View Full Version : Question for judges re: automatic releases

Jul. 6, 2001, 11:16 PM
I'm just wondering if any of you judging equitation o/f classes see people using automatic releases, like most of us who showed in the 60's and 70's were taught?

Although I no longer show, while spectating at a number of California shows, and in looking through numerous pictures in the Chronicle, Show Circuit and the AHSA Horse Show magazine, I must admit all I see is crest releases, right up through the recent AHSA and Maclay Medal finals winners. (Despite GM's constant comments that people should be progressing past a crest release to an auto release/following hand....) /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

I read a recent comment on this bb from someone who didn't even know what an auto release was, and it got me wondering whether many of the current trainers ever used one when they were showing, and/or even know how (and try) to teach it?

Do any of you think it will ever come back into favor in the eq divisions?

"Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong." - Dennis Miller

Jul. 6, 2001, 11:16 PM
I'm just wondering if any of you judging equitation o/f classes see people using automatic releases, like most of us who showed in the 60's and 70's were taught?

Although I no longer show, while spectating at a number of California shows, and in looking through numerous pictures in the Chronicle, Show Circuit and the AHSA Horse Show magazine, I must admit all I see is crest releases, right up through the recent AHSA and Maclay Medal finals winners. (Despite GM's constant comments that people should be progressing past a crest release to an auto release/following hand....) /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

I read a recent comment on this bb from someone who didn't even know what an auto release was, and it got me wondering whether many of the current trainers ever used one when they were showing, and/or even know how (and try) to teach it?

Do any of you think it will ever come back into favor in the eq divisions?

"Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong." - Dennis Miller

Jul. 7, 2001, 06:49 AM
Also, it is percieved to be a technique that only the elite have use for...my trainer began to teach it to me back when I was in limit equitation--the idea of advancing to the Medal level (there were no minis in those days) without it would have been preposterous back then. I think the "system" we've evolved here has become so protective of the horse's mouth and back at the lower levels, that beginner and intermediate riders have very little opportunity to develop a solid base at an early stage--by the time they reach a point where they have become "successful" in the show ring, they are resistant to accepting new ideas, and the only motivation for many trainers is to keep the client and keep the ribbons rolling in--besides which, who needs any release at all on one of those 200K big eq specialists that have learned to jump without moving a muscle forward of the withers?

Jul. 7, 2001, 07:56 AM
This is an interesting subject and I hope that more people jump in on it.
I have not talked to my new trainer about auto vs crest release. Since I haven't, I have no idea which one I am using in my lessons!! Talk about being old and just lazy enough to want to get over the fence.
I do recall a year ago I stated that is what I planned to use if I showed again, and Hoopoe wished me luck, in a good way not sarcastic, and hoped that I would actually follow through and use the auto release.
And we have commented that Andrew Ramsey showed an auto release in a recent COTH photo of Devon.
I kind of flipped through the Show Issue after that and did not see crest releases.
I guess my question would be, to the judges on this forum, would an auto release be rewarded over a crest release if the rounds were the same?

Auto Release (http://members.aol.com/WellieFellie/Bumpkin2.jpg)

[This message was edited by Bumpkin on Jul. 07, 2001 at 11:21 AM.]

Jul. 7, 2001, 09:08 AM
A beautiful picture Bumpkin. You have the perfect AR that is a straight line between the horses mouth, elbow and knee /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Being a slightly worn out Ammie, I too just want to get over the fence and around the course in the easiest, smoothest way possible.

Here's a question, does the 2-point position accomodate a auto-release? /infopop/emoticons/icon_confused.gif

Jul. 7, 2001, 09:22 AM
On an old thread about releases it was suggested that the way we rode hunters back in the day -- i.e., galloping and bold -- was conducive to an automatic release. I learned to ride in the '60's and that was the only kind of release there was. (Except for grabbing mane!) /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif A following release was the natural thing to do when galloping across fields and jumping solid fences. (similar to eventing?)

Then in the '70s I used a crest release to encourage roundness and softness in my hunters. I suppose having learned the auto release first makes it easy to do a crest release whenever you want, because your hands are basically independent of your body. But learning a crest release first might teach you to lean on your hands for support over a fence -- something that would need to be un-learned to do an auto release.

"Always speak your mind, but ride a fast horse" -- Texas Bix Bender

Jul. 7, 2001, 09:23 AM
I had stated Andrew Ramsey showed a great crest release in the Devon photos.
I really mean he showed a great auto release.
I just corrected it, but for those of you who read it incorrectly the first time....sorry!! /infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif

Dublin has scads of great photos, showing auto releases. If you check her profile, I believe you can get to her webpage/photo file. /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Jul. 7, 2001, 10:42 AM
Thinkbig - after looking around the Internet for a little while, I found some photos that might be helpful.

Short crest release:

Beezie Madden (http://www.ryegate.com/images/gpriders/Cock4.jpg)

Event rider (http://www.armstrongfarm.com/tango6.jpg)

Long crest release:

Elise Haas (http://www.ryegate.com/images/gpriders/Zyp.jpg)

Auto release:

Michael Matz (http://www.horsesportsonline.com/PhotoContest/004/entry004full.jpg). This man has always had the most beautiful following hand I've ever seen. Here, it's hard to see, but he's just got a knack for giving total freedome to his horses.

Photos from http://www.ryegate.com, http://www.armstrongfarm.com, and http://www.horsesportsonline.com.


Jul. 7, 2001, 11:24 AM

Here is one of my pictures, showing an automatic release.... /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Jul. 7, 2001, 11:53 AM
How specifically does a crest release, (as opposed to an auto release) encourage a horse to be round and soft over a fence? I would think an auto release would allow a horse the most freedom to use himself to the fullest, but am I way off in thinking this???

"Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong." - Dennis Miller

Jul. 7, 2001, 01:14 PM
I THINK I use a short crest release, but, anyway; here are two pics showing my release. And, yes, I know my eq horribly sucked, but those were taken a little over a year ago. (June 2000)

Jul. 7, 2001, 02:24 PM
Here's an old pic of a green horse we got off the track in the'70s. Maybe my crest release didn't help but it sure didn't hurt either!
...Think I finally got the pic uploaded...

"Always speak your mind, but ride a fast horse" -- Texas Bix Bender

Jul. 7, 2001, 03:19 PM
I learned to ride and jump in the early '70s. I was taught an automatic release from the start. We didn't call it that because that was all there was. It was just a release. /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Anyway, I'm attaching a photo of the great rider Bill Steinkraus riding Bold Minstrel in 1967. His style was what I aspired to, but never made. The picture is from his book "Riding and Jumping," and all photos in that book have the riders with beautiful automatic releases going over big fences.

Jul. 7, 2001, 04:05 PM
I learned to ride in the 70's and early 80's as a junior. I started with an automatic release which is evident in a snapshot of me jumping my appaloosa mare over a 4'ft vertical in our pasture--I was 9 years old and my stepdad had just built me some jump standards, with 1' height increments /infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif (if I can find the box of photos I will try to get it up here)

Then I started to get some real riding instruction and I learned the crest release and later the rotating release (watch a GP sometime and you will see it at verticals--pull back on takeoff to get the knees up and then a big release to get the hind-end up and over).

Now I am a moment away from elder ammy status and I am learning the automatic release by necessity. I have a 4 year old who only jumps if you hold onto his face--ski on it, he likes it. If you soften at the base, he will stop, which means no grabbing mane just in case when approaching scary things you know he is going to overjump by 3 feet. So I have been trying to get the hang of the auto release and it's fun. What I am finding is hard is that I don't have the back/stomach muscles that I need to hold my body up to do it perfectly. I guess I will have to start hitting the gym... /infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif

By the way, great picts Dublin and Bumpkin! And thanks Kachoo and Just_Me for the research!

Jul. 7, 2001, 04:57 PM
I just noticed that I have reverted back to a more automatic release since my balance and timing have finally returned. I seem to keep a feel of my horses mouth in the air but I notice that my hands appear to be in a crest release, strange. Here is a pic over an X where they are a little more correct.

Jul. 7, 2001, 05:09 PM
Dublin, your pix has the most beautiful auto release I've ever seen! Why don't you mail it to Practial Horseman's Jumping Clinic?
Beezie's horse's knees are to his eyeballs! WOW Could that style clean up in the working hunter classes?

Also, how can I learn how to do an auto release? I'm still on the crest release, but I'd like to learn how to do the auto.

http://www.dmtc.com/dmtc98/Pedigree/ you can look up you Thoroughbred's Pedigree with photos 9 Genrations back!
Men come and go, but my horse will always love me!

Jul. 7, 2001, 06:10 PM
I just found another great auto release photo from Steinkraus' book. This Kathy Kusner riding Aberali in 1967. Sorry that the photo quality is not better, but the picture says it all. /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Jul. 7, 2001, 06:20 PM
Wow, the first two pics that Kachoo posted were...WOW!

Junior Clique!

Jul. 7, 2001, 09:49 PM
George Morris has recently admitted he is responsible for popularizing the crest release at the expense of the auto but his motives were pure in starting it.Most amateur and child riders aren't strong enough to not interfere with the horse. The crest release may not be classic but a mistake with an auto release will slam the horse every time. The crest release is always safe. I would imagine an accomplished rider with an auto release would tie well up in the eq. but see far too many at the shows trying to do it at the expense of the horse. Again it is an advanced thecnique left for the advanced rider.

Jul. 8, 2001, 07:33 AM
Just_me, do you know the height of the fence in that pic?

YIKES. Don't think it would be me. /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Jul. 8, 2001, 08:16 AM
That picture of Kathy Kusner and Aberali is also
shown on her business webpage, and the caption
reads Aachen, Germany, wall 7'2" (!!!!)

"Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong." - Dennis Miller

[This message was edited by dublin on Jul. 08, 2001 at 03:57 PM.]

Jul. 8, 2001, 01:14 PM
Foxfield (http://www.equestriangardener.homestead.com/files/OtherCritters/barebackjump.jpg)

Jul. 8, 2001, 02:52 PM
AHHHH!!!!! /infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif


Jul. 8, 2001, 02:56 PM

Jul. 8, 2001, 03:56 PM
That picture of Kathy Kusner and Aberali is also
shown on her business webpage, and the caption
reads Aachen, Germany, wall 7'2" (!!!!)

7'2" YOWZA!!!! It's been a loooong time since I've been in NYC to go to the National, but unless my memory is playing tricks on me, I remember seeing Simpatico jump the Puissance wall. I think it was 7'1" or 7'2.

Jul. 8, 2001, 05:02 PM

oh man how could someone jump so big bareback w/o a bridle or anything!!!!!!!!!

oh man.....the riding skills there.....i only wish.....i would be kissing dirt if i tried something like that!

Jul. 8, 2001, 08:34 PM
I think the Foxfield Team is still active.
Merry would know.
They had wire hoops around the horses necks and did all sorts of jumping and drill stuff at the horse shows.
Those Foxfield girls could really ride!!!
The stable had/has all sorts of activities and programs.
All dressed in wonderful outfits on such obedient well trained horses, they were an inspiration to all of us! /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

smashing fishnets and feathers
Jul. 8, 2001, 08:44 PM
the 7'2" wall....
i too would be giving a huge release and burying my face in my horse's neck...saying GET ME OVER THIS PLEASE!! YOU CAN HAVE ALL THE CARROTS IN THE WORLD IF YOU just GET ME OVER IT W/O KILLING ME!!
really...if you think about it, while we jump we end up being 3-4' above the jump(where we humans' heads are anyway), so 7'2"...SHE was seeing level at about 11' and my goodness i would be scared out of my mind! not to mention the kind of horse it takes to clear a fence of that height!!

Jul. 8, 2001, 09:18 PM
And a very appropriate one to use to show off your nice hunter. The Automatic release being discussed is sometimes called a following release. Straight line from elbow to bit over the jump itself. Requires a very strong and correct leg and gives the rider more control which your hunter certainly doesn't need at least in this picture. /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Jul. 9, 2001, 03:57 PM
I'm bringing this back to the top in the hopes that some of the judges who post here will respond. Twister, where are you??? (Probably out judging a show.... LOL)

Jul. 9, 2001, 04:18 PM
I think the auto release is a more advanced move...Not that I think it should be beyond the abilities of big eq riders. It would be a lovely thing for a rider to gallop to the single oxer and demonstrate an accurate following hand.

My guess is it is a moot point because eq coaches like their riders sitting up too soon and using releases that are too short. A following hand generally results in a rider closer to their horses neck. How in the world can you sit up straight over the top of an oxer if you use a following hand? Not to mention that the poor horse would probably be completely flummoxed by actually having his head. /infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif

Jul. 9, 2001, 05:05 PM
Ooh ooh ooh, we watched all sorts of wildly expensive Big Eq horses this weekend, and not one managed an automatic release. Ouch!

Jul. 9, 2001, 05:28 PM
My 2cents worth. In the upper level Eq. I would love to see the auto release. The trainers may well be protecting the horses. Remember society in general is into instant gratification and many of these riders may have been bumped or pushed to these levels before they were ready. Better to see something that protects the horse then critisizing riders for not doing something they cannot and should not do. Again the crest release does protect these fine old eq horses from an insufficient base(leg). I still see the top riders using auto which is as it should be.

Jul. 9, 2001, 05:47 PM
All my life I've heard the phrase, "Jumps with his knees up by his eyeballs." Never had I actually *seen* it until Susie posted that picture of Beezie.

Thanks. A picture truly is worth a thousand words. /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Jul. 9, 2001, 06:21 PM
As a judge, Twister, would you place someone higher who used the automatic or follow through type of release in the correct and proper way?
Actually that question is for any of the judges. /infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif

[This message was edited by Bumpkin on Jul. 09, 2001 at 08:33 PM.]

Jul. 10, 2001, 05:56 AM
All other things being equal, yes, I would pin a following hand higher because it's harder. But, once again, if you do it wrong, you have a mistake.

Jul. 10, 2001, 07:00 AM
This is very interesting. The first time I have come across a jumping board with anything much to say about technique. Normally all you need to know generally falls under the dressage heading. Having the horse set up and working correctly to the fences etc.

Possibly the difference in UK / US. As far as I undestand from what I have just read you have classes based on style as opposed to just jumping against each other for clearness and then speed. Am I right? A good idea and would catch a lot of people out around here.

Anyway looking at the two pictures of crest release and auto release (and I had not come across a distinction before hand, you jump and you follow the horse - that was it) I did notice that the auto release seemed to give the horse far more freedom to stretch the neck and bascule. The crest release looked a little restrictive and it seemed as though it could lead to the rider fixing their hands more restricting the horse from using its whole body over the fence.

Then again thats just a very inexpert opinion. Have never studied means of releasing over a fence. A good jump was a good jump, a bad jump was a bad jump. Just set the horse up right, wait for him and go over following him with your hand.


Jul. 10, 2001, 08:20 AM
But...I was under the impression that the shows over there were starting to offer Hunter classes like our own.
Not just the big flat Hunter classes that were/are very competitive over there, but actual over fences with style type classes.
I read it was to promote selling Hunters to us, silly American's, and like the German's etc... are learning the horse's who are not going to be impressive at Dressage or Jumpers are selling for a good price as the American Hunter.

I had such a hard time back in the late 70's explaining the concept of the Hunter in the USA. haha /infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif
It was like you say, over the jump. /infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif

Jul. 10, 2001, 10:01 AM
Am still not sure about exactly what an American hunter class actually involves.

Over here we have straight jumping classes over a course just on clear round and then speed.

Showing classes such as Working Hunter Pony, Hunter, Hack etc. Judged largely on type of horse, movement of horse etc.

Best Rider classes and equitation classes but these are largely for the kiddies. And still seem to come down to show pony status.

I am not aware of anything which takes the rider into account.

Even the dressage hardly does that so what hope does the rest of the classes have /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

I may be missing something though. Fundamentally the emphasis though is place on the horse not the rider. In Germany I think it is different.


Jul. 10, 2001, 10:13 AM
In your judging, I'm wondering what percentage of the the advanced eq riders that you see use an auto release? (I would hope that it would be a high percentage, but somehow I doubt it....)

Jul. 10, 2001, 10:19 AM
I wish I could stop and answer you, but there are many on here who can.
And better than myself.
Off to work to pay for the horses!! haha /infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif

Jul. 10, 2001, 10:21 AM
WEll no matter what anyones opinions are, the crest realease is what is expected in the top equitation levels these days, if you want to get to finals, and place, etc........its one of the things expected, whether its right or not, oh well, i am still trying to figure out the short crest realease considaring I have just started the big eq.......but it is what is definatly expected, and what RIBBONS!

Jul. 10, 2001, 10:32 AM
American hunters are judged on performance, manners and way of going. The judge is looking for a horse that;

Is a good, stylish jumper(knees up, legs tight, rounded back and using hind end well), Executes the course correctly and mannerly, as in stays rhythmic, smooth changes, jumps straight and in the middle of the fence, Minds his manners and is a good mover.

Most hunter courses are in small rings and have a set number of strides in between jumps that are in a line, and the horse usually has to do the correct number of strides. This can vary a little according to how the line is set, and is a bit controversial. But adding or leaving out a stride usually disrupts the rhythm, which is penalized.

Hunters are divided, with divisions for green horses, experienced horses, and horses with amateur or young riders. The specs differ a slight bit according to the division, with style emphasized in the regular divisions, and manners emphasized in some of the lower amateur/children divisions.

We also have equitation, where the rider is judged on hands, seat, guidance and control of their mount both over fences and on the flat. The courses are usually a bit more technical than the straightforward hunter courses, and may have rollback turns, skinny jumps, trot fences, drop stirrups, halt, etc. On the flat, they usually have to demonstrate sitting trot, rid without stirrups and other skills not usually seen in the hunter under saddle (which is just walk trot canter).

Jul. 10, 2001, 11:10 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by dublin:
In your judging, I'm wondering what percentage of the the advanced eq riders that you see use an auto release? (I would hope that it would be a high percentage, but somehow I doubt it....)<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


Jul. 10, 2001, 02:15 PM
Well, I must say Paige and Twister's responses are pretty depressing.... Fashion over function, I guess! Especially considering that the top eq riders are certainly more than advanced enough to do an automatic release - and it looks so much more fluid and natural than the short crest releases with the riders' elbows jammed back, or in an extreme broken line to the bit.

I'm sorry to see auto releases so out of favor; hopefully they will make a comeback as riding styles inevitably change!!

"Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong." - Dennis Miller

Jul. 10, 2001, 04:21 PM
Paige I am slightly confused by your comment.

The photo in the Devon issue of the COTH shows Andrew Ramsey doing an Automatic Release!! I believe he was Jr Champion and was Small Hunter Champion.

That in itself should be some inspiration to those who are too scared to try the Automatic Release.

Jul. 10, 2001, 04:45 PM
Hallelujah, Amen! Release that horse's head again!

ROTFL... sorry, couldn't resist a little rhyme of encouragement. /infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif


Jul. 10, 2001, 08:45 PM
Well Caroline you can think of the American show Hunter as kind of a beauty pageant contestant. They have to be stylish, better then average movers to start with. Typical course is 8 or 9 fences set in a smallish ring and includes mostly pairs of fences-vertical in oxer out- set at related distances and requiring each and every horse to do the same number of strides down the line. Of course they must jump in a classic style with tight square knees and a round bascule. The trick is to demonstrate an even pace throughout including the corners and it is a whole lot harder than it sounds. Heights range from 3' to 4' with kids and amateur adults doing 3' or 3'6" and the Pros riding the first year horses at 3'6", second years 3'9" and the regulars at 4' to 4'3". Jumper classes here generally start where the hunters top out in the various groups. This discussion stems from the fact that most of the hunter pros use the crest release with alot of slack in the reins to show off the easy controllability. Many U.S. trainers prefer all but the most advanced riders to also use this as it does protect the horses mouth from the hands of a rider who only rides 2 or 3 times a week. Probably 80% of our show exhibitors fall into this category.

From Allergy Valley USA

Jul. 10, 2001, 09:03 PM
Those girls are downright awesome, aren't they? For those who don't know them, they perform close order drill at a canter in the same lack of tack - over 2'6" fences.... We videoed them at Belmont 10 years ago - what a treat to watch them! What an inspiration. What a ego deflater.....

Jul. 11, 2001, 06:56 AM
I was a student of GM and enclosed is a photo of an automatic release on one of my large ponies from the early 70's.

Jul. 11, 2001, 07:10 AM
Hi Nancy! Great picture and beautiful release. Isn't that the picture that's in The Pony Book?

LaurieB (who also posts old pix of Pride occasionally)

Jul. 11, 2001, 07:10 AM
Now that is a wonderful example of exactly what we should be seeing: Flat back, head up, lovely leg position and a flowing automatic release ... I'd love it if someday I can look half that capable

Jul. 11, 2001, 08:00 AM
So does Dublin, that is the book about Emerson Burr's students and ponies.
Polaris Make Believe and Kim Reichhelm. /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Welcome back!!!
It is nice to see you are back on and posting!!
Love to read your comments on auto vs crest!!!

Bumpkin Auto Release (http://members.aol.com/WellieFellie/Bumpkin2.jpg) /infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif

Jul. 11, 2001, 08:10 AM
Well I'm going to jump into the kettle here. Does not the majority of the problem of today's rider and the lack of a "following" hand come from the lack of independence of seat and hand? As in no true leg as base of support?

I would like to ask Paige, how much time do you spend schooling over fences, grid work etc, without irons? Also time on the flat without reins or irons?

Really just curious.

"The older I get, the better I used to be."

M. O'Connor
Jul. 11, 2001, 08:40 AM
<<WEll no matter what anyones opinions are, the crest realease is what is expected in the top equitation levels these days, if you want to get to finals, and place, etc........its one of the things expected, whether its right or not, oh well, i am still trying to figure out the short crest realease considaring I have just started the big eq.......but it is what is definatly expected, and what RIBBONS!>>

What a sad, sad, ignorant statement!! I am shocked- truly shocked-that any of our junior riders who have reached or strive to reach the so-called "upper levels" of our equitation divisions could be so ignorant and short-sighted as to think that a less advanced, intermediate-level technique would be sought after in preference to a more advanced, more precise, and more expert technique. Shame on your trainers, each one of them, for not providing you with a more complete academic understanding of the mechanics of our sport!! Shame on every trainer who does not try to make their students the best they can be. "Good enough to win" is sometimes not all that good, and shouldn't be good enough, when it can be better.

When I am in the judge's booth, the rider with the most accurate and advanced technique will prevail over those whose techniques are less advanced. It is up to the judges and course designers to present problems to riders and horses that reward those who are the most proficient at using these more advanced techniques. It is a shame that winning "ribbons" has replaced the goal of increasing knowledge and ability for so many riders and trainers.

Those looking for a reason we aren't doing better internationally need only read the above statement, and wonder how many others are under the same misguided, second-rate impression.

Tricia Booker
Jul. 11, 2001, 09:05 AM
I also started riding in the '70s and learned the automatic release first. Then, in the early '80s when I started showing at the bigger A shows I was taught the crest release was the only way to go if I wanted to get ribbons in the equitation.

But now I use both releases depending on what discipline I'm doing and what type of horse I'm riding. I have noticed that I tend to use a crest release on the hunters and in the equitation. But I guess I still revert to the automatic release when I'm in jump-offs or riding cross-country in eventing. I went through some old photos the other day when organizing my home office and noticed there was a distinct trend. Funny how when I don't "think" about my ride and just ride on instincts and feel I go back to the auto release.

In this photo my hand should be lower so there's a straighter line, but it's quite different than the photo from the first round over the same jump where I'm doing a short crest release, my upper body is more upright and the horse is actually jumping flatter--just what many of today's equitation riders strive for! I like this one better /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Jul. 11, 2001, 09:21 AM
I feel exactly the way you do.
I would love to see the judges start rewarding those who use the Automatic Release, I bet we would see a trend towards training for a more advanced level of riding.
Let us keep up the campaign! /infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif

Jul. 11, 2001, 09:23 AM
Aren't we getting into a can't see the forest for the trees situation here? A crest release is certainly not required to win in the big eqs. You may see it pin but how did the rider solve the problems asked by the course designer? That is what pins-the total effort not the choice of release. You may in fact see nothing but crest releases in some classes but I see autos on the top riders here at the really big shows. Dependence on the neck for support occurs in the weaker rider. Are most of these kids weak. Think so. They do not have ponies in their backyard as tykes, never just play around bareback and do not have access to multiple rides 6 days a week nor acres of open fields with natural obstacles. They are mostly 3 day a week riders on made horses stepping up from made ponies. Maybe the trainers are a little lazy for not pushing them to work harder but trainers are business people too and must work with what they have.

From Allergy Valley USA

Jul. 11, 2001, 09:45 AM
There have been two recent references to riders who only ride 2 to 3 days a week.

When weather/work/family life gets hectic, I may ride only 3 days a week, but I don't expect to make any progress (me or the horses) on that schedule. (I have even been known to miss a whole week.)

To get anything done I need to ride at least 5 days a week.

Just curious what the rest of you think is the amount of riding you need in order to make progress.

Jul. 11, 2001, 10:26 AM
Just curious what the rest of you think is the amount of riding you need in order to make progress.

If I had the opportunity (e.g. I had no job and unlimited finances) I would ride three hours a day, six days a week, and I would be improving much more than I am now.... HOWEVER, that is not to say that I am NOT improving while riding three or four hours a week (on a good week).

Having been in both situations (as a largely self-taught junior and as an impoverished A/A) I feel progress is NOT in direct relation to how OFTEN you ride; it is also related to your FOCUS during those times when you DO ride, and what you chose to do OUT of the saddle�i.e. are you watching other riders' lessons? Talking notes? Reading Podhajasky? Doing yoga/Pilates/Alexander to improve your balance?



Jul. 11, 2001, 10:59 AM
When I was a junior, I rode 6 days a week, as did my friends, and practically lived at the barn. I know I can say the same for bumpkin as well!! I had taken lessons for 4 years before I ever set foot in a showring, so I had a very solid foundation, and was able to go directly into the junior hunters and 'big eq" in my first year of showing, and compete successfully. I used an automatic release right from the beginning of my show career, and as I got older, I also competed successfully in the green and open working divisions as a junior. (Back when they were truly open divisions, rather than basically limited to the pros).

M. O'Connor, thanks for your response. Glad to see I wasn't the only one rather shocked and dismayed by Paige's statements!

And welcome back, Nancy. I was glad to see your post, and of course your lovely automatic release!
As a judge, I would love your opinions on this topic -- what do you see when you are judging?

"Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong." - Dennis Miller

Jul. 11, 2001, 11:44 AM
thank you, thank you, thank you.....

M. O'Connor
Jul. 11, 2001, 11:58 AM
better than they were 3-4 years ago...Automatic releases are rare--perhaps because someone has succeeded in spinning the yarn that they are not desireable in the equitation division-(I will, as a matter of fact bring that to the attention of the AHSA's-or whatever they are calling themselves- Lic Officials and Equitation Committees)-they are rare, that is, except in the BEST company...the truly gifted riders that get the job done with the most efficiency and style are not afraid to use it--and do use it, and they win classes like the CK Equitation at the Hampton Classic...

As for when to introduce it---I was incredibly impressed several years ago when I attended a trainers clinic at Hunterdon to see George Morris teach an automatic release to a group of advanced beginner/intermediate level demonstration riders, including a 10 or 11 year old on a medium pony...At that point, I began to think that we probably err on the side of protecting the horse's mouth for too long...yes, the elite riders are the ones who can be depended on to demonstrate an automatic release consistantly, but riders of a far lesser calibre are capable of learning how to separate their balance from their hands and arms, develop a solid base (hardly ever see one of those below Grand Prix level these days) and to use their hands and arms independently. But I wonder how many trainers are comfortable teaching this....used to be, a riders FIRST trainer stressed independent balance from the get-go...seems to be not so important now as getting the rider into the show ring on that been-there done-that horse or pony....

Jul. 11, 2001, 12:27 PM
As far as the auto release goes, at many shows, you just don't see it in the equitation or hunter rings. When I do see it, I would view it like someone who does a turn on the haunch when I ask for the reverse- it can be bonus points/extra credit if you do it well, but if you do it poorly, you've completely shot yourself in the foot.

I would much rather watch riders do the crest release all day long than see poor defenseless horses get banged in the mouth by riders attempting an auto release before they're ready to do it well. The cardinal sin in my book is getting left or catching the horse in the mouth for any reason.

As for the importance of style versus ability, when I judge an equitation class, in addition to giving a numerical score for each trip, I mark down a letter grade for the rider's position and technique, which I use as a tie-breaker if the scores are close. So the pretty rider who misses a jump (grade A/score 72) won't beat the less polished looking rider with a good trip (grade B/score 82), but the pretty rider mght beat a less polished rider who also missed (grade B-/score 71.5).

And remember, it's all about comparing the relative merits in each class, and it's all subjective. Another judge will have another opinion.

M. O'Connor
Jul. 11, 2001, 12:45 PM
<<I would much rather watch riders do the crest release all day long than see poor defenseless horses get banged in the mouth by riders attempting an auto release before they're ready to do it well.>>

Most of us do see crest releases all day long, and from what I see, they are "saving" very few horse's mouths--they are pulled back into the rider's chest, whose legs have swung back, elbows out, seat forward of the pommel, while the horse draws his chin, complete with pelham bit and crank noseband, back to his chest between his knees, which are the only things that can move on his whole body in response to his arrival at the jump! Below the 3'6" divisions, I'd expect riders to use the intermediate technique, but I would hate to go to the big eq ring to judge believeing ahead of time that the riders I'm about to score are incapable of learning advanced techniques, if they don't know them already...There is something wrong with suggesting that riders should not STRIVE for improvement. Unless it truly is all about playing it safe and getting a certain color ribbon on a certain day.

Jul. 11, 2001, 12:59 PM
As I stated in my previous post, an auto release that is done well scores bonus points. I just do not want to see it done poorly.

I'd be happy to reward the well-executed auto release, but you can only judge what you see!

Jul. 11, 2001, 01:45 PM
I don't think you need to ride 5 days a week to make progress, you just need to work hard on the days you ride. Sometimes the HORSE needs 5 days a week to make progress, though! Those 3 days a week stretches of time in the winter makes for frisky horses. As long as you are following a plan, you should make progress. And remember, practice what is hard for you, not what is easy. Your trainer makes you do those hateful exercises (especially the flatwork) for a reason.

Jul. 11, 2001, 03:01 PM
is really Nancy Baroody, on Pride N'Joy. This picture was in the Chronicle (or a similar one!) about a lifetime ago....like 1972. I loved it then (I was in jr high) and cut it out as a reminder of great form.

I understand it is a typo in the book that this is shown to be Polaris Make Believe. This is real trivia for the dedicated BBers!

Back to the subject...

You do not see this release at shows. Dublin is right, look through the COTH Horse SHow edition, I don't think you will find one.

I bought the videos of the Ronnie Mutch Eq Classic from Florida. These are the best riders in the big eq today. Most riders did not release their horses over the jumps - as described, the horses get to the humps and pull their heads in (I think this is called "scotching"). The crest release might have been designed for lower-level riders to "save" their horses mouths, but as some else wrote, it is not working that way.

It was really something to contrast this group and the "Masters" (yup, bought that video too). George Morris, McLain Ward, Debbie Stevens, Todd Minikus, and some others rode in this special event. Needless to say, there was a big difference in the form from the Masters to the Ronnie Mutch group.

The course for the Ronnie Mutch class was very challenging and the riders should have been using an auto release for control, just like in jumpers. The crest release is nice on hunters, where the courses are simple and you are really trying to maintain pace and flow. This doesn't work on the big eq courses, and the riders are keeping too much contact while trying to maintain the crest release position. This is the recipe for bonking the horse's mouth.
It will be up to judges to make this situation change. Maggie Jayne, Charlie Jayne, Andrew Ramsey, and the other junior riders know how to use the auto release - you see them do it in the jumper ring.

It will be up to judges to make this situation change. Maggie Jayne, Charlie Jayne, Andrew Ramsey, and the other great junior riders know how to use the auto release - you see them do it in the jumper ring.

M. O'Connor
Jul. 11, 2001, 03:38 PM
we can't reward what we don't see! I was at the judge's clinic when they did the Masters class...despite a surprising "boogie" fence (an unexplainable contageous spooking phenomenan that affected a bunch of the otherwise poised entrants, auto release or no), it was a pleasure to watch...but it was an equitation fantasy event, which bore not much relationship to actual situations judges encounter in real-world equitation classes. Too many horses have learned to jump without moving their heads at all, too many riders don't move thier hands at all, unless it is to yank backwards on takeoff...we didn't get to discuss that trend at the clinic, however, and it certainly didn't occur to me that any rider would think that performing in this way is a technique actually desired by judges, and necessary to win...I mean, REALLY!

Jul. 11, 2001, 05:05 PM
I think the equitation riders should ask their coaches about letting go of their poor horses heads and getting off their backs. If your coach tell you that's not what wins, tell them they have no way of knowing that because no one ever does!!!!

I have been on a probably ten year rant about the current equitation position. I do not want to negate the hard work and talent of any current equitation rider, but with the exception of Emily Williams, the last time a real rider won the Medal Finals was Nicole Shihanian. She was not as bold as she could have been, but she let go, she didn't perch, she used her eye, and she wasn't in that artificial rigid, upright position being taught today.

I think the discussion of crest vs. auto is pointless because most of these kids aren't letting go at all!! Now, I know they can because you see it happen when the good ones hit the other rings, but once they are sent to the eq. coach for that Finals 'tuning', they are too upright in the air and they have a completely inadequate release. What's fascinating is watching when the course includes an opportunity to gallop to a jump. There they are, making the long gallop to the single, leaving a good gap and not letting go!!!

The kids are being taught this and unfortunately, the judges can only judge what is in front of them. If they all perch and don't let go, there is no option to punish for perching and not letting go.

The horses are purchased and trained to keep their faces on or behind the vertical and they chest the jumps. Anything that looks like a hunter has completely disappeared from the Medal classes. Most of them look like they would be much more at home hitched to a plow and headed out to the back forty because they have heads the size of a whiskey barrel and a chest that barely fits through the in gate. but, boy are they forgiving because they just keep on jumping the jumps while children who should be good riders but aren't because they are being taught to be bad riders are hanging on their heads.

I remember reading something about Francesca Mazella the year she won. She went to Florida and rode a bunch of jumpers, I wish I could remember who for, and was taught the auto release. When she returned to Beacon Hill, they said 'No autos for the eq.'!!!!!!! and she was back to the crest release. Sadly, it has gone downhill from there.

I vividly remember Liza Towel producing lovely hunter round after lovely hunter round at Harrisburg. A good number of those were hard horses. When she got Fine Print to go around and come home with a tri-color, I decided right then she was just about the best thing to ever sling a leg over a horse. But there she'd be on Eq. day, trying to contort herself into the current fashion and having major errors.
How you can take a kid with such lovely natural horsemanship and try to fit it into a mold that is not only different, but wrong is beyond me.

Sarah Willeman is another example. I think her riding improved dramatically her last year because she had a hard hunter. He made her ride softer and more naturally and she learned a lot from him. It showed at the Finals.

I think the top equitation coaches should take a look at what they are teaching. I think the trainers with good kids should stop sending them to an Eq coach and give the judges a chance to reward good riding.

Jul. 11, 2001, 05:16 PM
In a Jimmy Wofford (multiple eventing Olympian)clinic he introduced the automatic release to the most advanced group of the day by having them hold the reins upside down (meaning instead of your pinky and ring finger being closest to the horses mouth your thumb and fore finger were closest.) Before eached rider jumped he took a long crop and held it from the bit to the hand and had each follow the crop with their hands toward the mouth while the horse was standing still. You can also practice it by riding while pointing your index finger at the horses mouth until the difference in the hand motion stops feeling so weird. One friend of mine visulizes that as she takes off she "shoots" the bit with her "finger gun." Wofford also commented that once the crest released has been ingrained and used for an extended period of time, changing it is very, very difficult. Good luck!


Jul. 11, 2001, 05:26 PM
Sorry that you all had to bite my head off for my comment, did I say it was correct? NO! I said whether it is correct or not, it is WHAT YOU SEE........I dont think you guys think twicr before hurting someones feelings....If you are so angry with riding style these days, then boycott horse shows, stop talking about how horrible all these people are b/c they use a CR, In the eq ur not usually expected to drop your hands over the jump, I KNOW it helps the horse, I do jumpers too and yes I do use it....it helps your horse so much to get over the jumps.....you can keep saying how bad the eq is these days, but this is how it is, and i am sorry but I dont see it changing anytime soon, but if you think you can change it, more power to you, I was just stating what I SEE in the eq ring, NOT WHAT IS CORRECT, i watched the eq at lake placid, devon, and all over, and I see the winning trips everytime doing a CR, but oh well, sorry to make you all SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO angry!

Jul. 11, 2001, 10:41 PM
I don't think anyone was trying to bite your head off.
Judges have answered that they would consider an automatic or following release.
Equitation riders who have used it well have been well rewarded.
Just about every month George Morris writes in his critique how this or that rider should now start using the automatic release.
I guess I could write what everyone's mother has asked them at least once in their life...."if your friend jumps off a cliff/bridge, does that mean you have to?" /infopop/emoticons/icon_confused.gif

Jul. 12, 2001, 03:11 AM
Do judges want to see the rider use the auto release at each and every fence in the round, or only where appropriate? By the last line I may need a crest release.

M. O'Connor
Jul. 12, 2001, 06:32 AM
by definition, is called for when the rider lacks sufficient security (ie a solid base, ie balance centered over his/her feet and lower leg) to maintain contact (ie CONTROL) in the air...riders who lack this security consistently, are overall riding at a less advanced level (and therefore have less control) than those who have it...A great way to display that security and show off an independent hand and arm, and the increased control over the horse that goes with this ability, is to display an automatic release when possible--is it possible over every jump? NO--even the best riders are flexible about the techniques they use--at the last fence in the jump-off, plenty of riders just throw away the reins (sometimes the rail drops as a result, sometimes not)--on a green, unpredictable jumper, I've seen plenty of Olympians grab mane--some hunters are so round-jumping that they challenge those with even the best balance to stay with the jumping effort--but hunter courses do not generally require the degree of control that jumper and equitation courses should demand. So when the situation allows for it (equitation), or calls for it (jumpers), the rewards for using it are the bonus points (equitation) and seconds gained (jumpers). The notion that the crest release is what "wins" and no one should try anything else in the eq ring is mistaken, big-time. Those without sufficient balance to try it can always IMPROVE their balance with the basic excercises that used to be taught to beginners, but apparently aren't much used anymore...but to cling to a technique that screams out "I'm not that good!! I DON'T have independent balance!!" because someone has put out the line that big eq is for intermediate riders (as opposed to advanced) is nuts.

Jul. 12, 2001, 07:04 AM
of whether the rider should be jumping fences of 3' or more at all if they don't have an independent seat?

Here in the UK I wasn't ever specifically taught an automatic release, it was just something that you did through proper exercises on the flat and then over poles, grids and finally fences.

If we want to be fair to the horse, surely the rider that doesn't have an independent seat and isn't capable of getting their weight off the horses back without disrupting their own and the horses balance should go back to basics and learn how to do it correctly?

Jul. 12, 2001, 07:38 AM
from all of your older pics... I notice that each and everyone of the riders back in the 60's-70's have MUCH shorter stirrups. But yes... also look at those beautifully secure legs. Is this a main contributing factor as to why many riders today in the EQ have too poor legs to actually perform an Auto Release? I always see too long stirrups, offering no support- This inhibits the riders from waiting for the horses thrust to close thier body angles like a "frog"...Forcing them to jump ahead, legs slip back, body lay on neck - then producing the short chrest release jabbed into the riders stomach. Am I correct on this??

~*~ Melissa & Sherwin Williams~*~

Jul. 12, 2001, 08:02 AM
Exactly, JibyEq! There is no way for anyone to have a really secure base over fences with their stirrups 2 holes too long. The only reason I could come up with for these long stirrups was to make the leg look longer and thinner. Or possibly, it's the fact that they are on 17h+ monstrosities and it's the only way to have any leg at all on the horse. Who knows? But, to me the whole look is really unattractive.

Jul. 12, 2001, 08:11 AM
But it doesn't seem to work that way here. Maybe it's different on the East Coast, but hereabouts, kids ride maybe 10 lessons before starting to jump - crosspoles perhaps, but still leaving the ground. Now, back in the dark ages when I was learning to ride, at 10 lessons we were still walking and doing exercises on a longe line. But apparently no more.

Tricia Booker
Jul. 12, 2001, 08:13 AM
Could the trend for longer stirrups in the equitation also be due to the fact that today's riders must have a solid flatwork base, similar to that of a lower level dressage rider? Could their stirrup length be a direct result of the need to push the horse up in front of them into the bridle, into a frame, and it's just evolved over fences too?

Years ago I when I did the equitation most of the riders still used their junior hunters. Back then the flat and over fences tests were much more simplified.

Jul. 12, 2001, 08:28 AM
Sorry, Gofer, I don't buy that. We did a lot of basic dressage and flat work in the 70's and in the 80's we were riding hunters in a frame. BUT, we used a longer stirrup on the flat (but not as long as some of these kids today) and a shorter stirrup over fences. I think this just what's being taught now and I have no idea how it evolved because of the 12 year break I took from horses. I didn't actually quit riding until 1990 but I quit showing in '88. I personally think these poufy saddles they ride in today are a contributing factor as well.

Jul. 12, 2001, 10:49 AM
Because I have been out of the riding for so many years, and I came back to seeing the auto release extinct, and the crest release thriving.
This whole thread has been a wonderful conversation.
But the theories on the stirrup lengths is something I find interesting to think about. /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Jul. 12, 2001, 01:48 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Could the trend for longer stirrups in the equitation also be due to the fact that today's riders must have a solid flatwork base, similar to that of a lower level dressage rider? Could their stirrup length be a direct result of the need to push the horse up in front of them into the bridle, into a frame, and it's just evolved over fences too? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I don't think so. If this were true, then event riders (who do much more dressage than eq riders) would also jump with long stirrups. But they don't.

It is hard to tell now, because I now use different saddles, but when I was using an all purpose sadde for both dressage and jumping, I had 4 to 6 holes difference between flat work and jumping.

Jul. 12, 2001, 02:25 PM
Love it, love it!

LINDA ALLEN: are you out there? Can't wait for your comments on this one, too. /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Jul. 12, 2001, 02:33 PM
My take on this is that you can't generalize a group and call them the "big eq riders." Do some really know their stuff, work their @sses off every day and strive to become not just medal winners but horsepeople? You bet...I know many like that. Do some just hop on their imported horse, put their Vogel-covered heels down, perch in their TS breeches and Hermes saddles, then throw the reins at their groom while they rush home to hang another tri that their zillion dollar horse won? You bet...I know many of these types too! In the end, whether one is qualified to be an instructor/trainer has NOTHING to do with how many tris they have or if they won the biggest eq classes out there. It's about their ability to TEACH. Some of the best riders I have even seen made the worst trainers...I rode with several of them. Soooo to me it's not about whether your former big-eq trainer knows her theory or not...it's about whether your trainer has the ability to teach you and your horse and the appropriate level of knowledge to share with you.

M. O'Connor
Jul. 12, 2001, 04:07 PM
I beg to differ, you CAN generalize about trends that are seen within a group, such as the big eq riders...and the judges to whom the original questions were put are in a good position to do just that... specifically, my strongest comments were in response to a statement made by one member of the big eq group: << "the crest realease is what is expected in the top equitation levels these days, if you want to get to finals, and place, etc........its one of the things expected, whether its right or not, oh well, i am still trying to figure out the short crest realease considaring I have just started the big eq.......but it is what is definatly expected, and what RIBBONS!>>

We aren't having a discussion about whether the big eq riders know their theory or not or whether they burn the midnight oil in an effort to get ahead as opposed to looking for an exemption from the nitty-gritty based on privelege: we are instead discussing the disappearance of the automatic release, and discovering that some riders actually believe that it is an undesireable technique to use...

To give Paige her due, she is here in the discussion, and revealing some premises that have really surprised us old-timers, to say the least! The great thing about these boards is that we can all learn from each other--and from the comfort of our living rooms, at that.

Jul. 12, 2001, 04:48 PM
This thread made me reach back into the dark recesses of my mind ... and, boy, is it ever dark back there! /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

I can actually recall the first time I ever heard the phrase "crest release": It was the day after my first trainer got back from a George Morris clinic. I have pictures of me as a little itty bitty kid using an auto release; then, somehow, I was suddenly using the CR.

Frankly, I think that like many great ideas, this one was misused and abused. I spent endless hours as a little kid riding with no reins, one hand, bareback, whatever, learning to be an independent rider. Believe me, I am not putting the problem on George's doorstep; I just think that what was supposed to be viewed as an aid for beginners and intermediates has turned into an entrenchment for pretty much everyone. I'm often amazed/appalled/amused by the pictures of open A-circuit hunter riders with their hands up by the horse's ears and their bellies draped over the horse's neck -- talk about the CR done wrong!

I'm rambling, I know. (It's a looooong trip back from those dark recesses. /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif ) These days, I have to say I probably use a combination of the two: An auto when called for, a crest when it's called for. But the CR is now sooooo ingrained in me (Oh, how the echoes of "CREST UP!" ring through my head!) that IT has become the "automatic" release. I'd imagine it's the same for others.

****Bulletin Board Goddess****

Jul. 12, 2001, 09:16 PM
I realize it's been 20 years since my A-circuit days but...the reason you see many more eventers using releases that more closely resemble an auto release (and there are varying degrees of it) is that we NEED it. If you jump up a bank, bounce over a verticle, then a bending 3 strides to another verticle, your never going to make the turn if you don't stay CONNECTED. The whole purpose of the auto release is to stay connected and in continuous conversation with the horse during flight. The crest release breaks the connection which then has to be re-established on landing.

What kind of courses are the equitation riders having to jump that really requires them to land and adjust (that is adjusting on the landing or even in flight, NOT on the first stride.) I realize that there have been changes in twenty years but back then the answer would have been few if any. It's the same reason you DO see the occassional auto release in the jumper ring (think Anne Kursinski.) The need arises.

So my point is: If you want to see more equitation riders using an auto release then design courses that require them.

My second point is if the hunter ring rewards a "horse that does it on his own" and the pro shows that off by riding with a loopy rein. Isn't that the antithisis of what the auto release is all about? Not that anyone cares about it anymore, but riding a horse in the hunt feild on a loopy rein is just plain stupid and should be left to the idiots that imbibed to much of the stirrup cup!

Personally, I think the reason the GM mention the auto release in his columns all the time is feels guilty that he introduced the thing in the first place and it's turned out to be like kudzu.

Jul. 12, 2001, 09:44 PM

What does "kudzu" mean?

Jul. 12, 2001, 10:10 PM
Kudzu is a plant introduced to the Southern U.S from its native growing region somewhere in Asia as a good quickly growing ground cover to fight errosion. It is so happy in the South that it just takes over--it grows 18 inches a day on a good hot, humid southern summer day. You can drive for miles in Alabama and see nothing but... it covers and smothers everything from trees to house trailers and is nearly imposible to get rid of. It's now the poster child for stopping the importation of exotic plants. sbk

Jul. 12, 2001, 10:23 PM
Aaaahhh! Thank you- you learn something new every day! (Hopefully!)

Jul. 13, 2001, 05:44 AM
So, how would judges feel if someone came in the ring with the position of the rider in the picture that Spectacularkid posted for equitation?

That picture was the ideal that we all strived for when we were learning to ride in the 60's and early 70's. So incredibly different than today. Not only the release but the correct angles, the obvious balance over and with the horse and the ability to follow and allow with the body as well as the hands. Quite a nice horse too! I could stare at that picture for hours. It's what equitation is all about to me - function and form. It's so much more beautiful in all ways than the stuff we see in the Chronicle these days.

Tricia Booker
Jul. 13, 2001, 08:04 AM
OK, guess my theory on the dressage influence wasn't quite there. /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

So what is it that caused the change from that beautiful photo of the 70s to many of today's riders? I remember riding and showing in the 70s (as a quite a youngster, mind you!) when we weren't nearly as sophisticated in the flatwork. Now, almost every lesson I have with every trainer includes shoulder-in, leg yielding, counter canter and such. We seem to have come so far from just hacking around with the horse's nose poked out, yet the horse's jump and rider's position seemed to evolve to be something other than what we want. Why is that? Could it be a change in the types of courses we ride and the control factor? Could it be that we now need to monitor the horse's every stride so every line has the correct number of strides? Perhaps we've changed to accommodate the smaller rings, larger horses and 12' stride?

Thanks for all the great comments. I've really enjoyed this thread.

Jul. 13, 2001, 08:07 AM
I had my lesson on Awesome Elliot last night.
And I talked to my wonderful trainer about this great release thread going on here.
So I asked what am I doing right now and she told me short to medium release.
Elliot can be a bit "luggy" and down in front, so a long or crest release would probably make me a lawn dart and set Elliot onto his cute little nose!!!

Report to my fellow Greenie Brigade...we had a slight flying pole incident /infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif , and after that, he started listening more to me and doing a 6 in a 5 if I asked him too. /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif And he appeared a little less luggy.

Bumpkin (http://members.aol.com/WellieFellie/Bumpkin2.jpg)

Jul. 13, 2001, 12:06 PM
Sorry, but I replied to the wrong thread...my respinse was supposed to go to the "Do Big Eq riders know their theory" thread, not this one...I agree with what you said completely...what can I say, BB newbie screwed up! /infopop/emoticons/icon_confused.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif

Jul. 13, 2001, 03:58 PM
Gofer, the horse's jump has not devolved, it has gotten much better! The hunters today on the whole jump much better than the horses from the seventies. I think it a combination of more inviting jumps and less contact in the air. I donb't think a following hand will get the best out of the hunters in most situations.

In the eq., OTOH, riders often ride in a position that will ultimately produce poor jumping. Couple that with a desire to show flat jumpers that are easy to stay with in the air and you'll see one good jumper out of 100.

Jul. 13, 2001, 07:50 PM
Good points Twister.

Some of the posts on this thread give the impression that an advanced rider should always use an auto release. And that's taking it too far. It does seem that overall hunters today do jump in better form than they did a few decades ago. I think we're seeing this because they're being allowed freedom in the air. The use of the crest release during the past few decades had and has a lot to do with it.

Now that GM is calling for automatic releases, it seems people are accepting it blindly and missing the fact that there are appropriate times for each type of release. Yes, riders should learn automatic releases as they advance. And they should be able to use whatever release is most appropriate for the horse and the circumstance.

"Always speak your mind, but ride a fast horse" -- Texas Bix Bender

Jul. 13, 2001, 09:33 PM
Had to go out of town for a few days and LOVE the direction this has taken. Intelligent discussion of current trends. Here's a few more thoughts and observations. At the Maclay midwest regionals I saw more than a few kids struggling to reach their stirrups on very "up in front" warm bloods that reminded me of American Saddlebreds. Many of these and the others rode the first 5 fences great then flat ran out of gas and got looser and looser, several lost too long irons. A big galloping oxer late in the course(for the past 3 years believe it or not) created horrible distances, stops and a few falls due,I firmly believe, to the mental and physical exhaustion of the rider. Most of these did ride very well on the flat with the same stirrup length. Why do you see the Jayne kids and Emily Williams and a few others really ride? They are trainers kids who ride,contrary to what others think, not the made champs but every piece of crap pony or horse their folks tried to rehab. If it was any good it got sold and they had to start with another. These kids learned to ride a horse. They ride 5 or 6 daily. How many days does an eq kid need to ride? Well I would think 2 lessons 2 flats on their own horse then those 4 days the are at the barn they should get on those sale horses. What really happens? Probably trainer and parents try to protect them too much. Sorry this is long but one more thing, I bought my first horse myself at age 18 for $400. Couldn't afford a saddle for 3 years had wonderful basic teachers in movie stunt men-most cavalry vets. I can ride but am pretty new over fences. My 3 or 4 days weekly at the barn riding my princess A/A hunter are supplemented by riding another-one nobody else wants to ride. It gets on great with me but none of the Jrs. will get on it without a disaster. Guess I'm old school(and old), ride the horse your on the way that suits it best. Let's keep this thread going

From Allergy Valley USA

Jul. 13, 2001, 10:10 PM
how a crest release allows a horse more freedom in the air over a jump than an automatic release does, having been taught just the
opposite /infopop/emoticons/icon_confused.gif

I'm not trying to stir up anything here, but I would love to know the theory behind this, as the crest releases I see in photo after photo today appear generally to be much more restrictive than an automatic release would be....but maybe I'm missing something!! /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

"Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong." - Dennis Miller

Jul. 13, 2001, 10:44 PM
In the pics of the good jumping hunters where the crest release doesn't restrict, you'll see no tension on the horse's mouth. The horse is free to use itself without interference.

"Always speak your mind, but ride a fast horse" -- Texas Bix Bender

Jul. 13, 2001, 11:05 PM
Maybe some of those crest releases were not really good releases. As in you can screw up even the "easier" one. Hmmmmm /infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif

From Allergy Valley USA

smashing fishnets and feathers
Jul. 14, 2001, 12:14 AM
my own little 'theory' on what kind of release to use: Why dont you ask your HORSE what kind of release he'd like!?!? lan' sakes, some like to have contact o/f, some go better with complete control. Personally until we get up to the bigger stuff(only 3'+, but for us its big right now) when we jump, if its below 2'6" or 2'9", i go with a loopy crest release, because it is literally impossible to do an auto- cruz does not use himself well over small fences, and therefore does not become round at all until its 3'+. When we start consistently doing 3', i will revert back to the auto. I was jumping one of the horses in training, who had a 'run away-after-the-jump' problem, but only if you really picked up on your reins right after the jump. We werent doing anything big, 2'3" max(BTW he was a VERY made, winning horse on the A circuit who developed a problem). Well, i discovered with him that when contact was kept o/f, he had no problem(until he started having back problems, and then his brain froze up like an ice cube).
BL: My theory on what type of release you should use?? like i said...Lan' Sakes! ASK THE HORSE! it should be what works for your horse and its style, not what the fashion is!...

Jul. 14, 2001, 06:13 AM
I agree regarding choosing the correct release. There are occasional times when an automatic/following hand release is appropriate for my horse but very rarely (I'll get back to that). 99+% of the time she jumps best if I can drop the contact and float the reins to her a stride or 2 in front of the jump and never touch her mouth until she lands.

Unless a horse needs contact in the air (can't figure out quite why - remember, you can't lift your horse off the ground) my training and understanding on why to use the automatic release is to have the contact right there waiting for you when you land. So, if your horse is being a baddy and running off (that -1% [now /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif] time with the pink horse) or you're in a tough combination on a cross country course, a jump off, on rutty, uneven ground hunting, etc, I'm not sure what the advantage is of using it. There aren't many places on hunter courses except maybe before the trot jump on a handy hunter course. (Bring the handy hunters into the AA's!!!)

It seems to me it should be seen in big eq classes because those riders should show that they have the ability to do it when appropriate. Perhaps the course should be such (and, I believe they sometimes are) that in order to get from one fence to another, at least one place on course, an automatic release would be needed/appropriate to show a true advanced level of riding and thinking.

Jul. 14, 2001, 07:57 AM
OK, here's another stupid question from someone who has never willingly gone over anything higher than a crossrail in her life.

If you are dropping contact, letting the horse jump, then picking it up again while going around a course, getting correct bend, worrying about the right lead, etc -- aren't the chances pretty good that you would be hitting the horse in the mouth when you pick up the reins and take contact again?

I would think that would be the superiority of the automatic release. You are giving the horse its head and its freedom all the while maintaining contact, so that you don't have to worry about slamming the mouth if the slightest thing goes wrong after landing.

Now, mind you, this is from a dressage rider who has had it pounded into her head from the first lesson she took that - above all things - you must keep a constant contact, so I will admit that I could be just the tiniest bit prejudiced.


Jul. 14, 2001, 08:58 AM
Louise, I am not sure why you think there is more likelihood of slamming the horse in the mouth. Try it yourself. Get into what is sometimes called 'jumping position', with you hands pressed on the horses' crest and your weight in your heels. then, return to the saddle.

If something goes wrong after the jump, your release while over the jump won't have any bearing.

Jul. 14, 2001, 10:07 AM
I must share with you guys my rather new experience w/ the Auto. I've only actually perfomed the automatic release a handful of times, never truely focusing on it though. After discussing this topic w/ my trainer this past week though, she thought it would be good to play around with the automatic release in my lesson today.

The end result: I've learned how wonderful the auto can be while performing equitation courses. It keeps the contact, turns are more precise, balanced and overall, just TOGETHER! But then while doing more huntery courses, the crest release let my horse 'do his own thing' and flutter around the course. /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

So I too agree with all of you who say, there is a time and place for each type of release, and each situation brings on another opportunity to answer the question of which one should be used??

~*~ Melissa & Sherwin Williams~*~

Jul. 14, 2001, 10:30 AM
To you and your trainer. /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif
I am so happy to read that you both worked on this and found it a nice experience!!! /infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif

I have met trainers, who totally poopoo the use of the automatic release, calling it, too 70's or 60's????!!! /infopop/emoticons/icon_mad.gif

M. O'Connor
Jul. 16, 2001, 11:37 AM
to this thread that I couldn't stop myself!! I hope fellow BB'er, Taryn, who took the photos at the big CSI/Blenheim Grand Prix this past weekend doesn't mind--she is still busy posting loads of shots on the Off Course forum....Anyway, here is Joe Fargis on Edgar...

M. O'Connor
Jul. 16, 2001, 11:40 AM
...and from Argentina, Ramiro Quintana (who rides for Joe), on Lacoste).

M. O'Connor
Jul. 16, 2001, 11:43 AM
Now back to Off Course to look at the rest of Taryn's photos....

Sandy M
Jul. 16, 2001, 11:53 AM
I'm coming into this discussion late, and I don't even do hunters any more (went from H/J to Eventing back to H/J then Dressage), but back in the "Good Old Days" when I first learned to jump, crest release was for beginners and emergencies, and the goal was ALWAYS an automatic release and that "straight line from bit to elbow". I have no problem with crest release in actual hunter classes where you are "showing off the horse," although personally, I think an automatic release looks nicer. However, I think what strikes many people is why are riders (who are, I am sure, GOOD riders) WINNING the national equitation championships (MacClay/ASPCA Medal/USET) DOING A CREST RELEASE?? SHouldn't the "best" hunt seat rider in the country be capable of an automatic release? This is not saying crest release is, per se, "bad," just that the supposed "best of the best" should be capable (and probably ARE capable) of better, i.e., an automatic release. So why has a crest release become acceptable to win equitation championships? I know GM is making apologies all over the place for having promoted this, but how sad that so many judges would simply follow the fashion and allow what has long been consider "correct" (automatic release) become less important and "fashion" (crest release) the ideal.

Jul. 16, 2001, 01:11 PM
Sandy, just what do you suggest we do when the ENTIRE CLASS is using a crest release? I'd LOVE to reward a well done following hand, but I haven't seen one in ten years.

Sandy M
Jul. 16, 2001, 02:08 PM
Well, I think the problem per se is not what YOU are doing, but what the judges are doing. Certainly there is nothing harmful to the horse in a crest release. I'm sure that if I checked all my cross-country photos they'd be about 50/50 crest release/automatic release depending upon the nature of the fence (or any problems I had with it *G*). But then, I wasn't doing eq under controlled conditions, but was on cross-country!

What I'm wondering about is WHY crest release became the standard: Certainly a judge should not regard a crest release as BETTER than an automatic release? I've looked at pics of '50s era Medal winners (like Mary Mairs Chapot and Wm. Steinkraus, etc.) and "way back then" that automatic release was paramount. Using a crest release THEN would have been regarded as something one did because one lacked stability (at that one fence or perhaps overall) or had hit a bad spot and used crest release to avoid any harm to the horse's mouth, etc. - all of which would result in a lower placing - not a win. So do we blame GM for making this the contemporary standard rather than an automatic release? He's only one guy - and while he's very influential, I'm just surprised that so many judges would jump on the bandwagon and move away from what was long considered the REQUIREMENT for such things as championships. I can't imagine that somewhere along the line, GM didn't make it clear that crest release was something that those who aspired to eq medals should at some point leave behind them.... and yet these days "everybody's doin' it" - and it is rewarded - and so it has become the standard for winning. Just seems strange to me. But then, I'm an old fogey contemporaneous with Kathy Kusner and those old folks! *G*

Jul. 16, 2001, 02:31 PM
Sandy M - twister is a judge /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

And, she raises a very good point, just what is the solution when the whole field is not jumping up to "acceptable standard"?

Too bad you can't do what can be done with some kind of awards and just not award a first place, because there was no one qualified to win. (I do know that's impossible)

Hmm - maybe another arguement for numerical scoring, huh? That way, someone will win, but will know by their score that there is certainly room for improvement.

Jul. 16, 2001, 02:33 PM
As many of you know, I video horse shows. ALL kinds/disciplines/breeds. And the breed that I have the ultimate respect for is the Paso Fino, because they expect the breeders to aim for the epitome of the breed and they 'permit' the judges to require it.

Now, before you all wonder what this has to do with 'big eq' - let me bring this quote from page 2 or 3 to your attention - especially the part I bolded.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>The kids are being taught this and unfortunately, the judges can only judge what is in front of them. If they all perch and don't let go, there is no option to punish for perching and not letting go. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

What if the judge(s) said, "None of you are showing me appropriate technique for this level; therefore, I am not going to pin any of you."
/infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif

Oh yes, it's done - on a regular basis. And under Confepaso (International) rules, a judge can pin 1st and 4th (no 2nd/3rd) - or 2nd and 3rd with no first. One horse classes can go unpinned.

Hey - I'm flameproof! Have at it! But consider what could be accomplished.....

Jul. 16, 2001, 02:40 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>If we want to be fair to the horse, surely the rider that doesn't have an independent seat and isn't capable of getting their weight off the horses back without disrupting their own and the horses balance should go back to basics and learn how to do it correctly? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Good point, Magick! But it doesn't seem to work that way here. Maybe it's different on the East Coast, but hereabouts, kids ride maybe 10 lessons before starting to jump - crosspoles perhaps, but still leaving the ground. Now, back in the dark ages when I was learning to ride, at 10 lessons we were still walking and doing exercises on a longe line. But apparently no more. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Jul. 16, 2001, 02:43 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Personally, I think the reason the GM mention the auto release in his columns all the time is feels guilty that he introduced the thing in the first place and it's turned out to be like kudzu. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Jul. 16, 2001, 02:59 PM
OMG! Just when I was about to give up on the COTH boards (see the dreaded "What Is a Show Bow?" started by Yours Truly), a legitimate discussion begins!

I learned to jump for the first time in the very early 80s, and even though I was only showing locally I wasn't allowed to settle for anything less than an automatic--which I didn't even know was an automatic, it was just a RELEASE. A crest release was what you did while learning two-point or trotting cavaletti (which I did for about a year before I was allowed to tackle a course). This ALL changed when some hot junior rider joined my 4-H Club in the mid-80s and started kicking my butt in the ring using a NO-RELEASE crest release--I swear her hands were halfway up the horse's neck at all times!

Flash forward: Asked my trainer just last week what in hell was the difference between a crest and an automatic, and what should I be doing now? His response, which I liked a lot, was, "What is it that your HORSE is telling you that you should be doing in order to get him over that jump?"

Yours forward and automatically.... /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

M. O'Connor
Jul. 16, 2001, 03:04 PM
instead of competing against each other, equitation riders would compete against a standard...to qualify for advancement or for a notch on thier belt towards a finals or somesuch, they'd have to achieve a certain score, as opposed to a mediocre rider simply outplacing others in mediocre competition... this was put forward by someone at some point, but I'm not sure of the context. And since I'm not much good at cross discipline stuff--I have to ask an ignorant question: isn't this what they do in dressage? Anyway, that would be one way to allow judges to encourage certain trends and discourage others...as it stands, I don't think judges can be blamed for what shows up in front of us.

One explanation I can accept for why certain trends take hold so firmly is that when something different works for a really talented rider, whatever element trademarks this person's "style" tends to be copied--if so and so won the eq finals standing up out of the saddle on landing with a perfectly straight leg, falling on the horse's neck, then everyone copies it...if so and so's perfect eq horse was the type that squats to the jumps and bellies his way over without moving his head and neck, suddenly, that is the kind of horse everyone wants...if so and so used a certain type of training bit on a horse that was winning, others suddenly want to buy that bit...same with pads...same with those icky green britches (hey, I have 3 pairs...)...etc, etc...

Jul. 16, 2001, 09:09 PM
" instead of competing against each other, equitation riders would compete against a standard...to qualify for advancement or for a notch on thier belt towards a finals or somesuch, they'd have to achieve a certain score, "
There have been a couple shows where no one REALLY rode well and no one should have been pinned. But i have a question. I have seen pics where there have been short auto releases. Mainly in Grand Prixs. Is this worse than a crest? /infopop/emoticons/icon_confused.gif


Jul. 16, 2001, 10:03 PM
I'm not sure exactly what you mean by "short auto release." But do understand this, there ARE degrees of an auto release. It's quite possible to have your hands below the creast but not yet at the point of creating a straight line from bit to hand. It is often seen in eventing where you need the connection of the auto release, but because of a bunch of reasons, none being rider instability, the available security of the crest is wisely not left to far behind.

As an eventer it's quite possible and likely that on a course of 20 jumps I'll not have the same release over 2 of them (especially at the higher levels.) It is specifically a statement to the variety of jumps on a XC course. In the hunter ring there is NO variety--that's why the same crest release works at every jump. Is the same perhaps true to some degree in the equitation ring?

What I'm deducing from this thread is that the auto release has died because equitation courses are no longer designed to ask that question. (Whatever happened to outside courses?)

To push the point one step further. As are rear ends are repeatedly being whipped in international competition does the lose of the automatic release have any bearing on that? I suspect yes. Our equitation ranks do not prepare our young ridders with a most important skill used by the best riders the world over in the upper echelan of Grand Prix Jumping. Just where is this skill supposed to be learned? Any comments? sbk

M. O'Connor
Jul. 17, 2001, 04:18 AM
Go back to page 6 and look at the two photos I "borrowed" from Taryn who posted them on the Off Course forum re CSI Blenheim/Grand Prix of the USA...Joe Fargis's release on Edgar is far shorter than Ramiro Quintana's on Lacoste...Also look in the July 6 issue of COTH on page 38 at the photo of Beezie Madden on Innocence....Depending on what the course is calling for, the rider can exert tremendous influence on the horse while in the air--these three photos are good examples of how varying degrees of auto-release are used.

Sandy M
Jul. 17, 2001, 09:03 AM
I thought you were saying "Everyone is doing crest release and how can I NOT do it and be competitive, since that's what the judges are rewarding." I didn't realize you were speaking as a judge and meant that there was absolutely no one doing an automatic release for you to reward.

I'm still mystified how this came to be an acceptable standard for equitation winners. In a hunter or jumper class, one does what is necessary to be effective/to best present the horse/to win. When, in equitation, did the standard of "crest release" become entrench as the thing do so in PREFERENCE to an automatic release? Or are we saying that NO ONE can do a correct automatic release, so crest release is now the standard? Aaargh!!!

I still look upon Steinkraus and Fargis as models and remember Jane Dillon's old "Form Over Fences" book where 9 year old Joe rides so beautifully - and for the most part with an automatic release (and everyone in the book who is not a beginner or illustrating a beginner fault does an automatic release!)

M. O'Connor
Jul. 17, 2001, 10:12 AM
care to sell me!

Sandy M
Jul. 17, 2001, 10:42 AM
abe.com is a network for independent book sellers. It's a good place to find new, used and/or out of print books. Good luck.

M. O'Connor
Jul. 17, 2001, 10:50 AM
I've ordered a copy and it's on its way--THANKS!

Sandy M
Jul. 17, 2001, 11:40 AM
That's a very dangerous website. I completed a set of one author's work on it (bought mostly book club editions for economy's sake), but I found $$$ first editions and the like if I had wanted them. I have to limited my visits or I would be bankrupt. Almost as dangerous as a tack shop. *G*

Dementia 13
Jul. 17, 2001, 12:15 PM
Form over Fences is a wonderful book. I also highly recommend School for Young Riders, also by Jane Marshall Dillon. Still relevant, even after 40-odd years. Riding the Show-Ring Hunter is not bad, but not as good as the other two.

Jul. 18, 2001, 08:47 AM
Well, if it would be an interesting experiment for you guys I will enter a few Eq classes and do an auto-release and see what happens. I can't guarantee beautiful smooth rounds to be judged against but it might be fun to see what happens. Maybe we can all start an auto-trend!

Jul. 18, 2001, 10:26 AM
Chanda, go for it! Can't wait to see what happens.

Jul. 18, 2001, 12:30 PM
Someone could also propose a rule change to the judging section of the Equitation rules along the lines of...

In Open Equitation and Medal classes over fences, an automatic release (following hand) is recommended.

Jul. 18, 2001, 04:58 PM
I have been teaching the Auto release to my students when I think that they are ready. One student was really happy to hear someone ringside actually say, " Watch that girl's release, that is what I am trying to get you to do."
the auto release helps to get rid of some of those icky habits that come from nowhere, like floating one hand over the crest or 4 inches in front of the other.Right CL? I have got to say, the horses jump just fine & turns are MUCH easier.

Jul. 21, 2001, 09:28 PM
How about more comments from judges?
Has Linda Allen seen it yet? /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Jane Ervin and Merry are judge trainees, what are your opinions? /infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif

Jul. 22, 2001, 08:31 AM
Every time I try to post a reply for the past week I get blown off! I'll try again!

Thank you very much Bumpkin, Dublin, Hillary, a work in progress, and Laurie B for your comments.

My thoughts - the auto release is more effectively used in the hunter divisions because most importantly it allows a horse to attain its best jumping form. It also can be used to improve jumping form. The only time I could say that I use what looks like a crest release was in the equitation classes. When I rode my hunter "War Dress" in the equitation in the 70's my release looks more like a crest release but iit's still an auto release. In equitation you will be taking more of a hold and loose the auto release look - you the rider are riding the round and being judged accordingly. In the hunters with the auto release you tend to have a slacker rein because the most perfect auto release - with straight line- comes from a rider and horse being in total unison with each other.
About a shorter stirrup helping to attain a better auto release - I don't think that has anything to do with it. I rode my ponies in a shorter stirrup sometimes, and in the junior hunters I rode a hole or two shorter than in the equitation. An auto release comes from a solid seat and legs which are used in conjunction but independently of the hands. Does anyone remeber those exercises that Frank and Wayne Carroll used to make us do - like riding without your hands aroud and around, and the two point position with your hands up off of the neck(no support whatsoever! - at the beginning of each lesson which used to kill us?

M. O'Connor
Jul. 22, 2001, 06:45 PM
...and riding through grids w/out reins, with hands folded behind you, or in front of you, or on your head or carrying a glass of water in each hand? etc, etc, etc...

I got my copy of Form Over Fences yesterday--very good reading...

Jul. 23, 2001, 08:42 AM
I watched an old volvo world cup on RFD TV the other day and one rider who really impressed me was Franke Sloothak (sp?) of Germany. He had a terrific auto release and was in perfect unison w/ his horse, instead of the rotating release i think most grand prix riders use today.

Jul. 23, 2001, 11:46 AM
Hi Moose - I don't know if this is what ponyjocke was referring to or not, but, to me, a rotating release is the kind where the rider kind of lifts the horse (ie - hands come back) at the take-off, then the hands go far forward up the neck, then kind of come down as the horse's head and neck reach down, back to the normal position.

Did any of that make any sense? /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif LOL

Jul. 23, 2001, 01:08 PM
I somewhat feel the need to stick up for the crest release and feel the automatic release is not the end all to be all in every situation.

When I was a kid, I was taught the mechanics of the auto release but not the basics that were required to do it correctly. In fact, I had no idea I was supposed to be able to ride without stirrups until I lost one approaching a jump and had to pull up. my trainer then informed me I should be able to do it without, but I had never worked without stirrups. Now, none of this has anything to do with auto over crest, but when I was a kid, everyone did the auto because there were no options, not because they were capable of keeping a delicate amount of tension on a horse's mouth while jumping.

Jul. 23, 2001, 01:41 PM
Well since I�m SAFELY out of the junior eq ranks, it�s probably snotty of me to suggest that eq riders be asked to demonstrate crest release in the first round and in subsequent rounds to use auto release. It�s best to be able to use either one as conditions warrant.....and although the auto is more highly prized for obvious reasons, the other also is part of equitation. Why not acknowledge the value of both releases by demanding perfection of both skills at the eq level?

Both these skills need to be taught to young riders and they shouldn�t be allowed to come into or out of fashion....They are necessary for complete horsemanship over fences.

Jul. 23, 2001, 06:22 PM
What is the difference between a rotating release and an auto release?

Jul. 24, 2001, 04:00 PM
that's exactly the one i was referring to /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Sep. 19, 2001, 07:40 PM
I went back into the vault that is my scrapbook, and sure enough, 90% of all my over fences photos from my youth and younger amateur days (i.e. the black and white photos) show me gleefully jumping using an automatic release. That's simply the way we were taught, regardless of whether it was an eq or a hunter round.

As for when the "crest release" came into vogue, I can recall riding in a GM clinic about '79 or '80 and he had us working on them then. Yet the whole idea has become so misconstrued, that I'll bet at his clinics out here in December, he'll be harping on automatic releases. Everything old is new again, eh?

"Charter Member of the Baby Greenie Support Group of North America"

Sep. 19, 2001, 07:59 PM
Personally I would like to see the Auto Release reintroduced as one of the tests. Maybe trotting a jump?? I think this would show the amount-or lack thereof-of upper body control and overall security.

I think that the Auto Release should be taught to all Maiden, Novice, Limit riders. I don't believe that we will ever see the Auto Release widely used in the equitation classes.

As far as different riders are concerned, like Beezie and Michael and a few others, I've seen Beezie use a lovely Auto Release from time to time. And Michael didn't use the Auto Release (at least not often) he is famous for on a few of his Grand Prix mounts such as Bon Retour and Schnapps.

I think it depends greatly on the specific situation at the time.

Sep. 20, 2001, 09:42 AM
I think the Auto Release is DOOMED!!!
From what I have read.
I don't know if George Morris can put Humpty Dumpty back together again or not. /infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

Sep. 20, 2001, 10:03 AM
As a true child of the 80s and 90s, I have many thoughts as to what is happening in our sport horse world. I remember being a teeny kid and US was the best. We won everything in show jumping!

When I finally started riding, I was one of the lucky ones. I started at a local barn with some crazy things that we all had to try to figure out. The dirt was my friend and challenges were second nature. Made animals were something that I sometimes got to ride, nothing I ever owned.

Now too many people start at show barns. It is all about playing it safe and never about riding. Its making it pretty and smooth. There is no such thing as riding off the seat of your pants anymore. Sure, these kids can ride lots of different made, prepared horses around. But can they handle a stopper? A spook? A spaz?

From the moment I started riding in the late 80s, to the boom of my show career throughout the 90s(98 was my last jr year) no one ever taught me a crest release. And I was fortunate enough to have experiences with many different trainers. I read about, knew about it, and asked about. But was told it was wrong.

My first trainer(small and medium ponies, when I was ages 8-11) just told me to reach to the ears. And that was all I did over the jumps, try to touch my ponies ears. Hey, I guess it was better than catching them in the mouth!

At 11 I got a new trainer and started doing the A-circuit. From medium ponies to Jr jumpers, this trainer and I did it all. And for everything I did, the answer was "press your knuckles into the neck" "Let your hands support your upper body". This trainer just recently had an old star from the 70s working for her. And when she schooled her over fences, she would tell her to stop doing the auto and to crest release instead.

But ya know, the trainers aren't REALLY the ones to blame. Anyone remember the letter about how lazy the kids in America are? THAT'S the problem. When I decided I wanted to know how to do a shoulder-in, I got a book out and read an article and learned to do it. My next lesson was "look what I learned Jane!" When I had a question on how to make horse bend better, jump better, anything, I asked all the professionals I knew and anyone I respected, tried a bunch of different things, and learned.

Now we are all robots. We do what we are told and nothing more. And we don't ask why! We just do. And we can't do anything new without asking how first...riding is no different. Keep the ammy's happy, be cautious with the kids, don't push too hard...making the customer happy is all important. And we tell, they do...kids at my old barn barily even ride without lessons...and you think they are learning new things? No, they are just going through the motions.

So after 11 years of showing and 2 years as a pro, I quit. I started working at the mall, stopped taking lessons, stopped showing. I flatted my horse a ton, jumped a little...took a look at the show world from the outside for the first time in 10 years.

I hate it. I really do. I loved it then, but I hate it. I feel for anyone else who grows up on it, as I did. Its all fake, processed, a long assembly of the same thing over and over. All little robots, forced into the same thing, all on horses who have been forced to go the same way.

How do we fix? I don't know how, in this time when showing and winning and money are all that matter. Perhaps it will slowly evolve back into itself as it evolved out of itself. One can only hope...

Sep. 20, 2001, 10:09 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>but when I was a kid, everyone did the auto because there were no options, not because they were capable of keeping a delicate amount of tension on a horse's mouth while jumping <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

But we were TAUGHT to ride, not to perch - form was not the be all and end all, it was taught to allow/increase the function. We paid our dues on the longe, without stirrups, on horses that, if we were to achieve the result, we HAD to ask correctly. "Equitation" was riding in such a way as to be safe and efficient, and one worked up through the ranks - it was THE division you rode in to show that you were learning/advancing - and when you could effectively ride 3'6", THEN and only then did you branch out to the hunter division, and from there, the jumpers (who by the way, also didn't come in 2'6" - 3' classes).

It seems today that, for the most part, equitation is a warm up for the hunter division and the hunters .... well, I won't go into that. The litanies of "there are so few 3'6" horses" "I only ride a couple times a week - I can't compete at 3'6" " make me want to retch. Perhaps if learning how were the goal, rather than showing 50 weeks a year, both horse and rider would be better off.

Given soundness (mental and physical) and appropriate training, 3'6" isn't out of reach for any horse (and most ponies, for that matter!). Nor are pirouette and piaffe. Not every horse is going to be as tight with its knees as Rox Dene nor as cadenced with its piaffe as Gifted, but that's not to say that it can't be done effectively. To say/believe otherwise is to be led into the darkness by wannabes who don't have the knowledge or ability themselves.

Flame away......

Dementia 13
Sep. 20, 2001, 10:18 AM
No flame from me - I agree with all that you have to say. I grew up riding in the 60s and 70s - we were taught to be effective, not to pose. We also rode with much shorter stirrups than are seen today.

However, I do not think that all eq riders today pose. In fact, many that I have seen in the top ranks are wonderful, soft, effective riders.

Consider this: since GM was the dominent force in equitation during the 70s and 80s, is he not therefore responsible for the demise of the auto release? Surely we don't think that on 1/1/90 all auto releases stopped being in fashion? It was a process, but how and why it started, I am not sure.

Sep. 20, 2001, 10:27 AM
You are correct Margaret!!
Andrew Ramsey has shown a beautiful one in the Devon result issue of COTH this year, of course it is the only one I have seen in the Eq in COTH in forever!!!
I also noted that some of the riders in Show Circuit like Jamie Taylor from California does not "lay over the neck". But she also shows jumpers, and rides many different and difficult horses.

Sep. 20, 2001, 10:30 AM
I believe that GM is indeed the father of the crest release (and the puke green breeches) - both designed for easy identification of his students. And of course, spread like the plague once realized, since 'if his students do/wear this, it must be right'.... I do not for a minute believe that he 'invented' the crest release to become what it's become - a crutch for unready riders to jump sooner and 'bigger' than they should. I have far too much respect for his knowledge and ability and standards to imply that. However, it's far easier for wannabes to lean on the neck than to develop an independent seat, enabling them to follow their horse's head/ neck movements softly. I believe we used to call this 'grabbing mane'?! /infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif OK OK - I KNOW that one doesn't actually grab mane in a crest release - but it sure allows more 'outside support' than the free hands of an auto.

And, of course, I'm not implying that ALL eq riders pose.

Sep. 20, 2001, 10:35 AM
I sported an automatic release (my trainer has been working on mine for a while, she HATES crest releases)at a local show last weekend... well anyway, I won every class!!! Everyone else was using a cramped crest release with their hands buried in the crotch!! I could believe it because I even had a chip and there were a few others that hit every distance...I was watching after my class and the judge was near me and commented on how relaxed me and the horse was...Needless to say, I couldn't walk for 2 days..that was my "once a month" ride!! /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif Still haven't found a barn..

Excuse my babbling!! /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

OH I FORGOT TO MENTION!! HE HEE!!! I borrowed a pair of my trainers breeches since mine were in ny and guess what color they were??? RUST!! HEE HEE!! My trainer actually said it looked really nice since her horse I was showing is dark bay..

Barb /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Sep. 20, 2001, 10:49 AM
That is wonderful.
Nice to hear that the auto release is appreciated by some Judges!! /infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif

Perhaps some of the "Younger" generation will read this thread and think about it, and not poopoo and put down this way of riding.

I guess a person is allowed to dream haha /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Wow I had to come back and correct that!!!
I wrote "crest" release, instead of auto!!!
I will not be a sheep, I will not be a sheep.

Sep. 20, 2001, 10:54 AM
Oh my gosh, gwen, you used an auto release AND wore rust breeches? Isn't that a sign of a rip in the time/space continuum? /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

My trainer literally told me to "burn" my TS rust breeches... or at least to never wear them attending a show where she was coaching me. Now the automatic release, she'd applaud, because she's of my generation. /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

"Charter Member of the Baby Greenie Support Group of North America"

Dementia 13
Sep. 20, 2001, 10:57 AM
I've been practicing and I am going to wow them at the MHSA adult finals with my stunning auto release!

Now if I can just manage to stay on the horse...

Sep. 20, 2001, 11:04 AM
Now Margaret, you are going to bless us with photos aren't you? /infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif

Sep. 20, 2001, 11:31 AM
This is a lovely discussion. Here's another perspective.

During the earlier heyday of the GM Medal/Maclay dominance, the crest release seemed pretty innocuous. His riders demonstrated very solid skills, with a great base and very "heads up" style, and a proper stirrup length for jumping.
The crest release, while a bit affected, was not IN ITSELF distorting the riders position.

Twenty or so years later, though, all hell has broken loose. We see stirrups Waaaaay too long for jumping, riders so far ahead of the motion that it is positively frightening, and a bunch of other nasty, scary, ineffective traits that have all evolved from over-use of the crest release.

What I want to know is, how did all of THAT come about? We can blame GM for making a fad of the crest release, but what about the acceptance of all the other garbage that now comes with it? Who on earth decided it was okay to ride with dressage-length stirrups? Can anyone out there (trainer/judge) possibly justify THAT abomination?

Recent discussions of the deterioration of basics in eq and hunter riding often site the fact that if you want to see a decent auto release and secure base, look at some combined training pictures. While you can get some pretty funky stylistic variations out cross country (read "survival skills"), you nearly always see an appropriate stirrup length and solid base of support in a cross country pic. And, some of these riders demonstrate a crest release that is neither restrictive nor compromising their position. So the crest release itself is only part of the problem.

What am I driving at? God knows. I just can't get over how ugly and ineffective-looking those pictures I look at in the Chronicle every week have gotten to be. I renewed my subscription this year after being off it for several years, and the deterioration is both scary and depressing. And it's NOT just because I am an old f*rt! I am NOT a "good old days" nostalgia type at all, but I sincerely hate to see riding get so damned ugly.

Thanks for the ranting opportunity! And it does my heart good to know that so many of you out there feel the same way!

Sep. 20, 2001, 12:18 PM
To my knowledge, equitation is not only to be judged on how the rider looks, but how they control their mount. A rider can be beautiful, but if she chips to every fence or cross-canters around a corner, we all know there won't be a ribbon in her future. (At least I should hope not!)

The automatic release, religiously used by Mr. Fargis and his students, gives him much better control so that he is not catching up with contact between fences. That is why his trips almost always seem flawless and easy. I would put my money on Mr. Fargis winning in the next Maclay final if allowed to enter. On the complex courses in Big Eq's and Medals, never losing contact should be top priority. How could you possibly hand gallop to a vertical and halt immediately after if you used a correct crest release?

To the surprise of many of you, I think we all use a following hand more than we think. I would not consider myself as having the most solid base over fences (just took about 8 months off- and in pain since coming back!!). In a lesson last week, my trainer had me doing gymnastics over several bounces in a line. The primary goal was to strengthen my back and seat, but the horse I was on was a little green. The horse started to drift right (probably a direct result of my loose base) and I had to maintain more consistent contact and eventually open up my left rein to keep him centered.

Viola!! I was using a following hand, direct contact throughout the jump, a straight line from bit to mouth, and a soft, consistent, supportive hand--- AN AUTOMATIC RELEASE!!!

I bet all of you have encoutered this situation before. Next time you have an opportunity, watch Joe Fargis (or Ramiro, who is also a wonderful example) throughout a course. He never loses contact, so the horse always knows what's coming and where to go, he is balanced, maintains a more consistent rhythm, and there are far less surprises for both horse and rider.

My point here is...
it is easy to see why this is a benefit in the Grand Prix, but shouldn't the same benefits be recognized in the Big Eq's? The courses are usually comparable, and the smoothness and lack of disruption should make the trip look that much better.

I think the idea of having an automatic realease test in a medal is wonderful- it would probably only take a few before the entire Eq world is changed. We will see if this discussion holds any water at the Maclay finals coming up...

Sep. 20, 2001, 12:28 PM
I honestly felt so relaxed and with the horse at all times...No jerkiness after the jumps..I just sat up nice and easy for the next jump..It felt so good!! I WAS THE ONLY ONE WITH RUST BREECHES!!! But that's ok...I felt a little strange..but I didn't care!! I felt great!!

Barb /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

I WISH I TOOK PICTURES!! You guys would have died and thought you went back to the 70's...The rust breeches were the only breeches she had that fit!!! So that was my only choice!! /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif The judge obviously didn't mind...that was my patriotic thing..they are kind of RED, my jacket is BLUE and my shirt was WHITE!!!!!!!!!!!!! YAY!

Pocket Pony
Sep. 20, 2001, 12:59 PM
Last year Rich Fellers came to our facility to do a clinic, and it seemed his main focus was on teaching the participants the auto release. It seemed like, while these jumper riders were very effective and are clearly skilled at jumping 4ft +, using the crest release has become a habit. These riders are strong and have independent seat and hands, and they certainly don't NEED to use the crest release, it is just such a habit that it is what they revert to.

Rich started out doing a series of 3 jummps on an arc and had people use the inside rein to keep jumping on a circle. Mind you, they started over itty bitty 18" jumps. Once they seemed proficient at that level, he'd move them up a bit to higher single jumps. But when it came down to doing courses, almost all the riders reverted to the crest release...

I've been trying to practice the auto release when I'm practicing on my own, but when I'm in a lesson and trying so hard to focus on what my trainer is telling me, I forget to focus on the auto release . . . really I don't know what I look like. Sometimes I grab mane if I know it is going to be ugly, but I don't think I lay on his neck, I'm not sure - time to get the video camera out! I must say I've been shortening my stirrups for jumping and that has helped my base a lot!

"Oh Mickey you're so fine, you're so fine you blow my mind, hey Mickey! Hey Mickey!"

Sep. 20, 2001, 01:05 PM
Hey Splendid I do the same thing.

I've pretty much got it down over single fences and simple combinations. Put me on course and its back to the old way (which is actually some funky hybrid of an auto release - except my hands kinda rest on either side of the neck - no real clearance). Old habits die hard. But I am working on it! When I do it right, it is quite evident that my horse jumps nicer and I have total control on the other side.

*Go Bruins*

Sep. 20, 2001, 03:02 PM
hot damn, Gwen!!! Congratulations! On the auto AND on the rust breeches. May I repeat from another thread - 'if the judge is paying more attention to your tack and your attire, you don't really want to flush all your hard-earned money down that toilet, do you?' So - YOU are living, breathing, WINNING proof that a decent judge doesn't give a rat's behind whether you wear puke green TSs or rust whatevers...... HOORAY!!!!

Sep. 20, 2001, 03:11 PM
But obviously the judge was looking the horse and rider rather than what i was wearing and it make have not been the TRUE automatic release but my trainer said it was 3/4 of the way there!!! It takes alot of practice..she has me do alot without reins through gymnastics to get balanced over my feet and then take the reins back and keep it...But that is when I go home to CT to ride!! It really does feel great!!!

EITHER i was riding right OR the judge felt sorry for me..but there were some great riders with me..so I am guessing he liked me..which is wonderful.maybe he likes the change!!!!

Barb /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

I have always been the type of rider that looks different from everyone else...I always sit really tall..always have..even when i was younger and the style was more of a closed hip angle..but there was me tall as can be!!! The videos tell it all...you could pick me out in a second!!! Some judges LOVED it and some didn't even look at me..SO i think the more people do this auto release, the more judges will accept it..They never see it and I think they would love it!!!

The judge at this show actually commented on my riding which is SUCH a complement..it was such a pleasure to here him say i looked so relaxed and with the horse..that means I wasn't perching or stiff...I have had a habit of being a little stiff in my days...but with this, it just felt like the best i've ridden..

Nov. 7, 2001, 07:50 AM
I was the thread killer!!!!

Barb /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Nov. 7, 2001, 09:17 AM
Perhaps, if the judges at the next finals asked for a test consisting of jumping out of hand, and the riders were caught off guard (not knowing how to do it),I'm sure by the following year all the kids will have learned how to do one properly. Maybe it should be test #20!

Nov. 29, 2001, 03:42 PM
Splendid just reviewed a George Morris Clinic this week and I thought I would add what she wrote down about Auto Releases.

When moving on to jumping, he got on a horse to demonstrate the automatic release, then had everyone go through the gymnastic practicing the short release a couple times, finally finishing up with the auto release. He said "trainers, if your student (using an auto release) is in an equitation class and gets 2nd to someone with a short release, you should politely ask the judge why the rider with the short release was pinned higher when your student used a more advanced release. We need to educate judges."

the ridge
Nov. 29, 2001, 08:23 PM
Here's the same horse doing two very different jobs -- 1999 - 4' Jumpers - 2000 3' Hunters. It's kind of interesting to view the release difference in the same horse ...

the ridge
Nov. 29, 2001, 08:26 PM
Sorry - forgot you can't upload two photos!

Dec. 5, 2001, 05:09 PM
This is probably not what a lot of you want to hear, but you will hear it anyways, because I speak what is on my mind.

Quotes such as "But WE were taught to ride..." blah blah blah are quite a generalization. midge just confided that she WAS NOT taught to ride. She learned the same time you did. And much the same as some of you were taught to ride probably and some were not back in the day, so are and are not being trained properly today. It is quite maddening to be readng a lot of you say IT WAS RIGHT A LONG TIME AGO. I see a lot of pictures of riders from the 60's and 70's getting left behind cathing there horses in the mouths, but maintaining the ever precious 'Auto release" I can do and use the auto.... I use it to teach landing on proper leads and for my greenie who will stop in mid air if I drop the contact, but I ride another horse who will stop if I don't give 2 strides out. So yes there is a place for both.... the horse will tell you. But to say the Auto is the be all and end all is ridiculous. There were probably lots of people showing in the old days who should have been using the crest release for their benefit, and the benefit of the horse.
Also, some of the pictures posted of riders doing auto releases show cardinal sins of Eq. Pivot on the knee, look down, leaning on the neck.... i am not saying that I don't have these faults, god knows that I habitually jump ahead on horses I overly trust, but still EQUITATION WAS NOT PERFECT THEN AND IT IS NOT PERFECT NOW.

Ok, sorry about the ramble, but I guess my main point was Some people ARE TAUGHT Today.... some people WEREn'T taught then. People always remember things better then they were.... it's not human nature to share bad memories!

Dec. 6, 2001, 12:39 AM
I don't think I can quite grasp what you are saying.

Riding is a challenge. One normally rides to improve and learn and do better all the time.

In the "Olde Days", many people were taught the crest release to start with, they were challenged and encouraged to move up to the Auto Release.
The crest release was looked upon as a "Beginner Release".

The Crest Release is fine if that is where you want to stay.
It is easier and safer, and many trainers do not want to challenge their riders to try something they themselves were not taught.

It is really sad /infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif in the minds of many of us who are older than 18 and yearned to learn the Auto Release.
It seems many young riders today don't try to learn more, and it is pointed out every month in the critiques that George Morris gives in PH that riders are ready to MOVE UP to using the Auto Release.

Dec. 6, 2001, 06:36 AM
Nice to see this thread coming up again. Always has provoked a great deal of discussion. And all those great photos too.

From Allergy Valley USA

Dec. 6, 2001, 09:38 AM
Since everyone wants to hear my opinion(hehe, just joking, but this is a great discussion!)...I have skimmed the thread, no time to read it all but here's what I see/have noticed...
i event, foxhunt, and do some jumpers-the only hunters I have done are 4-H and to promote sell horses...
growing up I was never told to do an auto/crest release..the words were never used. what I was taught was to follow my horse, to always be there to support them but to not get in their way so over time I developed what is termed an auto release...i don't think about it I do it...if the horse needs something different than I do something different...with my older mare I had to do an auto release and follow her through the whole jump else she wouldn't jump...that's the way she jumped the best so that's what I did...with my five year now I have recently been using more os a crest release during lessons only because I want him to be able to figure it all out for himself...but on cx I use an auto release always...I want to have continuous contact so when I land and go on I am right there with the horse...in foxhunting most people tend to use an auto release I have seen but they don't think about it...
the reasons I see for the crest release being used:
you MUST have an independent seat and legs and hands to be able to use an auto-too many of today's riders don't have this...they aren't spending enough time in the saddle, on the lunge, without stirrups, over gymnastics, galloping across fields...
stirrup length-the difference between my dressage stirrups and my jumping in the same saddle is at least three-four holes...as an outsider at hunter shows I see people riding with way too long stirrups-how can you get up off your horse if your stirrups are so long...
trainers/winning/judges-a combination of the customers wanting to see wins, the trainers having to find a way to get their students to win to suit the customers even if they aren't riding the "correct" way...the judges having to award the best crest release they see...until people start trying to make a change it won't happen...
the way of the "hunter" world(I am using hunters as an example, crest releases are used too much in general)...more of today's horses are "made" on a made horse the crest release may look better and it may not be necessary to do an auto to get the best results...
i am attaching a picture of me and my mare on cx...this is pretty much what most of my releases look like...

"There are times when you can trust a horse, time when you can't, and times when you have to."

Dec. 6, 2001, 09:43 AM
forgot to add on thing...
another reason i think you see more crest releases in the hunter ring versus eventers is that in eventing we are taught if given the choice get left behind and slip the reins...hunters on the other hand seem to get ahead more which results on a crest release-how can you do an auto when you are laying on your horse's neck:)

for fun-here is a pic of me when I was 10 or 11 on my pony at an event...not quite an auto but close:)

"There are times when you can trust a horse, time when you can't, and times when you have to."

Dec. 6, 2001, 09:49 AM
This is the release I learned- I was eight in this picture

Natty Dread
Dec. 6, 2001, 10:05 AM
What is this release?

My butt is so close to the saddle because this was a large greenie with attitude and you just never knew what to expect.

Dec. 6, 2001, 10:16 AM
Natty I would call that a nice long crest release. No tension in the reins but you have good control. At least that is how I see it.

From Allergy Valley USA

Dec. 6, 2001, 11:03 AM
Good posting /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Dec. 6, 2001, 12:37 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> I see a lot of pictures of riders from the 60's and 70's getting left behind cathing there horses in the mouths, but maintaining the ever precious 'Auto release" I can do and use the auto.... (cut) ...There were probably lots of people showing in the old days who should have been using the crest release for their benefit, and the benefit of the horse. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
If your are catching the horse in the mouth, it ISN'T a following hand, regardless of whether there is a straight line or not.

Yes, in the process of LEARNING a following hand, a lot of us got left and caught the horse in the mouth (or slipped teh reins to avoid it). From the point of view of THAT JUMP it would have been better to do a crest release (or grab mane). But if you never TRY to have a following hand, you will never achieve it.

Nothing ventured, Nothing gained.

The situation you describe is the REASON GM pushed the "crest release" so hard in the early 70s, but even he agrees he went to far.

M. O'Connor
Dec. 6, 2001, 12:58 PM
that "the system" can over-protect the horse's mouth to the extent that true independent balance on the part of the rider is more difficult to achieve.

Grabbing mane is where everyone should start, but eventually, no hands (ie, no reins) at all is an excercise every rider needs to master in order to be totally independent balance-wise, and very few riders, even those who have been in the show ring for quite some time, reach this stage anymore.

Dec. 6, 2001, 12:59 PM
Just that people are generalizing... the people "in the olde days yearn to progress and learn more" or something to that effect... Take into consideratin the number of people you see showing, compared to the number of peope who actually ride.... I bet there is a larger percent who want to learn more and progress.... I don't mind that yes, the crest release is being over used, I mind that it is being said it is because the juniors do not wish to push themselves... or that everything was so much better before.....

(Yes, I know.... me and my big mouth)

Dementia 13
Dec. 6, 2001, 01:16 PM
Buckybu, trust me, it is a losing argument. Best just to nod politely and agree that indeed it was wonderful back there in the olden days and by golly, these young whippersnappers don't know a darn thing about a proper release.

Dec. 6, 2001, 01:33 PM
I understand that I can't change the view, but at least I can be content knowing that I can use the releases.... and can ride and jump bareback or with no reins... ( don't want to try both! eek) Just saying SOME 'whipersnappers" can do it.

Dec. 6, 2001, 01:54 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> the people "in the olde days yearn to progress and learn more" or something to that effect... <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Nah. Not true.

But the people who were around in the oldey days AND ARE STILL HANGING AROUND THE COTH BB to talk about it, are probably the ones who did/do "yearn to progress and learn more."

The ones who didn't (yearn...) are either
a) no longer riding
b) still riding, but really not interested in talking about different releases.

Dec. 6, 2001, 02:07 PM
and granted, I jumped from p.4 to p.9, but has anyone addressed the intermediate release? The following hand that takes a tiny bit of support from the sides of the horse's neck? This is the release that was meant to follow the crest release and be the prelude to the true following hand, that takes no support from the horse's neck. The intermediate release is quite lovely to see and would be plenty of release for 80% of riders, and certainly sufficient for most hunter riders, even the 4 footers. (Bumpkins release would be intermediate, as she takes some support from the neck).

I truly believe that the program George laid out so many years ago was a logical one that unfortunately has been bastardized by the "quickie" trainers out there. Too bad. What are the clinic attendance requirements for today's judges? This is where the reward for the two advanced releases should be emphasized, as until the judges stop "telling" the trainers that the crest release is correct and preferred, it will continue to be taught as THE release. It isn't hard to imagine how Paige Hortman came to her conclusions, and it certainly isn't her fault.

Makes me wonder how many "chutes" these kids are made to ride down with no stirrups and no reins, just their own balance...

EqChick, Joe isn't "religious" about the following hand; he VERY frequently rests one hand on the crest and follows with the other, a quirk of his. So it isn't classic, but he gets the job done...


[This message was edited by lauriep on Dec. 06, 2001 at 04:16 PM.]

Dec. 6, 2001, 02:12 PM
There are "Young Whippersnappers" who know a proper Auto release, and many of them are the top winning Eq riders today.

Others use the Crest in the EQ and Auto in the Jumpers, showing that they do it and know it well.

I don't think the "Oldies but Goodies", are saying it was BETTER then, just that everyone who showed, pretty much used an Auto release as opposed to the more basic Crest release.


Don't worry someday you shall be Olde like us and I hope that you recieve the respect that we gave our elders when we were young whippersnappers. /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Oh those "chutes", those were fun. I wonder if any trainers do those anymore?
I would like to try again, will have to ask my trainer /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif
Who wants Elliot if I break my neck? haha /infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif

Dementia 13
Dec. 6, 2001, 02:18 PM
Don't know if you were addressing me, Bumpkin, but actually I am 43, and I learned to ride at Junior Equitation School in 1964, where they did teach the auto release, which I continue to use, with varying degrees of success, to this day.

Some of the generalizations on this thread caused me to take a contrary tack.

Dec. 6, 2001, 02:22 PM
I wasn't poking at anyone, I liked the "Whippersnapper" word, makes a great pony name don't you think???

I guess I never took the whole thread to be saying that things were so much better, just that the auto release is what the goal was not stopping at the crest release.

But I am very olde and could be totally confused in my olde age /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Dec. 6, 2001, 02:34 PM
Margaret F - is that JES that used to be in Vienna, VA?? Just curious, I never got a chance to ride there, but rode my bike past it a lot when I was little.

Dementia 13
Dec. 6, 2001, 02:39 PM
Yes, the very same one!

And yes, Bumpkin, I too am olde. Ye Olde MargaretF remembers those poufy cloth breeches and jodphur boots.....

Ah, that in itself is a whole thread....

Dec. 6, 2001, 03:37 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Bumpkin:
Oh those "chutes", those were fun. I wonder if any trainers do those anymore?

Yep, they do! At least mine has! It was after a show, I can't remember when, but sometime this year. Anyway, my trainer decided we were ALL going to do the chute. It was fun! My friend didn't think so though...it totally freaked her out!!! /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Feb. 23, 2002, 07:37 PM
Bumpkining up again. Love this topic.

"Have You Hugged Your Trainer Today?"

M. O'Connor
Feb. 23, 2002, 07:42 PM
love that! Very clever.....


Feb. 23, 2002, 07:50 PM
as per the thread on Off Course...
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>
At Equifest of KS I got to see Capt. Mark Phillips do a clinic.............
not only did he tell a rider that over a particular jump they looked like a "spastic monkey"

but he had a really good quote which I felt is directed towards the hunter/jumper world in a sense......

"The crest release is a bad American disease." <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Feb. 23, 2002, 08:36 PM
I am paraphrasing, but I do not believe I am misquoting, Nick Karazissis from Equine Affaire, where he "judged" a simulated eq. o/fences class:

The crest release was designed to help more riders learn to jump without catching their horse in the mouth over the top of a jump. To be done correctly, the rider presses into the neck of the horse over the fence. This method helped get more riders into the show ring faster. But it has been way over done and is not correct for equitation, especially the more advanced medals.

"You just keep thinkin', Butch. That's what you're good at." -- The Sundance Kid

Feb. 25, 2002, 12:16 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>"The crest release is a bad American disease." <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

ROTFLMAO!!!! /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Mar. 14, 2002, 04:10 PM
I just viewed a number of photos from the Towerheads site of competitors in this class, and felt compelled to bring up my topic once more.

There are 15 jumping photos of some of the top equitation riders in the country, and only a few are showing anything near an auto release. All the others are most definitely NOT using auto releases. The majority of the photos were taken squarely over the top of the fence where I would have expected to see auto releases, but basically didn't.

Anyone else see these photos and notice this? And are auto releases actually used by the top eq riders? It certainly doesn't appear so from these photos.

"Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong." - Dennis Miller
March Madness 2002 - Go Bruins!!

[This message was edited by dublin on Mar. 14, 2002 at 06:39 PM.]

Mar. 14, 2002, 04:44 PM
When I watched my trainer ride "Awesome Elliot" in the Kevin Freeman clinic two weeks ago he talked about the auto release, and had them doing it.
He spoke of Kathy Kusner and Frank Chapot.
So much to my delight my trainer came back to the stable and worked on the auto release with her students /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

So there are trainers out there who do want to see the return of more riders using the auto release.

"Have You Hugged Your Trainer Today?"

Mar. 14, 2002, 04:50 PM
And amen brudda to Mark Phillips.

Reminds me of when you whine to your mom as a kid "But Moooooooom, EVERYone is doing it." And she's right, if everyone jumped off a bridge you would not join them.

Mar. 20, 2002, 03:18 PM
This is a good one to go with what is being discussed right now /infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif

"Have You Hugged Your Trainer Today?"

Mar. 20, 2002, 05:56 PM
Ahhh, just you wait

Trends come and go, there will be a new one to take over the current version of the crest release. Sorry, but it seems we are constantly trying to change things. Guess it's age. Whats wrong with the following hand, taught properly that is?

Mar. 20, 2002, 06:35 PM
I cut and pasted this from another topic on releases but it is an explanation of why an auto is a better release for control:
You can go a lot faster if you use an automaic release

because you can use a lot more leg

because you don't have to drop your horse on takeoff,

which you have to do by definition if you lose contact with his mouth.

Thats why I do it anyway.

IF you lose the contact with your horse in the air you have to a) drop him in front of the fence (the bit where your instructor yelled -grab mane when you were a kid) and b)pick him up again on the other side.

This is good for a lot of hunters b/c being dropped backs the horse off the jump and also most horses go slower on a long rein (think about it). IF you watch the really good hunter riders though you'll notice that they support the horse off the ground, with a following hand THEN throw the reins away giving the dramatic release that soo many try to imitate. Only they tragically do it a leetle too soon dropping their horse anywhere from a stride to a whole Zone away from the fence. Of course if you drop your horse in mid-air you will probably land in a heap on the other side but that actually seems to be the preferred method by some hunter riders so..

I know this b/c I had a very forward mare and I used to get busted all the time by my trainer for throwing her away in front of the fences so she would land in a pile and I didn't have to do all the work of balancing her to get the strides. I didn't even realise what I was doing really until he said he knew damn well I could jump the horse properly and that I was to "quit cheating like a half a$$ed hunter rider" or I would be jumping bounces for the rest of my life. It made a lot of sense though and it was a lightbulb moment for my friend who took lessons with me and was struggling with the concept.

Jun. 12, 2002, 09:08 PM
In reply to a new thread about Auto Releases.... /infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif

Jun. 13, 2002, 04:15 AM
Bumpkin, I saw this thread again and thought, 'I bet Bumpkin has been at it again.' /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Just because you're not paranoid, doesn't mean they're not out to get you.

Jun. 13, 2002, 07:42 AM
Thank you Midge /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

I know how much this subject means to dear Dublin, so when the Auto Release thread appeared and the poster, etc... looked as though they had not seen this wonderful thread I thought I should revive it for them.

Nice to see a good discussion going on the new thread. /infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif