post to see what on earth I originally said. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Lynda -- So that type of hovering release is *not* something that is desireable or even striven for in hunters? Gotcha. Just couldn't figure out the reasoning behind that approach, so now it makes sense that it isn't a practiced technique, but more of a reactive action.

Seal Harbor
Jul. 15, 2005, 02:11 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by persefne:
Lynda -- So that type of hovering release is *not* something that is desireable or even striven for in hunters? Gotcha. Just couldn't figure out the reasoning behind that approach, so now it makes sense that it isn't a practiced technique, but more of a reactive action. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Correct, although who knows what people are teaching now. The whole point of the intermediate step of learning the crest release is to press your hands on the horses neck to help balance your upper body, keep you back off the horses neck and let the horse close your hip angle. The ones who pose over fences don't appear to have independent seat, legs and hands and look more like those posable figures, all the angles stay the same, when they should open and close. Hip, knee and elbow should be soft, following the horses motion and not glued into one position.

tblagg1110
Jul. 15, 2005, 02:13 PM
As a hunter rider I can tell you that I have never been taught to lay on a horse's neck like some of you guys are talking about. I can have seen people do it, but riders with better balance don't balance on their neck. I think that it's like eventing that you guys have probably seen things that really aren't right and you personally don't do that. But everyone assumes that by seeing people do that then all hunters must do that. I was taught to sit up and ride to the fence and only release when the horse leaves the ground and not to lay on it's neck. But some people's positions are not equal to the jump.

Seal Harbor
Jul. 15, 2005, 02:57 PM
As with anything that is not correct that is what sticks in one's mind. One only has to watch the people who are doing it correctly to know it's not right but the odd, out of place version is what is most prominent.

I'm sure you aren't laying on your horses neck or floating your hands above the horses mane and not allowing the horse to close your hip angle. There are more than a few who are.

Dr. Doolittle
Jul. 15, 2005, 06:23 PM
Touche', Lynda, all across the board... http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

horseguy
Jul. 16, 2005, 07:31 AM
Lynda <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content"> ... he (George Morris) tried to make a comprehensive cookbook for people to follow - well apparently they don't understand all of it. It has morphed. From comments he has made in print he isn't happy about most of it either. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Lynda, in your posts you seem to have assumed the role of apologist for George Morris here in this thread. I am wondering why he has not done more to counter what you refer to as the misunderstanding of his ideas? Also, if his ideas have “morphed”, why has he not vigorously attempted to clear the record and put what he has essentially created, the hunter seat, back on the path of his original training? You write the he is “not happy” with the current state of particularly the hunter scene. I don’t see much in the way of effort on his part to fix the mess or even to repair what may be damaged to his personal legacy.

I saw a video of a clinic he gave in Maryland last fall. There was the usual amount of typical poor h/j riding on the tape. And by the way, to those who have posted that “they have never seen” the awful riding that has become the hallmark of the h/j scene, just do a goggle image search of horse jumping and you will see what has become the pretty pathetic American norm. I can understand that George Morris is busy with international duties and also that he is not as young as he once was and may perhaps be working with less energy than he once had. However, he must see that there is a big mess out there that could use some major overhauling.

George Morris could write a new book (“Ride Like Me” might be a nice title) that could set the record straight about the true “balance seat” he learned from Gordon Wright, and that made him a success. He could write about how the hunter seat is miles off course, instead of his brief comments here and there about how this or that rider could move on to the automatic release. If the mess is so evident that he has fled the Hunters and sought refuge in the Jumpers, why the lukewarm response from such a well trained and internationally successful rider?

I don’t want to accuse such a great rider of being a ho, as some do, but it does look like he doesn’t want to rock the boat. The h/j scene is now the biggest market segment in English riding in the US. I can see how a direct assault on that establishment from an insider might cause a reduction in that insider’s income. I mean I can see why quiet opposition could be a practical course, but what a mess it is now with more than one generation of riders who think that h/j riding is really riding. George Morris knows what the “balanced seat” really is. He was a student of a soldier who taught it as a military skill. I find it hard to believe that such a student could sit back and watch that important tradition float down the stream of mediocrity and over the falls of ruin without doing more to save it. I just don’t get it.

ideayoda
Jul. 16, 2005, 10:00 AM
But, if you go up that stream you will find him at the intial falls. He and Victor WERE essentially equitation, following Gordon, and certainly fed those riders into the teams guided by deNemethy. But requiring automatic release means lots of time, jump straps, and humility, as well as alot of work on the flat first. Not an easy sell for a new horse.

But now theres jumps right away (ie after a couple of lessons), and l/s crest release, and changing balance to auto becomes very difficult.

The style of a horse over fence has totally changed as well. A well know course designer calls it the clean and jerk style. Works for hunters, but is inclined to cause big wrecks xcountry when the horse goes tired.

How many people work endless grids? Or know the effects of jumping different kinds of fences for specific purposes? From the questions asked on the Chron...not too many any more.

I have attended international dressage/jumping forums in which GM said 'I dont understand why there isnt much/any auto release anymore'....well, duh. Dilute something and people go for the easiest, and if it wins, they repeat. At least he is now saying he sees it, but equally all this lined his pockets. I get it, but it saddens me as well. We were the equitation champions of the caprilli tradition not just with hunters, but eventing.

Several international jump/event trainers have said 'what happend to your wonderful equitation riders who get fed into the jump scene...why the bloody c.r. thing?' Competition and compromise happened. Half good is good enough, and few are born on horses any more. Just like having a different standard for eventing dressage seems acceptable.

(You ought to write a book horseguy on the change from your dads age, yours, and now...I would participate too if you want. I am very much into hermeneutics...putting things in their frame of reference in time.)

Let the games begin now.

Magnolia
Jul. 16, 2005, 11:41 AM
One of the things that bugs me most about these boards is the endless preaching that hunter people can't ride, have terrible seats and are poor horsemen. Does it really matter? Is it really "ruining the sport"? If you don't like it, do jumpers or event and avoid riding with hunter trainers.

Hunters are all about the horse's form, the courses are deceptively simple, the footing typically well managed and probably 90% of the people with the bad positions are amateurs or juniors mounted on incredibly safe and expensive packers jumping 2'6 jumps. The horses are just glad they are staying out of their mouth. It is unlikely that these people will ever hunt for real, do jumpers or go out on cross country. They will probably never become pros or get into the business of training green horses. Their goal is to have a fun day at the horse show and maybe win some ribbons. Yeah, they don't have great form. Yeah, the hardest part of their trainer's job is buying the right horse. So what? Is it that big of a deal?

I really don't think there is some huge conspiracy by anyone. We have some incredible talent in this country at the top ranks who can ride and do auto releases. I truly do not think they have been negatively effected by the ammie in the next ring using a crest release on "old Faithful" while jumping 2'6.

BarbB
Jul. 16, 2005, 03:39 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">I really don't think there is some huge conspiracy by anyone. We have some incredible talent in this country at the top ranks who can ride and do auto releases. I truly do not think they have been negatively effected by the ammie in the next ring using a crest release on "old Faithful" while jumping 2'6. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I tend to agree. But I think the discussions come out of a feeling that if you want to progress, if you want to constantly improve, then you need to recognize that that particular style of riding is intended to be a learning step and not a style in itself. If the average ammy rider showing at low levels wants to ride that way the rest of their life, there is nothing wrong with it. But for those who want to be better riders a better way of riding needs to be discussed.
And for those who post that they are 'stuck' at a certain level and want to move up or move on and can't seem to get there.....maybe they don't recognize that you have to ride differently to move up. I don't like it when the discussion take the tone of bashing hunters.....on the other hand....there IS a lot of posing and perching and one way to learn about good riding is to recognize this.

wanderlust
Jul. 16, 2005, 05:47 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Magnolia:
I really don't think there is some huge conspiracy by anyone. We have some incredible talent in this country at the top ranks who can ride and do auto releases. I truly do not think they have been negatively effected by the ammie in the next ring using a crest release on "old Faithful" while jumping 2'6. </div></BLOCKQUOTE> Thank you, Magnolia. There is just as much, if not considerably more, bad riding at the lower levels of eventing as there is in the 2'6"-3' hunter divisions. You can demonize the crest release and the simple courses and controlliing trainers all you want, but at least these things keep beginner and/or untalented riders (and lets face it, there are people who will never be good riders, just like I will never be a good basketball player) out of their horses' mouths and off of their backs.

RunForIt
Jul. 16, 2005, 08:30 PM
Thanks Magnolia - for the "let's get real" .

Dr. Doolittle
Jul. 16, 2005, 09:23 PM
Thank you, Wanderlust, for "calling a spade a spade!" http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

ideayoda
Jul. 16, 2005, 10:12 PM
This is certainly not bashing h/j, the eventers do many of the same things over fences.

I personally want to help the beginner to become an educated one, and give skills to the less talents rather than treating them as bumbling idiots and keeping them from progress. I think that approach is really condescenting. CR is out of balance riding because the rider is always slightly ahead of the horse, and thats what keeps things from progressing. They stay jumping little fences (fences which people used to start with). Assumption of responsibility is part trainer, part teacher, part technique, and part student. Give a rider only steering and they might ride for a course, give them technique and skills and they will ride and train over a lifetime.

Magnolia
Jul. 17, 2005, 08:47 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">I think that approach is really condescenting. CR is out of balance riding because the rider is always slightly ahead of the horse, and thats what keeps things from progressing. They stay jumping little fences (fences which people used to start with). Assumption of responsibility is part trainer, part teacher, part technique, and part student. Give a rider only steering and they might ride for a course, give them technique and skills and they will ride and train over a lifetime </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Ideayoda,
I am a weekly rider and have been a bumbling amateur for 20+ years. I am not consistent enough to use an auto release. I ride with a nice event trainer who strives to have me do a quality crest release over a jump. I don't find it condescending or degrading. I don't make a ton of progress every week, but I ride safely and competently. (I will say my flat work has really progressed).

It is not her fault that I am not out jumping 3'6 cross country jumps using an auto release like many of her other students, it is my "fault". For me to do that, I need to be working hard on a horse 5 or 6 days a week (and have a good belt of rum). For now, I enjoy a weekly lesson and nailing a 2'6 line or even two crossrails on a circle is fine with me. The main goal in my lessons right now is to have FUN and clean up my flat work and do a few jumps for fun. I know if I told my trainer that my goal was to do a Training level event next spring, my lessons would change and not be so fun.... and I'm sure the same scenario plays out at lesson facilities everywhere.

I laugh when I hear about how great people rode in the good old days. I'm sure there were a bunch of great, brilliant riders. Then I look at some old hunt scene paintings I have in my house. For every competent rider sailing beautifully over the fence, there are 5 riders sitting on their horses back, yanking on the reins for balance, with crabby looking mounts, then there are 2 or 3 sitting in the dirt. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif I figure that ratio is still alive and well today, though our faults have changes, and we less than perfect riders have plenty of 2'6 jumps to jump.....

Sannois
Jul. 17, 2005, 10:50 AM
LOL Well maybe not THAT long ago Magnolia~! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_eek.gif
I think they are talking the Buddy Browns. And Carol Hoffmans And Bill Steinkraus, and Neal Shapiros' and so on!!!

ideayoda
Jul. 17, 2005, 01:05 PM
That old english hunting seat is the basis of what the english still tend to do cross country, it is not the basis of our riding in this country. The caprilli seat had a huge influence on our riding from the 30s on.

What I am talking of is the italian/caprilli seat which this country took and reallllly ran with. Our wonderful hunt seat style produced well seated riders for hunters, and future jumper riders, and international riders who kicked fanny from the 50s-70s.

And the people doing it not only had fun, but progressively advanced their skills. They didnt have to redo their seeat again and again over the years (for balance issues), but rather just refined nuances. That system did produced Steinkraus, George, Victor, the Mairs/Chapots, etc etc, and many/most of the top riders/horses.

It is the lack of alignment with the bascule of the horse/c.o.g. which goes along with s.c.r/l.c.r. vs auto which affects the progressivity of learning. And why? Because of one trainers approach infiltrating everthing.

horseguy
Jul. 17, 2005, 04:26 PM
The American hunt seat is a series of short cuts, a substantial dilution of the classic military/balanced seat. To support the hunt seat as a safer or better way to ride for incompetent beginners is not only condescending, it ignores the historical fact that the Army trained recruits of every ability level and made them effective mounted soldiers. Additionally, the Army training system included all necessary protection of the horse’s mouth (valued government property) from abusive hands while never using unbalanced means to accomplish that protection.

To think that the American hunt seat is on an equal level to the traditional balanced seat except for the crest release is simplistic and ignores the depth and breath of the true balanced seat. The American hunt seat is driven by an essentially static concept of form. The crest release is just one of the many static forms of the hunt seat. Riding in unity with one’s horse becomes impossible when using the crest release, or any static form, because such limiting forms disrupt the continuity of the balance and timing between the horse and rider. Any riding style that promotes disunity between the horse and rider should not be seriously considered as a practical riding seat.

The balanced seat in comparison is not form driven, but focuses instead directly on the actual balance and timing necessary for unity of horse and rider. Proper instruction in the balanced seat consists of exercises that permit the rider to find their balance and timing with their horse through experience, not though the imposition of arbitrary forms. Balanced seat instructors know that balance and timing will result in a dynamic riding position.

The distinction between form and position is an important one that few h/j instructors appreciate. Likewise, few h/j instructors truly understand the cause and effect relationship between balance/timing, and position, as a result of their obsession with form. This is not to say that some h/j instructors do not understand and employ the more advanced fundamentals of the balanced seat, but these capable h/j instructors are becoming increasingly difficult to find after decades of institutionalized misinformation within the h/j establishment.

Those who argue that the h/j’s should be left alone as a separate style to coexist with the true balanced seat ignore the fact that unsuspecting parents with little or no knowledge of riding are very often lead to believe that their children will receive high quality instruction in a h/j setting. The parents then place their children in a system of instruction with built-in limitations that will fundamentally guarantee that their child will plateau out at some modest level of achievement and ability. This constitutes a widespread fraudulent business practice in the equestrian world, and is thus a strong argument for high uniform national riding standards.

We do not need two standards of horsemanship in the US. Other leading equestrian nations don’t have the equestrian equivalent of a “baby pool” for unmotivated or unable riders so that a portion of the population can pretend to be equestrians. Britain, Germany, France, and all the others have national standards, thanks to national equestrian federations or societies that believe that the standards of good old days will lead to a better future. When the day eventually comes that the USEF must face this issue of a double standard in American riding, I hope it has the courage to resist a compromise on quality in favor of the financial clout of the h/j business. Perhaps by then the prominence of the h/j scene will fade into deserved obscurity with the acknowledgement that poor riding is poor riding, even when it is/was financially profitable.

And one more note, George Morris did not “invent” the crest release. It existed in 1953 when I began my instruction under a military rider. It just had another name. It was called a mistake.

flyingchange
Jul. 18, 2005, 07:16 AM
horseguy -

Your posts on this thread are awesome. I'm printing them out. I have learned so much. Thank you for participating.

persefne
Jul. 18, 2005, 07:39 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by horseguy:
Those who argue that the h/j’s should be left alone as a separate style to coexist with the true balanced seat ignore the fact that unsuspecting parents with little or no knowledge of riding are very often lead to believe that their children will receive high quality instruction in a h/j setting. The parents then place their children in a system of instruction with built-in limitations that will fundamentally guarantee that their child will plateau out at some modest level of achievement and ability. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

This was pretty much my option, when I was younger. There were not a lot of dressage or eventing specialists in my town (mostly low-level hunters). That's why I thank God for pony club, which gave me the diversity to pursue the much needed dressage training I still adhere to, and the experience with rallies/lower level eventing, which taught me more about riding and position than any hunter trainer ever could. For years, my hunter lessons were the same thing: tack up, warm up, ride a course, get off, cool down, back to the stall. Talk about plateau! One of the most exciting things I ever remember about one of my hunter lessons was getting the chance to jump a bounce and then an in-and-out (2'6" in and 3' out). I think we did that once. I also learned a lot from my amazing pony I grew up with (the perfect all-rounder/pony club mount) and I only wish I had done less of the hunter thing with him, since he loved dressage and eventing. We were just a bit limited with time and distance, so we kept to the local hunter shows mostly.

I don't know if this post is on or off topic, but that portion of Horseguy's message about mediocrity as acceptable practice really struck home for me. I feel that is why so many of my friends I grew up riding hunters with have either quit riding, or have pursued the other extreme of moving into a discipline that is more precise and demanding (dressage) or more challenging all around (eventing). I don't know any of my peers who developed such an attachment with their hunter careers that they felt they had reached a pinnacle of performance. It was fun -- for a while -- to ride and win, but with no room for advancement or change, it really left me wanting more ("more" meaning "eventing," in my case).

Lisa Cook
Jul. 18, 2005, 07:46 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by tblagg1110:
I want to clarify some info. The people at the clinic weren't releasing at all and wagging their horse's heads and stuff but the trainer during the clinic never encouraged or discouraged them from doing this. Anything about their equitation he really didn't say anything about. He would just say "Good, good. or move him up" I have seen some other jumper clinics and was surprised that the clinician wasn't really giving feedback or anything. Just setting up fences and letting the people ride through it. I would expect more even from a general lesson. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

You wouldn't be in the New England area, would you? I rode in a "clinic" with someone just like this last winter. The guy was a moron, and I'm baffled about how anyone would ever ride with him more than once! He was not at all a typical example of the eventing instructors I've lessoned/cliniced with previously.

Magnolia
Jul. 18, 2005, 08:30 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">that portion of Horseguy's message about mediocrity as acceptable practice really struck home for me. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Why not just let hunters be? Is it much different than the person that buys a horse to bum around on trails with? I appreciate people who want to acheive and excel. More power to them, and they always find a way, whether its a pony club kid or Georgina Bloomburg. Georgina Bloomburg competes very successfully internationally in the jumpers and came up through the hunter ranks. Clearly she found the right trainers to take her to the level to do a Grand Prix. Good for her, she excels.

Plenty of people leave hunters looking for a challenge and end up eventing. Good for them. Most people who strive for more get out of the 2'6 hunters and go on to greater things.

But there is nothing wrong with the people who show 2'6 hunters every weekend, year end, year out. Maybe they have busy schedules - too busy to really perfect their riding. Maybe they are unmotivated. Maybe they are out of shape. I don't think many are under the impression that they are going to be jumping 3'6 in competition any time soon. Who knows.... but at least they are enjoying their horses and that is all that matters. Maybe all hunters are is the equivalent of weekend trail riders in a competitive environment. Does it matter that much?

Here's an analogy. I like to go on trail rides. I have no idea of pace or fitness - I just plug around for an hour or two in the woods. Am I hurting the international level trail riders? No, they don't care about what I do, as long as I stay out of their sandbox. So why should we care about people who use a crest release as long as they aren't out jumping around Rolex or representing the US in the Olympics?

Lastly, here is one more analogy. I studied art and design in college. It was strict, I left crits in tears with my fellow students. Very rigorous - a tough field to play in professionally. I didn't have the talent to be a pro. Now I take pottery. Yeah, alot of mediocre art. But I have fun, much more fun then I ever had in college. Maybe some people see riding like that.

persefne
Jul. 18, 2005, 08:46 AM
Magnolia, you make some excellent points. The portion of my message you quoted, though, refers to something having meaning to me...personally. I hope it didn't come across as my trying to speak for a nation of low-level hunter riders, because I was making a commentary on my own experience as I saw it. I think that's something I've noticed several times in the course of this thread...posters who make comments or ask questions about their individual situations, and then those who are speaking to and about a more wider, farther-reaching issue. Please don't think my discussion of my experience represents every lower level hunter rider out there. It doesn't.

Janet
Jul. 18, 2005, 12:09 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Britain, Germany, France, and all the others have national standards, thanks to national equestrian federations or societies that believe that the standards of good old days will lead to a better future. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
But the existamce of "national standards" is no assurannce that the overall "standard of riding" is any better.

hb
Jul. 18, 2005, 01:23 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by horseguy:
To support the hunt seat as a safer or better way to ride for incompetent beginners is not only condescending, it ignores the historical fact that the Army trained recruits of every ability level and made them effective mounted soldiers. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

While I agree with your post and your sentiments, I do want to point out one thing. A big difference between most Army recruits and most lower-level riders is fitness.

A young recruit going through a rigorous training program (both riding and general fitness) is a much different person than a 30 to 40-something professional with an office job who always wanted to ride as a kid and now finally is settled enough in a career to have the money and time to start learning to ride.

Now, there are exceptions to everything, I'm sure there are people who work 60 hours a week and successfully train for triathalons. I'm just saying that in general it is very difficult to become a top-level rider while stuck in an office or commuting or travelling for business most days of the week.

I'm not saying that there should be lower standards for some people than others. I'm not defending poor riding. I'm just agreeing with both horseguy and Magnolia. Let the lower level people do their thing and have fun. But don't pretend that it is the best method or the best way to train a horse or rider or that it is an improvement over balanced seat.

There is the "ideal" and there is point where most of us end up.

Sebastian
Jul. 18, 2005, 04:08 PM
I LOVE this discussion -- and I praise all of you for letting it remain a "discussion" and not digressing! (Can you tell I was recently bashed on the H/J board for suggesting to someone that they try to engage the horse's hind end rather than bit it up??? http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif )

And, Magnolia, please please please, don't take it personally. I know there's a lot of fingerpointing at the BNT Hunter Riders these days, but frankly a LOT of them deserve it. And, it doesn't mean there aren't a lot of great people doing Hunters and striving to do it well.

I rode Hunters for several years on the A-Circuit with some wonderful BNTs. And, I call them "wonderful" because we (and they) NEVER sacrificed position for "style." And, guess what -- we all pinned according to how gorgeous our horse's round was -- not how "stylish" WE looked.

And, you're right, bad riding exists in all disciplines, it just gets rewarded more in the Hunters. And, the excuse is always -- well, the judge is looking at the horse...blah, blah, blah. (Nothing perturbs me more.)

And, if someone is happiest jumping 2'6", then more power to them. But, I've never felt that that was a reason to not strive for the same excellence as the GP Jumper rider. Whether it's 2' or 4', correct position doesn't change.

JMHO,
Seb http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

dcm
Jul. 18, 2005, 07:56 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Magnolia:
One of the things that bugs me most about these boards is the endless preaching that hunter people can't ride, have terrible seats and are poor horsemen. Does it really matter? Is it really "ruining the sport"? If you don't like it, do jumpers or event and avoid riding with hunter trainers.

Hunters are all about the horse's form, the courses are deceptively simple, the footing typically well managed and probably 90% of the people with the bad positions are amateurs or juniors mounted on incredibly safe and expensive packers jumping 2'6 jumps. The horses are just glad they are staying out of their mouth. It is unlikely that these people will ever hunt for real, do jumpers or go out on cross country. They will probably never become pros or get into the business of training green horses. Their goal is to have a fun day at the horse show and maybe win some ribbons. Yeah, they don't have great form. Yeah, the hardest part of their trainer's job is buying the right horse. So what? Is it that big of a deal?

I really don't think there is some huge conspiracy by anyone. We have some incredible talent in this country at the top ranks who can ride and do auto releases. I truly do not think they have been negatively effected by the ammie in the next ring using a crest release on "old Faithful" while jumping 2'6. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Great post, Magnolia! Thank you very much.

Although I see that horseguy is knowledgeable, I do not like his and others' condescending attitude about hunter riders. Riding the showring hunter is so different from jumpers and eventers. Take a look at some of the top riders and the different styles they use when switching between divisions.

Anyone remember the COTH center spread with Paige Johnson at the end of her final junior year? It showed her riding hunters, jumpers, and equitation. Yet each picture showed a completely different rider. Well, of course each would be different. Each requires a different style (technique if you will) of ride.

As to the "bad" hunter riders, I have seen as many or more "bad" riders at the lower levels of eventing and dressage as I have seen in hunters. Many of the lower level eventers have minimal or no training over fences. Most of their over fences training comes from their dressage trainers. I know this because this is what I see in our area. My dtr first started out with this type of riding, as this was the "English" option for our area. We now drive over an hour to get to hunter/jumper barns because everyone in our area, for about 30 plus miles is either stock breed riders, dressage riders, or so-called eventers.

I am not claiming one is better than the other. Each has its own style. If you don't like one, then switch or stay away. Don't go around with some superiority attitude bashing the other. It only makes you look bad, and those that sit there and snicker at the condescending bashing look just as bad, from either side.

As my mom told me many times, if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.

Many of the hunter "bashing" comments seem to target the crest release. They seem to have the impression that hunter people are resting weight on a horse's neck. This is so not true. The weight is in the heels. The hands on the neck are for balance and to keep from interfering with the horse's jump. Even when a rider appears to be laying on the horse's neck, the weight is still in the heels. This is taught way in the early in the developement of hunter lessons. The riders learn to ride in the half seat, or two point, sinking their weight into their heels. So some may have weight on the neck early in riding over fences, but this is worked out in their lessons as they learn to put more weight into their heels. Right or wrong, I won't argue, but let's not base opinion of something on an untruth.

horseguy - <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Those who argue that the h/j’s should be left alone as a separate style to coexist with the true balanced seat ignore the fact that unsuspecting parents with little or no knowledge of riding are very often lead to believe that their children will receive high quality instruction in a h/j setting. The parents then place their children in a system of instruction with built-in limitations that will fundamentally guarantee that their child will plateau out at some modest level of achievement and ability. This constitutes a widespread fraudulent business practice in the equestrian world, and is thus a strong argument for high uniform national riding standards. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Wow, horseguy, your condescention knows no bounds. Not everyone has the means (money or time) or the talent to go beyond mediocrity. The world is full of mediocre people and mediocre horses that will never be better than just mediocre. Would you limit access to horses to only those that have those means? To only those who wish to ascend to the highest levels of riding, as defined by you? How very generous of you to establish the prerequisits to riding horses. You, sir, are a snob. And you are highly unfair to those without. These people are enjoying their time riding horses. They have as much right as you to ride. Your attitude would take that away from them. There are hundreds of mediocre barns around that satisfy the needs of thousands of children and adults who would otherwise never get a chance to take lessons and ride. Not all of those barns are hunter barns. Many are eventer barns where no one rides above the novice level. Or dressage barns where no one rides above training level. Or the backyard horses where there is a horse for each member of the family and the kids ride and show their horses proudly at the county fairgrounds.

Its too bad that honest questions from someone seeking to learn about eventing techniques has morphed this thread into a hunter bashing thread. Why people who event or people who ride dressage find it necessary bash hunters is beyond me. I come here occasionally looking for interesting discussion as I do the other forums. I am sorry I did. I don't think I will venture here again for a while. I don't like snobs.

horseguy
Jul. 19, 2005, 06:12 AM
There has been an assertion that somehow riding correctly is more costly. The opposite is true. There are vast numbers of riders who upon realizing there is more to riding than the h/j scene go on to proper riding. When they do, there is a period of unlearning during instruction. This is what is costly. As an instructor, I feel very bad charging people for this sort of “removal”. A teacher likes to spend the student’s time and money on measurable progress, not undoing errors in balance and other issues, which students usually experience as being stuck or stalled.

It does not cost more to learn proper riding. When you factor in the cost of correction later on, it is in fact cheaper to learn properly from the beginning. If we had better standards and elevated the norm to include basic balance and timing, and removed the contemporary h/j form based teaching, we would achieve improved cost efficiency in riding instruction.

Someone noted that higher national standards would to insure better riding. I agree, but it could not be worse than the current confusing system of a double standard, and it might be a start toward better instruction.

Also, I note a personal attack. I would ask those who have complemented my posts to ignore it. These sorts of posts only point out how desperately some people cling their ignorance. If there were logical biomechanically based arguments to counter my points, I trust that the h/j riders here would post them, but we see none of that. Where are the poignant quotes from “Hunt Seat Equitation” to refute the assertions about the correct balanced seat? I doubt we will see reasoned arguments like that from our h/j advocates. There is no real basis for intuitionalized poor riding no matter how large the establishment that surrounds it.

Lisa Cook
Jul. 19, 2005, 06:31 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by dcm:
Many of the lower level eventers have minimal or no training over fences. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Wow. That statement may apply to YOU in YOUR little patch of woods, but that is certainly not the norm AT ALL. That is one of the most eye-popping, ignorant proclamations I've read here in a long time.

And how do you reconcile:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">As my mom told me many times, if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

With this:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">You, sir, are a snob. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Magnolia
Jul. 19, 2005, 06:32 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">And, Magnolia, please please please, don't take it personally. I know there's a lot of fingerpointing at the BNT Hunter Riders these days, but frankly a LOT of them deserve it. And, it doesn't mean there aren't a lot of great people doing Hunters and striving to do it well. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Oh, I don't take it personally at all. I don't do hunters anymore - just enjoy riding with a nice event trainer (btw, she hounds me about many of the same issues my old hunter trainer did).

Horseguy, this is what I think is superior about the crest release. Take an older adult amateur who has a desk job. Her fitness level is kind of low. Probably rides three times a week - maybe one jumping lesson. Maybe she is a bit nervous about jumping, but still wants to try. We put her on a horse who knows his job. When we go to jump, we tell her to grab mane and sink her weight into her heels. Grabbing mane leads to a crest release that prevents her good horse from getting hit in the mouth over fences.

Now I know an event rider who does not release at all over fences. She fits my hypothetical rider pretty well. She is not fit or confident enough to follow her horses mouth over the jump ala an auto release. Her horse became a chronic stopper with her. Put someone on the horse who gives a crest release and he is happy to jump whatever all day long. You can make a lot of other mistakes on the horse and he is forgiving. She clearly needs to be using a proper crest release until she is confident and balanced enough to do an auto which may never happen, given her busy schedule.

PiedPiper
Jul. 19, 2005, 06:42 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Sebastian:

And, you're right, bad riding exists in all disciplines, it just gets rewarded more in the Hunters. And, the excuse is always -- well, the judge is looking at the horse...blah, blah, blah. (Nothing perturbs me more.)

And, if someone is happiest jumping 2'6", then more power to them. But, I've never felt that that was a reason to not strive for the same excellence as the GP Jumper rider. Whether it's 2' or 4', correct position doesn't change.

JMHO,
Seb http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif </div></BLOCKQUOTE>


This is the crux of Horseguys and other's argument. No one is saying there isn't bad event riding by ANY MEANS http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/dead.gif but there is a much less reward for it. If an event rider does not learn how to ride correctly and efficiently they do not graduate very far up the levels.

Nor is anyone saying that everyone needs to ride with the Olympics in mind. But that the correct way should be the only way.

I do think it is a fact, though, that most new riders do start out in hunters. There is a much bigger hunter scene in most areas compared to eventing and/or dressage. Just a fact and that is what Horseguy was commenting on.

But if we are now going to argue that the crest release and lying on the neck isn't what it looks like I would be more than happy to post the many pictures from COTH and others that show straight legs, angled forward, with the child fully drapped on the neck. There is no way the weight is in the heels enough to support the person if the horse is suddenly
"taken away".

I think the downfall in riding, across the board from what I have seen in the last twenty years, has been more from the decline in Pony Clubbers and a more general education every day. There are too many kids who ride and compete but couldn't tell you the parts of the horse's anatomy or basic first aid. We, the US, has departmentalized everything and horsemanship has follow suit. An all over, general knowledge in the younger generation is getting more and more scarce and that saddens me more than how different disciplines are riding.

But I do agree with Horseguy and others who are stating that there are too many extremes in the English disciplines than there should be, for whatever reason.

Like Sebatian said, correct riding is correct riding regardless of level or height.

persefne
Jul. 19, 2005, 07:39 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by PiedPiper:
I think the downfall in riding, across the board from what I have seen in the last twenty years, has been more from the decline in Pony Clubbers and a more general education every day. There are too many kids who ride and compete but couldn't tell you the parts of the horse's anatomy or basic first aid. We, the US, has departmentalized everything and horsemanship has follow suit. An all over, general knowledge in the younger generation is getting more and more scarce and that saddens me more than how different disciplines are riding.
</div></BLOCKQUOTE>

AMEN! That's exactly what I was getting at in one of my previous posts...that combination of riding and horsemanship/stable managment that I personally gained from pony club that I found lacking in the greater equestrian world, on the whole (but, not everyone everywhere, thankfully). I'm all about installing a "know-down" component at horse competitions (be it hunters, jumpers, dressage, eventing, endurance...whatever). Perhaps to "move up" the levels at A-rated or recognized shows (again, be it hunters, jumpers, dressage, eventing, endurance...whatever), a rider should have to pass a horsemanship test -- similar to pony club ratings -- comparable to their riding ability and the level of competence they wish to pursue. Those who are "weekend riders" who do not want to put in or can't put in the time to be all around equestrians can show at local, lower-level, unrated/unrecognized events that are designed for recreational riders. How does that sound? http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif I bet there are lots of horses out there that would support my effort to show that a more knowledgeable individual and better horse managment=a better rider/owner.

Magnolia
Jul. 19, 2005, 08:02 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Perhaps to "move up" the levels at A-rated or recognized shows (again, be it hunters, jumpers, dressage, eventing, endurance...whatever), a rider should have to pass a horsemanship test </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Why? If a kid or an amateur on the A Circuit lacks the curiosity to learn more about horsemanship, they probably won't become a pro. Maybe they just want to ride and win ribbons? Who are we to tell them they must know about wrapping legs and signs of colic? You don't need to know that to get around a 3'6 eq course, especially if you have staff to do that for you. The horses get good care (for the most part).

I do think that eventing is set up to need horsemanship skills to be a good rider. Nobody conditions your horse for you. Good. Great.

wendy
Jul. 19, 2005, 08:30 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">I am not claiming one is better than the other. Each has its own style. If you don't like one, then switch or stay away. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

The thing is, practically all amateur lower-level eventers could easily and safely jump around a low-level hunter course. Most amateur lower-level hunter riders would never be able to make it around a cross-country course, or even a low-level stadium course. I therefore must conclude that one style is indeed superior.

Janet
Jul. 19, 2005, 08:50 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">This is the crux of Horseguys and other's argument. No one is saying there isn't bad event riding by ANY MEANS but there is a much less reward for it. If an event rider does not learn how to ride correctly and efficiently they do not graduate very far up the levels. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
On the contrary, I think that at the lowest levels of eventing, there is PLENTY of reward for "bad riding", or at least, no punishment for it.

I use myself as an example. A couple of years ago, I took Music in the River Bend combined test at FPP (at Training). We had a very nice dressage test, and were in first place.

We had an AWFUL stadium. We put two strides in the one stride in and out. We came way under a couple of fences, and left out a stride at least once. But all the rails stayed up, and I came home with a nice blue ribbon.

I am not saying that, in general, I am a "bad rider". But certainly, that day I was riding badly, and I got rewarded for it.

That kind of round would never get a ribbon in a hunter class (though it would, of course, be a clear round in jumpers).

Many low level eventers compete without regular instruction (just read the posts here). If you have a kind horse, and don't have feedback from an instructor, it is very easy to get the WRONG kind of feedback from competition- "I am winning ribbons, therefore I must be doing it right."

And unfortunately, this results in people "promoting themselves to the level of thier incompetence", where they start having real problems. If they want to progress, they need to "unlearn" all their bad habits, and replace them with correct ones. Which is much harder than learning it right the first time.

So, I agree with the guts of what horseguy says here<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">There has been an assertion that somehow riding correctly is more costly. The opposite is true. There are vast numbers of riders who upon realizing there is more to riding than the h/j scene go on to proper riding. When they do, there is a period of unlearning during instruction. This is what is costly. As an instructor, I feel very bad charging people for this sort of “removal”. A teacher likes to spend the student’s time and money on measurable progress, not undoing errors in balance and other issues, which students usually experience as being stuck or stalled </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
except that I think it applies just as much to poorly trained eventers as to "h/j" in general.

I think that there are plenty of h/j riders (especially the ones who have worked hard to "improve as much as they can" within their h/j level- not so much the ones who "just want to have fun" and "don't want to work hard") who, when the try eventing, primarily need to learn new skills, rather than unlearning old ones.

Similarly, some eventers dabble (or even make the full time switch) to h/j without having to "unlearn" much, just having to learn new techniques.

But those eventers who hve "squeaked by" in eventing, carried by the generosity of thier horses, will find they have a lot to relearn if they switch to h/j.

Magnolia
Jul. 19, 2005, 08:54 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">The thing is, practically all amateur lower-level eventers could easily and safely jump around a low-level hunter course. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

But they probably would not be competitive. It's a different set of requirements to succeed. The goal in eventing is to safely make it over the fence (a good goal!) and leave the horse confident enough to jump the next. We can slow down, speed up, get a little tight, leave a little long, add a step, leave out a step, trot to catch a lead. A hunter rider can't do any of those things and place. In addition, the horse must appear pleasant and relaxed and maintain an easy pace - something you don't see a lot of in lower level amateur event horses.

I think there are a lot of different personality types in riding that are all OK. There are the people who want to be a winning rider and could care less about the horsecare aspect. There are people who meticulously care for horses and don't care to ride or compete. There are all around horsemen and women who know about horses, can ride and compete and do great. There are recreational riders who pay for good care and simply enjoy riding and competing like one might enjoy a weekend round of golf. They all have different needs and wants and all would be frustrated with a system that catered to the other type. I would not expect a DIY eventer to be happy at a hunter lesson barn. And a 2'6 hunter rider would be frustrated by a stint with a hard core eventer. And someone who only cares for the competition would not be happy with Pony Club. None of these are wrong attitudes that harm the horses or the riders (in the right situations of course).

Janet
Jul. 19, 2005, 09:03 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by wendy:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">I am not claiming one is better than the other. Each has its own style. If you don't like one, then switch or stay away. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

The thing is, practically all amateur lower-level eventers could easily and safely jump around a low-level hunter course. Most amateur lower-level hunter riders would never be able to make it around a cross-country course, or even a low-level stadium course. I therefore must conclude that one style is indeed superior. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>While I agree the most lower level eventers could "jump around" a low level hunter course without falling off, a lot of them would not put in anything like as good a round as even the most "I just want to have fun" hunter rider.

Maintaining an even pace, and getting 8 reasonably good spots (to say nothing of making the horse's form look good) over a hunter dourse is a LOT harder than it looks.

Try it some time.

I find it MUCH easier to "find 8 good spots" on a jumper or stadium course, where I can adjust the stride for each femce or line.

I am not a fan of the crest release.
And I think a lot of riders are passengers (in all dsiciplines).

But don't knock it until you have tried it.

To put the shoe on the other foot, most hunter riders could "make it around" a Novice or Training level dressage test.

But there is a BIG difference between "getting around" (either a hunter course or a dressage test) and "doing it right".

PiedPiper
Jul. 19, 2005, 09:06 AM
Janet, you screwed up one time and "got away with it" but if htat was your normal routine do you think that you could have kept all the rails up all the time or being capable at Training?

I agree that at the lowest levels it can do unpunished but like I said it makes moving up very difficult. I do not think there is the same problem in show hunters.


On crest releases:
I am not against the crest release, I would be screwed nine times out of ten if it wasn't done/allowed/possible. I am constantly grabbing mane with my green bean. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_eek.gif http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif But I think that learning how to have the balance and skill to have an automatic release is not asking too much. It should be no different than other things that you work on on a daily basis.

persefne
Jul. 19, 2005, 09:20 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Magnolia:
Who are we to tell them they must know about wrapping legs and signs of colic? You don't need to know that to get around a 3'6 eq course, especially if you have staff to do that for you. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_eek.gif Sorry. I thought I had read that wrong. You're right about this fact, though.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Magnolia: In addition, the horse must appear pleasant and relaxed and maintain an easy pace - something you don't see a lot of in lower level amateur event horses. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

You're right about that fact, too (as I am personally well-aware!).

Janet
Jul. 19, 2005, 09:23 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">I agree that at the lowest levels it can do unpunished but like I said it makes moving up very difficult. I do not think there is the same problem in show hunters. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Actually, I think there is (the same problem in both).

Something like 80% of all event entries are at BN, N and T. Some of them are horses and riders on a path to the higher levels, but lots of them are people who will never compete higher.

So they may never get "bitten" by the fact that they never learned to develop a good base of support.

I don't know the statistics for hunters, but I excpect that at least 80% of the entries are at 3' or lower. So they also don't get "bitten" by the weaknesses in their riding. Even at the "big" shows, only a small percentage of the riders ever move above 3'.

horseguy
Jul. 19, 2005, 12:36 PM
There is plenty of poor riding in all the disciplines. No sport or segment can hold itself out as an example. In simple arithmetic there are more in the h/j world than anywhere because they have the biggest number of riders to begin with. I’m not sure what the h/j number would be as a percentage. I’d have to pick club polo as my highest percentage of poor riders these days. What decades ago was a bastion of serious horseman has become a serious problem of slow games due to riders being unable to ride to the ball to hit it. Borrrring. At the top of polo the games are better, due to so many imported pros.

America is slipping. I used to be against national standards and tests for instructors. I didn’t want anyone telling me how to teach or creating a “labor union” that would shut out some people. Now I support he USEF’s goal of all disciples having tested instructors by the end of five years from now. I’d like to see one standard for ”English” riding, but I fear there will be two. My worse fear is that the balanced seat standards will be watered down so h/j instructors can pass that certification as well. That would spell the end of American horsemanship in a sort of Bud Lite vs. Miller Lite distinction for new riders. More taste, less filling, more taste, less filling, more taste, less filling .. Lord let me fall on my head and die before I live to see it.

Dr. Doolittle
Jul. 19, 2005, 01:09 PM
Janet makes some very good points--thank you! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif
(And otherwise, I'm going to stay out of it, for now... http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/winkgrin.gif)

Fluffie
Jul. 20, 2005, 10:19 PM
Perhaps there have not been many "reasoned arguements" from hunter peeps because we are too busy riding like crap and not caring about position to bother to respond. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif

Anyway, here's a nice, long-winded post with my humble two cents. To begin, George Morris has done much to try to reverse the trend of useless crest-releasing that exists. It is too bad that the very well-read on this board have not mentioned his criticisms in nearly every PH "Jumping Clinic" concerning the CR, in addition to the articles that he has written in PH demonstrating the proper way to use this intermediary technique and how to move beyond it (yup, been cleanin' out the old mags this week). Attended one of his clinics lately? One exercise that he uses quite frequently is alternating between long, short, and automatic releases and the reasons for each one. In addition, perusing his book American Jumping Style will give more insight into the various international styles and their mutual trades of techniques.

Secondly, the CR does not automatically put one out of balance with the horse. The only difference (beyond contact) between the CR and automatic release is that in one the hands rest on the neck up below the crest and the other has the hands lower and farther apart. *Jumping ahead with no weight in the heels* is what causes riders to lay on the horses' necks because now the trunk of the body is ahead of the motion rather than with it; in either type of release, the hands/arms are in front of the withers. Yes, beginners are taught to weight their hands to an extent, but that is an intermediary step to control the upper body while focusing on weighting the heels, not a goal in itself. In addition, the CR does not disrupt the timing between horse and rider. The rider times the release of rein to coincide with the horse's elevation of the front/push of the hindquarters so that the horse feels no limitation in how far it can stretch down and forward. The rider also must time the reinstatment of contact in time to either move up or collect for the next jump, turn, etc. (or to keep my horse from taking off the second his feet touchdown http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif). Yes, beginners are taught to get into jumping position several strides out and to remain, but once again that is a *teaching technique*, not the goal. The reason that many A-circut riders exaggerate/continue the position beyond what is necessary is to show the judge "My horse is so well-trained that he doesn't *need* me to control his every breath." Once again, this is a technique, not the goal--these same riders shorten up the release time as soon as they enter the equitation ring http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif.

Third, I would be remiss in my hunter princessness if I didn't respond to the idea that hunters is the place for those who don't/can't/won't ride well and have to sidestep the "tough stuff." It seems that many of the people (no one in particular) who carry this attitude are those who washed out of the hunters and need an excuse. If heights are the issue, please note that hunters do go higher than 2'6"--tell me that a 3-stride bending line to a 1-stride in-and-out set at 4' in height is easy after you do it http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_razz.gif. Obviously, hunters is more than inside-out-in-outside: bending lines, related distances, bounces (yes, I have done 3' bounces in eq. classes), rollbacks, skinny jumps, etc. And, much of this is done on OTTB's and greenies, without grooms, on horses that the rider schools him/herself.

Finally, I must ask this question: For those of you who so easily look down your noses at the hunter world and its "pseudo-riders", at what hunter barns do you currently ride; what hunter shows do you attend (recently, not "years ago")? You can't make educated assumptions from random pictures in magazines, long passages in books, or from what happened 20 years ago. Instead, you are welcome to see me, an average hunter rider, schooling my horse myself between weekly lessons, an inexpensive horse from a TB farm, that can do selected dressage movements because it makes him "more broke" for invisible adjustments between jumps. We have also survived galloping through the big field and jumping a bank (for the first time, no less, in a Morris clinic http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_eek.gif) using a hunt seat, taught by a h/j trainer, and we survived. As to learning how to actually "ride" by doing eventing, no thanks. Talk to my other horse, who was tortured and crippled by those using a balanced seat. Now, I'm not saying that all balanced seat riders ruin horses . . . http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

poltroon
Jul. 21, 2005, 05:08 PM
Well, I grew up showing in the hunters - um, 20 years ago http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif - and I was reasonably well taught. I did not learn enough about true engagement, but I did have a very solid position and I was able to go right into eventing with no trouble. My hunter barn had the lineage of Jimmy Williams and Clyde Kennedy and we did a lot of exercises, regular gymnastics, a lot of work-off type riding, and we also learned to jump bareback and bridleless a la Foxfield. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

There is bad riding in all the disciplines. I have been shocked to see people bringing students to events with a neckstrap. And I agree with Janet that bad riding in eventing often is rewarded - if the horse gets around, the rider thinks he/she is OK, unaware that the spectators are cringing. I have seen scary riders at Training saved by their saintly horses.

BTW: it's totally possible to have your weight in your heels but also to have your upper body too far forward. I have plenty of photos to prove it. http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/lol.gif

Fluffie
Jul. 21, 2005, 05:21 PM
Oh, I agree that you can be too far forward with weight in your heels--I bet my pictures can rival yours http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif. But, I don't think that it is the fault of the crest release, but instead is the result of jumping ahead of the horse, which is more of a timing/nervous thing (and yes, I have practiced that often as well). However, I know peeps/seen peeps who can do the auto release and jump ahead--very talented!!

horseguy
Jul. 22, 2005, 05:59 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">The only difference (beyond contact) between the CR and automatic release is that in one the hands rest on the neck up below the crest and the other has the hands lower and farther apart. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
This statement completely ignores the dynamic movement of the horse. It is typical of the sort of form based analysis that burdens the h/j approach to riding and teaching riding. “The only difference …” is not the form related to the hands of the rider. There are several differences between the automatic and crest releases, the greatest being the timing of the motion of the rider in relation to the horse. A fixed form has little to do with riding or jumping well. Riding is a three dimensional dynamic composed of timing, balance, and strength. Forms are fixed snapshots in time that may or may not fit into a dynamic jumping or riding position.

A reasoned argument in favor of the crest release would require biomechanical analysis of the horse and rider in a jump with regard to the application of the crest release, not merely a fixed form, such as hand position. This is what is frustrating about h/j trained riders. Their training and thus thinking is generally limited to a set of forms with little thought toward dynamic movement. I’d advise dressage training for all who have begun riding in the h/j method.

Fluffie
Jul. 23, 2005, 08:24 AM
Actually, the main problem here is a complete misuderstanding of how the crest release is intended to work. It is not truly a "fixed" position in that you just jam your hands up the neck three strides out, over, and three strides upon landing (unless you are a complete beginner, and then you learn to how modify that motion). Instead, as I said, you do time it so that you release the horse's mouth just as he takes off so that he has complete freedom to stretch his head and neck out and down (timing). In the air, the hands follow this movement independently (hopefully http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif) of the rest of the rider's body (balance, my Dear Watson, as well as strength). Then, the rider reestablishes contact with the mouth as the horse lands from the jump, being careful not to "snatch" it back (timing in when to take up the slack, balance to not lay on the neck and to not use the rein to steady the body, and strength in the leg to do all this stuff http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif).

As far as a biomechanical analysis of the process, I have studied it and have been taught much about it by the best teachers of all, my two horses. The first one, the ex-eventer, first required a release more closely related to what eventers do than a bona-fide crest release because of his habit of grabbing the bit, running, and launching at jumps to avoid getting his butt beat (thanks to previous bad event/dressage "training"). Now, thanks to training (h/j and dressage) and arthritis, he prefers a short crest release (he still likes to balance on the reins a bit). The other horsie, being a lover, not a fighter, goes the best with a long release because he does not like to be restricted in any way, shape, or form. His previous rider rode in very, very tight draw reins, even over fences, so he used to be very suspicious of any rein contact. Now he is much more tolerant of it, but still jumps the best with as much freedom as possible. Incidentally, I have/do use an auto release on both guys as needed--tight turns in the eq. classes, for example. But since the second horse doesn't like it, I don't do it rather than getting stuck in the fixed mindframe that there is only one "correct" way to release a horse over a fence, and therefore everyone must use it or be considered incompetent.

BTW: I have taken dressage lessons regularly in the past. That is how the first horse learned, for the most part, how to get off the bit, and how the second horse is learning how to shorten his huge stride and turn. Currently, there are dressage trainers at our barn, and you'd better believe I keep my ears/eyes open to their lessons to pick up pointers http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif.

wanderlust
Jul. 23, 2005, 09:59 AM
Horseguy, since I had my copy of the USEA magazine from last fall with a whole bunch of pictures from the eventing portion the Athens Olympics (both US and European riders), I studied the pictures looking specifically at releases. There were very, very few technically correct auto-releases with a straight line from hand to mouth. What there were a lot of, however, were hands and arms that were independent from the seat and not hindering the horse's effort. Much like you see in the jumpers here in the US and anywhere else in the world.

I, for one, was never taught "crest release" or "auto release". After graduating from "grab mane", I was taught that you use a following hand and don't hinder your horse's efforts. Sometimes my hands go forward up the horse's neck, sometimes they follow down lower. It all depends on the balance and my instinct, and it happens automatically. Truly, I think that is more important than "balanced seat" or "hunter seat" or "auto release" or "crest release".

And please, can we end the "eventers ride better than hunter riders" pissing contest? Please? We've been down this road a million times, and Janet's answer is about the best you are going to get. They are different. They require different skill sets. Hunter riders are better at some things than event riders. Event riders are better at some things than hunter riders are. End of story, let it go.

karliejaye
Jul. 23, 2005, 02:12 PM
Having ridden in both the hunter/jumper world and the eventing world, I must agree with wanderlust. It's ridiculous to say one is *better* than the other, they require different styles. I also agree that release needs not be classified as auto or crest, as long as the horse can use himself as much as he needs to.

(Eloquently said wanderlust!)

Fluffie
Jul. 23, 2005, 04:03 PM
I hope that my messages did not give the impression that I was trying to say that h/j is "better" than eventing or anything else for that matter--I was just trying to explain the reasons behind the madness. I guess I get exasperated because I put a lot of hard work, time, and what peanuts I earn at work into riding, and I love hunters/eq http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif.

The one thing that I do want to clarify, just to be safe, is that I do not blame being owned/trained by an eventer for the problems my first horse had. His problems were the direct result of *bad* training, and the discipline didn't have a thing to do with it. I absolutely respect eventers because they are well-rounded, gutsy riders, and they get bonus points in my book for riding TB's http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif!

Thanks for enduring my posts http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_razz.gif.

Dr. Doolittle
Jul. 23, 2005, 07:11 PM
Thank you, thank you, Wanderlust! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Just for the record, if you look at photos of the TOP riders (jumpers AND eventing) you will see that many of them do not use a *classic* auto release, but instead use the release that's most appropriate at the moment, and the one that will enable (and will keep) the horse jumping "in balance", and yet will allow freedom of the head and neck (a HUGE issue with me (since I am apparently known...ahem...as "the release Nazi" http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gif http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif...) Anyone who restricts their horse (when it's *trying* to jump) makes me want to tear my hair right out of my head... http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/sigh.gif

Michael Matz is (was) like God to me, but how many people can ride like that? He had strength, tact, timing, and exquisite balance and feel...OTOH, no lesser "luminaries" in the show jumping discipline than the likes of Markus (Marcus?) Beerbaum, Rodrigo Pessoa, Kris Kappler, Margie Engle (I could go on and on) ride with a version of "the dreaded crest release" on a regular basis--just look at the photos...Are they "perching", using "praying mantis hands and jumping up the neck", "jumping ahead", "unable to able to inflence the horse on landing"??? Wow, I really think not...They are simply following toward the horse's mouth, and perhaps using the sides of the horse's neck http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_eek.gif http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_razz.gif to rest their hands...as anyone who used the auto relase can attest, the *correct* auto (not "planting one's hands at the withers" http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_mad.gif) requires a lot of physical ability--strong abs and superior balance (and horseguy, I grew up in Pony Club in the 70's--we did all the stuff the previous posters mentioned, along with being taught by Vladimir Littaur, Sally O'Connor, Jeremy Beale, etc., etc...ALL purists!!--and none of them expected us to jump EVERY SINGLE FENCE out of hand...we were, however, expected to have a strong position, a *good* lower leg, an independent hand, strength and confidence, and we were *expected* to be able to stay out of the horse's face so as to enable them to bascule (and use themselves) properly.
UGH! The weak, ineffective, incorrect and (frankly, scared to death due to being un-prepared) riding I see today makes me nuts, but then that's been covered ad nauseaum already...(Okay, I posted, even though I *promised* to stay out of it--I have had a glass of wine and a beer, showed my horse in the early morning and then coached a student all day at an HT in the summer heat, and *still* have not had dinner yet! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_razz.gif So I'm kinda punchy...
So take my comments for what they are worth, but still--thanks to all of those who have contributed logical, balanced perspectives! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Judi
Jul. 23, 2005, 09:12 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Janet:
. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>While I agree the most lower level eventers could "jump around" a low level hunter course without falling off, a lot of them would not put in anything like as good a round as even the most "I just want to have fun" hunter rider.[/QUOTE]
----------------------------
Um... maybe it's different here on the West Coast but I've seen some "scary... chippy" hunter rides at the Low AA Hunter level. Weekend warriors with very lose legs being packed around by very expensive SAINTS that seem to find thier own distances to the fences.

--------------------------
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Janet:
Maintaining an even pace, and getting 8 reasonably good spots (to say nothing of making the horse's form look good) over a hunter dourse is a LOT harder than it looks. [QUOTE]
-----------------------------------
I don't think I've ever seen a low AA level weekend warrior A circuit hunter rider do anything but sit there. (Unless they are a talented rider on their way up) If they get a chip it's because the horse missed his own spot. I typically don't see any kind of active riding by these lower "just want to have fun" riders.

I think in general both disciplines have thier share of SCARY trainers with SCARY riders. It's just that the SCARY riders in eventing end up paying for it much harder with a fall on cross country. I doubt that the typical low level AA Hunter rider could just go out and do even a a small down back or the half coffin I watched half the Novice division get eliminated at at Woodside last May. My experience has been that the unprepared weekend warriors with weak legs who are not ready for their levels find themselves on the ground or hurt when even the most Saint of a horse does a check at a ditch or water. In the low level hunter ring it's rare to see a rider come off because they are typically riding very safe school masters who seem to find thier way around. And the worst that can happen is the occasional chip. But even the lowest BN riders need to be able to trot across uneven terrain... survive a check at a water obsticle etc.

It's not that eventing's lower level folks are better.. it's just that they have to pay a bit harder when they aren't ready.

Dr. Doolittle
Jul. 23, 2005, 09:34 PM
You make some very good points... http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Judi
Jul. 23, 2005, 10:50 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Fluffie:
Yes, beginners are taught to get into jumping position several strides out and to remain, but once again that is a *teaching technique*, not the goal. The reason that many A-circut riders exaggerate/continue the position beyond what is necessary is to show the judge "My horse is so well-trained that he doesn't *need* me to control his every breath." Once again, this is a technique, not the goal--these same riders shorten up the release time as soon as they enter the equitation ring http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif.

Third, I would be remiss in my hunter princessness if I didn't respond to the idea that hunters is the place for those who don't/can't/won't ride well and have to sidestep the "tough stuff." It seems that many of the people (no one in particular) who carry this attitude are those who washed out of the hunters and need an excuse. If heights are the issue, please note that hunters do go higher than 2'6"--tell me that a 3-stride bending line to a 1-stride in-and-out set at 4' in height is easy after you do it http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_razz.gif. Obviously, hunters is more than inside-out-in-outside: bending lines, related distances, bounces (yes, I have done 3' bounces in eq. classes), rollbacks, skinny jumps, etc. And, much of this is done on OTTB's and greenies, without grooms, on horses that the rider schools him/herself.

Finally, I must ask this question: For those of you who so easily look down your noses at the hunter world and its "pseudo-riders", at what hunter barns do you currently ride; what hunter shows do you attend (recently, not "years ago")? You can't make educated assumptions from random pictures in magazines, long passages in books, or from what happened 20 years ago. Instead, you are welcome to see me, an average hunter rider, schooling my horse myself between weekly lessons, an inexpensive horse from a TB farm, that can do selected dressage movements because it makes him "more broke" for invisible adjustments between jumps. We have also survived galloping through the big field and jumping a bank (for the first time, no less, in a Morris clinic http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_eek.gif) using a hunt seat, taught by a h/j trainer, and we survived. As to learning how to actually "ride" by doing eventing, no thanks. Talk to my other horse, who was tortured and crippled by those using a balanced seat. Now, I'm not saying that all balanced seat riders ruin horses . . . http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Okay Fluffie.. I'll take the bate. I was a successful Hunter/Jumper rider with a BNT just a short year ago. He was a wonderful trainer and taught me some very good basics for the hunter/eq/medal/jumper ring. We won Medal finals and many jumper championships... that being said, when I made the move over to eventing I had to "relearn" my entire seat from the forward seat to the balanced seat that horseguy is speaking of. There is no way I would survive the many terrain issue's as well as up and down banks, ditches water and various other questions out on cross country. To my delight I found I could go back to the following hand release I learned as a teen in the 70's. (I only learned the crest release as a style when I returned to riding 15 years ago.. not to support my upper body.. by they way) I also had to learn a completely new discipline in dressage which has also made an enormous impact and added to my entire set of communication tools between my horse and I. I was not a "bad" rider before I made the switch to eventing but I will say I am by far a much more complete rider between the technical demands of cross country and the subtle communication of dressage. Just as you are asking the people on this board not to judge all hunter riders the same... I must ask you not to judge all event riders by one bad event rider who rode what you believe to be a "balanced seat" and tortured your other horse. I would venture to say.. that that rider did not have a very balanced seat at all.

Lastly... You say that the crest release is to be used for riders who are developing thier strength etc. I'm sure that may be your experience.. but I think if you look across the hunter ranks you will see the auto release only used in the higher eq levels... as the hunter rings are solidly teaching the crest release as the "style" not as a transition release. Whether it's to emulate the upper level riders or because judeges are awarding it in the ring doesn't really matter. George Morris himself has written lamenting the mis-use of it across the entire discipline.

Perhaps someday the CR will pass as a fad. I believe a brilliant horse is a brilliant horse and no amount of "posing" by the rider will add or take away from that. Perhaps the top riders would find judges rewarding their brilliant horses even if they rode with beautiful up right equitation and soft following hands. But as long as the top professionals continue to be put on the cover of PH with ducking upper body's, floating CR's and swung back legs you will continue to find riders in other disciplines NOT understanding how this could in anyway be good for any horse over any fence.

I know better than anyone else how HARD a good Hunter round is to lay down. To find perfection in tempo across 9 fences is indeed a thing of beauty. But in my experience... it is NOT as hard as putting in a "Perfect" dressage test.

Oh.. by the way.. if you are indeed...

"schooling my horse myself between weekly lessons, an inexpensive horse from a TB farm, that can do selected dressage movements because it makes him "more broke" for invisible adjustments between jumps. We have also survived galloping through the big field and jumping a bank (for the first time, no less, in a Morris clinic"

You don't seem like any average hunter rider I ever rode with... But you sure sound like a lot of the event riders I now ride with. Hey... maybe you should come on over to the dark side... You're hunter may love it.

: )

judi and rainier

ps.. I made the switch to eventers because Rainier was bored in the H/J ring and the people sounded really down to earth and fun. I was right.. my horse has never been happier.

pss... Take a look at my webshots albums to see the before and after positions. "Rainier" album is the Hunter shots... "Eventing" album is this years Horse Trials photos. I sure did my share of laying on my horses neck in the H/J ring... wow.

Fluffie
Jul. 24, 2005, 06:40 AM
I nevernevernever meant seriously that my horse's previous "training" was an example of the "evils" of the balanced seat--in fact, I tried to be clear that his issues were the result of plain *bad* training, nothing more, nothing less. Hence the winking face and the successive post. In fact, I certainly give eventing credit for his boldness/bravery (I showed him in an occasional jumper class, and he said "Liverpool? HA!" But, he also said, "Half-halt? HAHA!" http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif)

As far as the crest release being a fad--I've been riding h/j for 14 years now, so that's quite a lifespan for a fad. And once again, it really isn't a bad thing if it is used correctly, *not floating above the horse's neck or planted at his withers (no release)*, but instead gives the horse complete freedom to stretch down and forward with his head and neck, which is the goal of hunters (among other things, of course). This may not be a good thing for eventers to use since you appear to be clipping along with a longer stride and often need to instantly (in the air practically) adjust for the next obstacle. That's just an assumption--I never evented, which isn't something I say out of "pride" or whatever, just a lack of opportunity.

As far as my flatwork routine, I may be a little more ambitious (I wanna learn to do a credable trot half-pass this winter http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_razz.gif; we do an ok one at the walk now) than average, but at the three h/j I've trained in (and two I've trained with at shows), all the hunters know basic dressage--come forward from the hindend, shoulder-in/out, haunches-in/out, turns on forehand/hindquarters, leg-yied, serpentines, and collect/lenghten. The horses that also do eq. and jumpers also do counter-canter, half-pass, etc. Are these movements competition quality? Not necessarily, but they are tools to make the horses better trained an easier to ride for their divisions. And hey, it's a fun way to kill a rainy day http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif.

BTW: I have it on good authority that my hunter would not love X-C. Even though he is a TB, he strongly believes in energy-conservation; he much prefers to be told how handsome he is, and the hunter in-gate gives him ample opportunity for that. Never mind that I'm tired and punchy from having to get up at 4:30 am to Quick Silver his grey body from nose to tail http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif.

But anyway, could someone describle what a balanced seat is--I think I know, but clarification would be great http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif. I'm honestly asking because I like to know things; I'm not trying to stir the pot (I promise).

eventer_mi
Jul. 24, 2005, 07:06 AM
Quote: In fact, I certainly give eventing credit for his boldness/bravery (I showed him in an occasional jumper class, and he said "Liverpool? HA!" But, he also said, "Half-halt? HAHA!" http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif)

I have absolutely nothing of value to add to this conversation, since I am feeling pretty sheepish about my own riding abilities (or, more accurately, lack of them), but I thought that this above comment was hysterical. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

horseguy
Jul. 24, 2005, 08:52 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Fluffie "... could someone describle what a balanced seat is--I think I know, but clarification would be great. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Here is a start on a reading list:

Barrett, Maj. L. M., PRACTICAL HORSEMANSHIP
Barrett, Maj. L. M., PRACTICAL JUMPING
Brooke, Gen. Geoffrey, A-HUNTING WE WILL GO,
Brooke, Gen. Geoffrey, HORSE SENSE AND HORSEMANSHIP
Brooke, Gen. Geoffrey, HORSEMEN ALL
Brooke, Gen. Geoffrey, LET'S LEARN TO RIDE
Brooke, Gen. Geoffrey, TRAINING YOUNG HORSES TO JUMP
Brooke, Gen. Geoffrey, INTRODUCTION TO RIDING AND STABLECRAFT
Brooke, Gen. Geoffrey, WAY OF A MAN WITH A HORSE
Cabell Self, Margaret, HORSEMASTERSHIP
Cavalry School, (Ft. Riley) ANIMALS, TRAINING REMOUNTS, Training Regs. 360-10,
Cavalry School, A MANUAL OF EQUITATION, 1928 (translated French),
Cavalry School, ANIMAL MANAGEMENT, 1926-1927
Cavalry School, ANIMAL MANAGEMENT, Dept of Horsemanship, 1923-1924,
Cavalry School, ANNUAL REPORT OF THE COMMANDANT, 1924
Cavalry School, HORSE SHOW MANAGEMENT
Cavalry School, HORSEMANSHIP AND HORSEMASTERSHIP, 5 parts
Cavalry School, SEATS, GAITS, REACTIONS (translated from the French),
Cavalry School, MANUAL OF EQUITATION OF THE FRENCH ARMY 1912
Cavalry School, THE MILITARY (BALANCED) SEAT, P-425 WWII
Cavalry School, THE MILITARY SEAT, 1934, booklet
Cavalry School, THE RASP (annual)
Chamberlin, Harry D. RIDING AND SCHOOLING HORSES
Chamberlin, Harry D., TRAINING HUNTERS, JUMPERS, AND HACKS
D’Endrody, Lt. Col. A.L., GIVE YOUR HORSE A CHANCE
De Sevy, L., SEATS, GAITS AND REACTIONS, Cavalry School, 1930
De Sevy, L., THE GAITS THE HORSEMAN, Cavalry School
de Souza, PRINCIPLES OF EQUITATION
Devereux, Frederick L., JR., HORSEBACK RIDING
Fawcett, THOROUGHBREDS AND HUNTERS
Field Artillery School, ELEMENTARY MOUNTED INSTRUCTION; 1933,
Fillis, James, BREAKING AND RIDING
Goldschmidt Lt. Col. S.G., BRIDLE WISE, a Key to Better Hunters-Better Ponies
Goldschmidt Lt. Col. S.G., FELLOWSHIP OF THE HORSE
Goldschmidt Lt. Col. S.G., SABLEWISE
Griffith, Maj. Gen Perry B., FROM CORRAL TO CHAMPIONSHIP
Hance Lt.-Col. J.E., BETTER HORSEMANSHIP
Hance Lt.-Col. J.E., SCHOOL FOR HORSE AND RIDER
Hayes, RIDING AND HUNTING
Holmelund, Capt. Paul THE ART OF HORSEMANSHIP
Hitchcock, Captain F. C., SADDLE UP
Jackson, Noel, EFFECTIVE HORSEMANSHIP
Kendall, Lt. Paul G., POLO PONIES: THEIR TRAINING AND SCHOOLING
Lewis, Benjamin, RIDING, 1939,
Littauer and Kournakoff, DEFENSE OF THE FORWARD SEAT
Littauer, Captain V. S., COMMON SENSE HORSEMANSHIP
Littauer, Captain V. S., HORSEMAN’S PROGRESS (The Development of Modern Riding)
Littauer, Captain V. S., RIDING FORWARD
Littauer, Captain V. S. JUMPING THE HORSE
Littauer, Captain V. S., BE A BETTER HORSEMAN
Littauer, Captain V. S., MORE ABOUT RIDING FORWARD
Lyon, IN MY OPINION
McTaggart, Lt. Col. M.F., ART OF RIDING
McTaggart, Lt. Col. M.F., HANDBOOK FOR HORSE OWNERS
McTaggart, Lt. Col. M.F., HINTS ON HORSEMANSHIP
McTaggart, Lt. Col. M.F., HORSEMANSHIP FOR BOYS AND GIRLS
McTaggart, Lt. Col. M.F., STABLE AND SADDLE
McTaggart, Lt. Col. M.F., THE HORSE AND HIS SCHOOLING
McTaggart, Lt. Col. M.F., MOUNT AND MAN
McTaggart, Lt. Col. M.F., STABLE AND SADDLE
Mountbatten, AN INTRODUCTION TO POLO, Marco
Mounted Service School, NOTES ON EQUITATION & HORSE TRAINING, Saumur, 1910,
Rademan, FUNDAMENTALS OF HORSEMANSHIP
ROTC, BASIC CAVALRY MANUAL (textbook); 1930
Santini, Piero, FORWARD IMPULSE
Santini, Piero, RIDING REFLECTIONS
Smalley, Lt. Col. H. R., AN ANALYSIS OF HORSEMANSHIP
Timmis, Col. R. S. MODERN HORSE MANAGEMENT
Timmis, Col. R. S. MODERN HORSE SERIES
Timmis, Col. R. S., RIDING AND SCHOOLING
Wright, Gordon, LEARNING TO RIDE HUNT AND SHOW
Wright, Gordon, MANUAL OF HORSEMANSHIP AND HORSEMASTERSHIP
Young Ford E., ELEMENTARY HORSEMANSHIP
Young, John Richard, THE SCHOOLING OF THE HORSE

Statements like "I think I know..." (what the balanced seat is) tend to sound like people who might say "I think I know what dressage is". The posters who think that a single point like the crest release determines the difference between the H/J seat and the Balanced Seat have no idea of what they are writing about.

At least read Chamberlin, Littauer, Wright, Timmis, McTaggart, and Goldschmidt before you say, "I think I know...". To do otherwise is drivel. In the way of modern writers there are Sally Swift and Susan Harris here in the US. At least read them.

The Balanced Seat is the second most thought out and written about seat (dressage being the most developed seat) in the world of riding. It is over 100 years old (so yes, the h/j seat may be just a fad by comparison).

Also, there have been several statements about how the crest release is a dynamic position that permits a rider to follow the movement of their horse. That is nonsense. There have been statements about how eventers and h/j types are all equal as if there is some sort of “no rider left behind” program in the US. Please, it is not an issue of this discipline or that. It is an issue of mediocrity devouring American riding standards. The fact that the h/j segment has more mediocrity than the eventers ignores the fact that the horsemanship ship is sinking, and both the first class and 3rd class passengers will all drown together.

Fluffie
Jul. 24, 2005, 09:55 PM
Ok, I'm done http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif. "I think I know, but could you clarify . . . " is what some polite people say (not necessarily that exact phrase) when they want another's perspective on a topic without bluntly challenging another's knowledge. It allows one to gain other's *interpretation* of a theory to note inconsistencies or new angles in both the other person's and one's own view.

However, this situation is making me think of a line from Law & Order when the D.A. is confronted by a group of Constitutional extremists: "They did a wonderful job of memorization of the facts. Too bad they didn't learn from any of them."

Thank you for the posts that were informative.

Heinz 57
Jul. 24, 2005, 10:47 PM
I know I haven't been part of this whole discussion (thank the heavens)...

but I'll interject something - I come from an unspecific background. My instructor has done everything from gaming to hunters to jumpers to eventing and mid-level (3-4) dressage. Her primary experience would be in the jumpers as an adult, but spent quite a bit of time in her younger years eventing. Gaming was shoved in between there somewhere. We don't have big long discussions about whether or not I'm learning the 'balanced seat', or the 'hunter seat' or the 'eventing seat'. She has ALWAYS emphasized things like core strength, keeping your base solid (i.e. your leg under you), soft hands, and maintaining a lack of ducking or jumping ahead.

In my development, sure, I started out with a crest release. I didn't have the sort of independence and AWARENESS to be able to do anything else with my hands. As I progressed, though, I came to realize this - once I learned the basics, and was able to be aware of my hands and arms more, I rode each fence as I came to it. She conditioned my mind and body to think of each fence individually rather than 'this is jumping position, use it at every fence'. Whether I'm galloping down to a big oxer in stadium, or trotting my OTTB up to a log, I'm going to ride each fence as the jump requires. I'm not going up to it thinking 'ok, crest release on this one, auto on the next'. I've come to realize that alot of my skill and ability is just natural and intuition, which may be part of this. Who knows. And if anyone would like to question my abilities, I'd be happy to supply you with pictures to rip apart.

My point is, call it what you want. Good riding is good riding, and if it is effective, WHO CARES what it is called. There will ALWAYS be crappy riders, and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.

Dr. Doolittle
Jul. 25, 2005, 07:19 AM
Thank you, Heinz 57--*excellent* point(s)! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif
(Now how can anyone logically challenge what she said in her post??)

persefne
Jul. 25, 2005, 08:27 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Fluffie:
Ok, I'm done http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif. "I think I know, but could you clarify . . . " is what some polite people say (not necessarily that exact phrase) when they want another's perspective on a topic without bluntly challenging another's knowledge. It allows one to gain other's *interpretation* of a theory to note inconsistencies or new angles in both the other person's and one's own view. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Fluffie, I can understand your frustration, but please don't give up on what is a valid discussion. I think that there have been some honest and revealing posts here, and hopefully those have been helpful to you, if only in terms of perspective.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Fluffie:
"They did a wonderful job of memorization of the facts. Too bad they didn't learn from any of them." </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

One thing that seems to be very consistent with eventers (and not just here on the COTH) is that we are *constantly* reading and re-reading books, as though they are academic textbooks, to gain our knowledge and understanding, in addition to our actual riding and training time in the saddle. I cannot say whether H/J riders do (I can only assume that they do), but when an eventer (I'm generalizing here, but it's consistent with my personal experience) has a question about something theoretical or mechanical, that person goes to a text. I can't count how many times on these Eventing forums that Jimmy Wofford's book Training the 3-day Event Horse and Rider has been recommended for a number of different topics and issues. When in doubt, we tend to go to the sources, and since we don't always have Jimmy standing in our backyard to ask him, we go to his book. I think Horseguy's post is overwhelming, but it's a reaction to two things (as I see it, I'm not speaking for him): he had already extensively explained the balanced seat in several earlier posts on this thread and perhaps did not have the time or energy to repeat that, and he listed any number of "sources" for further knowledge. It did happen to come across to you as a slap on the wrist for daring to request an understanding of a "riding basic," but don't take it personally regarding everyone's feelings on here. I have been interested in your questions and your viewpoints and would like to hear more...if perhaps this thread could be turned back into the friendly query/friendly response format with which it was originally opened. I have only posted a few things, but was really interested in reading more than speaking.

Fluffie
Jul. 25, 2005, 12:17 PM
All right, since it is too hot outside to ride (first horse doesn't sweat but insists on putting out 110% http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/sadsmile.gif) and I have no will power . . . I looked back over the zillion pages of stuff, and I did find several very well-thought out explanations of the history of the balanced seat, but I was wondering about specifics/technicalities rather than the development, if that makes sense. In other words, other than the crest release, what really makes the difference (form, movement over the jump, etc.) between someone using a balanced seat and a hunt seat *in your experience* in today's world? The kind of info in the first page or two was what I was looking for (I guess that goes back to my "fixed" way of thinking; oh well http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif).

Sure, h/j peeps do read (except for the illiterate ones http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif), but I think in general we are more apt to ask the trainer for a more practical explanation; I'd think it is a sure bet that most of us lack in the historical development department. I am lucky because I have my mom's "old" horse books from when she was young, although they don't date back as far as many listed above (she'd kill me if I implied she was of that age http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif). I love to go back through them, but I never have as much time as I need . . . .

I do have to ask a question that I've always wondered: When you (the generic "you")go down a bank, do you always lean back and slip rein, or does that apply to just bigger ones? *NOW I'M NOT SAYING THAT IT IS RIGHT, WRONG, OR INDIFFERENT*; I just have always wondered. The only bank I've ever dealt with was small enough (2' 6") that I think you could stick your finger in your ear and be OK on the landing, but I was wondering what the usual way is.

OK, now laugh at my lack of will power and love of hitting-head-against-brick-wall. It makes such a nice, hollow sound . . . .

RAyers
Jul. 25, 2005, 12:51 PM
Fluffie,

Imagine the backside of a 5' vertical. It is not that you "lean back" but rather you become vertical and let the horse open up the angle. Watch the GP riders come off a big fence and then watch the upper level evneters come off a bank. They all have the same basic position. The long rein comes from allowing the horse the ability to balance and stetch down as they go off the bank.

By the way, I use both crest and automatic releases when I jump. It just depends on the fence and the speed. I learned both in my h/j days and seem to use them at the right times without deliberately thinking. I also learned the old calavry method (I started riding in the 60s).

Reed

horseguy
Jul. 25, 2005, 12:57 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">persefne: I think Horseguy's post is overwhelming, but it's a reaction to two things (as I see it, I'm not speaking for him): he had already extensively explained the balanced seat in several earlier posts on this thread and perhaps did not have the time or energy to repeat that, and he listed any number of "sources" for further knowledge. It did happen to come across to you as a slap on the wrist for daring to request an understanding of a "riding basic," but don't take it personally regarding everyone's feelings on here. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

persefne, that's right on the money, especially the "... did not have the time or energy to repeat that".

I hope people do not take my post too personally. I write from a perspective of someone in the process of saying goodbye to something they have loved for a long time. I want to leave it in at least as good condition as I found it. So, I don’t really write in response to individual posts (even though I might quote one). I write to the people who drop in and read and might never respond for whatever reason. This discussion has had nearly 3,000 hits o far, and that means there are lots of lurkers. I guess I write mostly for them because I hope they will listen and raise the standards of their own riding, and maybe even the standards of the barn where they ride. I have much greater hope of that than changing the minds of the hardcore h/j posters. I posted the book list so people can go on ebay or bibliofind.com and have a shopping list if they are interested.

America led the world in riding when the balanced seat was the highest form of riding. Our cultural prosperity caused our standards to drop, but on the bright side more people started riding. Only time will tell how it turns out. I am optimistic even though I toll the bells of doom sometimes.

One of my students brought me the August Practical Horseman this morning, and I quote from “Jumping Clinic With George Morris”:

Very few riders today graduate to the automatic release, a fact for which I blame myself as well as people like Rodney Jenkins and Benny O’Meara. We all popularized the crest release in the 1070s, never realizing it would become endemic and an end in itself.”

That made my day. I’m never going to bash George Morris again. In fact I want to say, I was not joking when I suggested earlier here that he write a new book entitled something like “Ride Like Me”. I’d love to read a book by and about a guy who was so successful, about how he learned from Gordon Wright, and most of all about how he himself rides then and now.

chism
Jul. 25, 2005, 03:48 PM
Too funny horseguy - I meant to post that to you over on EC. When I read that paragraph in PH I instantly thought of you. My first thought was something like "I can't wait until horseguy sees this" http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif
L2R

Fluffie
Jul. 25, 2005, 08:54 PM
Thanks for the insight about drops--I was just curious if they were always taken with the more open angle or just ones of a larger drop. Frankly, on the one I popped up and down, I did my usual position (plus grabbing mane http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif, but I've always wondered if I should have opened up instead. I don't have access to a bank, so for now I'll go with the popular opinion.

I'm not sure how clear my other question was (and, BTW, it wasn't addressed to anyone in particular), so I'll try this: If you look at two pictures, one of an eventer and one of a h/j going over a jump, other than the obvious clues such as type of jump, clothes, setting, etc., how can you tell if the rider is using a balanced or a hunt seat? What are the stylistic points that set them apart? When I think *good* hunt seat, I picure deep heels, closed hip angle, flat back that is parallel to the horse's neck, head up, and hands that give the horse much freedom. When I think of a balanced seat, the differences I see are a stirrup that is more home, a more open hip angle, excellent posture, and a position that tends to be a bit more defensive. Is this accurate (although, I'm sure, superficial)? What are the contrasts between these two riders in balance and position? Please, I'm just looking for differences, not which is better; the best seat to have, IMHO, is a seat on a good horse http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif.

And for the record, don't think for a second that I'm trying to imply that I meet this paragonial (dear Lord, is that a word?) image. In fact, at times . . . http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/uhoh.gif.

SashaBast
Jul. 25, 2005, 11:13 PM
***I am wondering why he has not done more to counter what you refer to as the misunderstanding of his ideas? Also, if his ideas have “morphed”, why has he not vigorously attempted to clear the record and put what he has essentially created, the hunter seat, back on the path of his original training? ****

He wrote an article in the Chronicle a few months back about this very thing. Also, like someone mentioned earilier, each month in Practicle Horseman, he encourages the automatic release and building a strong foundation. What makes me sad is there are people who read magazines like The Chronicle and see the pictures of the folks gripping with their knees, heels up, laying on the neck shoving their hands up to the ears and thing "Hey! They won the equitation division. This must be the correct way to be!" I've had one instructor use it as validation for her teaching students to grip with their knees. Of course they fall off...One thing I can say about hunter horses is they are quiet and steady. When I watch them it is so pleasent. Wish we could combine some of the hunter style with the jumper/eventer style. It just feels like somewhere along the way we got a little lost.

Judi
Jul. 26, 2005, 01:48 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Fluffie:
Thanks for the insight about drops--I was just curious if they were always taken with the more open angle or just ones of a larger drop. Frankly, on the one I popped up and down, I did my usual position (plus grabbing mane http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif, but I've always wondered if I should have opened up instead. I don't have access to a bank, so for now I'll go with the popular opinion.

I'm not sure how clear my other question was (and, BTW, it wasn't addressed to anyone in particular), so I'll try this: If you look at two pictures, one of an eventer and one of a h/j going over a jump, other than the obvious clues such as type of jump, clothes, setting, etc., how can you tell if the rider is using a balanced or a hunt seat? What are the stylistic points that set them apart? When I think *good* hunt seat, I picure deep heels, closed hip angle, flat back that is parallel to the horse's neck, head up, and hands that give the horse much freedom. When I think of a balanced seat, the differences I see are a stirrup that is more home, a more open hip angle, excellent posture, and a position that tends to be a bit more defensive. Is this accurate (although, I'm sure, superficial)? What are the contrasts between these two riders in balance and position? Please, I'm just looking for differences, not which is better; the best seat to have, IMHO, is a seat on a good horse http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif.

And for the record, don't think for a second that I'm trying to imply that I meet this paragonial (dear Lord, is that a word?) image. In fact, at times . . . http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/uhoh.gif. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Hey Fluffie. You're understanding of the differences in just the physical mechanics is pretty close to my understanding and experience. I think this is a great question and one I had to physically understand as I made the switch in seats. For a while I thought I could straddle the fence between the disciplines and take lessons from both my H/J trainer and my new event trainer. All though others on this board do it successfully I found it impossible to keep switching between the 2 styles which felt to me as follows...

Forward seat...
-stirrup length longer...
-deep in the heals...
-two point half seat somewhat off the horses back,
-closed hip angle,
-flat back
-solid crest release over each fence that allows freedom.
-Emphasis on relaxed steady rhythmic stride.

Balanced seat...
-stirrup length two holes shorter..
-half seat deep in the thigh...
-heels down but with more emphasis on very -balanced weight in the irons... (I had to work on this as I tended to death grib with my calf)
-Soft following hand contact on flat to base and over fence... allowing constant communication with horse at all times
-Emphasis on engaged rear end and quality of canter. Lots of balance of aids between leg and hand to help create a forward, balanced and engaged horse.

One thing I will say is my H/J trainer taught me to have a very strong secure base of support that allowed me to have a very independant body over fences. This allowed me to go right back to the following hand auto release I had learned as a child/teen rider in the 70's when I moved over to eventing.

I say all this with the caveat that I have only been doing this a year... and am still learning... but I wanted to give you a former H/J riders impression of what the differences feel like.

: )

CarrieK
Jul. 26, 2005, 02:54 AM
This is a great discussion. Thanks to everyone involved.

horseguy
Jul. 26, 2005, 05:48 AM
In order to allow people to increase their understanding it is very helpful to use correct terms. The talk here that “names don’t matter” and so forth is just sloppy thinking. Names matter because it is how we describe what is being used, which can then lead to accurate comparisons, and then hopefully distinctions that have meaning. From meaning, standards can be elevated or at least maintained.

Caprilli introduced the term “Forward Seat” to describe his new method. The cavalry schools of the world began to call this new seat the “Military Seat” in the 1920s & 30s. As civilians began to employ it, it became widely known as the “Balanced Seat”, which has become the proper term for this very distinctive riding method.

In the 1960’s and 70’s George Morris and others created a variation of the “Balanced Seat” which has become the dominant “English” method of riding here in the US. THis seat is called the Hunter Seat (I call it the Hunter/Jumper seat because they all use it except perhaps the highest level Jumpers). The American Hunter Seat should not be confused with the very old and traditional British Hunt Seat, lest we lose our only friends in the world, the UK.

The Balanced Seat is not some generic term used to differentiate it from say the “Unbalanced Seat”. The Balanced Seat is what lawyers call a “term of art”. It has very specific meaning and it has been in use for nearly a century. One way to describe it in relation to the American Hunter Seat is that it is free of the artificial forms that are popular with American show judges, and free of all short cuts. It is grounded in dressage and the biomechanics of unity of horse and rider.

PiedPiper
Jul. 26, 2005, 07:50 AM
I want to try and clear something up.

Horseguy, are you saying that there is never a need for a crest release and it is incorrect in all ways?

I ask b/c though he is being accused of saying htis I don't believe that he has. I think what he hs been saying, and I may be completely off base, that it is a means to and end but never was suppose to be the end product that it has become across the board.

But if I am wrong, well won't be the first time. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif

My belief is that the crest release isn't inheritedly evil but it has its place and should only be a stepping stone to the automatic. Not that both don't get done or a modified version of the two but a rider of decent competency should have both in their tool bag to choose from.

horseguy
Jul. 26, 2005, 12:47 PM
Well it is record heat here today, so I am inside and can respond at length. By the way, I want to thank the many people here who have been so civil in this discussion.

It is tricky for me to comment on the crest release because I do not want to endorse it in any way. I was taught that it was a “mistake” and I believe it still is. Now, having said that, do I make mistakes when I ride? Of course.

I consider it a defensive position. When jumping a green horse I will sometimes touch my knuckles on the neck for a very brief moment to catch myself in a mistake. On a trained horse, I will tend to touch the sides of the neck if I get a little ahead. I will let the reins slip if I get a little behind. The only time I will use a crest release in a premeditated way is on an acrobatic jumper that really swings their head way up when going over a big jump. In that situation you can receive a pretty serious bang on the nose from the horse’s neck, if your head is not off center from the neck. In that situation a rider must place their head to the side of the nck during the apex of the jump. I must admit that unlike the great military riders and other horsemen of their era, I have never been completely able to hold my head off center along aside the neck in a big jump on an acrobatic horse without a little help from my hands on the neck. So, yes, I do use the crest release in some limited circumstances.

What I am opposed to is what George Morris referred to as the “endemic” use of the crest release. It has completely become “an end in itself”, which is horribly wrong. But I do not oppose the contemporary H/J seat only because of the crest release. Decades of impractical arbitrary forms of pure fashion have become popular, and thus have been adopted as the standard in that segment of the equestrian world. The H/Jers need to return to the seat that George Morris, Rodney Jenkins, et al, actually used, and get rid of the accumulated “crust” of add on fashion statements that now surround it. Going beyond the crest release is a good start.

We need one seat in America, not a double standard. For that reason I generally oppose the use of the crest release. Here at our farm all students begin with a balanced half seat over rails and very low jumps, and then move directly to an automatic release. We will use neck straps for some students. I prefer the military web belt as a neck strap. When a student has a solid base and can go 18 to 24 inches in a balanced half seat, we work with them doing free jumping with no reins to allow them to find their dynamic hip angle (not fixed angle as a crest release will cause) over various heights and with varied horses (different hind power and back movement). The result is a rider that generally does not plateau out. They have the skills to go on, without setbacks or interruption, to long low arc jumps, high arc verticals, and combinations with bends, slopes, footing chances, on and off stride, etc. In other words they can ride.

This approach worked for the Army, for Cavalry instructors like Gordon Wright, and it works today. It does take somewhat longer, and it does require some athletic ability and strength. Lots of students here are urged to join a gym along the way, but after all riding is a sport, not a hobby.

Heinz 57
Jul. 26, 2005, 01:17 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by horseguy:
We need one seat in America, not a double standard. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Thats like saying we need one religion in America. Ideal, but not realistic.

The method you described for starting out students sounds ok to me - nothing wrong with it. I wasn't taught that way - but as I said before, I use a crest release when it is appropriate for the horse and the jump, and switch back and forth naturally without conscious decision. Bear in mind, I rarely ride a seasoned horse and when I do it is a treat; the popular mount of choice is my 5 year old OTTB, or in past years other nondescript green horses needing a good pilot over their first couple months of jumping.

I can jump with my hands on my head, holding a plateful of dirt, hands on my hips, or like an airplane. I can close my eyes, tie my reins in a knot, and flap around like a windmill while singing Row Your Boat.

I have this independence of body, and I've hit no plateau - yet I was not taught the way you describe, was not taught the balanced seat.

My point is - if, in the end, two riders who learned by different 'methods' are of the same quality, the same calibre and possess the same skill - is it so important that one learned the 'balanced seat' and the other just learned to ride?

I get the impression from you, horseguy, that you feel that your method (or rather, the 'balanced seat' method) is the only way to be a good rider. I strongly disagree with this. If my impression is wrong, my apologies.

horseguy
Jul. 26, 2005, 01:57 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">That’s like saying we need one religion in America. Ideal, but not realistic. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
Well the problem with that logic is that the effectiveness of religion, assuming the goal is to reach heaven, is unknowable. We cannot determine what the best religion might be in any logical way.

On the other hand with regard to riding, we don’t have to die first to find out how it all works out. We have years of history with a broad range of applications and information. The logical arguments for the balanced seat begin with the fact that it was developed for and used by people who literally rode as if their life depended on it, soldiers. It is the most proven seat over varied terrain, footing, obstacles and conditions. On the other hand the h/j seat is very useful to win ribbons on flat sand with a fence around it. To compare the two is not a contest.

In fact a very strong argument for the balanced seat is the success of George Morris, a student of the great Ft. Riley Cavalry School instructor Gordon Wright. George Morris won all over the world using it and he used the best. Can you see the double standard there? He doesn’t use or didn’t, the seat that you are arguing is an equal of the balanced seat.

Yes, it is an ideal, and by definition an ideal is the highest goal, even if few reach it. One high standard would be the ideal. Other top equestrian nations have one standard, why not us? It is completely realistic in many fine equestrian countries. Why is not realistic here in America? Maybe because so many people have learned this other method that it has become a very big business. Maybe the supposed equality of the seats is a financial decision or point of view based in business not on riding considerations. Maybe the h/j riders do not want to admit they have bought the ”lite” version of the real deal, and certainly the sellers of the seat do not want to admit anything that might diminish their business. It’s a theory.

What I say to h/j seat advocates is come here and ride our cross country course, then tell me if your seat is effective. We use a stadium course as a warm up, and there the h/jers do OK. After the course ride they have seen something new. When their method falls apart on jumps on slopes, in combinations with difficult landings with turns, etc. they seem to dig deep into their bag of “forms”, then it really gets difficult. It just won’t work. So, the balanced seat works fine in a stadium course and on a x-c course (not to mention polo and fox hunting) and the h/j works only in the arena. The two are more than just different. One is superior.

…man it is hot here today

imapepper
Jul. 26, 2005, 02:31 PM
Excellent posts everyone http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif It's so nice to see a discussion remain constructive http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

And horseguy: I would love to come ride your cross country course. Some of us hunter riders regularly cross over to eventing...not many...but some of us http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

subk
Jul. 26, 2005, 02:40 PM
Horseguy--I think some very good questions are being asked, but I'm not hearing very good answers. Lots of history and theory, little practical application. What exactly is the difference in the two seats? If you are looking at a rider what specifically do you see that clues you to identify which seat she is riding.

My hunch is that it has more to do with effectiveness than appearances. (Although that "posed" look is probably a good clue.) On that score is not my friend Ketchup Girl actually riding in some semblance of a Balance Seat when she is jumping with a plate of dirt in her hands? Is it even possible to ride at the upper levels without "discovering" the Balanced Seat somewhere along the way?

I would also add that I think there has been a direct correlation between hunter courses converting to all weather surfaces, all the time with the loss of an effective seat.

Also, if anyone is still interested in the OP, the head wagging is a symptom of a horse not being forward and connected. You see it often with "hot" horses whose riders are avoiding using their leg.

Sebastian
Jul. 26, 2005, 03:06 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by subk:

My hunch is that it has more to do with effectiveness than appearances. (Although that "posed" look is probably a good clue.) On that score is not my friend Ketchup Girl actually riding in some semblance of a Balance Seat when she is jumping with a plate of dirt in her hands? Is it even possible to ride at the upper levels without "discovering" the Balanced Seat somewhere along the way?
</div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Actually, I think the definition of the balenced seat has been pretty throughly defined -- although this is definitely one of those times when video would be VERY useful... http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/winkgrin.gif

And, in terms of "discovering" the balenced seat -- why? As horseguy has stated, there is a lot of history and applied theory to back up the notion that there's a very direct path to the balenced seat. So, when people want to say "Well, why can't I get there another way" -- It's sort of like saying why should I take the elevator to the top of the 30 story building when I can just go outside and scale up the sides like a mountian climber. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_eek.gif Let's face it, the elevator is proven (through history and applied theory) to be way more SAFE and effective.

I think that's why some of us get so frustrated by how quickly many riders want to throw out the methodology of the balenced seat.

JMHO,
Seb http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

subk
Jul. 26, 2005, 03:15 PM
Actually I was hoping for Horseguys comparison of the two seats. If he has already done it I've missed it.

And as for "discovering" what I meant is does not a rider adopt many/most of the elements of the Balanced Seat if they are constantly riding in situations that demand a very effective seat--such as upper level XC?

RugBug
Jul. 26, 2005, 05:23 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Judi:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Janet:
. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>While I agree the most lower level eventers could "jump around" a low level hunter course without falling off, a lot of them would not put in anything like as good a round as even the most "I just want to have fun" hunter rider. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
----------------------------


Um... maybe it's different here on the West Coast but I've seen some "scary... chippy" hunter rides at the Low AA Hunter level. Weekend warriors with very lose legs being packed around by very expensive SAINTS that seem to find thier own distances to the fences.

--------------------------
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Janet:
Maintaining an even pace, and getting 8 reasonably good spots (to say nothing of making the horse's form look good) over a hunter dourse is a LOT harder than it looks. [QUOTE]
-----------------------------------
I don't think I've ever seen a low AA level weekend warrior A circuit hunter rider do anything but sit there. (Unless they are a talented rider on their way up) If they get a chip it's because the horse missed his own spot. I typically don't see any kind of active riding by these lower "just want to have fun" riders.

I think in general both disciplines have thier share of SCARY trainers with SCARY riders. It's just that the SCARY riders in eventing end up paying for it much harder with a fall on cross country. I doubt that the typical low level AA Hunter rider could just go out and do even a a small down back or the half coffin I watched half the Novice division get eliminated at at Woodside last May. My experience has been that the unprepared weekend warriors with weak legs who are not ready for their levels find themselves on the ground or hurt when even the most Saint of a horse does a check at a ditch or water. In the low level hunter ring it's rare to see a rider come off because they are typically riding very safe school masters who seem to find thier way around. And the worst that can happen is the occasional chip. But even the lowest BN riders need to be able to trot across uneven terrain... survive a check at a water obsticle etc.

It's not that eventing's lower level folks are better.. it's just that they have to pay a bit harder when they aren't ready. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

See now...I've read five pages, have avoided hitting the "reply" button numerous times when my own H/J buttons have been pushed, but I've got to say Judi, you got me.

I know that you come from hunters and jumpers. I know you're having a blast eventing and doing well.

I also know that you were recently at an event that I watched BN XC and Novice stadium rounds (just saw then last half and not you personally...I happen to think you are a fantastic rider) of and came away thinking if those folks could get around courses looking like that, making all the errors they did, then I was doing pretty well in my little world. I didn't see ONE stadium round that would ribbon at a hunter show. Not even speaking to the horses form at all...but to the riding that was going on. Massive chips, refusals, scary long spots galore. I came away shocked because I always hear how great eventing riders are. What a reality check that was for me.

To the rest: One big point that has been missed with all the discussion of the CR is the discussion of riding courses in three point. Hunter riding has devolved (IMHO) from a quiet balanced two point in which any release is usable to a seated, driving three point in which many people launch themselves up the neck upon take off to catch up with their horse's motion.

As for what GM has done to address the CR/three-point problem: I watched him put tacks on rider's saddles so they couldn't ride in three point and launch into a 'jump' position and had to think about balance. He does the long, short, automatic exercise at many clinics. His book clearly advocates riding with no stirrups and no hands...on the longe and through gymnastics. He can't be blamed that trainers take the easy way out. It is quicker to teach the CR and not progress to the automatic. It is less liability to have people ride with both hands. I think the last time I jumped without both hands (my trainer does do a one handed thing) was at Foxfield camp while jumping bareback and bridleless.

eventable
Jul. 26, 2005, 05:56 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">I didn't see ONE stadium round that would ribbon at a hunter show. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

This may well be one of the differences between New Zealanders and Americans, but NZ eventers consistently pin in hunter classes (although things are run a little differently here). I'm going to an eventing training session this weekend, and I can guarantee I will see some off riding, long spots, trailing legs, whatever (and very likely mostly on my own account http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif). However, a number of those will be extremely green bean horses being tested out for the first time. The main difference I see in the riders is that a "good" event rider will come off a long spot or a sticky jump and it may not look pretty, but the rider goes with the horse, everyone lands together on the same side and the round continues.

ideayoda
Jul. 26, 2005, 06:48 PM
I agree with horseguy, we need to RETURN to one standard. It is not one relgion, save that of balance. Balanced riding is balanced riding whether hunters/jumpers/eventing/etc. It is the way it is in the rest of the world, and the way it was here before GM promoted crest release.

Interestingly enough it isnt just hunters which are promoting lack of complete balance via crest release. But western which now does peanut rolling, and dressage with the instant fixes of deep/rollkur, etc. Lack of balance to promote some instant results is endemic everywhere.

To say that the AA cannot ride in balance is to rob them of power. But perhaps the lack of giving them what they need is the fault of the teachers.

bornfreenowexpensive
Jul. 26, 2005, 08:37 PM
I don't think there is any difference in hunters and eventing in terms of the quality or lack thereof of riding. BAD riding is BAD riding regardless. I go to lower level events and see scary riding (and some good). I go to local hunter shows and see scary riding (and some good). I go to larger events and see very good riding (and some bad). I go to larger Hunter shows and see very good riding (and some bad). I have friends who are event riders who can walk in and win in the hunters at an A show (and DO). Many eventers DO understand how to ride a rhythem and hit a solid smooth course and CAN be competive at hunter shows. I have several friend who are h/j riders (old GM students as teens). I've taken them cross country riding and they were able to jump well through Prelm water/ bank questions with only a little help from me changing their position (basically reminding them to put their feet a little more forward for the drops). But they are GOOD riders (and would event except they have no desire to ride a dressage test --which I can understand too). They are people I wouldn't think twice about allowing on my event horse.

I think a GOOD horse person learns from all the equestrian sports and is open to learn new ideas and doesn't think that riders in their sport are the ONLY good riders out there.

I think that this thread is very interesting and I've learn a lot but it drives me nuts when people say how they saw crappy riding at a clinic, event or show and then use that to make a broad generaliztion about an entire area of riding! Not all Hunter riders are great riders or all bad riders and Not all eventers are bad riders or great riders.

I personally could not compete in hunters, I find it boring and I'm just not an anal enough person to care (same reason I couldn't just do dressage). I have to be anal in my work and I try not to let it carry over into my personal life. I like SPEED and the rush I get from x-c and no hunter trip can give that to me but I have NO doubt and can understand (at least conceptually) why someone else may prefer the Hunters. But I know I can learn from h/j riders just as they can learn from me.

I think the biggest problem--at least in the US--has been the over specialization of riders in general (which is also occurring in other aspects of life in the US). In the old days, people rode in many of the equestrian sports. Jumper riders did events and chases and event riders did the jumpers etc. Now it seems you see people who ONLY do events or ONLY do jumpers or ONLY do hunters and close their minds to what they could learn from the other sports. We have lost many of the role models of the all around horseman.

Fluffie
Jul. 26, 2005, 08:52 PM
I would like to begin by apologizing for the length of these posts (at least I'll split them up so you can skip parts if you want http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/lol.gif), but since we've all bantered around Ol' George, I thought it time to get his angle via American Jumping Style (1993). The book begins by giving a brief outline of the history of the "forward seat", progressing to the "modern forward seat". Of course, to complicate matters, Morris never uses the terms "balanced" or "hunt seat", but it is clear through his descriptions and advice to read Hunter Seat Equitation, his American Jumping Style and hunt seat are one in the same, and he does state that this is the seat he learned from Bert deNemethy, Gordon Wright, et al, and the one he promotes today. He says that "this style of riding is based on very classical concepts" and was derived from the cavalary and then modified to meet the demands of both the American hunt field and the TB horse.

Now on to new news:
Later in the book, he voices concern about negative influences on the AJS. In particular, he cites position becoming an end onto itself (which creates fads); the popularity of the warmblood, which promotes riding behind the motion and heavy aids (the Germanic school); and the lack of outside (in the grass field, that is http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif) hunter courses, which means that reminents of the old forward seat are disappearing.

He does have a section on eventing (p. 147-149--sorry guys, only three pages for you http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif--teasing). Morris explains that the position it requires followed a similar evolution to the AJS and that "Today the eventing world both uses and modifies the classic AJS;" the demands of x-c obstacles result in a rounder back and more forward leg.

Fluffie
Jul. 26, 2005, 08:59 PM
Now, as far as our favorite whipping boy, the crest release:

"Actually, a good rider should be able to execute several different releases and uses of the hand while jumping": long crest release, short crest release, and the automatic release.

Long release: for beginners and for anyone to give the horse freedom, esp. over oxers and gymnastics.

Short release: for beginners/intermediate riders, for experienced riders with green horses (for schooling situations), and for showmanship (to demonstrate obedience and to encourage horse to use himself).

When the student does not learn these intermediary releases, "he will most likely pay the price with his upper body. In compensating for what his hands are NOT doing, he will learn to duck over his fences, jump ahead, or drop back," which punishes the horse.

He does clearly state that the CR is a crutch, but it gives security and trains the hands/arms to follow the horse's motion; it is "a technique that . . . can be great when correctly used and no good if abused." The problem arises when the rider never learns the automatic release.

Moonie
Jul. 26, 2005, 09:01 PM
I am going to add my two cents to this.

As a novice level event rider, and a "novice" rider myself, only been riding for about 6 years, I know enough to see that having a relatively similar standard for jumping would be a GOOD thing (position wise). H/J people come to watch events, and people who us eventers think are good riders, because they make the times, and have good tests, the H/J's think are bad riders, due to position etc...

I go watch H/J riders, and wonder how everyone can look so alike!! Eventers almost always ride differently from one to the next, but H/J's are like plastic molds! If eventers in the lower levels had the discipline that most H/J's have it would be MUCH harder to win. Now, it is a "whoever stays on and goes the fastest wins with a good test score". It is not until you get to the upper levels where everyone rides so well, that dressage does not matter, do you see REALLY GOOD RIDEING.

Well, I am off my soapbox. (I do not think I ride good anyway. I am a "trying to do my best and not hurt my horse while making the times and scores" kinda rider.

http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

LOTS of good opinions here!

horseguy
Jul. 26, 2005, 09:08 PM
It is interesting that some people have said that I have outlined the differences between the Balanced Seat and the American Hunter Seat, and others say I have not. Someone posted video would be the answer. It would.

What I have tried to do is make the distinction between form and position, one being essentially static and the other dynamic. This is the key difference. The other is that the h/j approach to teaching seems based in the idea that riders will achieve balance through form, and the Balanced Seat people feel pretty strongly that form is the result of balance. That is a profound difference.

If the people who have said I have not provided the distinctions here think I will post a list of forms (stirrup length, wrist position, etc. which is their language, not mine), I will not. I saw that someone tried to do that, and while is seems like a way to describe the differences, it will not work because comparative lists lack the dimension of movement through three dimensional space.

Also, to those who want a more technical analysis, it is just plain tough, and it can come out sounding like a physicist describing how to throw a baseball. The true distinctions lay in the realm of art, the art of teaching, art of style, and the art of feeling each horse’s movement.

I posted the reading list of the original greats along with the contemporaries, Swift and Harris. I regret that I cannot provide a few paragraphs that adequately summarize the Balanced Seat as all of them have done in their own ways. Try this. Look at Phillip Dutton ride, not one but several horses. He rides each one a little (sometimes a lot) differently. How do I compare that kind of riding to an A Circuit show rider who turns in very uniform h/j style performances? Quite frankly I lack the ability to write it down well enough to explain it here, and it might sound nasty to H/Jers. If I could post .mpegs and had the time to edit a collage of comparisons, that might answer the people who are not satisfied. Since I cannot, why don’t some of you get some tapes and do it yourself with the help of some of the old and new books, along with some modern images? There is nothing the matter with a little equestrian scholarship.

Or think of it this way. If you ask a second year dressage rider, ”What is dressage?” you will get one answer. If you ask a 10 year dressage rider that question, you will get another answer. Then, if you ask a dressage rider who has trained in dressage for 30 or 40 years you will get still another answer (and it may sound mystical). Asking, "What is the Balanced Seat" can be a lot like that.

If you ask me what the Balanced seat is (and I have influences over 50 years that began with a cavalryman, include a couple of years on a ranch, decades of polo, enough time in the air to get a substantial frequent flyer ticket, as well as some pretty technical work) my answer would be, “For me, it is what I do.” And after all that, I still wish I could ride as well as Phillip Dutton, Pippa Funnel, Rodney Jenkins, and (for the contemporary H/Jers) Beezie Madden. In the end we are left with our own expression of the seat we adopt. My advice is to adopt the best seat you can find, study it well, and make it uniquely your own.

horseguy
Jul. 26, 2005, 09:12 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">I go watch H/J riders, and wonder how everyone can look so alike!! Eventers almost always ride differently from one to the next, but H/J's are like plastic molds! </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Moonie, you may feel like a novice rider, but your observation and composition skills are not at all novice. Your two sentences pretty much summed up my paragraphs.

Fluffie
Jul. 26, 2005, 09:13 PM
Finally, my own perspective, for what it's worth (two cents, anyone?).

As others have said, I think the problem is in trying to say one way is the *only* way while ignoring the end goal. For example, who is a better rider: Eddy Arcaro or Robert Dover? Sure, without thinking, I would probably say Robert Dover. However, how many races has Dover won? They are both great in their respective worlds, using their different seats, but one isn't "better" than the other when directly compared--Dover is the "better" dressage rider, but I'd want Arcaro (if alive) on my race horse--I need money!!! So, since there are different goals for each discipline, why would there need to be only one way? Why would Dover and Arcaro need to conform to each other's way of riding? And while this is an extreme example to make a point, there are different goals to h/j and eventing. One is to show who has the best (by show standards) hunter or jumper, and the other is to show who is the most well-rounded pair. One isn't better than the other--just different (unless you are competing in one of them http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif). Otherwise, Mr. Dover had better hike up his stirrups . . . .

BTW: I too would like to play over a x-c course, but they are very hard to come by 'round here. However, I have managed to ride over natural obstacles, have h/j lessons in a field, compete over an outside course (a rather not-flat field), and ride in a fox hunt (luckily, we didn't catch a durn thing http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/winkgrin.gif), all with my modest h/j training and my h/j friends. Strangely enough, we all stayed on quite well (except one, but I don't really like her anyway . . . ).

Fluffie
Jul. 26, 2005, 09:44 PM
I'm tired, so this may come across as a bit crabbier than it was intended, but . . .

Being a student of language (BA in English), I have been amused by the skill shown in using many words to convey little specific information the vital point http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_cool.gif. I'm sorry, but there are ways to describe very fluid processes, although it is easier to quote theories (as I have done as well). Yes, it would be difficult and time-consuming to relate every shift of weight, every change of timing. However, it can be done on a practical level, which would be beneficial for those of us not familiar with the concept. I believe that everyone so far knows what "eventing" or "dressage" are; that large a concept is not in dispute (hey, give me a minute though http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_razz.gif). But, it isn't rocket science to note the *basics* of form/position, just as it is easy to say "A dressage rider generally has long stirrups, much grip in the thigh, an active seat, an upper body on the vertical, and, in competition at the highest levels, one of those nifty jackets with tails." Therein lies my personal curiosity--what makes the balanced seat an entity into itself rather than a modification of hunt seat (or vice versa if that floats your boat)?

Oh, and hunter rounds don't have to be identical to be good. My two goofballs have radical differences in style (not jumping form, but how they negotiate a course, the picture each one presents), but they both won their fair shares, even under the same judge on the same day. In addition, one of the goals of hunters is not to appear the "same" exactly (riding facing the tail, dressed in an evening gown will be marked down, though), but to keep all movements/adjustments imperceptable. If you need to move up to a big spot, for example, no one should really notice the move--you shouldn't yell "MUSH" and flap your arms like a chicken; trainers yell when that happens (unless your horse is spooking and being a chicken, but I digress http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif). This quiteness can make the riders appear to be doing nothing more than holding a position while actually they are doing much more. My first horse could be a raving lunatic (to put it mildly) on course, but we would still place well because other than my heavy breathing, no one could tell that my arms were being slowly removed from my body. Once you watch enough hunter rounds, your eye does become sharper and able to pick out the subtlies--it's like watching a top dressage rider ask for collection: If you don't squint at the right time/spot, you won't see it happen.

(A little voice in my head just said: "Now you've done it--loosely compared hunters with dressage" [theme from Jaws fades in].) http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/uhoh.gif

madabouttheboy
Jul. 26, 2005, 10:23 PM
I wasnotwasnotwasnot going to post. And I'm probably wrong. But this is how I see it -

Hunter/jumper riding is all about how it looks.

Eventing is all about effectiveness.

Which NOT to say that h/j riders aren't effective or eventers don't look good, it's just that the focus is different.

Now I'm ducking for cover. Great thread, I have learnt heaps.

pharmgirl
Jul. 26, 2005, 10:37 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">This discussion has had nearly 3,000 hits o far, and that means there are lots of lurkers. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

One lurker here finally posting. Something in the last post finally got me to comment.

I am an aspiring eventer (only been in one unrecog. event so far), and had the opportunity to observe a day of a local hunter show that was being held at my barn. The judge was wonderful, and it was interesting to see how some things can go in a different discipline. Besides all of the falls, refusals, bad spots I saw (which the judge said was NOT a good representation), I found it very interesting that the trainer/coach could yell out things to you DURING your round. Coming from a world where many things constitute "unauthorized assistance" it was definitely somethig that took getting used to for me. I'm not sure if any of the h/j participating here can answer (or I may kind of know it myself), but does this aspect that is not available in eventing pose problems for people if they cross over? I am guessing that the h/j that try eventing already are goood enough to often "fix" things that a trainer may yell out in a hunter round, but I was just wondering if people had any issues with that mentally? (hoping not to get slammed by anyone since I'm not really heavy into any discipline yet http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif )

I've truly enjoyed following this thread and also liked getting all of the history and references that I can go look up on my own for more (thanks horseguy). When I rode as a 12 year old, if someone asked me what "seat" I rode or what style I was being taught I would have had no clue what they were talking about. All I knew then was that I was being taught to ride (I now know that it was/is a primarily eventing barn and was being taught by a now 4* rider- and ride currently there as an adult). I remember being taught things that I was told served a purpose (like sinking weight into one's heels to achieve balance over fences/terrain and use those joints as shock abosorbers, even doing lots of things w/o stirrups, IIRC http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_eek.gif ). I guess they are teaching like horseguy said in the sense that "form follows balance".

While I did note a certain type of refinement or quietness (not sure if I am describing what I thought I saw correctly or not) at the hunter show, but what I did observe was that a lot of those riders would have benefitted from the same exercises that us eventers would do to help with balance over fences, i.e. riding/jumping without stirrups, etc (which the judge agreed with me).

I think regardless of the style, certain things should be taught/practiced in order to become a better rider(in particular jumping which is what we are focusing on here), and that is the trainer's responsibility to instill that. I believe that problem of the lack of certain basics being taught can be found everywhere.

Judi
Jul. 27, 2005, 04:01 AM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by RugBug:

I also know that you were recently at an event that I watched BN XC and Novice stadium rounds (just saw then last half and not you personally...I happen to think you are a fantastic rider) of and came away thinking if those folks could get around courses looking like that, making all the errors they did, then I was doing pretty well in my little world. I didn't see ONE stadium round that would ribbon at a hunter show. Not even speaking to the horses form at all...but to the riding that was going on. Massive chips, refusals, scary long spots galore. I came away shocked because I always hear how great eventing riders are. What a reality check that was for me.
[QUOTE]

Hey RugBug how the heck are ya? Was that Twin Rivers? Oh man.. you are sooo right... The riding at that show was horrific... really bad for some reason. Thinking back I think even Rainier was really fresh.

But I think you misunderstood the intention of my post. I don't think I was trying to say that an event rider could go into a Hunter round (especially with an event horse) and beat a hunter rider. In fact it is extremely rare to see any HT stadium round that would look like a Hunter round. I was only stating that there are SCARY low level riders in both disciplines. The main difference is the Hunter riders can get away with a loser position for longer. Event riders with position and fitness issues will eventually pay pretty hard for thier unpreparedness. The people who had those scary rides you saw may have gotten away without a scrape at Twin Rivers but my guess is they eventually paid dearly for thier lack of preparation. I recently posted how surprised I was that 1/3 of the Novice division came off at the half coffin at Woodside.

But just as I wouldn't judge all Hunter riders by the Low AA Hunter classes... I wouldn't judge event riders by watching the lower level riders at that particular event.

Oh and BTW.. you know I have enormous respect for the great riders in the Hunter ring... you among them...

http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

PiedPiper
Jul. 27, 2005, 06:56 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by bornfreenowexpensive:

I think a GOOD horse person learns from all the equestrian sports and is open to learn new ideas and doesn't think that riders in their sport are the ONLY good riders out there.


I think the biggest problem--at least in the US--has been the over specialization of riders in general (which is also occurring in other aspects of life in the US). In the old days, people rode in many of the equestrian sports. Jumper riders did events and chases and event riders did the jumpers etc. Now it seems you see people who ONLY do events or ONLY do jumpers or ONLY do hunters and close their minds to what they could learn from the other sports. We have lost many of the role models of the all around horseman. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I think statement is imperative to this whole argument and what I have been lamenting for a while now. This is the problem with across the board with the horse industry now. I feel that eventing gives the foundation, teaches proper flatwork (dressage), jumping solid jumps and varying terrain (xcountry), and then navigating a designed course with fluidity and accuracy (stadium), that is no longer acheived by many outside of it. I am not saying that eventing is perfect but where many would show in everything, hunt, etc very few are doing that now adays. We are restricting ourselves to our decreed sport and then developing tunnel vision. There was a great piece in last weeks Chronicle from John Strassburger about the same thing. We need to go back to diversifying before we specialize if we want to succeed as all around riders.

Fluffie
Jul. 27, 2005, 06:59 AM
Trying to be brief . . . trying to be brief . . .

Pharmgirl--That was some show!!! My sneaking suspicion is that it was a very local affair (not that there is anything wrong with that) because local shows do tend to have their fill of "interesting" riding. http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/uhoh.gif Anyway, all the hunter trainers I've ridden with have religiously asked for work with out stirrups at all three gaits and over fences. It does help a lot, and can be fun in an S/M kinda way http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_cool.gif.

As far as the goal of hunters, my first trainer's mantra was "You have to do it well and look pretty while you do it." And I think that's why many hunter riders appear to do little more than sit there on packers--there aren't that many packers in the world!!

PiedPiper
Jul. 27, 2005, 07:02 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Fluffie:
Finally, my own perspective, for what it's worth (two cents, anyone?).

As others have said, I think the problem is in trying to say one way is the *only* way while ignoring the end goal. For example, who is a better rider: Eddy Arcaro or Robert Dover? Sure, without thinking, I would probably say Robert Dover. However, how many races has Dover won? They are both great in their respective worlds, using their different seats, but one isn't "better" than the other when directly compared--Dover is the "better" dressage rider, but I'd want Arcaro (if alive) on my race horse--I need money!!! So, since there are different goals for each discipline, why would there need to be only one way? Why would Dover and Arcaro need to conform to each other's way of riding? And while this is an extreme example to make a point, there are different goals to h/j and eventing. One is to show who has the best (by show standards) hunter or jumper, and the other is to show who is the most well-rounded pair. One isn't better than the other--just different (unless you are competing in one of them http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif). Otherwise, Mr. Dover had better hike up his stirrups . . . . </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I would argue that as there are many ways to ride in harmony with the horse on the flat, there are very few opinions over a jump. To stay with the horse and stay in harmony over the jump there really is only basically one way of doing it.

PiedPiper
Jul. 27, 2005, 07:08 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Fluffie:

I believe that everyone so far knows what "eventing" or "dressage" are; that large a concept is not in dispute (hey, give me a minute though http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_razz.gif). But, it isn't rocket science to note the *basics* of form/position, just as it is easy to say "A dressage rider generally has long stirrups, much grip in the thigh, an active seat, an upper body on the vertical, and, in competition at the highest levels, one of those nifty jackets with tails." Therein lies my personal curiosity--what makes the balanced seat an entity into itself rather than a modification of hunt seat (or vice versa if that floats your boat)?: </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Go post over on the dressage forum asking for a basic statement on what is dressage and you will be shocked about the varying statements and arguments! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif There have been discussions from that questions which ended in a cat fight where two sides had to agree to disagree. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif In other words in may be very difficult to put, in words, the feelings and nuances that make some things the way they are.

I think sometimes it is like the difference between art and porn, you may not be able to discribe it but you know it when you see it! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/lol.gif (or something along those lines. lol)

subk
Jul. 27, 2005, 07:09 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Fluffie:
I have been amused by the skill shown in using many words to convey little specific information the vital point http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_cool.gif. I'm sorry, but there are ways to describe very fluid processes, although it is easier to quote theories (as I have done as well). </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Thank you Fluffie!

Horseguy for the record I've worked on the A Hunter circuit and have experience riding at the upper levels of eventing. I have read both George Morris's "Hunt Seat Equitation" as well as studied one of my very favorites, "Training Hunters Jumpers and Hacks" by Chamberlain. I believe I know the difference in the two types of seats we are talking about, but I too have difficulty in an explicit explaination. I was hoping with your obvious knowledge you could address the specifics. I think the best thing you've written concerns the difference between fluid position and a static postion.

But I DO think there are verbal descriptions that could physically differentiate the two, and I think it would bring much usable information to the high number of readers here. I'll think on it today and maybe give it a shot this afternoon...

persefne
Jul. 27, 2005, 07:43 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by PiedPiper:
We need to go back to diversifying before we specialize if we want to succeed as all around riders. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I'll say this again for about the millionth time: PONY CLUB, PONY CLUB, PONY CLUB! I always attribute my equestrianism of today with my many, many pony club days of yester-year. Wish we had something similar that was more organized for adults starting out, since not everyone is always lucky enough to start riding at the age of 2. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

And, as a random thought but relatively on topic, when I was growing up (in PONY CLUB!) I had the opportunity to ride in all PC activities, train/show with a hunter trainer who encouraged me to ride dressage, rode with an event trainer who helped with my jumping (not just eventing, but hunter ring jumping as well), and I worked with an UL, Olympic short-listed dressage queen who helped me with the fundamentals for my event jumping and my flatwork for hunters (of course, it helped that she had been an excellent eventer/foxhunter for years before becoming a stunning dressage rider -- now SHE was diversified). Talk about a varied "upbringing"! It sure has made it a lot easier getting back into the saddle after 3-4 years off and picking right up with my dressage and jumping where I originally left off. I'm a bit rusty, but when you learn it from the get-go, you never forget.

PiedPiper
Jul. 27, 2005, 08:10 AM
Yup persefne, I posted that at the beginning of this thread. http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/winkgrin.gif There has been a huge decline in Pony Club over the last decade and I think we are starting to see the impact of it. I agree that a Pony Club for adults, something alittle more structured and challenging than the Old Folks Club, since so many of us started later or didn't have parents who understood the benefits.

To me Pony Club is like schooling, we need some kind of elementary school for riders to learn from others about basic horsemanship. There are too many kids and adults who can ride well but can't see a colic when it is happen infront of them, don't know the parts of the horse, and don't understand the impact of different bits.

Moonie
Jul. 27, 2005, 08:24 AM
horseguy, Thank you for not calling me a novice! Maybe there is hope for me afterall!

As for the PC members decline, I am going to join in September (I am under 25 by far) but being around the members at the barn I board at, has really taught me a lot. I think the problem is people get to wrapped up in what they think, and then think there is no other way to do anything. For example, the PC raters here think "Half chaps are like nails, tacks, and glue!" and should NEVER be used. Sadly, this is why a few have gotten dubbed "The PC Nazi's". I do not really mind, but opinionated people are just so hard to work with!

But in 4-H, you have some people who are national riders with 50K+ QH's, so they do anything to maintain their reputation, including needled nosebands, drugs, tyeing their heads up in trailers all night. Atleast 4-H you can do a wide variety of things.

PiedPiper, You hit is right on the head. <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content"> There are too many kids and adults who can ride well but can't see a colic when it is happen infront of them, don't know the parts of the horse, and don't understand the impact of different bits. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

But from seeing this regularly, most people who ride well know more than the ones who do not ride well and own horses, not even knowing what to feed them.

Ah, so many opinions, but only so many people who feel like listening.

RugBug
Jul. 27, 2005, 09:48 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Fluffie:
Now on to new news:
Later in the book, he voices concern about negative influences on the AJS. In particular, he cites position becoming an end onto itself (which creates fads); the popularity of the warmblood, which promotes riding behind the motion and heavy aids (the Germanic school); and the lack of outside (in the grass field, that is http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif) hunter courses, which means that reminents of the old forward seat are disappearing.

</div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Exactly. Blaming the posing seen in the hunter ring on the crest release is short-sighted. There have been many factors that have contributed to the posing seen in the hunter ranks these days.

It makes me laugh when people talk about how a hunter rider wouldn't be able to get around a XC course. Of course SOME wouldn't be able to. If you've never been asked the questions how are you suppose to know the answers? Most hunter riders these days do not ride over outside courses. Most have never gone XC schooling. Many have never seen a down bank or a water complex. To say that wouldn't make it around is probably accurate, but not because lack of skill, but because lack of practice. Is every eventer just automatically able to answer the questions a XC course asks them? No. They work on it. To try to compare someone who's worked on specific skills with one who hasn't is ridiculous and a bit intellectually dishonest. It may make a point, but is the point valid?

You simply can't compare a hunter round with a cross country round. It's comparing apples and oranges. You could compare hunter rounds with stadium rounds, but I'm pretty sure no one is going to say that a hunter rider couldn't do a stadium round and vice versa. When you compare like to like (or as like as possible) the argument becomes weak.

I have been out XC schooling once or twice (I enjoyed it but prefer the perfection of the hunter ring...plus, I don't like jumping those huge solid obstacles and I don't like speed http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/lol.gif). I quickly realized that I've got to change my position to successfully answer the questions. But important to this discussion is that I have the ability to change my position. I'm not stuck in some "pose" with no other useful techniques to call upon when necessary. Would I jump something above my skill level and succeed? Heck no. But when I stay within my and my horse's skill level (let's just call that horsemanship, shall we?) I do fine.

claire
Jul. 27, 2005, 10:25 AM
After auditing a Jim Wofford clinic last week...

One of the points he brought up in the pre-clinic talk and kept coming back to during the Stadium portion: He would expect his "Low Level" riders to be able to ride in a Green Hunter Show and "Do Well" (He said he wouldn't EXPECT them to get top ribbons because of what Hunter's ARE now?! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif)

But, was looking for the Da-Dum-Da-Dum rhythm,balance that Hunters do. Throughout the day emphasis was put on COORDINATING rather than CONFLICTING aids...GO,GO with the Leg/Seat and STOP,STOP with the Hands.

Many of the riders in the clinic were doing Training/Prelim...so, as to what Jim Wofford considers beginners/novice riders...????

As a rank beginner http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif I am probably mis-understanding his point(s)...but there was NO mis-understanding of the MUCH improved Stadium rides he had them doing by the end of the day!

I was only able to audit the Stadium Day of the clinic...I would really have loved to have gone the next day for XC...and see what changed...eg. SEAT/HANDS/RELEASE etc.

Jim Wofford is pretty amazing and I really learned so much just auditing...of course now I have MORE questions!

RugBug
Jul. 27, 2005, 10:52 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Judi:
Hey RugBug how the heck are ya? Was that Twin Rivers? Oh man.. you are sooo right... The riding at that show was horrific... really bad for some reason. Thinking back I think even Rainier was really fresh.

But I think you misunderstood the intention of my post. I don't think I was trying to say that an event rider could go into a Hunter round (especially with an event horse) and beat a hunter rider.

But just as I wouldn't judge all Hunter riders by the Low AA Hunter classes... I wouldn't judge event riders by watching the lower level riders at that particular event.

Oh and BTW.. you know I have enormous respect for the great riders in the Hunter ring... you among them...

http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Hey Judi! Yep, It was Twin Rivers. I'm glad to hear that what I saw may not be the norm. I was seriously questioning how some of those people could think they were ready for the level they were riding at. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_eek.gif

What I was responding to in your post was this statement:

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Judi:
I don't think I've ever seen a low AA level weekend warrior A circuit hunter rider do anything but sit there. (Unless they are a talented rider on their way up) If they get a chip it's because the horse missed his own spot. I typically don't see any kind of active riding by these lower "just want to have fun" riders.
</div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I'm just a local level rider so you would think that I do even less than just sit there...I wish. http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/winkgrin.gif If my horse could find my spots for me I would be soooo incredibly happy. It would take all that pressure off in the lines. I hope someday that he turns into a horse anyone can just sit on and do well. We both know that there is a lot of "sitting there", but there are some riders in the group as well. http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/yes.gif

And as for counting me amoung people you respect...heh...you should wait until you see me ride. Seeing as how I can chip with the best of them, you'll quickly realize your respect was misplaced. http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/lol.gif http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/winkgrin.gif

RAyers
Jul. 27, 2005, 11:50 AM
Rug Bug, I actually have to comment on you statement,

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">You simply can't compare a hunter round with a cross country round. It's comparing apples and oranges. You could compare hunter rounds with stadium rounds, but I'm pretty sure no one is going to say that a hunter rider couldn't do a stadium round and vice versa. When you compare like to like (or as like as possible) the argument becomes weak.
</div></BLOCKQUOTE>


At the last clinic I rode in with Jim Wofford he said to me directly, "Watch the Regular Hunters. That is what you want your cross-country round to be. If they can be quiet and flowing over 4 foot fences then you can too." Ever since then I have always compared my XC to the hunters in terms of how quiet and flowing my XC round can be, just like Jim explained to clinic Claire attended.

Reed http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

horseguy
Jul. 27, 2005, 11:51 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">subk: "I think the best thing you've (horseguy) written concerns the difference between fluid position and a static position." </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

subk, this is a really fine point, but it may help you out with this question and in your promised writing, which I look forward to. You write, “… the difference between fluid position and a static position” . Actually I wrote “dynamic position and static form”.

I came a cross this form vs. position language by way of a student that also studied ballet. Those ballet folks have thought a lot more deeply about these sorts of issues and distinctions than we in the equestrian world have. I borrowed their words ” form vs. position”, and I think it fits (please ballet dancers do not pounce on me if I have butchered their evolved language and understanding).

At any rate, it would be fun for me to read someone else’s take on this comparison. Maybe it would take someone like you with a foot in both the h/j and balanced seat world to do it justice. I am pretty biased, jaded, etc.

Beware however, there are tricky traps. The ballanced seat is more like art than science, and when you start to define you also start to limit and exclude. That is why I like the ballet language in describing these sorts of movements, and their variations and distinct differences. They seem to have a far more integrated view of movement in general than we do. I mean, without the horses would people come and pay to see us do our movements?

If the USEF were to be really creative, when they finally get around to setting standards for the American seat (assuming they want just one) they’d assemble a panel of diverse experts like physicists, ballet dancers, engineers and sculptors along with riders and instructors to set the American standard. We really need new and better words, and new approaches to describe movement. New words and descriptions may best come from outside the tradition bound equestrian world.

(edited to correct spelling)

luveventing
Jul. 27, 2005, 12:03 PM
ok. I feel so inclined to share some input on my end. I came from huntes and converted to eventing. I have to say hunter position and eventing position and the quality of the rounds SHOULD be the same. but the differences you see come from terrain and the speeds. there are times an event rider needs to slip the reins and get in the back seat to compensate for the terrain. if you put an eventing show jump round in a flat arena, it SHOULD ride and look just like a hunter round. however, people take this notion of "eventing" to say fast or horses that rush are "bold". it may be the case, but in the ideal world they are alike. we deal with more issues with our horses for bravey and some horses do naturally rush whihc of course takes a differnt ride than a quiet rythmic horse. but I have ridden MANY upper level horses that are so quiet its like riding a hunter round and in that case our position should be hunt seat based, with the expection of the terrain factor. In my opinion the fitness of the horses and the terrain makes the only difference between a hunter round and a good xc round.

RugBug
Jul. 27, 2005, 12:11 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by RAyers:
Rug Bug, I actually have to comment on you statement,

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">You simply can't compare a hunter round with a cross country round. It's comparing apples and oranges. You could compare hunter rounds with stadium rounds, but I'm pretty sure no one is going to say that a hunter rider couldn't do a stadium round and vice versa. When you compare like to like (or as like as possible) the argument becomes weak.
</div></BLOCKQUOTE>


At the last clinic I rode in with Jim Wofford he said to me directly, "Watch the Regular Hunters. That is what you want your cross-country round to be. If they can be quiet and flowing over 4 foot fences then you can too." Ever since then I have always compared my XC to the hunters in terms of how quiet and flowing my XC round can be, just like Jim explained to clinic Claire attended.

Reed http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Reed,

I think you can compare the desired effect, but you can't compare the skills necessary. The skills needed to jump a 4' combination aren't the same skills needed to jump a huge drop into a water complex. You may want the same flow and smoothness, but if you ride the drop like you do the combination, you're probably going to end up taking a bath. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

BarbB
Jul. 27, 2005, 12:31 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">“… the difference between fluid position and a static position” </div></BLOCKQUOTE>


for what is worth from a lower level, ammy, struggling to improve, kind of rider.....this is the real crux of the difference between what you see eventing and what you see in the hunter ring.
The rider that I want to be FLOWS over the jump with the horse. The critic of 'hands here', 'head there' becomes irrelevant when you watch a really good rider who appears to be a part of the horse.
Teaching 'hands here', 'feet here', 'shoulders there' obviously is necessary, but if you never progress past that IMO you become the rider who poses over the jumps rather than flows over the jump.

subk
Jul. 27, 2005, 12:47 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by RugBug:
I think you can compare the desired effect, but you can't compare the skills necessary. The skills needed to jump a 4' combination aren't the same skills needed to jump a huge drop into a water complex. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

This is where I disagree with you RugBug. This discussion is NOT about skill as much as it is about the position the rider uses when demonstrating those "skills." There is no reason in the world why a competent XC rider who uses a Balanced Seat cannot use that very same seat to demonstrate the skills necessary to produce a lovely hunter round. On the other hand a rider that uses the typical seat used in the hunter ring cannot then take that very same static seat and use it to demonstrate a skillfull XC round over varied terrain. While I beleive that there are plenty of good hunter riders that can make the switch they can't do it without making changes to the very basic way they ride. (Actually it IS possible to ride a XC round in a Hunter seat but you better hope you don't have any "moments"--which is a rarity for anyone. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif )

RugBug
Jul. 27, 2005, 01:03 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by subk:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by RugBug:
I think you can compare the desired effect, but you can't compare the skills necessary. The skills needed to jump a 4' combination aren't the same skills needed to jump a huge drop into a water complex. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

This is where I disagree with you RugBug. This discussion is NOT about skill as much as it is about the position the rider uses when demonstrating those "skills." There is no reason in the world why a competent XC rider who uses a Balanced Seat cannot use that very same seat to demonstrate the skills necessary to produce a lovely hunter round. On the other hand a rider that uses the typical seat used in the hunter ring cannot then take that very same static seat and use it to demonstrate a skillfull XC round over varied terrain. While I beleive that there are plenty of good hunter riders that can make the switch they can't do it without making changes to the very basic way they ride. (Actually it IS possible to ride a XC round in a Hunter seat but you better hope you don't have any "moments"--which is a rarity for anyone. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif ) </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

But subk, the position for a hunter rider doesn't have to change. The very goal of a hunter round is to demonstrate as little change as possible. You can't tell me that you ride a drop the same way you ride a brush jump on an uphill slope. If hunter riders were again faced with the different types of jumps, as they were when outside courses were popular, I'm sure you would see a more "fluid" position or form or whatever term you would like to use. Instead, you get eight jumps on perfect footing in a controlled environment. If you've got eight similar jumps, with no terrain issues, you don't have to be fluid. Position then becomes a focus. Not rightly, but it's what evolves.

It's like being a golfer and only ever hitting off the same tee box. You don't learn how to putt, or how to curve the ball or how to do whatever else it is that golfer's do. There's no point. The shot is always the same, so you only use that one stroke. In hunters the shot is always the same (minus the horse variables...which can be huge, but can also be dealt with invisibly by good riders) so only one position is being used.

It's very possible I'm the person that horseguy is referring to when he says hunters riders view everything in terms of position. Who knows. But I feel if I wanted to do eventing, it wouldn't take much for me to start at the lower levels...and I wouldn't embarrass myself, my horse or my trainer.

subk
Jul. 27, 2005, 02:27 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by RugBug:
It's like being a golfer and only ever hitting off the same tee box. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Yes, that would be the problem. If all you can do is hit and 80 yard chip shot from the same lie to the same green and get it with in one yard of the pin eight times in a row make does that make you a good golfer if you never practice putting, using a driver or a fairway iron? Even if there is this whole competitive circuit where people only hit 80 yard chip shots? Are you a good golfer?

If everybody who learned the "hunter method" stayed in the hunter ring that would be one thing. But that is not the case. The disciplines bleed into each other--a lot. Many, many people who start at a hunter barn, learn the basics and go do other kinds of riding. And they do it thinking that because they can hit that 80 yard chip shot that it has made them "good riders" when all we know is that has made the "good riders in very limited circumstances" and we're about to change the circumstances.

Now the argument I hear is that "we are doing our own thing, if you don't like it go find another sandbox." That's all well and good, but no matter how much the hunter world would like to exist in a vacuum, it does not. The results are that the quality of all other jumping disciplines are lowered because it is just NOT so easy to change the basic way you ride as you apparently like to think it is. Decades later, I for one, still struggle with upper body issues when I'm doing upper level eventing that are the remnants from lessons learned very early in my career at a big time hunter barn!

If the Hunter world would say, "yes, we recognize what we test in competition is very limited but we are willing to demand our riders ride and not pose yet still meet our high demand for detail" over time the quality of riding in EVERY discipline would be elevated. And THAT is the thought behind having National Standards.

RugBug lest you think I'm being mean and rude I will happily grant you that the Hunter scene's worst riders (IMO) are much better than the eventing scene's worst riders. My personal opinion of much of the event riding I see is that I'm not terribly impressed. And if the Hunter world could figure out a way to kill all the posing I'd tell half the event riders to go learn a few things about how to make an 80 yard chip shot at your shows! 'Cause Lord knows we need a lot of help with our approach shots.

(You really shouldn't have started the golf analogy--once upon I time I had to pick between golf and horses...)

horseguy
Jul. 27, 2005, 02:49 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">supk: If the Hunter world would say, "yes, we recognize what we test in competition is very limited but we are willing to demand our riders ride and not pose yet still meet our high demand for detail" over time the quality of riding in EVERY discipline would be elevated. And THAT is the thought behind having National Standards. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Very well said subk.

And I want to thank the poster who got me thinking of golf as a vibrant dynamic sport. I always thought of it as pretty boring. All it took was a comparison with hunters to open my eyes. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif OK, OK just kidding

Fluffie
Jul. 27, 2005, 03:21 PM
I think there is some misunderstanding (duh) about the h/j position from some of the posters who believe that it can't be used outside the ring. Yes, a certain position is drilled into habit (heels down, heels down, eyes up, heels down . . .), but that is for *beginners* just learning how to ride. Once a level of competence is reached, the rider does not have to strictly conform to a certain position no matter the circumstance or have his/her head chopped off (now, there would be a threat to raise the national standard of riding http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/yes.gif). The position does adapt, and adapts effectively for a competetent rider (yes, too many "e"'s there). Not that I'm setting the world on fire by any stretch (and don't claim to be all that and more), but I've won my share of eq. over fences and on the flat on two different horses (and was the local state champ. on each). Each horse, neither of which is a packer, required a different ride and hence, a different position. On First Horse, I had to keep my leg out ahead of that shoulder, hip, heel line, sit with a deep three-point contact, and keep my shoulders on the vertical (picture Fred Flintsone stopping his car). On Second Horse, I am much softer--leg underneath more, up in two-point (he doesn't like a lot of weight at the canter), and soft, barely-there hands (closer to the standard position except for my always too-long reins http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif). So why were both positions rewarded at local and rated shows? Neither position varied dramatically from the "normal" (just to a different degree), each was smooth, and each was effective for the horse I was sitting on (and they did notice that First Horse could be a "trick", except for the couple who wanted to buy him because he was such a quiet horse http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/uhoh.gif). And yes, some adaptations would be needed to head out over yonder hill 'n' dale, but not massive ones. The main things I remember about my forrays into the wilds of the outdoors were that my leg would scooch forward while going downhill, and I would do basically two-point up steep hills--hardly major changes to the foundation of my position. Now, I don't imagine for a second that I could go out and ride Rolex any time soon http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_eek.gif, not from position "flaws" but because that would demand a specialized set of skills that I don't know (which isn't a source of pride, just a lack of opportunity).

Ok, to focus the example of the "one standard seat" (which, oddly enough, actually equates to the "No Child Left Behind Act", otherwise known as the "How Can the Gov. Screw Up Education in New and Exciting Ways Act") for jumping: Do you guys alter your seat, balance, position, pinky toes http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif when going from steeplechase to the Phase D (Did I get that right? I can't remember the word for the phase were you fling off of cliffs--the x-c phase http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/uhoh.gif)? Ok, if you do, then would that be permitted under a National Seat? If you do, wouldn't that be because one is just an alteration of the other used to suit a different purpose? So, why couldn't h/j be just an alteration of the balanced seat used for the specific purpose of showing a hunter on the flat? And as far as there being only one way to jump--what about the Ye Ol' English Hunt Seat? The steeplechasing/timber racing seat? What about Bill O'Merra (gosh, I hope that's his name--please correct if not), who was one of the best hunter riders in the golden era but whose seat could be best described as a "praying mantis": I'll try to find a picture of him, but he had a tremendous knee pivot and hands that floated in front of his face rather in any kind of "documented" release. Holy cow!! Maybe that's where that came from http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_confused.gif.



Oh, as for the h/j trainers that yell out during courses--YUCK!!! That does drive most of us nuts--if you can't ride one dang course without handholding, put your horsie away. Usually, most trainers stay quiet unless the rider is heading for *major* disaster, and frankly, many riders tune out the trainer anyway due to concentrating.

Fluffie
Jul. 27, 2005, 03:41 PM
Dear Lord, do people really believe there is that much posing in h/j shows? Yes, there is some, especially when the rider doesn't move up to a more-challenging level and simply hangs around for ribbons (yuck--and then the real riders stick pins in a little voodoo doll . . .), but it isn't nearly as epidemic as it is made out to be. Yes, after a certain point, the challenge of a hunter course isn't the riding per se, but instead is presenting *the horse* as an ideal, showing *him/her* off to *his/her* best advantage. But in the eq. classes, the riding is challenged (if the class is appropriate to the rider), esp. in the junior classes (the adult classes tend to be less challenging on the assumption that we're feeble-minded and easy to break http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif). The eq. classes do take riding--broken lines, combinations, lines *not* set on the 12-ft. stride, skinny jumps (sometimes just half of a rolltop sans wings), bounces, rollback turns, and novelty jumps; the classes with tests/ride-offs often include additonal trot jumps, no stirrups, flying changes at certain places (not just heading across the diagional), counter canter, and switching horses (more common until the insurance companies became nervous). Some of the big eq. (and ask one of the riders of them for a better description)include a jumper phase, which is timed. In addition, most eq. horses aren't exactly "packers"--they are just very, very, VERY well-schooled. I have yet to see a horse that can study a course diagram, descide to do a long three stride instead of a tight four to set up for the triple bar, then come back for a rollback to a skinny without rider input. So while some are definitely just loping around on saints, don't paint with such a wide brush.

RugBug
Jul. 27, 2005, 04:07 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by subk:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by RugBug:
It's like being a golfer and only ever hitting off the same tee box. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Yes, that would be the problem. If all you can do is hit and 80 yard chip shot from the same lie to the same green and get it with in one yard of the pin eight times in a row make does that make you a good golfer if you never practice putting, using a driver or a fairway iron? Even if there is this whole competitive circuit where people only hit 80 yard chip shots? Are you a good golfer?

</div></BLOCKQUOTE>

If the sport of golf was about that 80 yard chip shot, then yes...you would be a good golfer. And if you could do it with a club or ball that had a mind of its own...you would be a great golfer. http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/winkgrin.gif

The sport of show hunters is not about riding in the open, over uneven terrain. If it was, I would happily tell you that a whole lot of us suck. http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/lol.gif It has evolved to something in its own right. Hunters are so specialized that they don't even resemble their ancestors. I don't necessarily think that's a bad thing. Horses went from being all around joes to the gorgeous stylists you see today. Gone are the days when any horse that jumped 3'6" could be competitive in the hunters.

Position evolved (or devolved...if you must) along with style. There is a whole generation of riders who have never ridden outside of the ring. They have no idea they might not know how to ride cross country. A whole lot of people have never been on a trail ride, have never ridden a horse up or down a hill. But in reality, they don't need to for their sport. I only see a problem coming up if these people think they are the end all be all in riding. They're in for a rude awakening once they leave their manicured arena.

No one "seat" has the corner market on correct riding. They have what is useful and practical for their purposes, but what might not fit with another discipline's purpose.

I do agree that hunter/eq rider education has gone down hill. But I don't blame H/J for it. I blame lazy trainers, sue happy parents, inflation, and a culture that survives on instant gratification. Those that work hard at their craft will continue to progress...no matter the obstacles. They will seek out high quality instruction. They will learn from other disciplines. Those that don't want to learn everything they can, won't.

A hunter rider with the proper basics is going to be able to transition between disciplines by adding to their skills...not learning a whole new set. Whether or not proper basics are taught these days is the downfall of the trainer...and not the
system.

bornfreenowexpensive
Jul. 27, 2005, 04:09 PM
Ok--it could be just me but it seems like people are talking past each other and I'm just trying to understand. I have NO idea what kind of seat I have (not a good enough one as far as I'm concerned)--I was just taught to ride the horse I was on in the most effective quiet manner possible (and am still learning). I take things people say, try them and use the stuff that works for me and a particular horse.

Someone help me understand--could it be that some Hunter riders actually ride with a "balanced seat"--meaning they reach a sophisticated level of riding and are as dynamic in their riding as a good event rider--or for that matter a good jumper or racer etc.... What seems to be the issue is the road that people take to get to that point--the school of the "Balanced Seat" or the form of AJS. I think the point being that the ultimate goal of effective riding is the same but the method to which people get there is different. (Whether you are being judge by a perfect 4' hunter round or running around Rolex--both require effective riding).

By national standard-- do people mean the method to teach effective riding? In which case, I do not think there should be a national standard (Balanced or otherwise) but a system of rating trainers--a good trainer adapts and changes what they say and how they teach and produces effective riders (riders who can get on any horse and improve that horse)--perhaps they use elements of many schools of riding. Each person learns differently so a unform method of teaching may not work for everyone. Some learn by feel others by understanding concepts--and some just don't learn at all...

just my two cents.

Judi
Jul. 27, 2005, 05:08 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by RugBug:

What I was responding to in your post was this statement:

[QUOTE]Originally posted by Judi:
I don't think I've ever seen a low AA level weekend warrior A circuit hunter rider do anything but sit there. (Unless they are a talented rider on their way up) If they get a chip it's because the horse missed his own spot. I typically don't see any kind of active riding by these lower "just want to have fun" riders.
</div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I'm just a local level rider so you would think that I do even less than just sit there...I wish. http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/winkgrin.gif If my horse could find my spots for me I would be soooo incredibly happy. It would take all that pressure off in the lines. I hope someday that he turns into a horse anyone can just sit on and do well. We both know that there is a lot of "sitting there", but there are some riders in the group as well. http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/yes.gif

QUOTE]

Ah... now I understand what got ya. I was only referring to the Low AA "Weekend Warrior...Just want to have fun" Hunter riders and I qualified that among those were "talented riders on their way up to the higher ranks". These are the folks who only ride on the weekend... who have thier trainers ride thier horses in warm-up classes and pretty much just hop on thier mount at a show... jump a few warm-up fences then do their round and hop off. A number of them were really just Pony kids Mom's just wanting to have a little fun too. Problem for them is that they just don't or can't put in the time to develop any kind of muscle strength or fitness and therefore are content to sort of gallop around 9 fences on the weekend. Sort of the grown up version of the beginner pony kids. Now you can imagine how I'd feel these ladies might fare at a down bank when they get off balance with a simple chip. These ladies seem to have real expensive saint horses that seem to be the counterpart to thier pony brethren and pack their owners around. This would NEVER be you.. that's for sure.

So when are you going to take a ride on the wild side and do a HT? Awwww come on it would be fun.. and you'd ROCK!!!!

subk
Jul. 27, 2005, 06:51 PM
I will now try to explain in more specific detail what I envision as the physical differences between the seat commonly now taught that was brought to us via the Hunter Ring (HS) verses what is referred to as the "Balanced Seat" (BS.) The Balanced Seat being a more effective method for riding at the upper levels of eventing. I hope Horseguy and others feel free to correct any areas in which they disagree and/or can explain more clearly! This is a work in progress and I maintain the right to change my mind. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Here goes:

Base of support:
I find that the Hunter Seat tends to focus on the "measurement of the angle," be it how deep the heel is or how far the toe turns out. In a BS the depth of the heel will be constantly changing--dropping and rising with each stride in rhythm. It would even be acceptable for the foot to be flat at a given moment in the stride. (Riding with the foot "home" in the stirrup is NOT particularly BS but a concession made for added insurance that the foot does not slip from the stirrup while riding upper level XC.) The depth of heel and its change is not an end but the result of a soft flexible ankle that is responding to constant calf pressure that is active with each stride. Chamberlain calls it "active." Jim Graham calls it "snuggling." Because the calf is active in rhythm and conversation with the horse, both the knee and the toe will be slightly pointed out as it must be for proper calf placement. This is a result, not a place to "put" your toe. Just as "putting" your heals down without the active calf missed much of the point.

Knee:
Since the calf is actively on the side of the horse the side of the knee used when thinking of "knee grip" does not have effective purchase on the saddle. BS riders don't do a lot with knee grip. In fact, I don't know many really good event riders that spend much time "riding without stirrups to improve their seat." (Yes, I know Wofford has Hell Week in which you are longed w/o stirrups, but that is because of all the exercises like "Around the World" that you are doing cannot be done with stirrups. Hell Week is about balance and core strength not grip.)

This is a major difference in the two positions: how much does grip play as opposed to efficiently balancing the body over the stirrups. HS prides itself on riding stirrup-less--don't they still do this in Eq. Finals? But here is the problem, riding without stirrups tends to make you pinch with your knee, when you pinch with your knee you loose proper calf placement as well as shortening the downward pulsing action of the leg. If you're really good, you CAN post and/or jump without pinching the knee but you have to increase calf pressure which adds a tremendous amount of static noise in that conversation your calf is having with the horse. My sensitive upper level horse would throw me on the ground, step on me, then laugh if tried to post or jump without stirrups. I'm not saying that having some knee grip in you're bag of tools can't come in handy. What I am saying, is that in no way, shape or form does grip determine position. The other bad thing about knee grip is that it creates a point of pivot that can easily lead to the foot swinging back. The single greatest sin that can be committed by a BS rider is for the stirrup to move to a position that is no longer between the rider and the center of the earth (gravity.)

Knee angle:
HS riders across the board tend to ride in a longer stirrup, which is helpful if any of your security comes from knee grip. I was flipping through Chamberlain's book and was amazed at how short they were riding in the photos. A BS rider will also adjust the length of stirrup to the height of fence--higher jumping, shorter stirrup. I ride as much as 4 holes different when jumping 4' as opposed to 2'6".

Torso:
The angle of inclination of upper body over the fence, which is also related to stirrup length, is one of the biggest visual clues to a HS/BS rider. The amount a hip closure for the BS is only as much as the horse's thrust off the ground creates. A rider jumping a 2' fence has almost ZERO hip closure, i.e.. their upper body does not incline much further than what it was a stride before take off. As the horse jumps higher the angle becomes greater as the thrust becomes greater. A classically BS rider would not have their upper body parallel to the horse's neck until well over 3' if at all. They would also have complete control over the angle of inclination and would be able to adjust it more upright for add security. (Which is extremely difficult if you ever get indoctrinated riding HS.)

Now THIS is where I see what I call "posing." Because yes, almost every single hunter rider I see jumping 3'3" and lower has their upper body parallel to the neck. THAT is A LOT of posing. For the record many, many eventers at BN, N and T are doing it too. This is the "bleeding" of the position to other disciplines I referred to in an earlier post. When the stirrup is long and the upper body is parallel to the neck there is no way in God's green earth a rider is "balanced" over their feet. If the rider is not balanced over their feet, then they are relying on grip.

The result of shorter stirrups over higher fences is that it naturally places the hips farther behind the knees/feet which compensates the balance of the more parallel/forward body position created by the stronger thrust off the ground.

Back:
The BS rider never "arches their back." Arching the back tips the pelvis forward and messes with balance--both on and off the horse! BS rider should have a flat back with their tail bone in the "tucked" position. The pelvis in this position will help the rider have more control of the angle of inclination.

Release:
I think plenty has been said about the crest release vs. the automatic or following release. The BS rider's hands are independent because of the strong base of support, and he can place his hands where ever he desires.

And before anyone says it, I am well aware that many of the specifics I discussed are viewed as "good riding" by proponents of both seats. But I do think that some of the differences are clear.

For anyone still reading this:
I thought my background might help explain my view point. I began my serious riding at a nationally known A circuit Hunter establishment. After a year or so I moved to a barn and trainer that focused on Pony Club. (I'm a graduate B http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif) Trainer (and now mentor) is a student of Jim Wofford's (who I've cliniced with extensively) and she edited the rough draft of his book. I have evented through the CCI** level and when riding at the upper levels train with Jim Graham. I also spent 2 summers managing a barn on the road for a (different) nationally known Hunter trainer--now judge--that was campaigning 5-6 juniors for Medal/Maclay Finals. I am not currently involved in Hunters except to occasionally use one of the 4 or 5 local A shows for schooling as well as local schooling shows which are heavily attended by barns/trainers/programs who compete on the big circuit as well.

Whew...

Edited for typos...

horseguy
Jul. 27, 2005, 09:09 PM
If I knew how to make those “I am not worthy” smilie faces, I’d put a string of them here.

I have one general comment that may be negative, but it is not about what is written, but rather about how subk’s piece may be read by someone locked into the “form dictated’ approach to riding. In addition to being too lazy to do what subk has written here, I have resisted this sort of breakdown because some riders might think that if they isolate all the forms described here, and a few others yet to be mentioned, that they could adopt those forms, and then have a Balanced Seat. The truth is that the whole of what some may read as forms here will not equal the balanced seat. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Why? Because, as some have posted, of the focus on effectiveness for one. Because there is no single rule for the application of these forms, for another. There are a lot of “It depends on…” qualifiers that will determine the correct mix of what readers may read as forms, as well as the degree of their application. I have found that “it depends’ doesn’t go over well with many h/j style riders.

Having said that, and once again great writing subk, I will add my 2 cents. I have put my comments in CAPs in [brackets] to make my comments clear, and I have used [[[brackets to indicate what I would remove]]].

Base of support:
I find that the Hunter Seat tends to focus on the "measurement of the [A FIXED] angle," be it how deep the heel is or how far the toe turns out. In a B.S. the depth of the heel will be constantly changing--dropping and rising with each stride in rhythm. It would even be acceptable for the foot to be flat at a given moment in the stride. [[[(Riding with the foot "home" in the stirrup is NOT particularly BS]]] [RIDING WITH THE FOOT HOME WAS A THE BASIC MILITARY STANDARD, MOSTLY DUE TO THE USE OF WEAPONS FROM THE SADDLE. ENLISTED MEN WERE TAUGHT THIS “HOME’’ METHOD FOR RAW SECURITY, WHILE “MODERN” OFFICERS - RODE MORE ON THE BALL OF THE FOOT] [[[but a concession made for added insurance that the foot does not slip from the stirrup while riding upper level XC.)]]] The depth of heel and its change is not an end but the result of a soft flexible ankle that is responding to constant calf pressure that is active with each stride [ONE OF THE MANY DYNAMIC ELEMENTS]. Chamberlain calls it "active." Graham calls it "snuggling." Because the calf is active in rhythm and conversation with the horse, both the knee and the toe will be slightly pointed out as it must be for proper calf placement. This is a result, not a place to "put" your toe.

Knee:
Since the calf is actively on the side of the horse the side of the knee used when thinking of "knee grip" does not have effective purchase on the saddle. BS riders don't do a lot with knee grip [NONE REALLY EXCEPT IN MOMENTS OF EMERGENCY ACCORDING TO MILITARY MANUALS]. In fact I don't know many really good event riders that spend much time "riding without stirrups to improve their seat." (Yes, I know Wofford has Hell Week in which you are longed w/o stirrups, but that is because of all the exercise like "Around the World" that you are doing cannot be done with stirrups. Hell Week is about balance and core strength not grip.) [RIDING WITHOUT STIRRUP OR REINS ARE METHODS TO HELP A STUDENT “FIND” THEIR SEAT AS OPPOSED TO ACCOMPLISHING THIS BY DICTATING A FORM]

This is a major difference in the two positions: how much does grip play as opposed to efficiently balancing the body over the stirrups. HS prides itself on riding stirrup-less--don't they still do this in Eq. Finals? But here is the problem, riding without stirrups tends to make you pinch with your knee, when you pinch with your knee you loose proper calf placement as well as shortening the downward pulsing action of the leg. If you're really good you CAN post and/or jump without pinching the knee but you have to increase calf pressure which adds a tremendous amount of static noise [I USE THEIS TERMINOLOGY OFTEN] in that conversation your calf is having with the horse. My sensitive upper level horse would throw me on the ground, step on me, then laugh if tried to post or jump without stirrups. I'm not saying that having some knee grip in you're bag of tools can't come in handy. What I am saying is that in no way shape or form does grip determine position. The other bad thing about knee grip is that it creates a point of pivot that can easily lead to the foot swinging back [YES INDEED]. The single greatest sin that can be committed by a BS rider is for the stirrup to move to a position that is no longer between the rider and the center of the earth (gravity.)

Knee angle:
HS riders across the board tend to ride in a longer stirrup, which is helpful if any of your security comes from knee grip. I was flipping through Chamberlain's book and was amazed at how short they were riding in the photos. A BS rider will also adjust the length of stirrup to the height of fence--higher jumping shorter stirrup. I ride as much as 4 holes different when jumping 4' as opposed to 2'6". [ACTUALLY THE MILITARY RULE WAS UP TO 3 FOOT JUMPS YOUR STIRRUPS WERE AT A LENGTH THAT WOULD ALLOW YOUR FIST TO BE PLACED BETWEEN YOUR CROTCH AND THE SEAT WHILE FEET WERE LEVEL IN THE IRONS. THEN IT WAS ONE HOLE SHORTER FOR EVERY FOOT OVER 3 FEET. BUT THESE WERE RULES OF THUMB, NOT STRICT DIRECTIVES. I FOR EXAMPLE TEACH THAT LONGER STIRRUPS AIDS IN BALANCE WHILE SHORTER AIDS IN TIMING. THE HORSE I AM RIDING, THE FOOTING, THE TERRAIN AND OTHER FACTORS MIGHT CAUSE ME TO ADJUST FOR THE SITUATION IN ORDER TO ACHIEVE A MORE SOLID SEAT ON A PARTICULAR HORSE.

Torso:
The angle of inclination of upper body over the fence which is also related to stirrup length, is one of the biggest visual clues to a HS/BS rider. The amount a hip closure [WHICH MAY RANGE FROM PERHAPS 60 DEGRESS TO 110 DEGREES – NEVER FIXED] for the BS is only as much as the horse's thrust off the ground, [HEIGHT OF JUMP, AND SLOPE AT TAKEOFF] [[[creates]]] DICTATES. A rider jumping a 2' fence has almost ZERO hip closure [GENERAL HUMBERTO MARALIES MIGHT HAVE SAID 3’] , i.e.. their upper body does not incline much further than what it was a stride before take off [EXCELLENT POINT]. As the horse jumps higher the angle [MAXIMUM ANGLE IN THE DYNAMIC RANGE FOR A PARTICULAR JUMP] becomes greater as the thrust becomes greater. A classically BS rider would not have their upper body parallel to the horse's neck until well over 3' [WELL OVER 4 FEET] if at all [NOT TO BRAG BUT TO PROVIDE PERSPECTIVE, I RIDE DAILY OVER 3’ JUMPS, SOME WITH SUBSTANTIAL WIDTH, IN A NEAR VERTICALE HALF SEAT]. They would also have complete control over the angle of inclination and would be able to adjust it more upright for add security. (Which is extremely difficult if you ever get indoctrinated riding HS.) Now THIS is where I see what I call "posing." Because yes, almost every single hunter rider I see jumping 3'3" and lower has their upper body parallel to the neck [AND THIS IS WHERE THEY LOOSE CONTROL OF THEIR HORSES ON AN X-C COURSE]. THAT is A LOT of posing. For the record many, many eventers at BN, N and T are doing it too [I ALWAYS ASSUME THESE ARE FORMER H/J RIDERS]. This is the "bleeding" of the position to other disciplines I referred to in an earlier post. When the stirrup is long and the upper body is parallel to the neck there is no way in God's green earth a rider is "balanced" over their feet [AMEN]. If the rider is not balanced over their feet. And then they are relying on grip. The result of shorter stirrups over higher fences is that it naturally places the hips farther behind the knees/feet which compensates the balance of the more parallel/forward body position created by the stronger thrust off the ground.[SUBK, YOU KNOW YOUR STUFF]

Back:
The BS rider never "arches their back." Arching the back tips the pelvis forward and messes with balance--both on and off the horse! BS rider should have a flat back with their tail bone in the "tucked" position [READY IN A SPLIT SECOND TO GO DEEP INTO THEIR HORSE ON LANDING A JUMP]. The pelvis in this position will help the rider have more control of the angle of inclination.

Release:
I think plenty has been said about the crest release vs. the automatic or following release. The BS rider's hands are independent because of the strong base of support and he can place his hands where ever he [[[desires]]] [NEEDS TO].

And before anyone says it, I am well aware that many of the specifics I discussed are viewed as "good riding" by proponents of both seats. But I do think that some of the differences are clear.

Whew... [I‘LL SAY…STANDING OVATION!]

Thanks so much subk. I am off in the morning for the beautiful Midwest for several days. I will try to get a peak at this discussion as I travel. This thread may be one of the best uses of the internet “by the people” that I have witnessed. See you later.

Fluffie
Jul. 27, 2005, 10:57 PM
WOW!!! Standing ovation indeed http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/yes.gif http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/yes.gif. The last two posts are very, very informative and create a very good picture of a balanced seat. Thank you very much for the lesson. So, because of your great descriptions, go ahead and smack me for saying this http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/uhoh.gif, but what you describe is what I've always been told/read from the h/j perspective is modifications that eventers make to h/j to adjust to varied terrain and eventing questions. Not wrong, not violating some sacred principle of whatever, just evolution for a purpose, as is the show ring positon.

The one interesting thing I notice from your very insightful description is a notion that in hunt seat there are these set-in-stone numbers (angle size) and positon checks that, if not adhered to, result in instant death from somewhere, and that as a result we are blindly following along. Frankly, I am sure that this is the case in some barns, including successful ones, but they are the result of trainers trying to mass produce riders rather than trainers who do take in individual limitations/abilities/idosyncrities of the horse and rider. For example:*

1. Yes, there are some guidelines for angles, but that is what they are--guidelines, not set-in-stone equations. Generally, there should be a 90% angle behind the knee while jumping, and the toes should be out no farther than 45%. However, trainers and judges don't carry protractors and measure these things; they are guides to judge stirrup length (the knee angle) and not riding with the back of the calf (which is generally too strong and bad when spurs are used). But, if you look through the example pic's in Hunter Seat Equitation, there are examples of very, very successful eq. riders who have greater and lesser angles than the norm due to conformation (their's or the horse's). So these angles are not fixed, just reference points.

2. I have never, never, never had a trainer/book mention a specific angle for the heel depth. Yes, bendy people are often rewarded, but not if their leg is all over the place or they can't find a distance, "no ribbon for you". The angle is expected to change in response to the horse's movement (shock-absorbtion), but not to an excessive degree (none of that weird, broken-ankle stuff as some dressage riders do). In fact, one of the "fixed" positions so to speak is that the stirrup stay perpendicular to the ground, which may necessitate the leg moving back or forward (many successful eq. riders' legs move forward to catch their weight on landing from one jump while beginning, in air, to execute a rollback turn using an auto release (I have seen it, I promise!!!)). That seems to correlate to your mention of keeping the foot between the body and the ground--a very noble idea and worthy goal http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif.

3. Yes, we do loff riding without stirrups because it is/should be a strength-building exercise, strength as in not dieing after riding many classes, not strength as in muscular grip to stay on. This is one topic I learned about the hard way--I rode a lot w/out stirrups at the posting trot and then had trouble getting my weight into my heels (for balance, not effect) because of too much grip in the calf. I do believe this is a common problem with h/j riders (not a flaw in the seat's theory, just overzealousness in its application). I would guess that almost a majority of h/j riders do have too much knee grip, which does cause a swinging leg and balance problems, and that grip contributes to laying on the neck. Hey, we agree!!! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif Now, let's all go into government and solve problems there too http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/yes.gif. I do think one of the two benefits of limited work sans stirrups is to learn to allow the horse's thrust to move the rider's body out of the saddle, posting and jumping, because it is darn hard to do too much heaving out of the saddle without the horse's aid. The other benefit, and the reason why it is a test in the ring, is to learn to *keep going* and not stop mid-course if a stirrup is lost. Stopping dead to fish for a stirrup in the middle of a hunting run would be such an un-brilliant idea . . . . But don't forget that we agree!!

4. Goodness gracious, another commonality: stirrup length does vary!! I've never heard any fixed rules on height, but the stirrup is supposed to shorten as fence height increases. Many riders start shortening when they start jumping 3' 6".

5. Rats, we were on such a roll . . . I've never heard of a specific hip angle to aim for in terms of numbers, and I have heard conflicting opinions on the upper body being parallel to the horse's neck. The guideline I've heard most consistently is that you should never be closer to parallel--that's ducking or throwing yourself at the horse, depending on sideways movement. But, that is a guideline used when determining if a fault has occured. I have always heard that the horse's thrust is the determining factor--the rounder the jump, the more closed the hip angle. First horse didn't close my hip much (and I actually opened up "too early"--the guideline is that you maintain the angle until the horse's front feet contact the ground; we don't have to contend with drops, remember--to be able to more quickly retard First horse's motion. Second horse wants me to stay closed and *off* or he'll rub the fence behind). That's where posing does come in to play, absolutely. The pro's started laying on the neck to tell the judge "See how stunningly round my horse jumps." Does this fool the judges? Not the good ones, but I guess that it fools enough amateurs that they think it is ok and desirable. This is 100% fad, and I hope it goes away soon.

One variable that hasn't been bantered too much is the horse itself--the ideal show hunter should round, "crack his back", over every jump, using every muscle to tuck up his toes, and stretch his head forward and down to allow all this to happen. But, isn't the event horse encouraged to be flatter (not flat-flat)to be more time and energy efficient? Especially considering that the WB is the horse de jour in hunters while the TB (who, as a group, tend to be flatter) is the pick for eventing, couldn't some of these position differences be the result of the horses' style?

BTW: Horseguy is coming to the "beautiful" Midwest? Sure it's beautiful when you wait until after our week of 100+ temperatures to visit. One word of caution: We have relatively flat land 'round here and show hunters abound http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif.

asterix
Jul. 28, 2005, 06:08 AM
I have been reading this debate with great interest, as a long-ago H/J rider now firmly planted in the event world...

one comment you made, Fluffie, really stood out -- that the BS position characteristics subk and horseguy describe are allowed "modifications" eventers make from the H/J position...

This is a fascinating statement -- in my personal case (and those, as horseguy pointed out, of many of us lower level eventers), it is also a true one. I first learned H/S and have struggled to achieve better (as in more functional) form XC.

My most recent competition pics do show a more consistently "wrapped" leg, an auto release here and there, and less sharp closure of the hip angle (in one sequence you can see me opening back up much earlier than your "guidelines" would indicate, due to what is happening in front of me terrain-wise).
That is progress for me, and it's been tough to re-program my body.

BUT.

It seems to me that the crux of this debate is precisely the question of where, how, and why these different forms evolved -- the current hunter show ring "look" is NOT the "original" template that eventers modify -- it is itself a somewhat artificial form derived from the functional forms of hunting and military use, both of which more closely approximate XC than any sort of jumping in the ring (including eventers' stadium jumping...which ideally should emulate a good eq or jumper rider, but as we all know rarely does! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif).

So I suspect this is the source of some of the "attitude" you can detect when eventers consider show hunters -- it seems like the balance has tipped so far towards a strictly aesthetic standard that function is getting left far behind. I have NOT been to a hunter show of any quality in ages, but when I look at pictures, I have to admit that "posing" does tend to be the first word that comes to mind...

but if we accept that the goals of the disciplines are extremely different, and that for a show hunter, looking good is the paramount objective, then we must accept that that picture is what brings competitive success in that discpline. It's just hard sometimes for us to connect that with what we are striving for...

claire
Jul. 28, 2005, 07:35 AM
I, too, am finding this discussion very informative and interesting! (How nice to be able to DISCUSS! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif)

For me; especially good as this was what Jim Wofford was focusing on in his pre-clinic talk and the stadium session...must have been on his mind?

Trying to understand JW points...and what I am thinking is that PERHAPS what he meant with regard to "jumping like a hunter" thing was THE HORSE being balanced and in a rhythm like a hunter. NOT the RIDER being perched or posed as is "The Style" in hunters these days. In fact, I seem to recall taking a stab (in his low key,funny way) about the Perching,Draped over the Neck,Exagerated Crest Release "Hunter Style"!

I am thinking where he was coming from was "Form follows Function"...ie. BALANCED!

And maybe THAT was what he was trying to get across in the Stadium portion...You don't ride it like a XC course...and the proof was there in the end...most of the riders were doing a very much more BALANCED and CLEAN Stadium by the end of the day!

I don't know if I am understanding this??? But TRYING to!

Born Free is organizing a Jim Wofford Clinic this weekend and has promised to report back...(I HOPE she does!) And maybe she could ask or draw him out on some of the points brought out in this discussion...would be GREAT input I would think!

subk
Jul. 28, 2005, 10:22 AM
Clair--I only have a minute but what I'd tell you is that you are right on with your speculation about the Wofford clinic! Jimmy is an incredible student and voracious reader of past equestrian theory--in fact I doubt there is not a book out there that is written or translated in to English that he has not studied and considered practical application.

I'm not sure Jimmy uses the title "Balanced Seat" (smart man) but that is definantely what he teaches.

Edited to remove the double post...

RugBug
Jul. 28, 2005, 11:25 AM
So subk, I wrote all this up, but it is mostly a "yep, yep, yep" to your post regarding BS. Like you said, most of what you posted is just 'good riding.'

After reading your post describing BS, I can see where my dissonance with the HS critique is. There were only a few minor things that I read that I thought weren't part of a CORRECT hunter seat.

I was never taught "angles" but relaxed joints that flow with the horse. No heels forced down, but rather heels that allowed the weight of my body to flow out and down, securing me to the horse. They may come up some, with the rise and fall of my horse, but they should always demonstrate that the weight of the rider is down throughout the leg. A forced heel, even though down, is NOT correct. It will look it to the untrained eye, but if the weight of the rider is not distributed correctly and flowing down, it is not.

As Fluffie mentioned earlier, the guideline of toe out no more than 45 degrees is to address the problem of gripping with your calf. The old standard was a toe pointed straight forward, but biomechanically speaking it is easier to have some angle to the toe so that weight can be placed in the heel. This angle will vary from rider to rider.

Knee:

I was surprised to read that you think it is correct for an H/J rider to grip with the knee. Gripping with the knee is NEVER correct, even without stirrups, and is cause of a number of form faults, including swinging legs and a "posed" look. Just about any rider that looks like they are sitting ON TOP of their horse instead of around it is gripping with either the knee or the thigh or both. Correct HS leg position has weight distribute evenly through the thigh, down the calf and out the heel. Contact should be soft and light throughout, with no "grip."

When working with no stirrups, you should NOT be gripping with the knee. This is very difficult to do properly and often done incorrectly. The weight distribution and contact should remain similar to riding with stirrups. Yes, it is easier to grip with your knee and thigh while riding with no stirrups, and those not knowledgeable in the dangers of no stirrups can easily fall prey to gripping. Working with no stirrups can identify holes in balance, seat and leg strength, but it's not an exercise a rider should use if they are prone to gripping (two point is a far more effective exercise for that). Fluffie said some good things about no working with no stirrups and feeling your horse. If you can't post or jump w/ no stirrups on your upper level horse because he's just too sensitive, I would suggest that you are gripping too much and not allowing your horse to move you. It should be no different than jumping or posting bareback...where gripping that slippery, moving horseflesh is next to impossible.

Knee Angle:

The HS knee angle currently in fashion (which btw, is slowly going out of fashion and IMO not fast enough) very open with a longer stirrup. Not due to functionality, because that longer stirrup is NOT functional, but because people are trying to trick the judge into thinking they have length of leg that they don't. It is ugly, useless and part of problems such as ducking, jumping ahead and swinging legs. There is nothing to support the rider, so they end up throwing themselves up the neck, and gripping with their knee. More advanced riders will ride with their stirrups longer on the flat and will shorten for jumping.

Torso:

Again, the current fashion is a very closed hip angle. Sadly, these days many people would see an appropriate hip angle and think the rider was too open or was getting left behind. Back a year two ago, someone on COTH asked for pictures of good eq over fences. The majority of the pictures posted were testaments of the jumping ahead/ducking epidemic. However, one person posted a picture of Missy Clark (BNT eq trainer) over a crossrail that was fantastic. Compared to what you see in today's rings, she looked like she was standing up. But she was one of the only ones demonstrating a proper hip angle. In HS hip angle should be "dynamic." It should only close as much as the horse's thrusts call for.

Jumping ahead and ducking are two of the most common faults you see in HS, so much so that it has become the standard. I don't call it "posing" though. To me posing is an ineffective rider. Someone with a good position but does nothing, can't address an error and gets jumped loose or falls off at the slightest bobble. In this case, the position means nothing because it cannot effect change. It's along for the ride.

(Oh, and I can show you a ducking rider who is balanced over their feet. When the problem is an overly closed hip angle, and is not paired with jumping ahead, the leg can remain solidly under the body and the rider can remain in balance...just squished. http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/lol.gif)

Back:

An arched back again, is NOT correct. It's called a hollow back. In HS the back should be flat and soft. A slight roach is better than a slight arch. The roach keeps the back soft and following. An arched back is stiff and looses all it's shock absorption. A lot of time you will also see the chin being pushed out to keep the eyes up. Again, incorrect.

Release:

Yes, this has been drilled to death. The evolution of the crest release, it's purpose and the lack of moving on. The goal of HS is a rider with a strong base, who can place their hands anywhere as well. The rider should be able to chose between releases and pick what is appropriate for the situation. The CR has become release of choice to support the illusion that a hunter is doing everything of its own accord. Also, that extreme freedom of head and neck encourages the stylist horse to really reach down and put in the ultra rounded jumping effort desired in the hunter ring. If the automatic release was more useful in getting that same result, you bet you would see the pros using it and it trickling into the amateur rings. However, it's not. It is more about maintaining control. You simply don't need that control on the show ring hunter. There is no uneven terrain, there are not tight turns on course. You should, however, see the automatic release in eq classes, where distance and path questions are asked of the rider.

This is what I was taught for my basics by a no-name H/J trainer 20 years ago. Balance, flowing angles, being at one with the horse. What I've done to ruin that training is my own fault and my own shortcomings. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif So, really, I don't think the differences are all that clear. Or at least not when you are talking about the ideal of both seats. If you are talking about the realities, some of the differences become clearer. But for some reason, we are talking about the realities of one seat (HS) and the ideals of another (BS). And I'm not sure it is fair to blame the deterioration of the lower levels of eventing on the mistakes of HS. Blame lies elsewhere, as well. A few I can think of: Dumbing down of eventing, which does make the sport more accessible, but with that accessibility you get a lessening of quality, increase in participants, increase in WB type horses, and who knows what the elimination of roads and tracks and steeplechase will do. One thing I can hypothesize is that it will increase accessibility to those who don't have time for the intensive conditioning needed to complete all four phases...perhaps opening the door to eventings own "weekend warrior" types.

EventerAJ
Jul. 28, 2005, 02:30 PM
I, too, have been following this discussion with interest.

Horseguy and Subk-- BRAVO! Very well said, excellent points. Thank you for taking the time to explain everything so clearly. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Fluffie and RugBug-- Thanks for the sophisticated debate and presenting ideas from your viewpoint. This has all been very interesting. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif


I have one tiny comment to add. I've read several times that "riding a drop fence" entails some sort of vastly adapted position. In the most basic sense, it is the same as anything else: let the horse dictate the angle. Just as the horse closes your hip angle over a 3' vertical, your body naturally opens (to some degree) upon the landing. A drop is the same feeling-- the horse opens you up to whatever extent necessary. Over tiny drops, your body is still slightly inclined. Over big drops, you will be more vertical. You do NOT want to sit "against the horse" down a drop... as many of us know, a stiff, upright back is a sure way to get launched on the landing. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif
Of course you don't want to throw your body at it either-- but you *shouldn't* throw your body at ANYTHING.

Now I said in the "basic sense" you ride it the same way, meaning let the horse open/close your hip angle. You surely don't approach a drop the same way you approach a steeplechase fence. For one thing, you should be going a heckuva lot slower! Which means your hip angle will naturally be more open. Most people adopt the "C" position coming to a tricky combination, like a coffin or a drop. The "C" entails rounding your back (that's right, the dreaded GM "roach!" http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_eek.gif), seat softly in the saddle, often with your feet *slightly* in front of you- a defensive position. In the "C", you focus on relaxing your middle, so you absorb unexpected shock. The normal upright posture requires some tension in your back-- usually a good thing-- but when you come to something scary, sometimes you tense up too much, subconsciously. When you're tense, things don't usually go well-- you often ride against the horse (ending up on the ground?) instead of with the horse. So while the floppy, sloppy, slouchy (in upper body ONLY, no lower leg flapping!) "C" surely isn't textbook form, it may allow you to maintain the basic principle of "following the horse."

Of course we've all seen the pictures of Phillip Dutton leaning WAAAAAY back down a drop (even some smaller ones, not always Rolex). Leaning against the horse down smaller drops isn't advisable, but if you are flexible and soft enough in your back, it can work. Sadly, most of us are NOT Phillip Dutton http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif and if we lean back parallel to the ground over a 3' drop, the landing will be ugly. http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/winkgrin.gif

After rereading some of this, it may sound like I have contradicted myself-- I said drops don't require a vastly different position, yet then I spent a while describing this odd "C" position. The "C" is a safety feature, sort of (but not really) like the crest release. In the perfect, ideal world where the horse never looks, always jumps as expected, and never stumbles, you can ride anything in a tall, secure balanced seat. But being a bit defensive, behind the motion (but not *against* it), is the best place to ride the "serious stuff" where things go wrong more often than not. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

subk
Jul. 28, 2005, 04:05 PM
RugBug that was a really great post, thanks for the response.

Here's my response back. According to you my description of the BS you believe except for "minor things" that is is the same as theory of the ideal HS. Yet very few people ride that way because of a list of excuses. (I'll get to them in a sec.) Still according to you it is unfortunate, when the rank and file see an example of the "ideal" modeled by an icon of modern day hunter eq. and they not only don't recognize it as such, but also believe it to be incorrect riding. To make matter worse the rank and file believe if they were to ride in that manner they would be penalized by hunter judges.

WOW! If I thought about it for a week I couldn't come up with a better argument for the advantages to the Hunter world of a National Standard (never mind the advantages for the rest of us!)

But you are right! There are plenty of students and grand-students of the great Gordon Wright (master of BS) still floating around (M. Clark, I think is one) for the BS to be in the institutional memory of the Hunter world.

Here's where we differ. You excuse the obvious lack of use of the BS (the long stirrup and parallel body position) on "fad" and fashion and the lack of auto release on faulty theory. The long stirrup and parallel body position has been in my personal observation the most prevalent style since at least the early 80's. By definition it CAN'T be a fad--fads and fashions don't last 20+ years. This position has been so prevalent for so long that it has seeped into the collective conscious of the sport.

That the crest release as the only way to allow enough freedom for the horse to crack his back is bunk as well. Starting with Xenophobe I doubt you can find any classical theory for any riding discipline that will encourage connecting then unconecting then connecting with the horses mouth as an efficient way to communicate with said horse. The whole point of the following hand is that in no way interferes with the horse's work while remaining connected. In fact classically, the argument would go the other way: horses get security and confidence from a steady connection. Security and confidence should lead to optimal use of the horse's body. Yes, the crest release allows freedom and the horse will crack his back with it, but it is not exclusive. The reason the crest release is so prevalent is because it is the EASIER option and there is zero reward for the auto release--not because it is "better."

I'm not going to go point by point in your post but this comment did grab me:

"jumping ahead and ducking are two of the most common faults you see in HS, so much so that it has become the standard. I don't call it "posing" though. To me posing is an ineffective rider."

And jumping ahead and ducking are "effective?!?"

And for the record I never said nor do I believe that there as been "a deterioration of the lower level of eventing." Since I competed in my first event in the 70's the riding in general has VASTLY improved. Back then we rode by the seat of our pants and most of us had very little access to much instruction and even less access to instruction in the technicalities of XC. My disappointment lies in the fact that today we have incredible resources and opportunities and the riding is not better than it is. I never blamed our flaws on the Hunter world, I just made the point that you guys are making it harder for us instead of all of us working in concert together for all riding disiplines across the board to improve.

subk
Jul. 28, 2005, 04:46 PM
Thank you AJ for bringing up the "Siting C" I hadn't really ever thought of it in terms of the BS. I'd love Horseguy to chime in, but I think it is actually classic BS.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by EventerAJ:
The "C" entails rounding your back (that's right, the dreaded GM "roach!" http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_eek.gif) </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Actually that is incorrect. The "C" happens when you "tuck your tail" as I mentioned in my big post on the BS:

"BS rider should have a flat back with their tail bone in the "tucked" position [READY IN A SPLIT SECOND TO GO DEEP INTO THEIR HORSE ON LANDING A JUMP]." and let's add <pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre"> </pre><span class="ev_code_BLUE">OR TO BE READY IN A SPLIT SECOND TO SIT AND AID YOU HORSE IN FRONT OF A FENCE</span>

Go stand sideways in front of a mirror standing up straight with your shoulders square. Now without changing your shoulders "tuck your tailbone" as if you were a scared dog. Now bend at the waist and incline your body slightly forward as if you were galloping in the "C" still not changing your shoulders. TA-DA! Your lower back should STILL be flat.

The "C" shape comes NOT from your lower back but from your shoulders as you extend your arms forward to accomadate the same rein length you would use in the standard galloping position. It mentally helps to think that your lower back is rounded, but if you do the "C" correctly I don't think it is.

The Sitting C is an efficient way to gallop with more connection than the standard "galloping position" but still allows the horse plenty of freedom and puts the rider in a more defensive place. I don't actually jump from the position but lift my shoulders a few strides before the jump which is all my big horse needs as a signal to rebalance and lift his shoulders. It is a much quieter move than sitting up from a full galloping position.

AJ I'd say the "basic sense" that stays the same jumping down a drop is that your feet still stay between the rider and the center of the earth to maximize the use of the stirrup to maintain balance. If you look at anyone using a BS and imagine the horse gone from the picture the rider should look like they would land on their feet if they dropped straight down to the ground.

persefne
Jul. 28, 2005, 05:26 PM
I'm really, really glad that this thread turned around and didn't go the way of my last goldfish (down the toilet).

Subk -- I knew there was a reason I hang on your every word and find you strangely intimidating...you're so darned smart and articulate. Not that others aren't (you all are, compared to me), but I'm constantly afraid that I'll be competing somewhere around TN and that Subk will be nearby and she will find out what a totally untalented and unskilled eventer I really am. You're my hero! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif Keep up this wonderful discussion everybody! http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/yes.gif

RugBug
Jul. 28, 2005, 05:55 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by subk:
I'm not going to go point by point in your post but this comment did grab me:

"jumping ahead and ducking are two of the most common faults you see in HS, so much so that it has become the standard. I don't call it "posing" though. To me posing is an ineffective rider."

And jumping ahead and ducking are "effective?!?"

</div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Of course not. You stopped the quote too soon. I said I think posing is a rider in good position that is ineffective. I'll blame my use of punctuation. The sentence should've read: "To me posing is an ineffective rider: Someone with a good position but does nothing,..." To me, posing is a seperate fault in and of itself. It doesn't encompass jumping ahead or ducking because by definition that isn't good position.

I think we may have to disagree about the automatic release until we start seeing evidence that Mr. Backcracker w/ a CR stays Mr. Backcracker with an auto. You see round jumping horses in across the disciplines, but not the round of the hunter. Maybe the CR is all show, maybe it's not. It doesn't hurt the horse's form and can benefit them when they've got less skilled riders on them...that's good enough reason to use it in my book. BUT...as the rider advances, so should their mastery of all three releases. They should have a full tool box and be able to switch between whatever tool they would like.

Moving on, http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif I know you, subk, didn't say anything about the lower levels of eventing, but from implications of other posters...and seeing things for myself...I would seriously hope that lower levels are deteriorating. It could be a mistake on my part...I've only really been close (as in proximity) to eventing for a few years but I assume. From bits and pieces I've picked up, it seems to be on the same downward slide as H/J where in yesteryear you jumped 3'6" or you didn't show. Is BN not as new as I thought?

On other notes: I've never heard of a "sitting C" but I have heard from a BN eventer trainer that I tuck my tailbone on approach to every jump. I had never heard those terms used before...I mostly heard 'you ride very defensively'...or 'you must ride a stopper.' Very true statements. I had to ride like we were getting to the otherside, but prepare for the very likely opposite. Postive defensiveness. http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/yes.gif That stopper taught me to stay balanced. Now my challenge is to stay balanced, but soft...not resorting to the tucked tailbone when I get nervous about a fence.

And drops: EventerAJ, that's what I eventually learned. You don't really change much over a drop. I've only done the teensiest of drops, maybe 18" but no one ever told me how so I did what it looks like in pictures...I leaned back. And proceeded to freak myself out. I kept getting popped forward and felt like I was going to come off (and that was when I was a much better rider than I am now). Fast forward 15 years and I asked my trainer how, rode a drop (even smaller than the first one all those years back) like I would just about any other jump and was relieved to feel secure and like I had discovered something. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif It wasn't so bad afterall.

Editted to say: I tried to leave to go ride my horse, but came back because I wanted to say I've been enjoying this discussion. It's been interesting, informative and pleasant. Thanks for letting me play in your sandbox. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

subk
Jul. 28, 2005, 07:22 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by RugBug:
The sentence should've read: "To me posing is an ineffective rider: Someone with a good position but does nothing,..." </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
I think that this is the trap that Horseguy warned us about when he said it was very difficult to to discuss the specifics of a BS because it is such a dynamic position. For me someone with a good position is never ineffective because effectiveness IS the ultimate requirement of a "good position." However if you wanted to set the dynamic element aside for a moment, I would have to say this, since I don't see very many Hunter riders in what I think a BS would define as a "good position" in the first place, I NEVER see a hunter rider in a "good position" that is ineffective.
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">I would seriously hope that lower levels are deteriorating. It could be a mistake on my part...it seems to be on the same downward slide as H/J where in yesteryear you jumped 3'6" or you didn't show. Is BN not as new as I thought? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
No, the lower levels are not deteriorating. In some sense you answered your own question. It used to be that eventing was something you came to AFTER (or even WHILE) you had experience doing something else, like fox hunting, the old style hunters (with outside courses) or Pony Club. Today we have people learning to ride and event from the ground up. Because of that there has been a need for an even less demanding levels that these folks can start off in. For years that need has been met by unrecognized events. The problem has been that as those unrecognized events became more numerous the need for national standards grew. So the USEA has brought a whole new group of less experienced riders into the fold by creating BN standards. That group was already out there, we just didn't claim them. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif I think the hope is that by getting them officially into the fold earlier we can do a better job of education for the future. (As well as get their money...)

RugBug go ride your horse...and come back and play in our sandbox anytime!

EventerAJ
Jul. 28, 2005, 07:32 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by subk:

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by EventerAJ:
The "C" entails rounding your back (that's right, the dreaded GM "roach!" http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_eek.gif) </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Actually that is incorrect. The "C" happens when you "tuck your tail" as I mentioned in my big post on the BS:

"BS rider should have a flat back with their tail bone in the "tucked" position [READY IN A SPLIT SECOND TO GO DEEP INTO THEIR HORSE ON LANDING A JUMP]." and let's add <pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre"> </pre><span class="ev_code_BLUE">OR TO BE READY IN A SPLIT SECOND TO SIT AND AID YOU HORSE IN FRONT OF A FENCE</span>

Go stand sideways in front of a mirror standing up straight with your shoulders square. Now without changing your shoulders "tuck your tailbone" as if you were a scared dog. Now bend at the waist and incline your body slightly forward as if you were galloping in the "C" still not changing your shoulders. TA-DA! Your lower back should STILL be flat.
</div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Thank you for clarifying my explanation Subk. I suppose I don't really "round" my back, but sometimes that is how it may appear, and how I have heard instructors try to get the point across-- so many of us have learned to arch our back and stick our butts out. And it's really hard to tuck your tailbone when your lower back is stiff and hollow. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

subk
Jul. 28, 2005, 07:40 PM
persefne, you may as well have invited Murphy to throw me in the next ditch! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Theoretical knowledge (sometimes gain at the bottom of said ditch) is not the same as riding well. I fear I would greatly disappoint you. I know for sure that if we are ever at the same event and you didn't introduced yourself for whatever silly reason I'd be greatly disappointed myself.

Besides, I know what I know because I am old! And however unskilled you may be I am quite sure I've been there...my hope is that at some point I'll get SO old that I won't be able to remember it. http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/lol.gif

RugBug
Jul. 29, 2005, 10:36 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by subk:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by RugBug:
The sentence should've read: "To me posing is an ineffective rider: Someone with a good position but does nothing,..." </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
I think that this is the trap that Horseguy warned us about when he said it was very difficult to to discuss the specifics of a BS because it is such a dynamic position. For me someone with a good position is never ineffective because effectiveness IS the ultimate requirement of a "good position." However if you wanted to set the dynamic element aside for a moment, I would have to say this, since I don't see very many Hunter riders in what I think a BS would define as a "good position" in the first place, I NEVER see a hunter rider in a "good position" that is ineffective.
</div></BLOCKQUOTE>

That's a very idealistic thought... http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif But I disagree...and this may be an area we can never come to a consensus on. Someone can look like they are a good rider and be carted around by their saint of a horse. Same thing happens in dressage and eventing. People can ride above their skill level because of the kindness of their horse. And you may never know they are out of their league until they get on a horse that doesn't give it away.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by subk:
No, the lower levels are not deteriorating. In some sense you answered your own question. It used to be that eventing was something you came to AFTER (or even WHILE) you had experience doing something else, like fox hunting, the old style hunters (with outside courses) or Pony Club. Today we have people learning to ride and event from the ground up. Because of that there has been a need for an even less demanding levels that these folks can start off in.
</div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Interesting. From what I've seen and experienced, the BN and N levels are just as horrifying and often more so (but the questions are different) as the 2'6" to 3' hunter ranks. If this discussion is going to have any validity, you have to compare like to like things. You can't talk about the ideals of BS and what upper level riders are doing with the realities of HS and what the lower levels there are doing. They simply don't match up. You have to discuss ideals to ideals or realities to realities and across the same levels. Lower level eventing can be frightening, lowever level hunters and eq can be frightening. So, what are the realities of BS in lower levels? From what I've seen (and I will admit it is limited) it hardly resembles these lofty ideals being written of here.

deltawave
Jul. 29, 2005, 10:47 AM
subk, I know you meant "Xenophon" and not "Xenophobe", but I sure got a good laugh out of it! http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/lol.gif

And yeah, scary rides are scary rides no matter what the sport...but people who are scary at the lower levels of eventing are not necessarily learning from good coaches and riding a certain "style" JUST because they're "eventers". You don't see a sign saying "we teach the balance seat" or "we teach hunt seat" at most school barns. I daresay most people at the lower ranks of ALL jumping disciplines are getting a mish-mash of teaching and (IMO) competing over fences, way WAAAAAY too early in their riding careers.

Too much up-down in the ring, not enough foxhunting. http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/sigh.gif

Hony
Jul. 29, 2005, 11:27 AM
I had a really interesting experience a couple of days ago when I took a girl to her first XC school ever. She has only ridden hunters so this was all new to her. We talked about how she should sit in a full seat as opposed to the half seat she uses in hunters as well as about staying a little further back in the saddle than she might normally sit. We practiced over a few little Xs and then went out on XC. Where she learned the most was when we were going up a little tiny bank, maybe 1 ft and she landed halfway up his neck. After a few more times landing on his neck she figured out that staying way back might work better. I explained to her that it doesn't have to be pretty, just safe and she tried getting further back. I knew when she had gotten it when we did a BN gallop through the water out over a little coop and her horse threw in a couple of little playful bucks right after the fence. I am a not a coach by any means but definitely the experience of this girl landing up her horse's neck a few times taught her why we ride the way we do. The girl told me that all the times I had said she had done well it had felt the worst! I guess that'S what happens when you are learning a whole new style of riding!

RugBug
Jul. 29, 2005, 11:58 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by deltawave:
but people who are scary at the lower levels of eventing are not necessarily learning from good coaches and riding a certain "style" JUST because they're "eventers". </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

The EXACT same thing can be said about hunters. http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/winkgrin.gif

And like what hony just posted, if a ring bound hunter rider gets out on a XC, they can quickly feel that how they are used to riding isn't going to work. They will modify, but it would take a lot of practice and repitition for that modification to feel good.

persefne
Jul. 29, 2005, 12:53 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by deltawave:
I daresay most people at the lower ranks of ALL jumping disciplines are getting a mish-mash of teaching and (IMO) competing over fences, way WAAAAAY too early in their riding careers.
</div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Ok, I'm not just quoting Deltawave here...this is something that has caught my eye several times from several posters, but I think there should be a distinction made between riders who compete at the lower levels, as opposed to beginners or novices in a discipline. There are lots of talented and skilled riders out there competing at BN or N because they are new to the competitive or recognized aspect of the sport, have young/green horses who need some miles on them, or truly enjoy the once or twice a year they get to go out there and compete (thus, they stick to BN/N). Not everyone (and I mostly speak regarding eventers) rides everyday and competes every weekend in order to move up to compete in a three-day. I have been riding well for years and I have a very solid style, training, and competition background, but my horse I'm riding now has never been to an event, thus I will be competing at the lower levels for a while. I resent being lumped into a generalization that says that because I'm riding at the lower levels, that I'm "scary" or "frightening." It's just not true across the board.

I just wonder if we could define our parameters for terming someone either a competitor in lower level competition vs the scrambling riders who must/should ride at the lower levels due to lack of ability, riding education, or experience.

RugBug
Jul. 29, 2005, 01:34 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by persefne:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by deltawave:
I daresay most people at the lower ranks of ALL jumping disciplines are getting a mish-mash of teaching and (IMO) competing over fences, way WAAAAAY too early in their riding careers.
</div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Ok, I'm not just quoting Deltawave here...this is something that has caught my eye several times from several posters, but I think there should be a distinction made between riders who compete at the lower levels, as opposed to beginners or novices in a discipline. There are lots of talented and skilled riders out there competing at BN or N because they are new to the competitive or recognized aspect of the sport, have young/green horses who need some miles on them, or truly enjoy the once or twice a year they get to go out there and compete (thus, they stick to BN/N). Not everyone (and I mostly speak regarding eventers) rides everyday and competes every weekend in order to move up to compete in a three-day. I have been riding well for years and I have a very solid style, training, and competition background, but my horse I'm riding now has never been to an event, thus I will be competing at the lower levels for a while. I resent being lumped into a generalization that says that because I'm riding at the lower levels, that I'm "scary" or "frightening." It's just not true across the board.

I just wonder if we could define our parameters for terming someone either a competitor in lower level competition vs the scrambling riders who must/should ride at the lower levels due to lack of ability, riding education, or experience. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I apologize if I offended you, persefne, and I agree with you. A few pages ago, I said as much. I am currently competing at 2' - 2'3" on a local circuit...and it ain't pretty. I've only jumped higher than 2'6" a few times because I've never had horses that could (for all those who say any horse can jump 3'6"...I'd like them to come ride the horses I've ridden http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/lol.gif). I bought myself a green horse to finally (and hopefully) break into at least the 3' but we're taking it slow and trying to do it right. I ride okay. I get lumped into lower level categories. What you resent is the very thing this thread has been telling me from the start...hunters riders, at ALL levels, are somehow deficient and "less" than other riders. That's not true across the board either. Is anything ever true across the board?

What I'm trying to say is that hunter seat equitation, at its root, is not a faulty way of riding. That the crest release isn't evil incarnate. What HS has become at the hands of a society striving for perfection (or maybe just the blue ribbon) RIGHT NOW, is not what it is meant to be. That's why you hear people like GM continually saying things that cast the current style in an unflattering light. It deserves the criticism. The "system" however, does not.

persefne
Jul. 29, 2005, 01:51 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by RugBug:
I apologize if I offended you, persefne, and I agree with you. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

No, no, no...I wasn't "offended," but I do squirm when it becomes an issue of "lower levels" as defining "lesser skilled" or "not-good-enough." I know enough from the eventers posting on here to understand that when someone speaks of the "lower levels," he/she doesn't always equate that with lack of talent or ability, but it comes across that way, if something more specific isn't given as an example or definition.

RugBug, I like what you say about the "system" of the hunter world, right now, being flawed, if it trains or perpetuates riders who look good, but don't ride well. Everyone has said this in some form or another on this thread (hence the comparisons to hunter riders "making it around" a xc course, or eventers "making it around" a hunter ring), so I know I'm not saying anything that already hasn't been said. I just wish there was a better way to differentiate between the "good" riders and the "bad" riders, rather than "upper levels" vs. "lower levels."

bornfreenowexpensive
Jul. 29, 2005, 02:04 PM
Just note too--Just because one makes it at the "higher levels" doesn't necessarily make them a "good" rider either! I've seen some pretty darn scary rides by "ULR" a time or two!

wanderlust
Jul. 29, 2005, 02:54 PM
I'm very much enjoying this conversation/discussion. However, I can't be the only one who every time I see balanced seat abbreviated to "BS", it takes me a minute to register that the poster doesn't actually mean "bullshit". http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_eek.gif

Sebastian
Jul. 29, 2005, 02:57 PM
http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/lol.gif http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/lol.gif http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/lol.gif http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/lol.gif http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/lol.gif

I've been doing that too.
Seb http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

RugBug
Jul. 29, 2005, 03:27 PM
wanderlust: me, too. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by persefne:
Everyone has said this in some form or another on this thread (hence the comparisons to hunter riders "making it around" a xc course, or eventers "making it around" a hunter ring), </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Okay, so let's just be honest here. It's not hard to "make it around" a hunter course. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif It is, however, hard to do it the way it should be done. The pros and top ammies that can get those beautiful hunter rounds would without a doubt in my mind be able to do more than just "make it around" a cross-country course. If you don't think so, you've fallen into the illusion that they aren't riding: the illusion they want you to believe.

I know I keep saying the same thing over and over, but you simply cannot compare making it around a cross country course and making it around a hunter course, for a number of reasons.

<UL TYPE=SQUARE>1. Many hunter riders have NEVER been asked the question terrain throws at you. All eventers have.

2. Getting around a cross country course can be enough to win. Getting around a hunter course is not enough to win....unless every other person blows as many chunks as you. http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/lol.gif

3. Eventing contains an element similar to a hunter round (controlled environment, related distances, etc) so it stands to reason that they should be able to get around a hunter course. If they can't they're not much of an eventer, now are they? http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif Only in very rare circumstances do hunters see outside courses these days. Expecting them to make it around a XC course is like expecting a tap dancer to do ballet. They may get parts of it right, but on the whole the tap dancer isn't going to fool you into believing they're good at ballet...but that doesn't mean they aren't good at dance. [/list]

To continue the dancing analogy: The tap dancer isn't trying to be a ballerina, so why should they train like they are? Is a tapper less of a dancer than a ballerina? Is tap less of an art form? Is the skill of the tap dancer less than that of a ballet dancer? If ballet dancers start as tap dancers and have a hard time with the transition, is that the fault of the "system" of tap?

persefne
Jul. 29, 2005, 03:53 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by RugBug:
Okay, so let's just be honest here. It's not hard to "make it around" a hunter course. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif It is, however, hard to do it the way it should be done. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I agree, which is why I placed "make it round" in quotations marks: it's a subjective comment that doesn't always translate. That's why the two are not exactly comparable. (RugBug, you were probably not speaking to me when you posted, because with me on many of your points, you're preaching to the choir). An eventer and a hunter agreeing!

I think one real issue that has been raised here is completion vs. correctness (not exactly effectiveness, since completion is almost tied to effectiveness for some...you effectively get around, you complete, no matter what it "looks" like).

RAyers
Jul. 29, 2005, 04:29 PM
While this topic is gently drifting away from the OP, I must say that based in my expeiences in the hunter ring (A/O hunters) that from the point of view of being an EFFECTIVE rider, hunters are WAY harder than eventing. Try to jump around a 4 foot course, make it look smooth, fun and easy without making it look obvious. A good hunter ride is the definition of finesse.

As for the specific postion/seat/release...I'll leave that to other folks here. I know my basics are in the cavalry balanced seat and that works well for me.

Reed

RugBug
Jul. 29, 2005, 05:26 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by persefne:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by RugBug:
Okay, so let's just be honest here. It's not hard to "make it around" a hunter course. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif It is, however, hard to do it the way it should be done. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I agree, which is why I placed "make it round" in quotations marks: it's a subjective comment that doesn't always translate. That's why the two are not exactly comparable. (RugBug, you were probably not speaking to me when you posted, because with me on many of your points, you're preaching to the choir). An eventer and a hunter agreeing!

I think one real issue that has been raised here is completion vs. correctness (not exactly effectiveness, since completion is almost tied to effectiveness for some...you effectively get around, you complete, no matter what it "looks" like). </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

One last thing before I am outta here for the weekend:

Persefne: Are you saying completion vs. correctness in hunters or eventing? Completion is next to nothing in hunters. It means VERY little. Just about everyone completes. Correctness of horse for hunters and rider for eq may work, but a lot of it is still about the style. It isn't even enough to be correct, you've got to do it with flair...or at least more flair than your competion.

And with that, I'm off. You all have fun this weekend. I'm crossing my fingers for lead changes at the little show I will be attending. Maybe then we can really start thinking about competing and not just completing. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

deltawave
Jul. 29, 2005, 05:46 PM
Persefne, I *definitely* was not intending to generalize that all people who ride at BN/N are "scary". Not at all! In fact, I have been riding at BN all summer on my greenie, and if in fact I'm a little scary to watch, well, it's not because I'm inexperienced! http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/lol.gif In my case, it's a green horse with a not-very-talented rider...I really wouldn't call us "scary", but FAR from polished would be accurate. However, we're reasonably safe. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

There are folks at Novice who are GORGEOUS riders, on VERY safe, solid, talented horses. Bless them--as long as they are not scooping up all the ribbons in "Novice Rider" after 10 years at the level, http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif I say go for it. After this year I may never ride at the upper levels again--and it wouldn't bother me one bit, as I have TONS of fun at Novice or Training or even BN with my greenie.

I definitely meant "inexperienced" when I was referring to scary riders at the lower levels of eventers OR H/J. It is no commentary at all on the levels themselves, or the people who for many reasons ride only at those levels. As I said, I will probably once again be "Our Lady of Perpetual Novice" after not too many more years of flogging my un-talented body and learning-impaired (when it comes to riding) brain around at Prelim! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Sannois
Jul. 29, 2005, 06:21 PM
I'd like to be as "Scary" as Deltawave!!! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

claire
Jul. 30, 2005, 07:38 AM
I just wanted to say what a great and informative discussion! It has really helped me better understand "THE WHY" behind what I am doing with my trainer and the recent clinic w/Jim Wofford.

Basically, what I am taking away from this is:
1.) Good Riding IS Good Riding...A solid training background in basics will allow you to adapt and move from one discipline to another.

2.) Form Follows Function

3.) In regards to "Discussions": often times using "hot button" terms ie. Balanced(BS http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif),Classical,Hunter,Eventer,Novice. ..
serves to de-rail the point of the discussion and get it off track.

subk, I am ASSuming that is what you meant by saying JW "was a smart man not to use the TERM Balanced Seat" http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

So, for me, now that I am (sort of) understanding the theory behind my trainer's lessons/exercises...it will add a whole new dimension to my lessons.
And I think I will become a better rider and STUDENT because of it! http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/yes.gif

Hope so anyway! Thanks All!!!

persefne
Jul. 30, 2005, 09:02 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by RugBug:
Persefne: Are you saying completion vs. correctness in hunters or eventing? Completion is next to nothing in hunters. It means VERY little. Just about everyone completes. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I guess completion as effective would pertain more to eventers than to hunters, but not entirely so. I wasn't really making an assertion one way or the other, but I was raising the point that it appears through all of this discussion that a sub-issue of completion/effectiveness/correctness has become entangled in all the theory and detail. That makes sense, since we can know theory and details, but we still want to know how that refers to riding in our world (does the BS translate to effective riding, does the HS not, what *is* effective riding, does it arise from form/style or from function/completion, etc.) That's more of what I was saying with my post...I certainly wasn't making any statement one way or the other and I can't, really, since effectiveness is different from one rider/riders within one discipline to another. I wasn't exactly arguing one point, but rather saying "it seems as if this interesting point has been raised." The reason I can't argue on that point is that simple completion is not always effective for some (those eventers who aspire to win and win well) and for some hunters, I'd bet that completing (perhaps without losing a stirrup, missing a spot, or having a refusal) would be "effective" riding for them. Doesn't mean that completion is always the final goal, but I do know that completion is a part of the final goal for eventers moreso than hunters. Lots of eventers are out there to compete and gain experience, not be in the top 6 (top 10-12 is often a nice finish!). You could also say that since completion isn't a real goal for hunters ("just about everyone completes") then the final outcome desired for them would be more aesthetic (and I like your use of the word "flair" to describe that desired aesthetness).

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content"> Originally posted by RugBug:
Maybe then we can really start thinking about competing and not just completing. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
That's me, too, at this point! If I could just get the pony to slow down cross-country... http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/yes.gif

persefne
Jul. 30, 2005, 09:07 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by deltawave:
Persefne, I *definitely* was not intending to generalize that all people who ride at BN/N are "scary". </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I know! But I also knew that if I "quoted" you in my post, that I'd get exactly this...a productive explanation of what some of you are talking about when you say "lower levels" and all the rest! I think we're on the same page about this, but I didn't want anyone who isn't posting to start thinking that just because we aren't running Rolex, that we are not good eventers! I agree with Sannois that I'd love to be as "scary" (or "FAR from polished," as you say) as you are, on any given day!

tblagg1110
Jul. 30, 2005, 09:08 AM
Wow! I can't believe how off topic this went. I didn't mean to start it to compare the 2 disciplines at all. I know that there are different ways of riding for all riding styles and wanted to educate myself on eventing training techniques and learn about what I saw at a clinic. I am definitely staying a hunter rider, but wanted to have an open mind rather than some people who say one is easier than the other. I think it all takes practice and training. Personally I would not do eventing if someone paid me 'cause it scares the crap out of me and I am not scared to admit it. I like just cantering and jumping fences. Galloping through a field and jumping fences that are solid is not my thing but I like watching it. Not to say it's harder than hunters, but I don't have the guts. Just wanted to say that

deltawave
Jul. 30, 2005, 11:53 AM
So I'm looking through my latest "Chronicle" (July 22 edition...mine are always late) and my jaw DROPPED when I saw a photo of a kid on a hunter pony doing a darned good "non-posed", almost automatic release, with a good, tight seat and gorgeous form. (page 27) Awesome! But sadly, unique. http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/no.gif If you flip back to page 23 you see the wretched "typical" American hunter style, from an adult who presumably has been riding longer than the teenager on the pony! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Check 'em out--which one do you think would still be attached to their horse after a drop-to-skinny combination? http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

This adds nothing to the debate, of course...just pointing out how UNUSUAL it is to see what I'd call a good, effective, solid seat over a jump in Hunter show photos. http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/sigh.gif If you want to call a 20+ year trend a "fad", so be it...I hope the kid on page 27 starts a new "fad". http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

JER
Jul. 30, 2005, 01:24 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">So I'm looking through my latest "Chronicle" (July 22 edition...mine are always late) </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

"late"?!! Hahahaha.

I got the July 8 issue yesterday.

persefne
Jul. 30, 2005, 02:01 PM
I, personally, like the picture of Beezie Madden on pg. 8 (look at her effortless, tight and balanced style over an enormous fence!). I think she has been mentioned before as one of the ideals in h/j world in terms of form and function. Note also how similar she is to the eventer on pg. 44 (fold the pages over so they are pictured side-by-side) jumping the prelim corner. Amazing how two different riders, two different jumps/disciplines, have a very similar basis of style and seat. I'd love to ride like either one of them!

horseguy
Jul. 30, 2005, 03:01 PM
Comments like:<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content"> The "C" entails rounding your back… </div></BLOCKQUOTE> are difficult for me to respond to because it is so easy to get bogged down in details (forms) instead of providing a more demanding discourse on movement. It is just hard for me to write succinctly about movement without mentioning some forms, and then it seems the “form first” readers tend to misinterpret.

“Form” is like sculpture. The use of the word “pose” or “posing” is appropriate to form. We pose for a photo, and in doing so we stop moving so the camera can take our picture. “Position” does not involve a fixed moment in time, but rather a flow of time and a series of motions. The jumping position to a Balance Seat rider is not at all a form, but rather a range of motions that is determined by the jump height, footing, terrain or slope, and the power and style of the horse, to name a few factors. Forgive me for saying this over and over. I believe we run into communication problems when some riders look at jumping through the lens of it being a set of “forms”. When I read the H/J rider comments on the Balanced Seat I can feel them trying to translate or bend the expressed moving concepts to fit into their conceptual box of forms.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">RugBug: It (the crest release) doesn't hurt the horse's form and can benefit them when they've got less skilled riders on them... </div></BLOCKQUOTE> The statement “doesn't hurt the horse's form” is relative to whether you come from the “form follows function” school of thought, or the “form dictates function” school. To a Balanced Seat rider it is clear that placing a more or less fixed weight (the rider’s upper body) on the neck ahead of the jump will unbalance a horse to some degree, and thus hurt the horse’s ability to jump in complete balance. This off balance act translates into a poor position for me. Thus, the statement ” It doesn't hurt the horse's form” is obviously a false statement in my view.

Furthermore, “…and (the crest release) can benefit them (the horse) when they've got less skilled riders on them.” will make a Balanced Seat rider cringe. What possible benefit can there be in putting a horse off balance, particularly when it is done by a less skilled rider? It makes me shake my head, but I can understand how someone would make such a statement thinking only in terms of H/J “form”. I see the CR as a static position that cares very little about practical balance. The H/Jers ,under their definition of balance, argue that the body up on the neck CR form is a balanced position. How do we communicate if we cannot agree on the meaning of balance?

So we describe, discuss, debate, etc. but the base definitions of each side remain unchanged. As long as we use different language, and definitions of things like “balance”, “position”, or even “good riding” we will not resolve a single standard for a jumping seat for America, or even agree on what is good riding. I will say again, this double standard hurts the industry. To the potential consumer who is trying to purchase the best equestrian educational services for their child or themselves, it is most confusing. People want to “ride English , and in some random way discover one standard or the other. They then go down the road they found, and many later discover they went down the wrong road in terms of their goals. Therefore, this is not a debate that involves only two parties, the Hunter/Jumpers and the Balanced Seat riders. There is also the public to consider. What can we do to make their entry into riding less confusing and better defined?

For one thing the H/J barns should remove all mention of a Balanced Seat or balanced seat from their advertising materials and websites. Likewise the eventers ought to adopt the traditional term the Balanced Seat, and then protect it from dilution and misrepresentation by the H/Jers. Both parties should make an honest effort to differentiate what they are offering the public in a way that the public can easily understand. I get just as frustrated with the big name eventers who offer their “John or Jane Smith seat” (instead of calling it what it is - the Balanced Seat), as I do the Hunter/Jumper instructors who claim to teach the Balanced Seat. Maybe I’m idealistic, but I think instructors could do a better job of accurately describing what they offer.


edited to correct spelling

Fluffie
Jul. 30, 2005, 09:18 PM
NOOOOO, I had just written a breathtaking reply that would have brought us all to an understanding, cured the common cold, and earned us all a Nobel Peace prize. But then, the internet connection failed, and all went *poof*. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_mad.gif http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/cry.gif

Yes, in a sense I (I can only speak for my own perceptions on this--don't think I'm TOO self-centered http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/uhoh.gif) do see jumping as a set of forms, but not a static set. To me, when learning to ride h/j, you do use forms--heels down, flat back (not on the neck--that's a flaw or mistake, and it is out of balance; more in a sec.). But once this string of forms becomes habit, it is one dynamic, moving "thing" (words do fail me as well--used them up earlier http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_mad.gif). I don't canter around over jumps chanting "hands up the neck, heels down, hip at X% angle . . . ", I do whatever instinct of 14 years tells me to do. The only reason I can relate what kind of release I do when is from discussions after lessons and from pictures which are just a snap of one moment, but can be useful nonetheless. Yes, this is using form to *find* balance (not to create it--trainer says "put weight in heels", not "put heels down to a 39.65% angle"--your heel angle is the result of flexability, the amount of weight you put in it, and how much you need to brace against it under duress). But, it is a different way to learn to ride, not a lesser way. Let me try this metaphor: I am learning to play the violin. Unlike the guitar, for example, the violin does not exactly have fixed positions for the fingers. Yes, they are called first positon, second position, third position, etc., but they are different on each violin and for each player (length of fingers, pressure consistently used on the bow, etc. alters them, as does temperature/humidity alter them for the same player on the same instrument--ugh). However, I have the general positions marked with tape. The tape gives me an approximate position for my fingers; I then have to find the exact position, which as I said varies by conditions. Do pro's have little pieces of tape? No, but that's why they're pro's--at some time, the tape comes off if one wants to really play. To me, the CR and whatnot is the same thing--they are tools to put your butt (figuratively and literally http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif in the general place, but you have to fine-tune where you need to be when considering the circumstances. Would it be fair to say that BS people (whatever you want the terminology to be) don't use the tape? It seems so. But, is there really anything wrong with the tape as long as you remove it whenever it become unnecessary? No, there isn't. It is a tool. Once that point is reached, playing becomes not about finding the *(*^Y^(*ing note on the right tempo, but enjoying the challenges of producing music. It just takes some longer than others, and some are happy with the tape--they impress their relatives who aren't musicians (judges at lower levels=lower-level judging standards, not ignorant) at Christmas and that's that because they may lack talent, time, drive, whatever. But, many of us want to take off the tape. Those are the riders who don't lay on the horse's neck, who use an auto release when it is needed, and who adjust their positions to suit the circumstances (which is done in h/j--Conrad Homfeld pivited on his knee majorly to catch up to his horses in the air if he was behind the motion on the way to a jump). I think that eventers are forced by circumstances to not use/pull off the tape faster than h/j riders out of necessity. Better? No, just a different method (sink or swim, I believe http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif).

Fluffie
Jul. 30, 2005, 09:41 PM
Good, it posted (sigh-of-relief smiley).

As far as the fradulent h/j trainers--I have never, never had a h/j trainer claim to teach anything other than h/j (sometimes teach it well, sometimes not . . . ). And don't worry about us "diluting or misrepresenting" BS--why would we? H/J works for what we need, just as BS floats your boat.

To continue my previous metaphor: Ok, I wanna play a string instrument (a seat for jumping), so I go to a guitar guy for music lessons, merely stating that "I wanna play". So, he teaches me Guitar 101. I look around and realize that this ain't violin-ing, which is what originally caught my attention. So, I go to a violin teacher and have to modify/relearn techniques (and keep the ones that transfer). Is that the fault of the guitar guy--that I wanted lessons, but didn't know/changed my mind about the instrument (seat)? No, of couse not (unless as horseguy said he claimed to be a violin teacher. That is fraud because the guitar and violin have two different purposes to their playing (they both make music (jump), but in different ways)). Both the guitar and violin teachers will, 100% (if they are good) teach me to play music; it will be different kinds of music, one not being better than the other.

Ps: Back to the CR (why not?)--the way it benefits the horse it to keep a green rider from yanking it in the face if/when the rider loses balance (I have a pic. of David Broome, no beginner by any stretch, doing a crest release with mane over a 5' vertical to keep from doing just that http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/yes.gif). A CR also does NOT throw the rider's body onto the neck (which causes the balance issues). The elbows are supposed to open so that the hands (which don't weigh enough to unbalance 1200 lbs. themselves)follow the body; the upper body is **NOT** supposed to go along for the ride; it is supposed to stay back off the horse, only coming forward enough to accomodate the horse's thrust. Try it--you can sit almost bolt upright on your horse and touch his neck (depending on arm length)near either the "average" (not set in stone)long or short CR places. The THRUST is what is supposed to determine hip angle and upper body dynamics, not the hands. First Horse wasn't thrusty, so my hip angle was fairly open (more so than most h/j pic's in the mag's). Second horse is much, much more thrusty/round, so my hip is more closed and shoulders lower. Yes, I will sometimes lay on his neck, but that is a mistake, 100%, usually because my leg has slipped out from under me. My fault, not the system's. I wish that we could all trade horses (and trainers and COURSES http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif, and cars if yours is better than mine . . . http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/yes.gif) and see how our respective positions change (not to see who has the "better position" or is the "better rider").

Dr. Doolittle
Jul. 31, 2005, 09:26 AM
YAY, Fluffie!! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

(Very well said!! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif)

horseguy
Jul. 31, 2005, 02:05 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">A CR also does NOT throw the rider's body onto the neck (which causes the balance issues). The elbows are supposed to open so that the hands (which don't weigh enough to unbalance 1200 lbs. themselves)… </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

This is what I mean when I say the H/Jers have a completely different definition of balance. I don’t understand how anyone could describe the CR form as balanced except in some static artificial way, which would be unbalanced under any normal definition. However, even if we accept the definition of balance described here, as well as the implicit logic surrounding the rider’s "balanced" placement in terms of the center of balance with the horse, there remains one substantial inherent defect in this sort of statement. The assertion depends completely on a large horse with presumably a small rider. What about a pony? What about a large rider on a medium horse? Why not simply have a method of riding that has no risk of unbalancing a horse regardless of the horse and rider size and combination? Oh wait, there is one…

horseguy
Jul. 31, 2005, 02:10 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">EventerAJ: I've read several times that "riding a drop fence" entails some sort of vastly adapted position. In the most basic sense, it is the same as anything else: let the horse dictate the angle. Just as the horse closes your hip angle over a 3' vertical, your body naturally opens (to some degree) upon the landing. A drop is the same feeling-- the horse opens you up to whatever extent necessary. Over tiny drops, your body is still slightly inclined. Over big drops, you will be more vertical. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

From a purely historical perspective this is one of the longest debated and discussed points regarding the Balanced Seat. The debate began back in the days of Caprilli because he himself went back and forth on the point of upper body position in descending a slope or drop.

Caprilli died slowly as a result of a bad fall from a horse. As he lay in bed dying, his students questioned him (I love students like that) on this point, “Should a rider stay in the forward position while descending?” As the story goes, knowing he would soon die he finally answered the question, saying it was better to stay in the forward position.

Caprilli’s “dying words” were followed until recent evolutions of the Balanced Seat now have most riders riding more vertically in any sort of decent. I know in the 1950’s we were taught to ride forward while descending slopes and drops. My military instructor did say that if you began a decent in a vertical or back over the hind position (an error) that it was imperative that you stay in that position until the decent was completed to avoid unbalancing your horse. In lessons, as we faced a very steep slope with scary footing (and no helmets), my instructor would ask rhetorically, “And why do we remain forward in the decent? Because we make a smaller target.” To a young boy this was indeed serious advice, but now the practical rule is (unless someone is shooting at you) that it is correct to ride decents in the more vertical position, and “let the horse dictate the (hip) angle” as EventerAJ has described.

Judi
Aug. 1, 2005, 02:03 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by horseguy:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">A CR also does NOT throw the rider's body onto the neck (which causes the balance issues). The elbows are supposed to open so that the hands (which don't weigh enough to unbalance 1200 lbs. themselves)… </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

This is what I mean when I say the H/Jers have a completely different definition of balance. I don’t understand how anyone could describe the CR form as balanced except in some static artificial way, which would be unbalanced under any normal definition. However, even if we accept the definition of balance described here, as well as the implicit logic surrounding the rider’s "balanced" placement in terms of the center of balance with the horse, there remains one substantial inherent defect in this sort of statement. The assertion depends completely on a large horse with presumably a small rider. What about a pony? What about a large rider on a medium horse? Why not simply have a method of riding that has no risk of unbalancing a horse regardless of the horse and rider size and combination? Oh wait, there is one… </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Sigh... Well horseguy... As much as I too hoped this discussion would lead to "enlightenment and understanding" of the Balanced seat...I agree with you that we've just spent 11 pages banging our heads against the collective wall in regards to educating and enlightening our H/J brothers and sisters.

It has taken me an entire year of hard work and frustration to "overcome" the habits that I learned from my H/J training (who taught a much more upright, less poser position then most BNT's) Today I am a much more balanced, secure and effective rider than I was a year ago. My trainer and her trainer (our clinician) are all ICP certified which I believe is a great beginning to establishing the national standard you speak of. Do I see BAD riding and BAD training in the event world.... you bet... But I am seeing a trend of trainers starting to move toward a standard and consistant form of teaching the BS... which is very encouraging to me.

I feel like I've just spent a year experiencing the biggest "Ah Ha" moments in my 35 years of ridding and I'm frustrated that the HS defenders can't be open to the possiblity that there is a more complete and balanced seat for all disciplines... A seat that will absolutely work in all forms of riding including the Hunter ring.

I've experienced both seats and both methods of teaching... I refuse to believe that the top Hunter pros would cease to win on their extravagant horses if they used a following hand with a BS... it just makes no sense whatsoever to me.

sigh...

Finally.. fluffie and rugbug.. I mean no disrespect to the H/J world and I'm not speaking about which riders are more effective... but I will agree with horseguy that the BS is indeed the "ideal" we should all strive for when jumping fences in any discipline. As for the CR as an effective tool ffor beginners. Horseguy speaks of a methodology that involves lunging and developing beginners bodies... and legs before they need to depend on their hands for base of support. I would rather a beginner use a jump strap if they are that weak over a fence... As deltawave said... perhaps they shouldn't be jumping until they've developed a better base of support in the first place.

horseguy
Aug. 1, 2005, 01:00 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Judi: Horseguy speaks of a methodology that involves lunging and developing beginners bodies... and legs before they need to depend on their hands for base of support. I would rather a beginner use a jump strap if they are that weak over a fence... As deltawave said... perhaps they shouldn't be jumping until they've developed a better base of support in the first place. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

We have come full circle with this comment. It was just this demand, that people be fit to jump, that cause the untroduction of the short cuts like the crest release. The well intentioned idea was apparently that people could begin jumping earlier and safely using the CR, and then "catch up" as they went and eventually ride a proper seat. Instead as Geo. Morris put it it became "an end in itself". It is perhaps human nature to be a little lazy.

At any rate, I think history has demonstrated that good riding comes only with real work and fitness. There are no short cuts. Call me old fashion, but people should be ready to jump in every way before that are encouraged or permitted to jump. Otherwise you get a sort of culture of "pretending".

I am sorry that I am the one to tell the H/Jers but there was better riding before the show hunter scene took over American "English" riding.

RugBug
Aug. 1, 2005, 01:00 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by horseguy:
Comments like:<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content"> The "C" entails rounding your back… </div></BLOCKQUOTE> are difficult for me to respond to because it is so easy to get bogged down in details (forms) instead of providing a more demanding discourse on movement. It is just hard for me to write succinctly about movement without mentioning some forms, and then it seems the “form first” readers tend to misinterpret.

“Form” is like sculpture. The use of the word “pose” or “posing” is appropriate to form. We pose for a photo, and in doing so we stop moving so the camera can take our picture. “Position” does not involve a fixed moment in time, but rather a flow of time and a series of motions. The jumping position to a Balance Seat rider is not at all a form, but rather a range of motions that is determined by the jump height, footing, terrain or slope, and the power and style of the horse, to name a few factors. Forgive me for saying this over and over. I believe we run into communication problems when some riders look at jumping through the lens of it being a set of “forms”. When I read the H/J rider comments on the Balanced Seat I can feel them trying to translate or bend the expressed moving concepts to fit into their conceptual box of forms.
</div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Horseguy, even ballet dancers (you used them earlier to describe learning about movement) learn what you cll "forms." The leg is here, the hand is like this, the back like this and so on. However, those forms are never static. There is proper body position, that can be described in static forms, and then applied to dynamic situations.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by horseguy:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">RugBug: It (the crest release) doesn't hurt the horse's form and can benefit them when they've got less skilled riders on them... </div></BLOCKQUOTE> The statement “doesn't hurt the horse's form” is relative to whether you come from the “form follows function” school of thought, or the “form dictates function” school. To a Balanced Seat rider it is clear that placing a more or less fixed weight (the rider’s upper body) on the neck ahead of the jump will unbalance a horse to some degree, and thus hurt the horse’s ability to jump in complete balance. This off balance act translates into a poor position for me. Thus, the statement ” It doesn't hurt the horse's form” is obviously a false statement in my view.
</div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Not to be too bold, but your view is not solely about the crest release. You've combined a crest release with an equitation fault and are calling it one and the same. A properly done CR does not involve the rider's upper body on the neck. A good crest release, long or short, still has the rider in balance over the horse's COG.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by horseguy:
Furthermore, “…and (the crest release) can benefit them (the horse) when they've got less skilled riders on them.” will make a Balanced Seat rider cringe. What possible benefit can there be in putting a horse off balance, particularly when it is done by a less skilled rider? It makes me shake my head, but I can understand how someone would make such a statement thinking only in terms of H/J “form”. I see the CR as a static position that cares very little about practical balance. The H/Jers ,under their definition of balance, argue that the body up on the neck CR form is a balanced position. How do we communicate if we cannot agree on the meaning of balance?
</div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Again, your idea of a crest release is incorrect. It may help you villify it and hunt seat equitation, but it not accurate. No hunter rider in the right mind would tell you that the body up the neck is a balanced position or even correct. They may do it for different reasons (some pros have specific reasons for it, but I don't really agree with it) but anyone with the knowledge of proper, effective equitation will tell you the jumping ahead and ducking...the two faults you keep combining and blaming on the crest release, are incorrect. That you can't get past that tells me that you are very static in your ideas about H/J. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by horseguy:
For one thing the H/J barns should remove all mention of a Balanced Seat or balanced seat from their advertising materials and websites. Likewise the eventers ought to adopt the traditional term the Balanced Seat, and then protect it from dilution and misrepresentation by the H/Jers. Both parties should make an honest effort to differentiate what they are offering the public in a way that the public can easily understand. I get just as frustrated with the big name eventers who offer their “John or Jane Smith seat” (instead of calling it what it is - the Balanced Seat), as I do the Hunter/Jumper instructors who claim to teach the Balanced Seat. Maybe I’m idealistic, but I think instructors could do a better job of accurately describing what they offer.
</div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I have never heard a H/J barn mention the term "balanced seat." We ride Hunt Seat. Nor have I heard "balanced seat" from eventers. But then again I only know a very small number of eventers. This thread is the first time I've heard it. Maybe that's why I can look at some pictures of eventers and see very good H/J position...with a few tweaks, mind you.

Horseguy, it's clear you know BS. It's not so clear that you know hunt seat...but your opinion of it is VERY clear. Your dogged determination to blame the crest release and inability to see its advantages is amusing. That you can't acknowledge that the crest release is beneficial in some circumstances really is a shame. It makes me want to oppose any type of "national jumping seat" standard. And why would we want one? Different disciplines have different styles which no national standard is going to address.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by deltawave:
Check 'em out--which one do you think would still be attached to their horse after a drop-to-skinny combination? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

And when exactly is a hunter rider going to every have to worry about being attached to their horse after a drop to a skinny combination? http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

horseguy
Aug. 1, 2005, 01:19 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Horseguy, it's clear you know BS. It's not so clear that you know hunt seat...but your opinion of it is VERY clear. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I know what I see. I have students who I am helping overcome the handicaps associated with the seat you defend, as well as H/J riders who come and "try x-c jumping" here at our course.

I get a little frustrated with people posting about some "ideal" or how this or that is "intended" in the H/J method. The American Hunter Seat is what it is in general, not some abstract ideal. Yes, there are some good riders in H/j riding, but very few. I am quite clear about the overall standards I see in that method, and they are wanting.

I'm sorry, but I do not agree with your physics or your assertions. I just don't see enough good riding from the H/J riders in general.

And there are H/J barns now, as eventing grows in popularity, that are saying they teach the balanced seat.

Janet
Aug. 1, 2005, 01:28 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">And when exactly is a hunter rider going to every have to worry about being attached to their horse after a drop to a skinny combination? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
Maybe not hunters, but jumpers - At Hickstead!

frugalannie
Aug. 1, 2005, 02:09 PM
I congratulate all the participants for expressing their opinions articulately, keeping open minds and civil tongues, and having a really interesting discussion.

If I repeat a previous comment in the following, I apologize. It seems to me, a card-carrying member of the Crude-but-effective (CbE) school of horsemanship, that I am riding in some form of balanced seat. If I were not, I wouldn't be able to ride dressage and XC effectively, and if I were riding in an unbalanced seat, I'd be doing a close inspection of the turf. Now please don't burden me with the actual definition of BS: I have studied and continue to learn about it and HS a bit too. I would LOVE to be able to make it look so easy consistently.

My concern with much of what I see in the HS venues is that, while the riders are very good at piloting their horses around the show ring, I fear for them if the feathers hit the fan. What if a firecracker goes off, a deer runs out of the trees, they get in all wrong to a fence? I know the goal is for that not to happen ("When exactly would a hunter rider have to worry about being attached to their horse..."), but we're dealing with horses, and manure happens. I am not saying that all beginning eventers are there by any means. But the nature of the sport requires that they develop some sense of this ASAP.

This may be why my hero (other than Deltawave) is Lucinda Green who makes sure there is no perfect answer to some of the questions she sets up in clinics. Her objective is to teach participants to safely ride through when everything has gone wrong.

RugBug
Aug. 1, 2005, 02:40 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Janet:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">And when exactly is a hunter rider going to every have to worry about being attached to their horse after a drop to a skinny combination? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
Maybe not hunters, but jumpers - At Hickstead! </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

That's why I said hunters. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Horseguy, it's funny that you can condemn hunters for what you see, yet eventers seem to be immune to the same. I tell you a lot of what I see in the lower level, learner ranks (to distinguish between experienced riders on greener horses and the learners) isn't pretty and makes me never want to event, not just because I don't like to ride "at speed," but because I would never want to 'cowboy' my way through. I prefer style and accuracy to completion. You can keep telling yourself that "eventers do it better" without recognizing that they do it better for eventing, not for riding in general and stay happy in your world.

An eventer switching ranks to hunters would have the same sort of dissonance that a hunter rider has when switching to eventing. Eight identical 'hunter gap' spots; perfect, timely lead changes; and a soft, flowing, invisible ride are not easy to come by.

As for physics? Pshaw...you can't really be trying to tell me that having hands placed a few inches higher on the neck is going to change COG and balance, can you? In an ideal world, that is all that differs between a crest release and an automatic.

bornfreenowexpensive
Aug. 1, 2005, 03:42 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by RugBug:

An eventer switching ranks to hunters would have the same sort of dissonance that a hunter rider has when switching to eventing. Eight identical 'hunter gap' spots; perfect, timely lead changes; and a soft, flowing, invisible ride are not easy to come by.

</div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I can't really comment on the HS v. BS stuff--way above my head--but I disagree with you on this comment. Good riding is good riding in my book. I was out hacking with one of the top AA hunter riders in the country (yes a hunter rider who goes out hacking but not on her show horses http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif) I mentioned that I never thought I'd be that good at hunters because I don't ride off my eye that much (besides that I find them boring). I really don't have a good eye. Had one once--when I rode and jumped multiple horses a day--but those days are long gone and with it went my eye for a "spot." She asked me how I ride my courses. I said--I try and ride a rhythm, keeping the stride the same length and consistent, and not make any big moves. It's only if I maintain my rhythm that I can have hopes of seeing a distance and even if I don't see a distance, my horse jumps smoothly out of stride. I keep the horse coming forward (at least that's what I try) and wait for them to jump. She turns and says--that's the same way I ride my hunter courses.

A good event rider, rides their horses smoothly and in a consistent rhythm. I watched Phillip Dutton jump through the Adv. foundation (it's a jump complex with banks and solid walls) at Plantation fields--he came from a solid gallop to a show jump pace (but his rhythm was consistent) and jumped through the complex in a smooth manner. It looked like he was going through the simplest of gymnastic courses--when many others were struggling. You saw his horse adjust his stride but you never saw HIM make the adjustment.

After organizing the JW clinic this weekend the points were hit home again. Not focusing on the rider (what hunters do verses eventers)--but putting the horse in a rhythm and if they are in a consistent rhythm, their balance follows and nice jumps follow. (note that JW does focus on the riders position but mostly correcting what a rider is doing that interfers with the horse and its balance). It seems to me that if there is a fault with eventers, it is often to override and if there is a fault with hunters, it's to make "showy" moves not related to their riding (which IMO takes away from the horse whose form is supposed to be the focus).

Just my two cents to this interesting discussion.

horseguy
Aug. 1, 2005, 03:58 PM
Because it is too hot to work here today. I have the time to respond more. Here goes. Let’s try one more time…

Hands placed on the neck in a prescribed way at a set location constitutes a form. It is fixed, as in hands fixed on the neck. Anytime you fix a part of your body, you limit the body’s ability to follow the movement of the horse. When you do that you loose unity. Unity is the source of engagement, balance, and basically everything that is important to getting over a difficult obstacle. So, it is not where the hands are placed (a form), but rather that they are placed at all because fixed placement disrupts a dynamic riding position. (and please don’t tell me you can follow the horse’s movement while your hands are fixed on the neck. I find that argument oxymoronic.)

Furthermore, this “placement” often happens, thanks to H/J instructors, a stride or several strides out from the jump so that the time of lost unity can become quite long. The longer you separate from the horse or are not in unity, the more time it generally takes to recover that unity. This loss of unity disrupts approaches to jumps and landings, along with the jump itself.

What is happening in this exchange is that I (and others) bring up points regarding dynamic (in motion) position, and you and others reply in terms of forms that are fixed. This is the central point of difference regarding the physics, not location of hand placement. There are distinctions to be made and understood, like between form and position, and fixed versus constant. The key conceptual issue to wrestle with is that constant balance and fixed forms cannot coexist in a rider.

I promise I will not try to explain this again on this thread. If I am bored and frustrated writing it, I can only assume it is more difficult to read over and over. My apologies.

Also, I do think there is limitless poor riding in the lower levels of eventing. The only hope there is that people will move up and get better, or probably drop out from being stuck at a level. So, I see this problem as sort of “self correcting” for the sport of eventing. I will say that many of those current lower level riders are escapees from the ranks of the H/Jers, but this is a transitional period and it won’t last. The sport is changing as many (subk pointed this out and it would make a good separate thread here) completely new riders begin their riding career as eventer hopefuls. This ultimately will clean up the lower ranks, provided there are enough good balanced seat instructors out there to give the new riders proper instruction. In other words, yes there are currently big problems at the lower levels, but in a couple ways that is bound to change. I do not see comparable circumstances surrounding the “other method”.

Rebels_Princess
Aug. 1, 2005, 04:01 PM
Maybe it's because of my background in riding that I can't seem to pick a side in this debate. I enjoy all aspects of riding and by doing so havemade myself a rider that always puts the horse before my own form...despite that fact that I am a h/j rider.

As a h/j rider though I have never had a horse that knew its job inside and out...however I have always had very VERY smart horses who catch on very fast and are able to get themselves and me out of any problems. My current mare is able to help me cover up an boo-boo's but yet still relies on my for confidence. As long as I don't waiver neither does she.

Despite what seat you ride...and I think we are all in agreement...the horse's comfort and well being comes first.

RugBug
Aug. 1, 2005, 04:06 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by bornfreenowexpensive:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by RugBug:

An eventer switching ranks to hunters would have the same sort of dissonance that a hunter rider has when switching to eventing. Eight identical 'hunter gap' spots; perfect, timely lead changes; and a soft, flowing, invisible ride are not easy to come by.

</div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I can't really comment on the HS v. BS stuff--way above my head--but I disagree with you on this comment. Good riding is good riding in my book. I was out hacking with one of the top AA hunter riders in the country (yes a hunter rider who goes out hacking but not on her show horses http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif) I mentioned that I never thought I'd be that good at hunters because I don't ride off my eye that much (besides that I find them boring). I really don't have a good eye. Had one once--when I rode and jumped multiple horses a day--but those days are long gone and with it went my eye for a "spot." She asked me how I ride my courses. I said--I try and ride a rhythm, keeping the stride the same length and consistent, and not make any big moves. It's only if I maintain my rhythm that I can have hopes of seeing a distance and even if I don't see a distance, my horse jumps smoothly out of stride. I keep the horse coming forward (at least that's what I try) and wait for them to jump. She turns and says--that's the same way I ride my hunter courses.

</div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Yes, that's how you ride a hunter course. But that in and off itself is not enough to win. It may not even be enough to place. The bare minimum at quality shows with decent sized classes is a smooth, flowing round, invisible ride, nice distances and clean timely lead changes. The tricky part of hunters is making every jump look the same as the one previous. No "good but a tad short" spot or "good but a little long", but all at the same spot...and it better be a spot that sets your horse up for his roundest jump. Horse gets a little sticky and jumps over himself in a shorter spot...better not let that happen. Reachy from too long a spot...nope, not gonna cut it either. Sticky lead change? Not gonna work.

Now you could go to smaller shows and still place or win with errors, but like say, in larger shows, you need an error free trip to even be in consideration...where it all comes down to your horse's form. If you've got a spectacular, "look-at-me" stylist, you may be forgiven some other errors, but if you're riding Mr. Slightly-Above-Average, you can't be making many mistakes and still expect to take anything home with you.

Heck, even one of your newest converts, Judi, has a wonderful jumping horse in Rainier. Gosh, he's got a very nice jump on him...but she has said (but I give her the right to recant) she switched to jumpers (from whence she changed to eventing...but for other reasons, I think) because he just didn't have the right type to make it in the hunter ring.

Because the rider's form in the hunter ring doesn't count, you will get all kinds of interesting sprawls over fences. I'm sure the same thing could be said of dressage...very odd and not-so-effective things take root. For instance, what's with all the looking down? Let's not even talk about hacking out, how can these people ride in an arena with anyone and not put everyone in jeopardy? http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/lol.gif. There is little to no punishment for looking down on a dressage horse, just like there's little to no punishment for jumping ahead or ducking on a hunter. It has taken hold because there's no incentive to NOT do it. Doesn't mean it is correct or a sign that the system is flawed...just that the practice of that system is flawed.

RugBug
Aug. 1, 2005, 04:24 PM
Horseguy: I'm bored with it too. You obviously have your ideas and no one is going to change them. All I can say, as a H/J rider, and I think the other H/J riders on this thread have said as well, that I was never taught a fixed position. I was taught basics of a good base and independent hands. If you wish to think I was told "Heels at such and such a angle, upper body inclined at such and such a degree" etc...that is your right.

And while you may think that the increasing numbers of people going straight into eventing will clean up the lower levels...I highly doubt it. I happen to think it will go down the same road as H/J...more of a chaos theory. Increased numbers will mean more demand for trainers, people who shouldn't be training will hang out a shingle and start teaching, shortcuts will be taken, etc. With the elimination of the Roads and Tracks and Steeplechase, the average WB will be able to compete. People will opt for the WB because it is "easier"; stereotypically requiring a less tactful ride than the TB. The general seat will go from one in balance with the motion f the horse to one behind the motion to make up for the horses without their own motor. The overall riding level will deteriorate. Maybe I am wrong and just a pessimist...but I just can't get onboard with your 'everything will get better' prediction.

horseguy
Aug. 1, 2005, 04:35 PM
RugBug, there are many very good H/J riders and horses (in fact one can make the argument that show hunters are saints because of how they accomplish their work). I trust that you are one of the very competent ones. I post here in generalities, averages, norms.

Regarding the optimistic vs. pessimistic view, yes it could all end in chaos for eventing too. The BN and N courses are too easy, not regarding height, but in approaches and landings, terrain, etc. This indeed will spawn a block of “pretenders” if it continues. Worst of all eventing is becoming a big business (just as I approach retirement) and where there is cash there is BS, and I don’t mean Balanced Seat. So, yes, eventing could just be another industry segment to exploit instead of community to build. That outcome will be up to the participants. I hope it goes well.

subk
Aug. 1, 2005, 04:57 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by RugBug:
A good crest release, long or short, still has the rider in balance over the horse's COG. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
I believe you have missed the ENTIRE point of the discussion "defining" a BS. A BS is NOT about "balance over the horse's center of gravity!" It is about a rider being balanced over his own feet and the stirrups. It is the security that comes from a rider having their own balance that allows a rider then, and only then, to be fluidly/dynamically balanced over the horse's center of gravity--or in any relationship to the horse's center of gravity that the situations calls for.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by RugBug:
An eventer switching ranks to hunters would have the same sort of dissonance that a hunter rider has when switching to eventing. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
Actually, I don't have a problem at all when I go do hunter classes for schooling. Last week I took a very green (as in little to no experience jumping a course of more than 4 or 5 fences) young horse and was very successful ribbonwise competing against some quality local riders from big time programs. I teach my young horses to use the rhythm as the means to find a distance, as I learned from Wofford. I find the monotony of eight jumps from the same very consistent rhythm wonderful schooling and not at all disharmonious with my personal riding style and the goals I'm trying to accomplish in relationship to what the judges are looking for.

RugBug
Aug. 1, 2005, 05:02 PM
Saintly horses abound in all disciplines. The lower you go down the ranks of H/J, eventing and dressage, the more likely the horses are saints. http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/yes.gif

You can trust that I am a very competent rider, but I would be remiss to say I was. I've done okay with the training, resources and horseflesh available to me. I was a lot better rider as a kid, but time off and never having quite gotten back to the place I was as a teen have left me in the average category. I may be pompous, but at least I'm honest. http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/lol.gif

Ah, horseguy, your latest post actually made me think "with that, I can stop." So I head back to H/J land....

RugBug
Aug. 1, 2005, 05:09 PM
And sadly, subk draws me back in....

Rider balance is nothing if it is not in balance of the horse's COG. Hypothetically and over exaggeratingly, a rider can be in balance over feet and stirrups with a saddle placed on the horse's neck. There's nothing effective about that.

I do fine at local shows too...but I know that in comparison to A show courses, horses, and riders, I would come up short. If you don't come up short, that's fantastic.

Judi
Aug. 1, 2005, 05:48 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by RugBug:

Heck, even one of your newest converts, Judi, has a wonderful jumping horse in Rainier. Gosh, he's got a very nice jump on him...but she has said (but I give her the right to recant) she switched to jumpers (from whence she changed to eventing...but for other reasons, I think) because he just didn't have the right type to make it in the hunter ring.
. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

No recanting RugBug... You are quite correct. Rainier was not born to be a hunter. From his body type to his extravagant canter and jump... we can lay down the perfect hunter round and never even get a look from a judge because he's just not a stylist. I guess that's why those horses costs so much.. because the truly great ones are born not made.

But RugBug... I believe you may be missing the forest for the tree's in this discussion. You are absolutely correct in your assertion of how very difficult the PERFECT hunter round is to lay down. But do you really believe that Peter Pletcher wouldn't win top ribbons if he were to ride his horse with a following hand? Do you think the horse needs him to duck, swing his leg etc to give him that jump? Or could it very well be that he's riding magnificent horses that would place the same if he were to ride with a quiet soft following hand and tight still legs supporting them over the fence. Are hunter judges that shallow that they need some sort of show from the rider to say "hey this horse can jump brilliant without input from me"? It just doesn't make sense to me.

I've asked this question on the H/J board over and over again. Why the show? If we're taught to ride a certain way in our Equitation over Fences classes... why wouldn't we carry that over to our Hunter Rounds? We are talking about the BS vs. the HS. Do you think the HS is the only true effective way to ride hunters? Do you believe that Kim Severson wouldn't be able to lay down a great hunter round on a top hunter horse unless she changed from the BS to the HS?

Lastly... When you make a statement such as this...

[QUOTE]Originally posted by RugBug:
I tell you a lot of what I see in the lower level, learner ranks (to distinguish between experienced riders on greener horses and the learners) isn't pretty and makes me never want to event, not just because I don't like to ride "at speed," but because I would never want to 'cowboy' my way through. I prefer style and accuracy to completion.
[QUOTE]

I must believe that you indeed do not understand the full nature of eventing. One does not win a Horse Trial by just getting around... Your horse must be obediant and subtle in dressage, bold and confident on cross country, and have the endurance and accuracy to come back and jump a clean stadium round on the final day. I can attest that this is the hardest discipline I have ever had to learn and I can assure you I would be in enormous trouble if I just cowboy'd my way around stadium AND cross country.

I agree that "an eventer switching ranks to hunters would have the same sort of dissonance that a hunter rider has when switching to eventing." BUT I don't think that dissonance has anything to do with the balanced seat vs. the hunter seat. It has more to do with what the hunters judges are looking for and rewarding. Effective riding is effective riding... Remember the Hunter Challenge at the World Cup... didn't the Europeans "out ride" the American Hunter Stylists with thier Balanced Seat's? There's a lesson to be learned there I think.

Fluffie
Aug. 1, 2005, 07:16 PM
NO WAY!!! Just lost another post.

Frugalannie--What happens when a hunter spooks? Do we all go splat? No, you just regain control over the horse like anyone else would.

Deriving from that question, it seems like there is a bigger misconception here than the CR (Dear Lord NO!!!): Hunter riders are passengers on fancy horses that do everything themselves. If that is true, then I ain't riding hunters (maybe I use a BS http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif). True packers beyond the beginner levels are very, very rare. Even the top show horses can be spooks (esp. the WB's), freight trains, buckers, hollow-backed when allowed to do whatever, etc. A good hunter *rider* (even if he/she is up the neck over the fence) copes with a multitude of problems and trys to both correct and cover up. To this day, I get a kick out of people telling me how easy my horses look to ride. HAHAHAHA--a crazed ex-running QH and a green TB who had only been off the farm of his birth ONCE before his first show. Want more proof? Pick out a handful of hunter riders who seem to just sit there, follow them to their stalls, and ask them what their horses are really like to ride. You'd be surprized!!

"Why the show?" Because it is the show--the point of hunters is to show off which HORSE is the best, not which horse AND rider combination is the best. So the rider can look like poop, and the horse can be brilliant (theroretically), and the horse can win. Ride hunters like the eq? Well, now we've switched goals in mid-stream. Eq. is about the rider, and interestingly enough, the rider who "gets it done" with the most style wins--you can have a textbook "form", but if you chip or miss a lead, you're OUT of the ribbions. If you have a loose leg but ride the course more accurately than those with legs of steel, you win. That's why there are more CR's in hunters (and CR's that are held longer) than in eq. The rider is trying to say "Hey, this horse doesn't *need* me to hold his face--he does it naturally", which is usually a white lie. (Ps: CR's several strides out in the show ring? Yes--"show". Same thing schooling home? NO.) In eq., you're showing that you can be effective over a more difficult course, and the horse's rideability is only a factor in extreme circumstances. That's why I get irritated when h/j riders say "Don't criticize my position--I don't do eq." Poop! That's just an excuse for position faults, IMHO (and I'm not perfect either, that's for sure, but I work my butt off to get closer--I do "do" the eq, and I don't pose). And yes, I think the pro's could ride their horses with more balance/style, but don't for many reasons, including "show"--"This horse jumps so well, he jumps me loose http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif.

Question: How is teaching a *beginner* to use a CR to help with balance issues any different than using a neck strap? Don't both "fix" the hand on the neck in a forward position?

BTW: Aren't we leaving out the horse in all of this? To make it short (I've got to go), Horseguy said somewhere that when he used a pseudo-CR on accident, it was to catch his balance on very athletic jumpers. Please correct, but does that mean on very round, back-crackin' types? If so, rather than a mistake, couldn't it have been an adjustment to a fluid position to accommodate balance on an extreme horse? TB's jump (and canter, generally) much flatter than WB's, and most h/j riders today ride WB's http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/cry.gif, so could this laying on the neck be encouraged (not created, not an excuse--a reason for a prevelant *fault*) by very round jumpers?

Fluffie
Aug. 1, 2005, 07:29 PM
Ps: European riders winning? Duh!! I'd expect world-class riders who school 5' to be able to beat (BTW--by a very slim margin) *national*-level riders competing at their upper limits (4'). As to the Europeans using balanced seats, I don't buy it judging by everyone's descrptions--the continental riders tend to have terrible knee grips (which you all said was a big no-no) and forward bodies in air(another no-no). Christina Stuckleburger (dressage) said that her jumping contemporaries ride "vis the calf only over jumps." For even more details, check out American Jumping Style oddly enough; it even has pic's http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/winkgrin.gif. Yes, those comments are fixed-form-based, but many have said that BS riders could have the horse disappear out from under them (THAT would be weird . . . ) and land on their feet. I haven't seen many continental riders, esp. the Germans, who would pass that test.

Judi
Aug. 1, 2005, 09:25 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Fluffie:
Ps: European riders winning? Duh!! I'd expect world-class riders who school 5' to be able to beat (BTW--by a very slim margin) *national*-level riders competing at their upper limits (4'). As to the Europeans using balanced seats, I don't buy it judging by everyone's descrptions--the continental riders tend to have terrible knee grips (which you all said was a big no-no) and forward bodies in air(another no-no). Christina Stuckleburger (dressage) said that her jumping contemporaries ride "vis the calf only over jumps." For even more details, check out American Jumping Style oddly enough; it even has pic's http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/winkgrin.gif. Yes, those comments are fixed-form-based, but many have said that BS riders could have the horse disappear out from under them (THAT would be weird . . . ) and land on their feet. I haven't seen many continental riders, esp. the Germans, who would pass that test. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Okay Fluffie... but could you or RugBug please answer this question I keep asking...

"Do you really believe that Peter Pletcher wouldn't win top ribbons if he were to ride his horse with a following hand? Do you think the horse needs him to duck, swing his leg etc to give him that jump? Or could it very well be that he's riding magnificent horses that would place the same if he were to ride with a quiet soft following hand and tight still legs supporting them over the fence. Are hunter judges that shallow that they need some sort of show from the rider to say "hey this horse can jump brilliant without input from me"? "

I understand what you are saying... but what I don't understand is "Why?" This "show" thing seems to not be a true test of anything except the hunter rider can pull the wool over a judges eyes? Why not have harmony and balance over a fence. This posing... pretending the horse doesn't need the rider thing is just plain bizarre to me and doesn't have any connection outside of the hunter show ring. Where exactly did this standard develop as a basis for awarding any Hunter a blue ribbon? As for a jumping strap. The difference is the beginning rider who uses the jumping strap doesn't learn a bad habit of leaning on thier hands to support thier upper body. They use the strap as an aid until their base of support is strong enough to keep them from getting left and bumping the saint horse in the mouth. The jumping strap is discarded once said beginner has gained fitness and stregth sufficient enough to graduate to the following hand. The Crest release never goes away even if the rider has gained thier base of support and isn't in need of it. George Morris himself has lamented the fact that Hunter riders don't move on to the following hand... right?

As for the European riders vs. American Hunter riders. There are no World-class Hunter riders because it doesn't exist outside of our American National venue. And are you saying because the Europeans Riders's jump higher fences than the American's they can ride a better Hunter round? I thought the magic of the Top Hunter professionals was all about show and finesse. Perhaps horseguy can correct me here.. but my impression is that the Hunter Seat is purely an American invention. Thus when the Exhibition Hunter class was held at the World Cup... it ended up being the American Hunter Seat Riders vs. the European more balanced seat. Point I'm making is that in an apples to apples contest the jumper riders function won over the Hunter riders form. (And this was when everyone thought the Hunter Pro's would win handely.) By the way... these same pro's admitted they rode too careful and got out-ridden... I am curious though... if you were to be told that there was another way to ride your Hunters more effectively would you be interested?

eventable
Aug. 1, 2005, 09:30 PM
Bless you Judi, I just opened my mouth and then shut it again because you said it all http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Fluffie
Aug. 2, 2005, 07:10 AM
Could a hunter pro do as well with more classical eq.? Absolutely, 100% yes!!! Many pro's could still win eq. with their positions, but once again, riders' positions do not come into play in hunter judging--the goal is to show that your horse is the best one (quiet, well-trained, well-balanced with minimal "help" from the rider, and physically talented over jumps) to ride to the hounds on a hunt. That's where the judging standards derive--not from a military test, but from fox hunters (who were, yes, military guys on their spare time, so that's our common ancestor at work) who wanted a way to tell who had the best hunter (and maybe to sell it http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif) during the off-season for hunting.

Why do pro's ride they way they do, with ducking, swinging legs etc. (which you see in the GP jumpers and in eventing stadium rounds, BTW, but not to the same extent)? You'd have to ask them, but my amateur understanding is that it is usually a combination of hard-jumping horses, lack of focus on position (because as terrible as the look, they do have some balance--they don't fall off even for spooks, bucks, etc., which do happen), and total focus on the horse.

The reason that the standard of "my horse is a natural at this" is because fox hunting isn't a vocation, it is a pasttime, and who wants to cowboy, hustle, wrangle (if not strangle http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif) their hunter over 6 hours of galloping and standing? So, you want a horse that has a good step--long enough to keep up, but not too long so that you're in the middle of the hounds, is quiet, and thinks to help you get over hill and dale. And yes, First horse and I did go on a small hunt and competed over uneven terrain (outside hunter course), and we did just as well (or not http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/uhoh.gif) as we do in the ring. You just adapt--tighten up that form as you do at home. BTW: I personally don't intentionally do all those errors (ducking, knee grip) intentionally, however . . . it happens. But the true test of show hunter riding is "Can you make your horse look smooth, soft, quiet, and whatnot and not telegraph it to the judge/potential buyers?" The test of eq. is "Can you effectively ride a hunter or jumper while maintaining style?"

Thanks for the neck strap info--that's what I thought. But, it is still doing what the CR does--teaching to stick hands forward (a crude description, yes) and not yank the mouth. Doesn't using it also put the rider's upper body forward and down, as many blame the CR for doing? Just curious.

What I was trying (in a hurry, sorry) to say about the hunte challenge is that yes, I would expect the creme de la creme of the WORLD to beat those with only national experience (they have never faced the pressures of a HUGE audience, at night, under the lights), just as I would expect Phillip Dutton to kick my butt over a stadium course (he has the nerves of steel, experience, and talent that I don't, regardless of style). Also, riding a foot lower than what you normally compete at would be an advantage over riding at your max. height (assuming that h. riders are only h. riders)--a lot of 3' riders could do a 2' course with NO problem. Riding too carefully has nothing to do with seat--it means they were too conservative with pace, corrections, etc. Also, once again, I don't buy that the Europeans ride in the BS you guys described--look at their forms--knee pivots and constantly parallel to the neck!!! Finally, I don't believe that BS would necessarily be any better on a show hunter than **GOOD** HS.

I hope that answered questions http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/winkgrin.gif--I'm trying, but feel a bit overwhelmed (and late for the barn). One thing though--what about the WB's jumping style's effect on the BS?

ideayoda
Aug. 2, 2005, 07:37 AM
Time was when a jumper round always looked like a nice jumper round, even over the bigggggg fences! And imho most horses jump the same unless their schooling is #*$(&.

RugBug
Aug. 2, 2005, 09:07 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Judi:
But RugBug... I believe you may be missing the forest for the tree's in this discussion. You are absolutely correct in your assertion of how very difficult the PERFECT hunter round is to lay down. But do you really believe that Peter Pletcher wouldn't win top ribbons if he were to ride his horse with a following hand? Do you think the horse needs him to duck, swing his leg etc to give him that jump?
</div></BLOCKQUOTE>

And you Judi are focusing on form faults and not on what Hunt Seat Equitation really should be. I have said over and over and over that the ducking, jumping ahead, etc are WRONG, INCORRECT but because it isn't punished it continues. And because the younger riders see the pros and top ammies they idolize do it and win, they copy it. It still doesn't make it correct. I'm not saying that a hunter couldn't go around with an automatic release, I'm saying it doesn't matter. Some horses really don't like being touched in the face AT ALL so a crest release is beneficial for them. For others it doesn't matter. But to lump the forms faults as part of the crest release is disingenuous. It makes the argument that the CR is evil and useless easier because who is going to say that jumping ahead and ducking are correct? But the truth of the matter is that the crest release has a use and if it doesn't hurt the horse, who cares?


<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Judi:
I've asked this question on the H/J board over and over again. Why the show? If we're taught to ride a certain way in our Equitation over Fences classes... why wouldn't we carry that over to our Hunter Rounds? We are talking about the BS vs. the HS. Do you think the HS is the only true effective way to ride hunters? Do you believe that Kim Severson wouldn't be able to lay down a great hunter round on a top hunter horse unless she changed from the BS to the HS?
</div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I'm not so sure about all the show either. You hear things like sore backs and all after riding showing/riding so many horses each day, etc. But I really would rather see nice equitation to go with those spectacular rounds.

What I'm trying to say as that the core of BS and HS really aren't all that different. Do you think GM or Frank Chapot or even Chris Kappler, Beezie Madden or McLain Ward couldn't ride a top eventer and get it done? And just for fun, from a few pages ago:

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by RugBug:
I know I keep saying the same thing over and over, but you simply cannot compare making it around a cross country course and making it around a hunter course, for a number of reasons.


1. Many hunter riders have NEVER been asked the question terrain throws at you. All eventers have.

2. Getting around a cross country course can be enough to win. Getting around a hunter course is not enough to win....unless every other person blows as many chunks as you.

3. Eventing contains an element similar to a hunter round (controlled environment, related distances, etc) so it stands to reason that they should be able to get around a hunter course. If they can't they're not much of an eventer, now are they? Only in very rare circumstances do hunters see outside courses these days. Expecting them to make it around a XC course is like expecting a tap dancer to do ballet. They may get parts of it right, but on the whole the tap dancer isn't going to fool you into believing they're good at ballet...but that doesn't mean they aren't good at dance.
</div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Lastly... When you make a statement such as this...

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by RugBug:
I tell you a lot of what I see in the lower level, learner ranks (to distinguish between experienced riders on greener horses and the learners) isn't pretty and makes me never want to event, not just because I don't like to ride "at speed," but because I would never want to 'cowboy' my way through. I prefer style and accuracy to completion.
[QUOTE]

I must believe that you indeed do not understand the full nature of eventing. One does not win a Horse Trial by just getting around... Your horse must be obediant and subtle in dressage, bold and confident on cross country, and have the endurance and accuracy to come back and jump a clean stadium round on the final day. I can attest that this is the hardest discipline I have ever had to learn and I can assure you I would be in enormous trouble if I just cowboy'd my way around stadium AND cross country.
</div></BLOCKQUOTE>

And I offended your sensibilities by saying what I SEE and what may not be the actuality. I highly doubt you are cowboying your way through, but you have to admit that there are a lot of people who do. And honestly, I can't get my hunter mind around being able to have a refusal and still place. Or scrambling around a stadium course and still ribboning or even winning. It just doesn't make sense to me. And when they change the nature of the competition by running stadium and dressage on the same day instead of stadium after XC you completely lose the purpose of the stadium round. (But that's an HT, right? I don't know my terminology all that well).

There are many more reasons for my never wanting to do eventing than just the speed. I get what eventing is suppose to be about. I just don't enjoy the skills it takes. I have no patience for dressage...it bores me. And I don't like XC. I don't like that you can still do well when you have mediocre rides. With as subjective as hunters are, I can usually tell you right where I should place and why I didn't place higher or lower.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Judi:
Remember the Hunter Challenge at the World Cup... didn't the Europeans "out ride" the American Hunter Stylists with thier Balanced Seat's? There's a lesson to be learned there I think. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Yep, that's an interesting one. I wish so much that I could've seen it. I don't want to make excuses for American riders, but Ifrom what I've heard, along with what you and Fluffie have already said, there was some interesting judging in regards to things like lead changes and cross cantering. In a real hunter class, those errors would never have been rewarded. But for exhibit, it was what it was and we lost. I'm not sure it meant the Europeans "out rode" us.

persefne
Aug. 2, 2005, 09:34 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by RugBug:
When I watch a horse that rears three times and breaks from trot to canter twice in a dressage test get a better score over a horse with a nice pleasant accurate test... </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Wow. I think I'd have to have some proof/support for this. Even "seeing" vs. knowing/experiencing something firsthand doesn't make this entirely believeable. Where? When? Whom? Just curious...it doesn't sound right. That might seem off topic, but you use it to make a point, so my questioning the accuracy is relevent.

bornfreenowexpensive
Aug. 2, 2005, 10:01 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by persefne:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by RugBug:
When I watch a horse that rears three times and breaks from trot to canter twice in a dressage test get a better score over a horse with a nice pleasant accurate test... </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Wow. I think I'd have to have some proof/support for this. Even "seeing" vs. knowing/experiencing something firsthand doesn't make this entirely believeable. Where? When? Whom? Just curious...it doesn't sound right. That might seem off topic, but you use it to make a point, so my questioning the accuracy is relevent. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Actually I could believe it. A person has to remember how a dressage test is scored. UNLIKE a hunter round, there are individual movements each scored seperately. So if you completely blow one movement but score off the charts in another movement, you could beat someone who did not have the same blow up. Also, to a person who rides hunters, what they may think of as a nice test--may not be such a nice test from a dressage perspective.

I dislike hunters for the exact reason RugBug dislikes eventing (and I would assume Jumpers). I dislike that money can buy a fancy horse and that it is completely subjective--the difficult nature of x-c doesn't keep the money out completely but does have a way of culling the field when you get above Prelim.

While at the lower levels of eventing--some of what RugBug says may be true--it is also true of the lower/local hunters. I watched a horse of mine win the hack against 15 other horses at a local show (that had horses on their way to Devon) picking up the wrong lead twice and having a minor blow up/spook. He was just that much nicer than everyone else and so he still won.

Janet
Aug. 2, 2005, 10:03 AM
Remember, consistency doesn't count in dressage.

So a test with a couple of 0s, but the rest 6s, 7s, and 8s will beat a test that is mostly 4s, 5s, and a couple of 6s.

And 4s and 5s is all that "nice pleasant accurate" test will get you if it isn't also forward (much more forward than a hunter under saddle), balanced (NOT on the forehand) and "through".

Just as there is much more to a hunter round than "not missing your spots and getting all the lead changes", there is a lot more to even a low level dressage test than "nice pleasant accurate".

RugBug
Aug. 2, 2005, 10:23 AM
I'm not completely knowledgeable about dressage, but I ride with a ex-eventer ...she's hard to define...has done eventing, is now doing jumpers with her two horses (because the one didn't like eventing), but trains my horse for hunters (with my input as well as her knowledge) and trains other people for eventing and jumpers. The BO is a dressage trainer...so I am not completely distanced from these other disciplines.

Janet
Aug. 2, 2005, 10:26 AM
OK, then I can't tell without seeing the actual tests why it was scored that way.

Magnolia
Aug. 2, 2005, 10:30 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Time was when a jumper round always looked like a nice jumper round, even over the bigggggg fences! And imho most horses jump the same unless their schooling is #*$(&. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Not sure what you are talking about but many of the American showjumpers put in rounds that are absolutely picture perfect, horse and rider. I watched the Grand Prix in Charlotte a few months ago, and I'd say 75% of the people riding put in calm, smooth, consistent rounds and had great equitation, even in the junior/amateur rounds.

I must say, hunter riders have really bad looking equitation in photos, but they get the job they need to get done, done. Those horses look foot perfect in the photos and video. I do think more classic equitation would make a prettier picture, but the class isn't judged on the rider or a photo of one second in time. Honestly, watching a good hunter round between the jumps is pretty cool - those horses have perfect rhythm and it looks like the rider is just sitting there enjoying the ride. The horses swap leads automatically and meet every jump perfectly every time - no varience and seemingly no riding going on. Maybe those horses just do that automatically - but I doubt it. Clearly the best hunter riders like Peter Pletcher and Louise Serio can ride and train a horse for their discipline as well as karen and David O'Conner can for eventing.

claire
Aug. 2, 2005, 11:09 AM
RugBug, Interesting about the dressage test...could it be that it was a reflection of the way "Dressage" is changing and being judged/rewarded?

ie. More and more in dressage the "extravagent" movers are being rewarded and the basics of rhythm/balance/submission being lesser rewarded (or at least "momentary loss of" not being penalized to the extent it was)

From the time I went to my first Rolex (2000) I have been in awe of "Eventing" thinking that it represented the pinnacle of athleticism of Horse and Rider.

To be able to have a horse that is Racing Fit go into a Dressage ring and demonstrate the (OLD?) standards of Rhythm,Balance and Submission...and the Next Day have the endurance and jumping talant to answer the questions of a XC course AND then the Next Day have the precision to do a stadium course! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_eek.gif http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_eek.gif http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_eek.gif

But eventing is ALSO changing: short format(less emphasis on XC)and I am sure the Dressage portion (of Eventing) will also change...reflecting the increased emphasis on extravagent movement (rather than rhythm/balance/submission)...

So: Form Follows Function...I guess it is a question of what the Function IS in each of these disciplines?

Janet
Aug. 2, 2005, 11:25 AM
Yes, dressage is changing.

My dressage instructor tells me that without an "extravagant mover" I will be unlikely to "break" 75% (25 penalty points).

But there are a LOT more issues than movement that are why I am not scoring 75%.

In the 50% to 65% range, extravagant movement isn't usually a factor.

RugBug
Aug. 2, 2005, 11:30 AM
claire: I personally think it was more to do with a breed bias: TB vs. Paint. I never would've thought that a breed bias could occur in eventing, but I can't come up with a better explanation. The TB in question is not an extravagant mover.

PS to all: I am going to remove all references I made because I have now thought better of stating this...it could create quite the havoc for me at the barn. I've broken my own rule of never posting something I wouldn't say to someone's face...so I've got to take it out. Sorry.

EventerAJ
Aug. 2, 2005, 12:42 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content"> Rugbug:
And I offended your sensibilities by saying what I SEE and what may not be the actuality. I highly doubt you are cowboying your way through, but you have to admit that there are a lot of people who do. And honestly, I can't get my hunter mind around being able to have a refusal and still place. Or scrambling around a stadium course and still ribboning or even winning. It just doesn't make sense to me. And when they change the nature of the competition by running stadium and dressage on the same day instead of stadium after XC you completely lose the purpose of the stadium round. (But that's an HT, right? I don't know my terminology all that well). </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Eventing is not always about how perfect things can be. Perhaps the heart of eventing is shown WHEN THINGS GO WRONG. Unlike hunters, $&(% happens in eventing. Distances disappear. Footing goes bad. It rains. It gets muddy and slippery. Your horse jumps big and you overshoot your line. In my mind, what defines "the event rider" is how you DEAL with those problems. Sure, ideally you will be "perfect" and avoid the preventable mistakes. But you CAN'T predict and prevent everything. At some point, you just have to sit up and ride. It may not be "pretty" to your eyes, but sometimes that's what it takes to get it done-- when no one else can.

Pretty and perfection is fine when you have the luxury of judging such things-- when that's the only way to separate the competition. But in eventing, the nature of the sport tends to do that.

I'm not saying that the half-hanging off NR deserves to win just because she stayed on. But I can't agree that someone deserves to lose (in eventing) simply because of a less-than perfect ride-- because less-than-perfect circumstances exist and you have to deal with it (or go home).

Judi
Aug. 2, 2005, 12:57 PM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Fluffie:
One thing though--what about the WB's jumping style's effect on the BS?[/QUOTE

Hey Fluffie... do you mean that a Warmblood's jump is more likely to jump you out of the tack? Rainier is a dutch warmblood and I think his jump gets nicer the higher we go actually. When he really uses his neck and back over a 4 foot oxer it's a wonderful feeling. As for my position... when he does use his neck more my upper body and following hand will create more angle as my hands follow and allow his freedom over the fence. BUT... my upper body is never touching his neck and my base of support is still over my feet. This is the main difference from my previous seat with my H/J trainer. (And you can see me doing my fair share of laying on my horses neck in my webshots H/J photos)

One thing I was thinking about in regards to this discussion. I've just converted from H/J land to eventing. I agree with you and RugBug that there doesn't appear to be a HUGE gap between the "correctly done" HS and the BS I have now learned. But in actuality the physical learning curve was huge. I felt I sucked big time for about 2 to 3 months as I developed and strengthen a completly new set of muscles as I wasn't using the same leg, back or abdominal muscles as I did with the HS. In fact I went back to the gym and worked out 4 times a week to aid in my development as my base of support strengthened. The result is I am a stronger more balanced rider today confident that I can survive the strongest check at a down bank, water or ditch.

RugBug... I believe that a lot of the nasty and crazy riding you saw at Twin Rivers was the result of unprepared and unfit riders riding horses that perhaps they are overfaced with. This I blame on thier trainers or lack there of. Remember there are hardly any "do it yourselfers" at an A circuit H/J show. The eventing ranks are full of riders (good and bad) who are on an extreme budget... and do not have access to trainers who ride and school their horses for them... so you're going to see a lot of nasty or scary riding along the way. But this isn't a reflection on the sport itself. Instead of making your judgements on the sport based on the lower levels I encourage you to look to the upper levels for the true understanding of what this sport is about.

You certainly don't have to take my word for it but since I've learned and experienced both Seats I must confess I believe the BS to be superior in terms of all around balance, harmony and fitness. If learned correctly you are a better, fitter rider able to compete in any discipline.

But hey... that's just been my experience.. and it's only just my humble opinion.


http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

judi

Judi
Aug. 2, 2005, 01:49 PM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by RugBug:
I'm not saying that a hunter couldn't go around with an automatic release, I'm saying it doesn't matter.

But how do you know it doesn't matter? Really... what if an auto release would benefit rather than Not matter. And if the discipline was created for people to show off "Field Hunters"... well I guarantee you that you're going to want to have a nice auto release jumping walls, ditches and brush jumps out on a hunt. I'm not meaning to be difficult.. i just don't understand your argument for the CR. If a horse NEEDS a rider NOT to touch his mouth... I don't think that horse would make a great Field Hunter. And therfore a horse jumping without the appearance of input from the rider might not indeed be the best candidate for the varied terrain of a hunt. I just can't figure out how this particular discipline got so quirky as to what is considered excellence and rewarded in the hunter ring.

horseguy
Aug. 2, 2005, 04:10 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">As for a jumping strap. The difference is the beginning rider who uses the jumping strap doesn't learn a bad habit of leaning on thier hands to support thier upper body. They use the strap as an aid until their base of support is strong enough to keep them from getting left and bumping the saint horse in the mouth. The jumping strap is discarded once said beginner has gained fitness and stregth sufficient enough to graduate to the following hand. The Crest release never goes away even if the rider has gained thier base of support and isn't in need of it. George Morris himself has lamented the fact that Hunter riders don't move on to the following hand... right? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

My thoughts exactly. I'd add that I was taught to think of the jumping strap (web military belt) as if it had electricity in it, or in other words not to lean or depend on it except for very brief grabs (don't get socked), then let go. It was a correction, not a form or position.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content"> Perhaps horseguy can correct me here.. but my impression is that the Hunter Seat is purely an American invention. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Yes, purely American. In fact years ago when Europeans mentioned the crest release it was called the American crest release. How embarasing. I find that if I think of the whole scene as a more of an American business it makes more sense.

frugalannie
Aug. 3, 2005, 06:56 AM
One more tiny bit of fuel to add re: the difference between what eventing horses are seeing and hunter round horses are seeing.

It has been mentioned that terrain is no longer a factor since the outside course went missing (OK, a few still exist, but not many). Another factor is that in eventing, the horses haven't had the advantage of seeing the fences prior to jumping them, and they only get one stadium round per competition. It really is a different game to ride a horse to a completely unfamiliar obstacle, and it makes it infinitely harder to get the pretty stride to the perfect take off when your horse is trying to figure out what monsters lurk beneath the jump, not to mention what's on the other side.

(NB: Of course we school our horses over similar fences in preparation. But we all know that even taking a fence in a different direction can make it a whole new world to some of our equine partners. Also, we aren't permitted to school them over those identical fences within 6 weeks of competition, and certainly not day of. I've often wished I could go out there and do it again. I know I'd get a MUCH better round!)

All this is said not necessarily to excuse the "cowboying" that can go on, but rather to put it in perspective. Given the same conditions as a hunter show, the same riders might put in a very different performance.

RugBug
Aug. 3, 2005, 08:21 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Judi:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by RugBug:
I'm not saying that a hunter couldn't go around with an automatic release, I'm saying it doesn't matter.

But how do you know it doesn't matter? Really... what if an auto release would benefit rather than Not matter. And if the discipline was created for people to show off "Field Hunters"... well I guarantee you that you're going to want to have a nice auto release jumping walls, ditches and brush jumps out on a hunt. I'm not meaning to be difficult.. i just don't understand your argument for the CR. If a horse NEEDS a rider NOT to touch his mouth... I don't think that horse would make a great Field Hunter. And therfore a horse jumping without the appearance of input from the rider might not indeed be the best candidate for the varied terrain of a hunt. I just can't figure out how this particular discipline got so quirky as to what is considered excellence and rewarded in the hunter ring. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Judi, the showring hunter is so far removed from the field hunter these days that comparisons are ridiculous. Whether that is good or bad depends on your perspective. There are some aspects that should never have been lost (doing a course with pace, horses not being penalized for being a bit fresh, etc).

If you go back a few decades, all you saw was the automatic release and pardon me for saying this, horses that didn't jump with the same spectacular form they do now. The riders looked MUCH better, the horses worse. There are too many variables to pinpoint what caused the change in horse form, but it did change and for the better, IMO. I've gotten into this discussion on the H/J board, and my opinion wasn't particularly popular, but that's what I see in the pictures. Flat jumping horses with fantastic looking riders. Should we go back to that? Maybe...but I prefer the rounder jumping horses and would love to see that combined with secure, classic looking riders. But what I want in my very small corner of the world and what the big time folks are going to do is forever separated.

I do think we are headed in the right direction, though. There is now tons of talk about the automatic release. Younger generations are at least hearing that there is a release other than the CR. The motivated ones will try to learn, with or without help from their trainer. Practical Horseman just did an article by Anne Kursinski on the auto: that's going to motivate many people to give it a try. They've now got practical tools to learning. GM is constantly saying to move on. It's a slow trickle effect, but I do believe it's getting better. I would predict that the auto release will start making an appearance in the eq ring within the next few years.

Frugalannie: Twenty years ago hunters weren't allowed over the show jumps either. I prefer that it still be that way...even with the fact that I own a horse that benefits from getting into the ring prior to his judged rounds (it's not so much the jumps, but the spooky corners of the ring that bother him). I think it would be more accurate test of riding skill. But then again, it will drive the price of the sane, sensible, stylish hunter up even more...keeping even more people out of the hunters due to financial reasons. Can you imagine the horse search you would have to go on? Fancy, yet sane. Fantastic jump, but easy going (lots of those fantastic jumps come on horses that are a wee bit looky). Sound and a good mover. Etc, etc, etc.

asterix
Aug. 3, 2005, 09:22 AM
Well, if hunter shows changed to require, like eventing, that horses are presented with the course (which would not always be outside/diagonal/outside/diagonal, as long as we're moving the bar here) for the first and only time in competition, then I would assume that the standard of judging would have to change as well...

That is, rather than reward the most perfectly robotic-looking horse who looks identical over every jump and acts (for obvious reasons) as though it's seen every jump dozens of times already, judging would reward the most seamless ride over new jumps -- the horse might look, and the rider would have to react to smooth that out, and the horse would have to be obedient enough to accept that input and meet the fence in harmony.

That IS what we strive for in our SJ, by the way -- it is FAR easier to get a double clear (and you do have to worry about time -- efficiency in your lines and turns is rewarded) when you maintain a steady, forward rhythm and "smooth" out the terrain and your horse's "WHAT???" reactions (as in "WHAT is that liverpool doing under my fence? WHAT is that skinny doing in front of the oxer...") as much as possible.

The more flowing it is, the more likely you are to have a clear round.

SO I don't think you'd have to find some 1 in a zillion horse who can jump as THOUGH he had been schooled to death even when fresh -- you'd have an interesting competition based on skill and harmony between horse and rider. That would be cool!

Pocket Pony
Aug. 3, 2005, 06:08 PM
I've been following this thread and just want to say what articulate thoughtful posts have come from quite a few people here! And no need to get the popcorn, either! http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/winkgrin.gif

I always rode hunters as a kid and also as an adult getting back into riding. I never had an opportunity to show a lot, so I do appreciate how hard it is to keep your cool and manage to get around 8 jumps in a rythmic, seemingly easy fashion, with style and grace. Wow, it is really hard.

Now I'm making the switch to eventing and just completed my first HT over the weekend. And wow, is that hard also! But for different reasons, of course.

I think asterix hit on something about going out over a course over rough terrain, that your horse has not seen before. You'd better be able to ride by the seat of your pants (not necessarily rough and ready but balanced and ready for anything!) and get the job done because you are going at speed and your horse may trip, spook, runout, stop, etc....

I'm sure lots of people were gasping at my jumping round over the weekend, when Paddy was bucking and I was trying to get my act together to finish my course with some small semblance of control. A round like that of course would put me out of the ribbons in a hunter class. But I do think it shows my ability to stay balanced that I could get him back together and have a decent finish for my last few fences. It was a test of my athletic ability, for sure.

And I felt like I looked like a yahoo speed freak on XC as my mind went blank and it was all I could do to steer to the fences and make it over, I was so nervous!!! (although when I watched the video afterwards, I really wasn't going that fast)

But I don't think that means I shouldn't be showing. Because my issues are very much about *learning how to show* and be in a pressure environment. I don't want to be a speed freak yahoo, really I don't. And I'm trying to work on it. I know that isn't the best way to get the job done.

It would be interesting to see the "show" stop in the hunter classes. Pros who fly all over their horses' heads and necks to show off a powerful jump that may or may not really be there. Their students will try to emulate them, because they are the trainer after all. I love looking at pictures of the good 'ole days showing a balanced seat and a rider WITH the horse, not flopping all over it. And I know the pros are capable, but they choose to go for the "show factor".

Anyways, I appreciate the difficulties of competing as a hunter and competing as an eventer. Both sports require athletic ability but just in different ways. I must say, though, that my riding has improved more in the past year with my eventing coach (who does none of the riding on my horses, I do it all) than with all my riding back in the saddle as an adult. She has made a huge impact on my confidence and ability to get the job done!

CarrieK
Aug. 3, 2005, 11:42 PM
I'm enjoying this discussion very much. Thanks to all.

Judi
Aug. 4, 2005, 01:13 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by RugBug:


If you go back a few decades, all you saw was the automatic release and pardon me for saying this, horses that didn't jump with the same spectacular form they do now. The riders looked MUCH better, the horses worse. There are too many variables to pinpoint what caused the change in horse form, but it did change and for the better, IMO. I've gotten into this discussion on the H/J board, and my opinion wasn't particularly popular, but that's what I see in the pictures. Flat jumping horses with fantastic looking riders. Should we go back to that?

I don't know... I don't think I buy the premise that the spectacular jump of todays show hunters are the result of the CR or HS. Aren't the horses with those kind of jumps born rather than made? And why is that extravagent over jump "Perfection" when it tends to be energy expending AND not as comfortable for the rider. (Not that I can't appreciate a horse with a really tight and square front end)

I do think we are headed in the right direction, though. There is now tons of talk about the automatic release. Younger generations are at least hearing that there is a release other than the CR. The motivated ones will try to learn, with or without help from their trainer. Practical Horseman just did an article by Anne Kursinski on the auto: that's going to motivate many people to give it a try. They've now got practical tools to learning. GM is constantly saying to move on. It's a slow trickle effect, but I do believe it's getting better. I would predict that the auto release will start making an appearance in the eq ring within the next few years.

Ah... now we're talking. We are on the same page afterall. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Frugalannie: Twenty years ago hunters weren't allowed over the show jumps either. I prefer that it still be that way...even with the fact that I own a horse that benefits from getting into the ring prior to his judged rounds (it's not so much the jumps, but the spooky corners of the ring that bother him). I think it would be more accurate test of riding skill. But then again, it will drive the price of the sane, sensible, stylish hunter up even more...keeping even more people out of the hunters due to financial reasons. Can you imagine the horse search you would have to go on? Fancy, yet sane. Fantastic jump, but easy going (lots of those fantastic jumps come on horses that are a wee bit looky). Sound and a good mover. Etc, etc, etc. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Ah Rugbug... I still think you should just try a HT or derby. I think you'd have a blast.. and perhaps show all of us how to be a stylist in our stadium rounds. Eventually I'll get you to try a ride on the wild side...lol

http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/yes.gif

RugBug
Aug. 4, 2005, 08:36 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Judi:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by RugBug:


If you go back a few decades, all you saw was the automatic release and pardon me for saying this, horses that didn't jump with the same spectacular form they do now. The riders looked MUCH better, the horses worse. There are too many variables to pinpoint what caused the change in horse form, but it did change and for the better, IMO. I've gotten into this discussion on the H/J board, and my opinion wasn't particularly popular, but that's what I see in the pictures. Flat jumping horses with fantastic looking riders. Should we go back to that?

I don't know... I don't think I buy the premise that the spectacular jump of todays show hunters are the result of the CR or HS. Aren't the horses with those kind of jumps born rather than made? And why is that extravagent over jump "Perfection" when it tends to be energy expending AND not as comfortable for the rider. (Not that I can't appreciate a horse with a really tight and square front end)
</div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I won't say the CR or auto is responsible for the rounder jumping horses either. But I will say that there are a whole slew of variables to look at, and the CR is one of them. It could be partially responsible, or it couldn't...we'll never know.

And the extravagant jump (I wouldn't call it over jumping...just extreme roundness) is what hunters are all about. It's not about conserving energy or a comfortable go for the rider any longer. It's about brilliance. A round, spectacular jump with knees even and up to the eyeballs, lower legs tight and a decent hind end. I think this evolved as the outside courses and hunting in the off season disappeared. Judging standards had to change when the courses got easier. How do you distinguish between two equal course...pick the prettiest jumper. How do you distinguish when everyone goes out and gets a pretty jumper...pick the one with the best possible form. Then people go out and look for that extravagant jump.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Judi:
Ah Rugbug... I still think you should just try a HT or derby. I think you'd have a blast.. and perhaps show all of us how to be a stylist in our stadium rounds. Eventually I'll get you to try a ride on the wild side...lol

http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/yes.gif </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Heh, not likely Judi...at least not with my horse. He can't seem to walk down an uneven road without having issues. Can't imagine trying to gallop him over uneven terrain. Although I will say, if I had an extra $400 I might give it a try...on the BN packer that has been relegated back to the lesson pool since his owner joined the Army. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif I just can't imagine spending that kind of money on a side pursuit, though. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

And I'm sure I would crash and burn just like some others. I completely lose my head even when doing jumpers. I get WAY more nervous and end up riding like a banshee. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/lol.gif Maybe that's why I love my hunters and eq so much. http://chronicleforums.com/images/custom_smilies/yes.gif

horseguy
Aug. 4, 2005, 10:09 AM
One of the side effects of being old is that some talk just sounds like blah, blah, blah. Like with this business of extravagant jumps.

For me it boils down to there are basically two types of jumpers, those that are naturally acrobatic jumpers, and those that are naturally power jumpers. The acrobatic jumpers tend to prefer a higher arc jump and use their whole body, while the power jumpers tend to like a flater arc jump and use primarily hind end in a jump and the rest of the body is pretty relaxed.

If you put these two “types” at either end of a spectrum, you can pretty much place any horse along that spectrum. A good horse, or what I call a versatile horse, can jump along a wider range of that spectrum than a limited horse. Today a horse with a wide range of ability is said to have scope. Scope can be developed.

A real horseman develops the horse’s range by teaching a power jumper with a flat arc jump to use more of their body and to employ a higher arc. The acrobatic jumper is taught to use a flater arc and to deepen the power of their hind. This is good horse training. Today horse training for many tends to be more about selection of the horse than actual development of skills and athletic ability.

So, when I look at a jumper of any kind, I look for range of ability, some natural and some developed. To applaud a single type of jump seems meaningless to me, as in blah, blah, blah.

BarbB
Aug. 4, 2005, 10:26 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Today horse training for many tends to be more about selection of the horse than actual development of skills and athletic ability. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>


A truer statement was never made.

They should call themselves 'matchmakers' not horse trainers.

RugBug
Aug. 4, 2005, 10:31 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by horseguy:
Scope can be developed.

</div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I disagree. I do not believe scope can be developed. Scope is natural ability.

Some aspects of form can be developed, but much is limited by conformation. Saying a "real horseman" can do this or that is grossly overestimating your influence over a horse's conformation and talent. If it was solely about training, any horse could do well in any discipline. That simply isn't true. To say so is quite arrogant. You can improve both movement and form within the limits of conformation, talent and desire, but you can't make a duck be a goose no matter how hard you try.

Now, what is viewed as talent is totally different. An eventer or even a jumper rider sees a wider range of talent than a hunter rider because form simply isn't the end all be all. Look at horse's like Judgement and Authentic...terribly athletic, have more scope than they know what to do with...but both horse's that wouldn't do that well in the hunter ring against competition. Same goes for Royal Kaliber. Amazing horse...but didn't have hunter form. Poggio II? Good form, but a bit tense for the hunter ring. http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif I'd love to see Sapphire in the hunter ring, but she's a built like a brick and not really desired type.

BarbB
Aug. 4, 2005, 10:39 AM
I'm going to jump in here.

I think scope can be developed. How much depends on both the horse and the trainer. The horse's ability, willingness and confidence in jumping different shapes of obstacles out of different pace and from different spots can all be developed.

His FORM, on the other hand, as in picture perfect hunter form, I believe can only slightly be altered as that is his natural way of using his body to jump.

A horse that naturally used his head and neck for balance and arcs his body over a jump is going to want to do that, no matter the shape of the jump. His ability to adjust over different obstacles may limit how much you can expand his scope, but it can be expanded.
Just as you are never going to make a deer-jumping short backed horse into a pretty hunter. But you may be able to change his scope, or his ability to handle more diverse obstacles than his natural talent would seem to dictate and in doing so his form may improve also, again depending on his willingness and ability to adjust his natural way of going.

Regardless of a horse's natural jumping style, I believe that they do not reach their full scope of ability without a good trainer.
Their form they were born with.