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lstevenson
Jun. 8, 2011, 02:23 AM
Great comments from William Fox Pitt in the latest issue of Eventing USA:

"Riders are often trying hard to get to 70% in the dressage when they should be working on their jumping balance"

"I make my students ride in gallop position in trot and canter with no rein contact and no hands on the neck, as there is no point in trying to progress until a good balance is in place."

"It is a great concern to me that so many riders are out of balance between fences, and then too stiff and upright on the approach to the fence"




http://www.MyVirtualEventingCoach.com
Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/My-Virtual-Eventing-Coach/121366797928434)

BaroquePony
Jun. 8, 2011, 02:48 AM
Great comments. Just reiterates that riding really has gone down the commode :yes:. No wonder the rise in injuries.

Thanks for posting that.

KMErickson
Jun. 8, 2011, 04:17 AM
Very interesting. After having gotten to watch him ride in person for the first time this spring, his fluency and balance in the saddle really is a cut above even the "average" elite-level rider, and it is remarkable (at least to someone like me, who hasn't thought as much about it before) how much that balance and core makes him look MUCH safer and more competent than most even while tackling the most ridiculous cross country questions.

Does he ever clinic in the US? It would be really interesting to see this teaching style/exercises in person.

riderboy
Jun. 8, 2011, 08:05 AM
I thought they were really great comments as well.

Auburn
Jun. 8, 2011, 10:31 AM
A few years ago, someone posted a link to an online Master clinic that William Fox Pitt had given. Watching it changed my cross country two point forever.

If somebody remembers the link, maybe they would post it. You have to sit through four youtube like sessions, but the time is well worth it.

The key is spending enough time in the tack, in your two point, to build up the strength in your legs and abdominal muscles.

This year, I have included leg weight exercises at the gym, knee re-hab exercises, around two hundred crunches and 45 min. on the recumbent cycle, three to four days a week, plus riding 5-6 days/week.

I just rode in clinics with Robin Walker and Jim Graham, both of whom said that my two point is strong. :D

If I had not watched the Master clinic, I probably would have still been plopping and bopping on Tessie's back, going around cross country. :winkgrin:

Equibrit
Jun. 8, 2011, 10:36 AM
Go hunting - you will achieve that balance.

Hilary
Jun. 8, 2011, 12:29 PM
Every time I condition (twice a week) I am in 2 point if the horse is going faster than a walk. Once in a while, I will post when we're trotting, but I found a few years ago that my position was weak - my instructor had me try to stand vertically while trotting around - HELLO! Couldn't do it. And I was finding I was getting tired on XC and sore the next day.

So I started spending more time in 2-point. At first I found trotting really hard - it's harder to balance than the canter. Now it's easy and I can spend 10 minutes straight trotting in 2 point without getting tired. I don't put my hands on her neck either, although I do try to keep her working - this is also a lot harder than if you are sitting or posting, but now I don't get tired or sore after an event - at least not from the riding part.

If I want more of a workout I raise my stirrups, but with my spooky horse that has it's drawbacks!

Get out there, it's good for you and your horse!

MeghanDACVA
Jun. 8, 2011, 12:37 PM
Gee, I didn't know he had been watching me ride ;-)

eventer_mi
Jun. 8, 2011, 12:50 PM
My Eventing mag just came yesterday, and the "Year in the Life of Boyd Martin" series talked about his disastrous Southern Pines Event where he flipped Holly Hudspeth's horse and ended up the hospital. Boyd says that not enough eventers focus on doing the part that counts for the most at an event - we focus on the dressage sooooo much, just like W F-P says, and that he took his horses to Mark Weissbecker's lovely facility to school before the Fork, which paid off big-time.

It really made me think hard, too. Once I get my horse back going again, I'm going to spend a lot of time working on my balance for jumping. I've spent all this time improving his dressage that the xc has really taken a backseat. Thanks, Boyd and WFP - we needed this kick in the pants!

WishIWereRiding
Jun. 8, 2011, 01:13 PM
So true. I have a green 5 y/o horse who is quite lovely, but the balance is key! If he's not balanced, then I don't do a good job jumping him. Luckily I have fantastic trainers who are working with us to get it right!

vineyridge
Jun. 8, 2011, 02:22 PM
Dressage coefficient, anyone? :)

lstevenson
Jun. 8, 2011, 02:27 PM
The key is spending enough time in the tack, in your two point, to build up the strength in your legs and abdominal muscles.


Or you could not expend the effort, and just lean on the neck like the ICP preaches. You know....the new "American" way. :winkgrin:




http://www.MyVirtualEventingCoach.com
Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/My-Virtual-Eventing-Coach/121366797928434)

vineyridge
Jun. 8, 2011, 02:32 PM
I'm going to post some photos from the Chamberlin book "Training Hunters, Jumpers, and Hacks."

Whatever happened?

BaroquePony
Jun. 8, 2011, 04:31 PM
Posted by lsteveson:

Or you could not expend the effort, and just lean on the neck like the ICP preaches.

Anyone remember C.W. Anderson (I think that is the right spelling), .... he was an illustrator. He did the "Billy and Blaze" books.

He also did a book called "Horse Show" and it was humorous illustrations of all of the characters at the hunt-seat horse show (of course).

For one of those illustrations he did the *leaning on the neck with your eyes closed seat* and he called it the:

"Now I lay me down to sleep seat" :yes:.

Heliodoro
Jun. 8, 2011, 05:16 PM
Ok so the question stands then, if you're truly balanced in two point and therefore don't lean on the neck with your hands, what do you do with your hands?

Seriously, I've been working on strengthening my two point position and I usually fall back to bridging my reins or grabbing a neck strap, but Monday I noticed I really wasn't using the bridge as a point of contact/balance point. After years of grabbing the neck strap instead of my horse's mouth, it's going to be a hard habit to break if it's a vastly different position.

Regal Grace
Jun. 8, 2011, 05:18 PM
A few years ago, someone posted a link to an online Master clinic that William Fox Pitt had given. Watching it changed my cross country two point forever.

If somebody remembers the link, maybe they would post it. You have to sit through four youtube like sessions, but the time is well worth it.

:

I think it might have been these demo videos of William and Moon Man (aka Bob…who has since passed away) when they did a presentation at YOUR HORSE LIVE in the UK. I posted back in February 2008 when Moon Man died from colic. The link for the series of 8 videos is below click on "Play Video"


http://www.yourhorse.co.uk/Improve-your-riding/Search-Results/Celebrity-training/William-Fox-Pitt---Preparing-to-go-Cross-Country/

"William Fox-Pitt explains the importance of good preparation before you go competing – with exercises and advice on how to build confidence and suppleness. Riding his world-famous 16-year-old event horse Moon Man, William passes on his expert training tips in this inspiring demo"

vbunny
Jun. 8, 2011, 06:07 PM
Your hands are still supposed to be on their neck, not floating around. It just means don't lean your weight on them and use them to hold yourself on.

I have many of my students ride, gallop and jump a few times in an exercise saddle. I find it shows them a great deal about their balance and position.

BaroquePony
Jun. 8, 2011, 06:26 PM
Posted by Heliodoro:

Ok so the question stands then, if you're truly balanced in two point and therefore don't lean on the neck with your hands, what do you do with your hands?

Your hands are NOT really supposed to touch the neck, per se, they are supposed to *follow* the horses mouth. One hand on each side of the neck as each hand reaches forward to follow the mouth with CONTACT during the extension of the neck of the jumping horse.

The line from bit to elbow is supposed to be the same (ie. NOT broken). The elbow must follow the horse's mouth just like it does on the flat. The shoulder to elbow line becomes the *hinge* that allows great extension over the BIG jumps. On smaller jumps the shoulder to elbow hinge does not have to reach as far.

There should be a very soft backward *pull* of the elbow at all times (on the flat as well as over jumps). It is not a forceful pull, only enough to keep your elbow back in line (now we are talking the vertical line) with the shoulder-elbow-hip-ankle line. It should be a loose, supple pull.

This makes the rider's body a hinging system that follows the horse in perfect (we hope) balance whether doing flatwork or jumping.

The REASON for always maintaining a contact with the horse's mouth is because the rider can make the fastest communication to the horse. The aids are right in place at all times. If you are landing over a jump and want to take a hard right ... you should be able to rebalance the horse between the legs, seat and the contact of the bit. The rider should not *haul* the horse around a sharp turn :yes:. You should do a semi-pirouette.

If the horse stumbles on the landing the rider can actually *catch* the horse and transfer the weight to the haunches and most likely save themselves from a possibly more serious fall.

You (the rider) should never lose contact with the horse's mouth. That is your line of immediate communication. You can feel your horse through the bit. The contact does become stronger proportionately the faster you go. The contact is stronger at a hand gallop, but as soon as you ask your horse to *come back into your hand* they should respond and begin to listen more to your seat ... as you reset your pace.

JP60
Jun. 8, 2011, 08:29 PM
You (the rider) should never lose contact with the horse's mouth. That is your line of immediate communication. You can feel your horse through the bit. The contact does become stronger proportionately the faster you go. The contact is stronger at a hand gallop, but as soon as you ask your horse to *come back into your hand* they should respond and begin to listen more to your seat ... as you reset your pace.

wonderful!! You just validated what my trainer has been trying to get into my head for a while. We're going to talk about this and maybe my dense brain will start to get it. My horse will be soooo grateful! :)

frugalannie
Jun. 8, 2011, 10:36 PM
Just rode with Lucinda Green at Ledyard. She had the hardest time getting some riders to do the "rag doll" walking approach to a small ditch. (in which you walk up to the ditch- no trotting allowed, on the buckle and your horse jumps leaving you in the back seat).

But part of it is developing the balance to stay with your horse no matter how ugly the jump, and part of it is getting really independent with your aids.

Interesting that it dovetails with these other BTE (big time eventers).

BaroquePony
Jun. 8, 2011, 11:10 PM
One of my favorite lessons is where you ride the trot (posting and sitting) and the canter (two point and sitting) while holding a glass of champagne (wine will do) and not spilling it. Has to be filled up to about 1" from the top. No cheating.

You only get to drink it if it is still at the level it was before you started.

If you are right handed, just wait until you try it left handed :lol:. Or left and you try right.

Eventguy
Jun. 8, 2011, 11:42 PM
Sounds an awful lot like what Jimmy teaches. Strange. ;)

I'm so glad he won't be our coach! Wouldn't want our US riders to ride like W.F.P. I mean what the heck has he done besides teach Madonna?

BAC
Jun. 9, 2011, 01:37 PM
Wouldn't want our US riders to ride like W.F.P.

Yeah, we might be in danger of actually winning some medals if they did. ;)

goodmorning
Jun. 9, 2011, 03:52 PM
Well, I rode in a XC school with Sinead Halpin this past weekend and she *all about* position and balance. Really cool to wok with her. I can get in tug-of-war battles with (and loose!) my big guy, but if I get in that sweet spot, then make slight adjustments with my upper body, my horse responds right away. And that's all you need to do to properly adjust your horses canter to most jumps...obviously there are times to sit into the tack a bit more, but once you get in a balance (which does depend slightly on your horses natural way of going - you want to make it easy for your horse & yourself) - things are much easier. My homework involves working on my position, and getting my horse to respond immediately to the minute position changes. Feels awesome to have your horse 'right there' - not a lot you can't do when you can keep the canter balanced so effort-lessly, and its all about balance & position. Mike Plumb was a position stickler - have to allow your horse to jump & stay out of his fruit-batin' way - Sinead reiterated those thoughts. She gets a huge thumbs up - not surprised to see her doing so well - she has that ability to see what you & your horse need to work on & monopolize on their individual way of going. Impressive to see in any trainer, expect it from the greats, but even some of those are too 'cookie-cutter' which doesn't work with my horse.

I suggest working with her if you want a good lesson on balance, position, and getting the most out of your horses canter & jump (and many other things, but for the sake of this thread). Its much easier when this clicks...hoping I can replicate that good XC school next time out.

Not to mention, my horse was extremely soft in the bridle after the XC school. Like butter.