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pwynnnorman
Oct. 26, 2002, 12:17 PM
I asked him a few weeks ago to consider doing a between the rounds column on this subject (he said he'd talk to a few riders about--he also predicted that riders with the ability to ride a distance would say it's a must, while those without an eye would say it isn't)...but, anyway, I wanted to pose the question here because of what someone wrote on the "mini-rolex" thread:

"I was at the Blythe Tait clinic that Robby put on, at training/prelim move up. The point I got from the pole excercise is that when fences get more technical, you must be able to have control over exactly what your horses stride is."

[I had to go back and edit this because when I read it again, I see she said "what" your horses stride is, not "where." What follows is based on knowing "where" your horse's stride is (as in, arriving at the right distance for take-off). Sorry.]

I agree with this wholeheartedly, but I've heard (from a student of his) that Jimmy Wofford says that you shouldn't have that approach.

Meanwhile, to me, it's all related to dressage (not just because dressage is actually my forte, as much as I love the run-and-jump). I was just saying the other day to someone that success in stadium is far more related to success in dressage than in cross-country. For example, at Waredaca recently, the slopes and turns really made it important to keep the horse off it's forehand, in front of your leg and balanced. But if half-halts, flying changes and/or counter canter are not at your disposal, IMO, going clean becomes little more than a matter of luck (and/or a horse who doesn't like to hit the jumps).

On the mini-rolex thread, people were at times critical of H-J'ers for their dependence upon trainers, but I want to end this post by saying that, IMO, eventers have a LOT to learn from H-Jers on how to be more than a lucky passenger in stadium. Riding distances IS important to them. Wofford aside, I still say it should be important to eventers (except for those whose horses are good enough to save their bacon whenever the need arises, of course!).

Sportponies Unlimited
Specializing in fancy, athletic, 3/4-TB ponies.
http://www.sportponiesunlimited.com

pwynnnorman
Oct. 26, 2002, 12:17 PM
I asked him a few weeks ago to consider doing a between the rounds column on this subject (he said he'd talk to a few riders about--he also predicted that riders with the ability to ride a distance would say it's a must, while those without an eye would say it isn't)...but, anyway, I wanted to pose the question here because of what someone wrote on the "mini-rolex" thread:

"I was at the Blythe Tait clinic that Robby put on, at training/prelim move up. The point I got from the pole excercise is that when fences get more technical, you must be able to have control over exactly what your horses stride is."

[I had to go back and edit this because when I read it again, I see she said "what" your horses stride is, not "where." What follows is based on knowing "where" your horse's stride is (as in, arriving at the right distance for take-off). Sorry.]

I agree with this wholeheartedly, but I've heard (from a student of his) that Jimmy Wofford says that you shouldn't have that approach.

Meanwhile, to me, it's all related to dressage (not just because dressage is actually my forte, as much as I love the run-and-jump). I was just saying the other day to someone that success in stadium is far more related to success in dressage than in cross-country. For example, at Waredaca recently, the slopes and turns really made it important to keep the horse off it's forehand, in front of your leg and balanced. But if half-halts, flying changes and/or counter canter are not at your disposal, IMO, going clean becomes little more than a matter of luck (and/or a horse who doesn't like to hit the jumps).

On the mini-rolex thread, people were at times critical of H-J'ers for their dependence upon trainers, but I want to end this post by saying that, IMO, eventers have a LOT to learn from H-Jers on how to be more than a lucky passenger in stadium. Riding distances IS important to them. Wofford aside, I still say it should be important to eventers (except for those whose horses are good enough to save their bacon whenever the need arises, of course!).

Sportponies Unlimited
Specializing in fancy, athletic, 3/4-TB ponies.
http://www.sportponiesunlimited.com

denny
Oct. 26, 2002, 02:26 PM
Do any of you remember earlier this year I floated the idea of a clinic where several trainers, presumably with differing methods and philosophies, might discuss, even argue, about such things as whether or not to look for a distance to a fence? If there is any topic that is likely to generate argument and discussion, this is probably it.
If I do a Between Rounds on that topic, the way I`d want to structure it would be to interview several such trainers, and without much editorial comment from me, simply state their opinions and reasons.
Do any of you have suggestions about who it would be good to interview, and would you think such a topic would interest people?
Thanks,
Denny

sfir
Oct. 26, 2002, 02:45 PM
I think it is a very interesting and worthy topic. It would be interesting to see what trainers from the different disciplines would have to say - hunter, jumper, equitation and eventing coaches. It would be fantastic to have a mega clinic with the best trainers from all of these disciplines!

barbaraG
Oct. 26, 2002, 03:10 PM
While the chance to hear Great Riders and Trainers speak on their methods would be Very interesting and Even I, as a Non-Rider would enjoy such a panel, there's is the old saying,

"If you ask four horsepeople how to braid a mane, you get five different answers" /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

BarbaraG
Great Warrior Volunteer

But, probably the Best people to ask about "finding a distance" even if there is such a thing, paticularly in Staduim, would be the "specialists". Event riders make such a "muck" of it. IMHO.

pwynnnorman
Oct. 26, 2002, 03:11 PM
Thanks so much.

I'd like to hear Mr. Wofford speak for himself since I only heard his opinion second-hand. So he'd be my choice for one of the people to particpate.

I think someone who rides a lot of less experienced horses, perhaps like Ralph Hill, or someone who also works with a wide range of rider experience, like Jim Graham, would also be interesting to hear from.

Sportponies Unlimited
Specializing in fancy, athletic, 3/4-TB ponies.
http://www.sportponiesunlimited.com

Robby Johnson
Oct. 26, 2002, 03:12 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by denny:
Do any of you remember earlier this year I floated the idea of a clinic where several trainers, presumably with differing methods and philosophies, might discuss, even argue, about such things as whether or not to look for a distance to a fence? If there is any topic that is likely to generate argument and discussion, this is probably it.
If I do a Between Rounds on that topic, the way I`d want to structure it would be to interview several such trainers, and without much editorial comment from me, simply state their opinions and reasons.
Do any of you have suggestions about who it would be good to interview, and would you think such a topic would interest people?
Thanks,
Denny<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Denny:

I would highly recommend including Jim (Graham) on this, since he's pretty "fuggedhaboud" a distance and "ride a rhythm."

In my opinion, all will tell you that a distance happens. (This is pretty obvious.) But I think the riding philosophies differ in that some feel that riding a distance means "picking" your way to it, as opposed to riding up (forward) to it.

I can't think of any event instructors I have ridden with who've gotten focused on looking for a distance. I wonder if Anne Kursinski would participate? I love her book and think she is really phenomenal!

Robby

You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.

pwynnnorman
Oct. 26, 2002, 03:24 PM
Robby, here's why I think I'm a bit biased about it. I make up my own horses, but then hire riders to take them in the ring for me. I've done this for years. I put great flatwork on them and get them very confident and brave over the jumps, but I have no eye, so I don't do many courses with my guys and rely heavily upon gymnastics to develop them without me screwing up things by getting in wrong.

But to "finish" a jumper (whether it's an event horse or a hunter or jumper), the horse obviously needs to do courses, smoothly and confidently. Which is why I'll be darned if I'm going to pay someone to bury one of my babies in front of fence after fence. Or let it leave long and scare itself. (I'm also not too thrilled to see a horse I've slaved over to get the flying change or just a balanced counter canter cross canter its turns and bring rails down.) Similarly, given how much time and money I put into them, it also would worry me greatly to think of one of my guys going arse over teakettle on a cross country jump because it didn't get any help from its rider.

So, I guess, in all honesty, I'm not really saying that everyone SHOULD be able to ride a distance, but I do believe that a rider who CAN has a distinct advantage over those who can't...at the very least, IMO, in the marketplace of professional riders they do (or should).

Sportponies Unlimited
Specializing in fancy, athletic, 3/4-TB ponies.
http://www.sportponiesunlimited.com

retreadeventer
Oct. 26, 2002, 03:37 PM
You won't believe this, but I was talking yesterday in XC warmup with Denis Lynch about this very problem! (I just met him by the way during this conversation.) I have a young horse, doing work at home, and just now getting up to cantering a couple of fences. When I press him into my hand and get the rounder canter, my eyes goes kaput, and he has to jump himself in or out of whatever spot I've got him to. Denis said, "that's his job. He has to come off the ground. Don't worry about finding the spot. It's your job to get him there and his to come off the ground and learn how to get over a jump whether long or short."
Having been an old hunter/eq rider w/ Maclay win thousands of years ago, this sounds like utter heresy. However. Watching the horses gallop over the course at the ECC at Fair Hill, and viewing that beautiful galloping country, I am seeing his point. Does it have to do with jumping out of stride? And is that a concept only limited to outdoors style riding? And if you take into account the really big CCI courses, you MUST gallop to make the time and the horses must learn to jump out of stride because there simply isn't enough time to take to shorten, collect, pinpoint fence take-off. Or am I wrong?

JER
Oct. 26, 2002, 04:10 PM
denny, this is a great idea!

I'd definitely recommend talking to Lucinda Green. She has always claimed she has no ability to see a distance and just rides out of a rhythm. But she is very exacting on what it is to ride the rhythm and how to hold a line to a fence.

And aside from all the usual suspects in the event world, I'd love to hear from people in other jumping disciplines like showjumping and steeplechase/timber racing. And even within those disciplines, there are differences -- for example, French training for jump racing vs. the English method; French showjumping vs. German showjumping. UK-based jumping guru Yogi Breisner (consults with racers, eventers and SJers) would probably have some interesting things to say.

And I'd really, really love to hear from William Steinkraus. He is one of the great minds and great practitioners of jumping and he's right here in the US.

pwynnnorman
Oct. 26, 2002, 04:12 PM
I really, really think "it depends," hollie. It seems to me that most x-c jumps the horse should be able to handle itself. I've found that a lot of my guys develop a great "eye" on their own and easily make up for my lack of one when we are going through the country at home...

BUT in competition the horse hasn't walked the course. When you have related distances or a critical track, why else (I ask myself) do we humans walk the course? Out hunting, you can take them as they come because it's so natural. But cross country includes a lot of unnatural stuff that the horse just can't get to or through his own (that is, as the courses get more difficult and/or if the horse just isn't that talented or that experienced).

And then there's stadium, where the objective is to go CLEAN. The current horse I have competing is a machine x-c, but what made him an event prospect for me from the time he was first saddled is exactly what makes him need as much help as possible in stadium: he doesn't care if he scrapes over a jump here or there. He doesn't even care if he's cross cantering, crooked, and carrying his rider on his mouth on his way to the jump. He loves the game and so just keeps going.

I guess I'm just not sure it's "fair" to expect a cocky cross-country machine to go clean in stadium without some help from its rider.

Sportponies Unlimited
Specializing in fancy, athletic, 3/4-TB ponies.
http://www.sportponiesunlimited.com

Robby Johnson
Oct. 26, 2002, 04:14 PM
I'd LOOOOOVVVVVEEEEEEE to hear from the timber/jump jockeys as well.

Robby

You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.

Sannois
Oct. 26, 2002, 04:27 PM
to be on this board with you Denny, A bit Star Struck yes, But you have always been my top eventing Idol, from way back. I love your between Rounds Forums, I too think it would be a very educational topic, as I suffer from the affliction of sometimes I see a distance sometimes I dont. I would also be very interested to hear Mark Todds opinion. /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety" Benjamin Franklin, 1755
Founding member of The Fossils over Fences Clique!

Sharon
Oct. 26, 2002, 04:47 PM
For your article, what if you took a specific jump/ combination, or series of related fences at an actual competition. Ask Mark Phillips what recommendations he made to the individual horse/rider or how he would ride this fence on a particular horse. And then ask the actual riders in the competition how they prepared and rode the fence.

I think that if you keep the reference example limited to a specific fence, the answers that you receive will be more instructive.

Lucinda Green is very passionate about this subject. Please include her.

She has spoken and written extensivesly about her concerns. I subscribe to Eventing Magazine and she has written several articles with pictures on cross country technique. She also frequently contributes editorials. Her book on Cross Country riding includes beautiful pictures to illustrate her riding and training style.

In her clinics she talks about the rider being resposible for the engine, line and balance. The horse is encouraged to develope the responsibility for the rest.

I also think that it is important to interview someone who has successfully competed different types of horses.

shea'smom
Oct. 26, 2002, 04:56 PM
Bruce Davidson have two interesting moments at Rolex one year. On Eagle Lion, who is an awesome jumper, they seemed to totally miss at the first combination on course, a bridge/ditch, bridge/ditch thing. They coped beautifully. Then on Apparition, I think it was, Bruce galloped at a Snake fence over a ditch and seemed to see his distance from about a field away. While other riders halfhalted a ways back, then rode forward, he seemed to fly it, knowing exactly where he was from way back. I would love to hear his take on this.
And If you ride with Denny and look too hard for your distance, you hear " Here spot, here spot"!!!
Kathi

wondering
Oct. 26, 2002, 06:26 PM
What about addressing the question of if and when to move up. I understand as the person paying the bills it is ultimatly me who decides. As an amatur with my first event horse I rely in my instructors. I see some people not always getting the soundest of advise. I know this subjuct has been beat to death. I would find it benificial to hear what someone who does it for a living has to say.

Weatherford
Oct. 26, 2002, 06:43 PM
great to have you posting and not JUST lurking /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Definitely talk to Joe Fargis!! Very much of the rhythm school - and I have seen him work miracles with "dead-eye" riders by getting them to find and feel a forward, balanced rhythm.

I think a number of things can be included in this discussion: the natural rider - born with a feel, the learned rider who has to work at it, the one who has spent their youth galloping and jumping XC as versus the one who has only ridden in the ring.

This will be GREAT - and actually might work for one of the new "Ask the Expert" forums that Erin has invented for us! /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

19 year member of the New Hope clique! /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

[This message was edited by Weatherford on Oct. 27, 2002 at 05:58 AM.]

IFG
Oct. 26, 2002, 07:09 PM
Denny,

I love all of the suggestions so far, especially Jimmy Wofford and Lucinda Green. I would also love to hear Eric Horgan's opinion.

Thanks,

Lany

JER
Oct. 26, 2002, 07:40 PM
To follow-up on why I think eventers could learn from French steeplechase training, I highly recommend a column that Lucinda Green wrote for the UK Telegraph last year.

Lucinda Green: French horses are trained to look after themselves (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/main.jhtml?xml=%2Fsport%2F2001%2F09%2F30%2Fsolucy0 1.xml)

Bensmom
Oct. 26, 2002, 08:24 PM
As someone who, according to my trainer, couldn't see a "spot" if it jumped out and bit me, I would love to read such a compilation of views/discussion on the subject.

All of the "names" mentioned are experts from whom I would be delighted to read opinions on the subject, but I would ask that you not limit your participation in the discussion to simply compiling the information. I can see limiting editorial comment on the opinions/theories of your other experts, perhaps, but I would be most interested in reading your views on the subject.

And, I promise this isn't shameless "sucking up," (really, honest /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif) but I can't think of a single column of yours that I haven't printed and saved and shared, so please make sure to include your ideas and opinions.

Thanks for joining us!

Libby (who has been known to make her trainer stomp on her hat at her lack of "an eye" and very little natural "feel" and the failure so far to develop same despite much work at it)

denny
Oct. 26, 2002, 08:27 PM
A few years ago I read an article about Rodney that went something like this:
"The reason that Rodney is able to bring so many jumpers along so far, so fast, is that he does for them the one thing that gives them the greatest sense of confidence. He gets his jumpers, time after time, to the right take off point."
In 1976 we (USET 3-day team) were training in Unionville, and one evening we went to the Devon Horse Show. Rodney had a high vertical set up next to an enormous oxer, and I sat and watched him school back and forth over the 2 fences, never missing his distance, as far as I could tell, by as much as a couple of inches. As an event rider, used to watching most of my fellow event riders(with some notable exceptions like Bruce and Mike) using the "hunt and peck" method of finding spots, seeing Rodney was quite an eye opener.
It made a believer out of me, that there are those with exquisite eyes for a distance, compared to the great rank and file who don`t have that skill, or gift, or whatever we may choose to call it.
And I agree with those who claim that the possession of that kind of eye conveys a huge advantage to that rider`s horse.
What do you guys think?
Denny

BarbB
Oct. 26, 2002, 08:33 PM
I hope you will include your own insights on this topic. I attended one of your clinics about a year and a half ago and this was one of the things that I took away from it. I could use a review of some of the techniques.

BarbB
charter member BEQS Clique & Invisible Poster Clique

...virtue shall be bound into the hair of thy forelock... I have given thee the power of flight without wings. - The Koran

[This message was edited by BarbB on Oct. 28, 2002 at 08:30 AM.]

JER
Oct. 26, 2002, 09:05 PM
I'd love to hear how Rodney Jenkins characterizes how he sees a distance -- does he explain it as an ability he has or attribute it to how he trains his horses?

I do agree that some people (as well as some horses) have an accurate 'natural' eye for a distance. But I also think a good eye can be taught, especially as a 'good eye' is, in many respects, more about feel than seeing.

The French showjumper I work with always asks us to count from 8 strides out. You stay in your rhythm and count out loud as a way to maintain your rhythm, and you don't make any 'adjustments'. Believe me, this trains your eye to see your takeoff point from 8 strides away AND it builds the horse's confidence that he is going to be able to do his job without interference from the rider.

One thing I never like to see is a horse 'bicycling' in front of a fence because the rider is trying to see his distance. At this point, you've lost your rhythm and your forward, and it must be very frustrating/confusing for the horse.

pwynnnorman
Oct. 27, 2002, 04:29 AM
I think regardless of the format of the column, a definition of what is meant by "riding a distance" or "seeing a distance" would be important to establish in the beginning--so everyone would be discussing the same thing.

For example (and those who have heard me say this before, forgive me for being repetitive), I believe it is one thing to "see" that your horse will arrive at a comfortable take-off point, but it is another to "create" or "adjust" that point, i.e. to ride to a specific point that you've planned in advance. My experience on a lot of different types of horses is that, coming off a turn and heading to a jump (i.e. no related distances), it is possible to "feel" the horse get its eye on the jump and prepare to arrive right. Leave it to do what it has already figured out how to do and you'll be fine.

The problem is when that feeling isn't there: you come around the corner (or have a very short approach from a blind turn) and discover the horse is sucking back, is rushing, is distracted, has lost its rhythm or balance--or even is just lengthening when it should be shortening (or vice versa, both of which can be done without a loss of rhythm or balance, right?).

My concern is what Mr. Emerson just mentioned: you can really scare a horse if you get in wrong, especially if you do it a lot. Sure, it's the horse's "job" to jump the jump from wherever it happens to be, but if it is the type who loses confidence...well, if it doesn't get some help, it may quit that job or, to continue the analogy, never gain enough confidence or consistency to get "promoted" (to a higher level).

Eventing is set up as a progressive sport, although not everyone has the goal of moving up levels. IMO, some of the safety concerns may be directly related to this issue. Consider those horrific crashes over bounces, for example. Now there's a cross country question that needs an accurately ridden answer, wouldn't you say?

Sportponies Unlimited
Specializing in fancy, athletic, 3/4-TB ponies.
http://www.sportponiesunlimited.com

JAM
Oct. 27, 2002, 06:49 AM
No question that there are some in any sport who have incredible natural gifts and for whom the most difficult things come easily. But there are also some without all the natural talent in the world who are able to make it to the top levels of their sports through other means. Michael Jordan comes to mind. He got cut from his high school, maybe even jv, basketball team, so he obviously didn't make it on natural talent alone. I also imagine Rodney Jenkins worked very hard to develop or maintain his eye.

Denny, I think you have said that you personally did not have a good eye when you started and that you developed a better one. Maybe you were being modest. Just as we need to train our horses through constant repetition of good aids, we need to do the same for ourselves. Really interesting questions, and ones I would like to hear about from both you and other trainers, including not only the Capt. Phillipses of the world but also those reputable ones who cater to lower level riders, are how you help develop an eye in your students and how important it is to work on the eye versus other parts of training. It would also be very interesting to know what you top level riders do, and what you tell your students to do -- beyond praying -- when you can tell 4 or 5 strides out that neither the spot nor the rhythm is there.

asterix
Oct. 27, 2002, 06:59 AM
I spent yesterday watching XC at Fair Hill -- any experience like that is like an instructional course on this subject. You see everything, from Peter Green making a U-turn to a skinny corner and riding it completely forward to a perfect spot out of stride, to a rider checking his horse at what should have been his last stride before a big ditch-and-wall, causing a loss of balance, chip and struggle.

In my little lower-level event world, I find that my early H/J training often works FOR me, as I can see spots pretty consistently, and sometimes works AGAINST me, as I will succumb to the temptation to ride TO the spot instead of letting the spot COME to me.

My current horse is instructive in this regard -- he is a real natural (having grown up hunting in Ireland), and very animated and clear coming to a fence. You know exactly where he's going, and he doesn't need much from me except to be with the program. This has helped me to accept the spot, but not to mess with it.

I agree with all others that the forum Mr. Emerson proposes would be terrific -- I'd be interested in reading advice for less-than-professional riders on less-than-professional jumpers on all the questions that have been raised in this thread.

Eowyn
Oct. 27, 2002, 07:31 AM
Denny ... absolutely about Rodney!!!

Mark Todd's a good one ... as he was a showjumper also I'm sure I know where his mind's at on this one.

What I try to explain in my clinics is that finding the distances is not so much a "cerebral" ability as a "feeling" one.

A rider who can illicit beautiful quality gaits (flow) at walk, trot, canter, gallop usually has a very good "feel" of their horses stride. These people usually find the right distances. Rodney is one of these.

People who dismiss finding spots or distances are usually frowning on those who are "pickers".

"Picking" is NOT finding good distances.

And those who jump out of stride on a good gallop are still "feeling" the distances whether they're aware of it or not.

The more horses you ride the more you develop your feel ... hence the more you are developing your "eye".

God does not play dice with the Universe ... he plays paintball!

Gry2Yng
Oct. 27, 2002, 09:04 AM
I am an eventer who grew up h/j and I currently take a weekly lesson with an excellent h/j trainer and judge. I am blessed with an xc machine that couldn't care less if he taps every rail in the ring on Sunday.

I think it was Steinkraus that said, mathmatically, you can never be more than a 1/2 stride off the distance. It really comes down to when you realize it, and what you do about it.

If you never see it and don't do anything about it, then the horse decides. (The horse should definitely be able to take care of himself but lets hope he has enough experience and confidence to do this.)

If you do see it, and you see it early enough, and you have enough experience, you make the decision based on the fence and maybe the fence following. Can you afford to be "forward" to the fence, then you put some leg on and "move up to it". If you need a soft distance (tight striding in a combination) then you hold - and by this I do not mean pick.

An experienced horse is going to do one of those two things as well, but he hasn't walked the course so you might not like it if he decides to move up on a tight one stride and gets stuffed on the way out. Otherwise the horse is going to add up, chip or leave long. (I think most experienced event horses will add up, also known as patting the ground.)

One of the best pieces of advice I ever got regarding riding to a distance was "Don't do anything until you see something." I guess that assumes you can see a distance, but basically it means don't change your canter until you know why you are changing it. I think picking comes from the idea that if you don't see it, maybe you can slow down and slow down and slow down and it wil come up, but actually, if you keep changing the length of stide, you won't ever see anything.

Hunter classes are like doing grids on a course. The distance is already set for you. All you have to is find a consistent canter and all the work is done. It is a great way to develop an eye, which you can't do in a grid. You jump in, you land (you know it should ride in four) so you tell your self "This is what four looks like." And on the next line you learn what 5 or 6 looks like. And you get to do it over and over and over.

Then, when you jump in big your "eye" says "Hey, this looks too small for four because I just landed in too far." And you decide whether to kick for 3 or sit up, say whoa, and get the 4. (had to come back and add, this is where scary eventer stadium comes from...see nothing to the first element on a four stride line, horse leaves long, lands in a heap, rider does nothing about it, 'cause its all up to the horse, right, horse gets to the second element on a 1/2 stride, decides landing in a heap sucks, so he chips, rider ends up on his neck, but thank goodness they have a long gallop to the next fence to get it back together.)

Obviously, I am a big fan of h/j training. I also firmly believe in Lucinda's philosophy of letting the horse take care of himself. But if you are interested in developing an eye, you have to work with someone who has one AND understands how to help you develop one. I think that involves setting up the right exercises and asking the rider the right questions after every line. Sad to say for those of you who hate it, I think it also involves counting out loud. /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

pwynnnorman
Oct. 27, 2002, 09:35 AM
Best argument(s) I've heard yet for more cross training between the sports.

Sportponies Unlimited
Specializing in fancy, athletic, 3/4-TB ponies.
http://www.sportponiesunlimited.com

DMK
Oct. 27, 2002, 10:29 AM
I like to think of the difference between a jumper and a xc horse as the difference between a horse that is 55% waiting on the rider and 45% ready to take care of himself (jumper) and a xc horse as 45% waiting on the rider and 55% ready to take care of himself. Meaning, it's a rare horse who can be 45/55 one day, then 55/45 the next, which is why great event horses are probably some of the smartest equines on the planet.

I also think those people with the truly great eye are a little bit unusual - the rest of us learn to ride the rhythm and learn to see things 4, maybe 8 strides off, and the better of us learn to actually do the correct thing in the remaining strides. The rest of us try to learn to keep the impulsion, sit quiet and stay out of the horse's way!

But those people with the great eye... wow... They see it out of a corner 20+ strides away. and you barely see them take care of whatever adjustment is necessary. And you know they are not just finding "a" distance. They are finding the best distance for that horse at that jump, and that is not the same spot every time, to be sure. I honestly think that talent is just something you are born with, and if all goes well, you have the training to bring out this rare talent. But the ones who learn to live and die by the rhythm, and make those correct decisions 8 strides out every time are still great riders (as in far better than me - I'm firmly in the "rhythm and don't screw it up" camp).

It would be interesting to add some h/j riders to the discussion - maybe someone like Aaron Vale who spent some time as a timber jock. /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."
Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931)

ride3day
Oct. 27, 2002, 11:23 AM
I agree with all the previous comments. I think that an article as you proposed Denny would be fabulous. The recommendations of possible professionals to include in such an article are great, I would love to see multiple viewpoints (eventers, jumpers, hunters).

Personally, I do an acceptable job with my distances to fences (mainly because I just keep riding to the fence, and if I didn't see it before I will see it by the end and my mare is more than capable of figuring out how to help out over our novice/training fences). However, many people don't have an "eye". I believe that much of this is because they lack the feel and have not learned how to ride to the fence and let things just happen. And I am a firm believe that this is related to education. They have not had an instructor that taught them about feel and just riding to the fence, or at least did not have that instruction when they began jumping. Getting good early education is key. Unfortunately that does not always happen. Therefore, I would love to see included in an article how that can be taught 1. to beginners, 2. to those who are refining/relearning their skills (such as those I just described above), and 3. those of us who can always improve.

Also a side thought popped into my head as I read this thread. There have been several threads recently that talked about early riding experiences (hopping on bareback, galloping all over kingdom come, games on horseback, etc). I was one of those children. I feel pretty darn confident on horseback (not skill level, but I don't come off very easy by spins, stops, bucks, etc). Does anyone else agree that this freedom and comfort on horseback (and comfort of riding in the open) is related to the ability of a rider to just wait and/or feel comfortable galloping to a fence out of stride? Just a curious side thought....

JenL
Oct. 27, 2002, 12:00 PM
This is an interesting discussion, actually when we went schooling today, we talked about it at length with our instructor.

I think there are two schools of thought, the first being more what the eventers tend to lean towards, that you get your horse there the best you can, impulsion, stride length wise and then you let the horse decide the distance and just deal with whatever comes up.

The other school of thought tends to lean more towards the obsession with the perfect distance and finding it even if it doesn't mean allowing the horse to do it itself.

As Jimmy Wofford puts it
"I never met a stride that I didn't like. Once you see what sort of stride that you are going to get, you know what to do. Your attitude should be that you are going to take that stride and improve it."

I believe the reason that event riders have to trust their horses is because as Jimmy Wofford puts it so well,
" Probably one of the hardest lessons that the cross country rider has to learn, is to be, basically out of control. You are going to point the horse at jumps, you are going to dictate the overall speed, and hopefully you are going to be quite accurate about the line that you take both between the jumps and in the approach to the next jump. Your ability to dictate to the horsewhere he puts his feet exactly are quite limited."

Where as on the other hand, you have George Morris who believes "timing of the horse's takeoff is absolutely necessary for any performance to be consistent and of a high caliber." This isn't necessarily different, but the way he says you should "get" distances is. He believes (at least as I interpret from his book)that you should work to get the perfect distance, rather than take what comes, as a result of how you set your horse up.

I think a debate between George H. Morris and Jimmy Wofford would be very interesting.

woohoo 100th post.

"Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past me I will turn to see fear's path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain."~Dune~

arnika
Oct. 27, 2002, 12:36 PM
If I may add my $.02, I would love to have 2 or 3 people from each discipline. George Morris, Don Stewart, Missy Clark, Scott Hofstetter, Christine Schlusemeyer for Hunters.

William Steinkraus,Joe Fargis, Rodney Jenkins, Margie Goldstein, Katie Prudent, Conrad Holmfeld, Todd Minikus for Jumpers.

Lucinda Green, David or Karen O'Connor, Bruce Davidson, Phillip Dutton, Kim Severson-Vinoski, Andrew Hoy for eventing.

What a conversation that would be. I'd want to be a fly on the wall.

Terry

Weatherford
Oct. 27, 2002, 12:40 PM
The last two posts are especially interesting - first, I do believe those of us who yahoo'd (around the farms, around the XC courses, out foxhunting, racing, etc) as kids have a definite advantage over those who only got to ride in controlled situations!

Second - if you take what I just said and apply it to Wofford and Morris, you have two philiosophies that stem from the two different styles - GM has always said that he was NOT a natural rider - that he had to work very hard to develop everything. I always got the feeling that he was in charge - softly, yes, but in charge of his mount.

JW (and, I am SURE Rodney, Denny, Frank Chapot, and I believe Joe Fargis) probably yahoo'd (well, knowing them, certainly yahoo'd). They all rode steeplechase races, and grew up on their horses in a very different world. I believe that is a huge part of having a true feel for a distance. And I have always felt when watching them that they are true partners with their horses - the horse GIVES back to them as much as they give their horse. (Trust!)

Since we have lost that world, have we lost those natural, instinctive riders? Possibly - although, they are certainly still here in Ireland. /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

19 year member of the New Hope clique! /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Gry2Yng
Oct. 27, 2002, 12:48 PM
Excellent points. I think there a LOTS of little "tricks" to finding a distance that hunters and jumpers are much more familiar with. For example, riding to the inside or outside standard when coming out of a turn. Sadly, I forget this one unless I am specifically reminded during the course walk.

Please share in detail how you were taught to find a distance before the tight turn, because I am terrible with the oxer out of the corner.

Somthing else that I also found very helpful in developing a better eye, is to stand on the ground next to someone with a good eye and find the spot for another horse and rider. If you watch someone "pick to the deep spot" , "pass it up" or "hold to long" you start to get a better understanding of what you are doing on the horse. It can help you break a bad habit. Sometimes they are a progression. You might start out holding to long, then you pick to the base and finally pass it up a lot before you learn to see the distance and put your horse there.

I also found that not only am I weaker coming out of a left turn when on the horse, I was not as good at seeing the distance for another rider when on the ground when they came off the left turn. I was able to improve my eye on the left turn just by standing on the ground.

denny
Oct. 27, 2002, 12:58 PM
Don`t you all get the feeling that a topic of this magnitude and complexity, with so many different but valid points of view, is simply too big for the limited scope of a Between Rounds?
It could be a series of articles, or a series of interviews, put together in a pamphlet, or even a book, of some sort.
I personally think this whole "eye thing" is one of the most critical but most confusing issues in all of jumping, and it would be interesting to see it get the focus it deserves.Anybody game to take it on? I`d sure be glad to help, but the more I read what you all have to say, the more I realize it`s a topic that can`t be compressed into "24 words or less."
Any thoughts?
Denny

JenL
Oct. 27, 2002, 01:13 PM
Maybe, instead of having one between rounds, you could present each separate philosophy each consecutive week, and after you finish presenting each philosophy, you could compare the views, or then have a discussion based on the views. hmm just a thought.

"Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past me I will turn to see fear's path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain."~Dune~

Gry2Yng
Oct. 27, 2002, 01:33 PM
I would be interested in putting the article/series of articles together, but I don't have access to the big names mentioned on this thread. Denny, would you be available for guidance and connections? If so, you can send an e-mail and I will provide my limited writing samples.

GotSpots
Oct. 27, 2002, 03:33 PM
I like the idea of a round-table discussion -- could this maybe be a forum at next year's USEA meeting? (It's a little late to organize for this year's, I think). Or a series of articles: I suspect that you might get a bunch of opinions that could be condensed into two or three paragraph chunks. I'd be interested in how the opinions break up: do they line up based on discipline? Based on experience? I'd also like to ask those commentators to define what they mean by the "right spot" -- we all know what a chip or a flyer looks like, but I'd be interested in how we describe the "perfect" distance. The classic definition is as far away from the jump as it is tall (for a vertical, for example), but that rule gets bent if it is an ascending oxer or a coop). As Gry said, the distance in may depend on the ride out: are you doing a tight combination out over a vertical? Or a galloping two stride out over an oxer? I know for me it also depends on the horse -- I have one that likes to leave the jumps up, so I may be be able to take off a touch closer than with one that wants to be careless in front.

I've been taught that finding the spot comes out of the rhythm (another JG student), and we've spent so much time schooling the jump on a circle that I am much more comfortable finding that distance than I am off of a long gallop. Gry -- have you tried jumping an oxer off of a left circle? That's an exercise your (h/j) coach had me doing once, and I thought it really helped make the distance happen out of the turn. I'm also a big fan of the "less is more" theory of finding one's distance -- the most perfect ride I ever had was one in which I don't think I "looked" for a single spot -- they all just flowed out of the canter. Next time I tried to "find" the distance, I was burying him. But that's just me thinking too much, I suspect.

Greenbean
Oct. 27, 2002, 04:52 PM
denny, is there a way to compose the interviews into a pamphlet type thing that could be printed with the chronicle? I actually think this project might best be done in a book, and then you could get TONS of interviews with well known riders, but then again this is a huge project for someone to take on...whatever you do you musn't forget to interview Mark Todd. I would never forgive you!! /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Carrie

Sannois
Oct. 27, 2002, 05:11 PM
thing for all disciplines that jump. Speaking of books, Denny, any plans to write one of your own?? I can tell you they would fly off the shelves! /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety" Benjamin Franklin, 1755
Founding member of The Fossils over Fences Clique!

Karma
Oct. 27, 2002, 05:11 PM
I would also be interested to hear Mike's words on this...
I too agree that riding the rhythm or riding to a spot may depend on a riders beginnings- was it lessons on school horses or running free on your own beasty pony? As well as instructions along the way to develop a riders feel or eye. Sure would be interested to see this series of articles- no way it could be done justice in just one.

mwalshe
Oct. 27, 2002, 05:45 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Gry2Yng:
Please share in detail how you were taught to find a distance before the tight turn, because I am terrible with the oxer out of the corner.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
Hmm very hard to explain over the internet. Basically it's geometry and having a consistent stride. Start by setting up a fence about 12' off your rail to roll-back to. Canter past the fence, then roll back to it. The TRICK is to make sure that as you pass the fence the first time you get your horse's front feet to a spot on the rail equal to the front standard, or a little in front of it. Then take 3 strides, past the fence turn in a perfect half-circle w/ no bulging, come back to the fence in two and you will be spot on. The trick is to ride dead-straight past the fence, then turn on a perfect arc off your outside leg/rein then ride dead straight back (or as straight as possible). You will get there in one less stride. Very important to keep your revs up in the turn and to ride the whole thing off an even forward stride, once you've got your initial placing stride at the standard. (If you are awesome you can do it in two, roll back to one. I am not usually that awesome /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif ) It's hard to explain when to turn exactly, plus it obviously depends on your horse, but if you do it once you will get it. This little tip made a WORLD of difference to me.

OK I re-read this and had to edit as I was making no sense. A tight turn out of the corner is basically ridden the same way. Figure out where that "circle" part of the roll back would be if you were doing a roll-back or a regular turn (ie if the arena fence wasn't there, and obviously this circle can be quite a bit bigger than the 12' rollback if there's space) and make your track intersect with it x no of strides out, making however sharp or weak of a turn you need ot get to that track and not to the fence itself. Ride to THAT spot, so the majority of your adjusting is done and if you get past it or are weak you have time to do something. Most people come off the rail too late, then try to cut the corner directly to the fence and never get straight in the last stride, instead of working backwards from "There's my last stride before the fence, so the one before that needs to be there and the one before that..." ! Sorry- that's not a great explanantion: you need to think of riding always in either straight lines or half/quarter circles, then back to straight lines. Gradually you can make the cirlces smaller and the straight lines shorter: it's sort of like shooting pool! You have to set it up.

Now if anyone has a brilliant system for galloping down to enormous triple combinations with confidence (other than closing your eyes) I'd like to hear that /infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif

[This message was edited by maggymay on Oct. 28, 2002 at 02:52 AM.]

canyonoak
Oct. 27, 2002, 05:46 PM
well..I think Between the Rounds is probably not the format for this kind of question.

But perhaps it could be an in-depth geared to the Eventing issue of COTH?

I think the suggestions for input are all excellent (I mean, come on, Rodney Jenkins was my HERO--me and every other girl wandering around Madison Square garden with our eyes bugging out of our heads)..

Other possibilities: Michael Matz, cos he is such an analytical technician. Linda Allen, for her wealth of expierence. Jack Le Goff, if he's not out fishing.

I like the idea of discussing one or two differing lines of fences/jumps.

cheers,

deltawave
Oct. 27, 2002, 06:03 PM
How about an instructional VIDEO on this topic? I have to list myself among the ranks of those mystified by people who can "see a distance" miles away. I also try to soothe myself (having NO such ability) by gravitating towards those who say you don't NEED to see a spot, but just "ride the canter", etc. /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Anyhow, I agree with getting folks from all the jumping disciplines and hearing how they do "it", IF they do "it" at all. (see strides) Steeplechasers, hunter riders, jumper riders, eventers, even PONY riders--some of those kids are amazingly accurate, and must have a method that works. Not sure I want to be schooled by a 7y/o, but hey, education is education! /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

I think maybe a video format would be better, since this truly is a "visual" sort of concept, don't you? Having a rider ride a complicated course with odd related distances and then do a "play by play" at points along the course: "here I've seen that my horse will be deep to the 1st element of this long one-stride, so I'm doing a half-halt, etc. etc. etc."

I for one would buy this video--definitely a potential icon like the "Half Halt Demystified" video. One could think of any number of great titles, no doubt! /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Lynn

PS...I once read an interview with Bruce Davidson somewhere where he said he could see his spot something like 20 or 30 strides out! /infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif

"If you think your hairstyle is more important than your brain, you're probably right." Wear a helmet!
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jenarby
Oct. 27, 2002, 06:58 PM
Yeah! I'd love to hear Michael Matz, Margie, or Ian Miller for a showjumpers' point of view.
Or Bruce Davidson maybe, I don't think he's been mentioned yet.
Growing up it was always, "Ride the rhythm" to a fence, don't look for a spot or you wont find one. I've even had instructors make me close my eyes four strides before a fence (or at least what I felt was four strides).
I do have a very close friend that has that "natural eye" everyone would love to have. She can ride any horse to any type of fence and make it over so beautifully. I, on the other hand must work very hard to get a distance. I do agree that riding hunter lines helps you get a "feel" for a distance since it's alreay there for you. However, for those of us who needed that line to get us to the right place, taking it away doesn't always help. Even when you ride the dickens out of those lines. I would be incredibly interested to see each point of view.
Denny, it's an honor to have you here!

Good, Better, Best.....the best don't rest until their good is better and their better is the very best!

Jeannette, formerly ponygyrl
Oct. 27, 2002, 07:21 PM
I would be interested in hearing how much of the difference between the "Ride the rhythm" crowd and the "Ride the distance" crowd is a matter of priorities, and how that relates to natural eye or lacking same!

Specifically, I'd be interested in asking Jim Wofford if his focus on riding good rhythm is the way he has found he can be *most* effective working with a million clinic students of widely varying skill levels. He can take 20 people for a weekend, and make more progress in getting them to ride forward and leave their horses alone than maybe he could if in a group setting he tried to help improve their eye.

BUT, a couple years ago I know he sent Kim Severson to who for the winter?? George Morris...Which got me to thinking maybe Jim isn't a total disbeliever in seeing distances.

I'll have to go back to my notebooks and pull out comments from various clinicians about distances - it would be a fascinating book! Gry2yng, maybe we could collaborate!

For the short term, in the interests of a Between Rounds article rather than a tome, I would vote for sequestering Denny and either Jim W or David O in a bar with the beverage of their choice. I'll take notes. /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif When the bottle is empty, everybody takes a copy of the notes home and gets to choose a couple points to include in the article...

pwynnnorman
Oct. 28, 2002, 07:02 AM
Wouldn't it be wonderful to have a definitive set of answers/perspectives on this issue, once and for all?

About the video idea. I just read in USAEq's magazine that NHJC is looking for educational ideas (and has already done a few videos). Perhaps this would be a good proposal for them to consider, perhaps doing it in conjunction with the educational committee (there is one, isn't there?) at USEA?

Sportponies Unlimited
Specializing in fancy, athletic, 3/4-TB ponies.
http://www.sportponiesunlimited.com

kileyc
Oct. 28, 2002, 08:00 AM
This is a great thread, and I agree with a lot of what is said here. As a dual jumper rider/eventer, I would love to SEE (ie. Love the video idea!!!) what trainers from both camps use to help their students. I totally agree Linda Allen and Ian Miller are both excellent choices! My own thoughts are the following, practice practice practice and rythm rythm rythm. That is what helps me. Our "team" has always used the winter to go to H/J shows to polish our course skills, the BN/N and the green horses do the hunters and the Training level and above horse/riders do the jumpers and the 3'6" hunters. In turn, we are all comfortable with stadium. Last winter we slacked off from this routine, we drilled x-country- bad idea and it showed this spring!!! This year we are rededicated to doing several h/j shows so that next spring we will be better prepared and our course skills will be polished and the rails will stay UP!

Great Idea, I can't wait!!!

Robby Johnson
Oct. 28, 2002, 08:41 AM
"Your eyes, as we said our goodbyes ..."

A book would be great, but I wonder if this is something that's only going to make sense to Americans, since the hunter discipline is so unique here.

This is not a h/j bash whatsoever, just that USAE hunters are much different than a "hunter" in another country.

It seems the US h/j crowd has developed the concept of the "distance" and the event crowd has relied more on the "rhythm" method. (Not that rhythm method - get your mind outta the gutter!)

In my complicated life, the one thing I try to make easier is the "distance" thing. If I walk a related distance in five strides, I pretty much expect to get five there. If I get 4, I just hope there's no rail that follows me on the way out. If I get six, I hope the chip doesn't kill my crotch too badly. But I almost always get 5.

Beyond that, I tend to see long distances. I can usually see from 4 strides away, but it's still usually long.

I am learning to make love to the base of the fence. My green horse, fortunately, seems to be fond of this takeoff spot, so it does make my life easier.

Robby

You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.

Erin
Oct. 28, 2002, 08:52 AM
Well, I was just asking on Off Course the other week about having periodic round-table discussions in a special forum with notable horse people... /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Of course, I have no idea how many of the names bounced around in this thread even own computers, much less use them. /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

But it would be easy to set up a special forum where an "invited panel" could discuss the issue, and then perhaps allow questions to be submitted from the BB at large.

Any such "chats" like this would be more strictly moderated. Most likely, any posts from BBers would have to go into a moderation queue before posting and be approved by a moderator before they would go through.

Anyway, assuming the stallion auction doesn't kill me, I'd be happy to set something like that up. /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

(And as a rider who literally has NO depth perception -- I have only monocular vision -- I'd personally love to hear more about this topic. /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif )

mwalshe
Oct. 28, 2002, 10:37 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Robby Johnson:
but I wonder if this is something that's only going to make sense to Americans, since the hunter discipline is so unique here.

This is not a h/j bash whatsoever, just that USAE hunters are much different than a "hunter" in another country.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
true, but showjumping's the same everywhere and that's where take-off spots get really sticky, b/c your approaches are so much shorter and the combinations really magnify any mistakes. I agree that the term "distance" has a very definite hunter connotation though, I prefer to think of finding a nice take-off as "timing" /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Weatherford
Oct. 28, 2002, 11:15 AM
I, too, am game for the writing end of it - and perhaps my publisher would be interested.

The only problem I see is with: <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> I would vote for sequestering Denny and either Jim W or David O in a bar with the beverage of their choice. I'll take notes. When the bottle is empty, everybody takes a copy of the notes home and gets to choose a couple points to include in the article... <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Well, maybe having Denny in the bar with David &/or Jimmy will keep the conversation on the topic rather than on his incredible collection of dirty jokes... /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Heather
Oct. 28, 2002, 12:01 PM
Weighing in (Hi Denny):

A couple of comments--I love the analogy of this project to "demistyfying the half-halt"--I think that's just so. The elusive 'spot' is now and continues to be, the great mystery of all time in my riding career. I also think this is a giant topic that cannot by easily summed up in a small amount of words. I also think it's a debate that will never have a final answer, which makes it interesting and worthy of conversation, but not exactly a problem with a definate solution. Also, someone made a comment that the ability to great good gaits etc. gives one a good eye--if only that were true, LOL--I'm fairly capable on the flat, and think I can feel my horses pretty well, but I've not much of an eye.

If i consider my own expereinces, I think that if you are not blessed with a natural eye (as I was not) you then try to learn by the "ride the rhythm" method--however, in nmy expereince, that method is only as good as the mount you are sitting on. Becuase I don't have a natural eye, I've been hearing the ride the rhythm bit for a while now. Except, if you are sitting on a horse who doesn't have natural rhythm, or who cannot maintain a rhythm to fence because of his own issues, that doesn't get you anywhere either.

My last "competition" horse was a good and honest jumper, but he was only going to go from the close spot. So, no matter what, about five strides out in front of every fence, the rhythm and stride would get shorter and faster and shorter and faster, until you were at the base and then you left (and I had much better riders than me sit on him, and they all told me that was just how he went.) So there was no rhtyhm, you just learned to look for the short spot. When I started riding our Merlin horse, a horse who is gifted with extraordinary natural rhythm, for the first time in my life I could actually feel what everyone was going on about when they said to ride the rhythm. And it was great, and I learned a lot . . . except now my eyeball still wants to look for that short one, and doesn't trust that long one.

So now I have a sort of eye, but its defective, and only a passing understanding of riding the rhythm, because Merlin was beating me up too much when I rode him. So, I think the answer, for me anyway, lies somewhere between acceptance and hard work. I've learned to accept that I will never have one of those "see the spot ten strides out' eyes, and as a result, have no plans to ride above prelim or so. I think that to do the upper level stuff you must have something of an eye, and I don't think I'm going to have an eye transplant anytime soon. However, I'm not just going to give up--Denny has offered me some good ideas on cantering over poles exercises to improve or at least maintain my eye, and I try to do that once or twice a week. When I see something other than the short one, I rejoice.

murdoch
Oct. 28, 2002, 12:42 PM
I've always kind of wondered about this. I never really understood what people meant when they said they always saw long spots etc...
What if you can see where you are and where you need to be but not react soon enough to fix it?

I find that I can see what's going to happen if I keep the current stride length - oh about five strides out - it's doing something about it that I have a hard time with.

I've finally seem to have gotten over the 'it's going to be long so I must pick and add (read chip)' thing but I don't know if I am seeing the spot far out enough to be able to really adjust for it and I never seem to be able to tell what to do about it if it is long (um except panic and do the wrong thing that is). If it is coming up short then I seem to manage a quick half halt four strides out and balance well enough to get to the base with out being under the fence but those long spots get me.

What do you think - what does it actually mean for someone to have an eye? I'm not sure whether I do or not... /infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

pwynnnorman
Oct. 28, 2002, 01:55 PM
...made a good point AND a good observation.

Like her (I think it was a her), I am pretty solid on the flat and fairly tight o/f, but have no eye. And I think I know why: it's because I've never been able to practice, practice, practice. Having to ride green horses and never daring to jump, jump, jump anything I've actually finished making (because they go on the market), I feel like I've spent a lifetime missing something, which is why I've belabored this point many times on these boards.

And that's another huge difference in the h-j world. They do a whole heck of a lot more jumping and drilling. The most ambitious (and well-heeled) Big Eq riders usually have one or more "practice" horses. And not only do the riders jump, jump, jump a lot, but young horses take a lot more jumps than, I think, the average eventing prospect does.

But anyway, gosh darn, what I wouldn't do to be able to ride horses I could practice, practice, practice on! (And I DID grow up riding helter skelter bareback and all--but again always on something young or something belonging to someone else!)

Sportponies Unlimited
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kileyc
Oct. 28, 2002, 02:27 PM
That was me who said practice, and I agree right back at you about the green horses. I am coming off a 5 year relationship with a mare who had a quick, but very consistent stride. VERY SENSITIVE, and I had to learn to stay still and not do anything, but balance and steer on course. Because she was that KIND of horse, I could only rely on rythm. All of a sudden, do nothing made me have a good eye /infopop/emoticons/icon_confused.gif Now I have sold her and am on a greenie, with a huge unbalanced, no rythm stride. I am hoping that dressage, poles and small fences set on a line, he will learn balance and rythm. Then, I can leave him alone, create a rythm and the distances will take care of themselves. We are off to the hunter ring for the winter to practice, practice, practice those courses! Hopefully it will work again!

Gry2Yng
Oct. 28, 2002, 03:19 PM
hit on another good one from my h/j instructor. "Do nothing!" It is so much easier to see a distance when you do nothing. Sometimes it takes a bunch of doing nothing and missing.

I was blessed this year to have a greenie with wonderful rhythm - probably one of the most naturally consistent horses I have ever seen - to work with over fences this summer. And I had "do nothing" drilled into me. It was an incredible help when riding my prelim horse - just leaving his stride alone improved my eye, but I couldn't have learned to do it without having the green mare to practice on.

Of course the topper was to take these two, plus a girlfriend's young training level horse to a hunter jumper show and ride each of them over 3-5 courses every day for five days. That was somewhere between nine and fifteen trips a day for me - with instruction. I realize it is not possible for everyone, but BOY OH BOY does it work. If you really want to improve your eye, this REALLY helps. (We did this show during our down time in August - footing is too hard for xc in my opinion - and then the horses had a vacation.)

Also, for most of the show, the horses stayed at 3' or under. So if you can go in the 2'6"'s it will help. It is almost like you get lulled into a rhythm after a trip or two, which also helps your eye, plus the horses start to get a bit bored.

denny
Oct. 28, 2002, 03:32 PM
Don`t you think that there are all kinds of different"eyes",which is one BIG reason there aren`t definitive answers. I`ve watched Mike Plumb jump for years, and he`ll see that if he rides forward to the fence, he`ll be right, so he rides forward and,voila, he`s just perfect. But I don`t THINK he knows if he`s 4, 5, or 6 strides away, only that he`s right. I could be wrong about that. I asked him once why he always got in right, and why I was more erratic, and his answer was, "because I`m a better rider than you, Emerson!" Which may have been one correct answer, but not the one I was seeking.
I`ve watched other "Deadeye Dick" riders, and seen them mouthing "4,3, 2, 1" so I assume they have learned to recognize what 4 strides looks like.
Other great trainers advocate just creating a canter that at once combines enough impulsion from which to move "up", but at the same time possesses enough balance to allow them to shorten the horse. This "good canter" seems to be sufficient for these people to jump successfully most of the time, without worrying so much about "correct distance".
I also think that some people have such a keen eye for a distance that they can just do it without knowing how they do it, and caqn`t imagine Not being able to see a distance.
In terms of "spot", and what it means, here`s an exercise. Build a fence, say, 3foot 6 inches, and stand on foot in front of it. Stand so close that you don`t think a horse could possibly jump it without eating it. That`s NOT a good take off spot!
Now back up until you think your horse would have to take a huge, struggling leap to get over it.That`s NOT a good spot, either. Now try to move to a place from which you assume the horse has the greatest chance of success.THAT is your Rodney Jenkins, Michael Matz, Ann Kursinski spot.
Those kinds of riders get to those spots, over and over and over. How? Why? THAT is the enormous question, isn`it?
Were they born with it? Did they learn it? Can WE learn it?
This is the reason we have to put together interviews with a bunch of those kinds of riders, to get glimmers of hope(if glimmers there be!) for the rest of us.
So, I repeat my Question , who wants to take on this highly important, but highly time consuming project?
I PROMISE I`ll buy your book!
Denny

RAyers
Oct. 28, 2002, 03:57 PM
I think what is happening here is the classic "American" need for a uniform, specific definition and instruction of how to do something that has NO definition. Jumping/riding a horse is a dynamic function that continually changes every step. To me the answer comes down to miles and miles on top of numerous horses. There is no one definition that fits every rider in every situation (kinda like medicine). In other words, the answers to your questions, Denny, are (as I say to my graduate students in my orthopedic biomaterials class), "It depends."

When I did the A/O jumpers and smaller prixs I rode mostly from my eye. We were relatively successful at that time, being consistently in the ribbons. It was a difficult transition for me to the eventers because so many types of fences on XC must be ridden from a rythym and pace. I have begun to learn/realize that there are sometimes you ride your eye and sometimes you ride the rythym and pace. It all depends upon the situation and environment at that particular instant. I may even ride the same fence two different ways, depending on my approach if I am schooling.

A few years back I calculated how many fences I have jumped in my career and came up with over 70,000 on upwards of 200 different horses. Not nearly as much as top riders, but enough to understand that I, as a rider, must be adaptable throughout the course, XC or stadium. To provide a further analogy, and to use Denny's statement, each rider must have/develop "many types of eyes."

This is just my opinion. I could be wrong, I'm not blind to it. ;-)

Reed

[This message was edited by RAyers on Oct. 28, 2002 at 07:40 PM.]

Gry2Yng
Oct. 28, 2002, 04:33 PM
RAyers - I think you are correct as far as sometime riding with your eye and sometimes riding the rhythm.

My question is for those who claim they do not have any eye. Denny gave a good definition for a distance in the post above. When I say I have an eye (which is only good about 70% of the time) I mean that I am able to see whether we are about to take off too close or too far based on Denny's definition. Sometimes I see nothing/can't tell (which generally means I am about to hit the fence on a 1/2 stride) and I panic.

What do you see or feel? Or do you just ride?

mwalshe
Oct. 28, 2002, 05:22 PM
Do you consider the perfect take-off distance a point in space in front of the fence or a spot on the ground in front of a fence? Personally I see it as an actual physical spot on the ground (when in doubt-aim for the divots) but several people I know claim to "feel" their distances, more in terms of momentum/stride etc. and say it exists somewhere in front of the horse, roughly at chest level.

DizzyMagic
Oct. 28, 2002, 05:29 PM
No great expert here, but I think those riders that see the "spot" are those who, aside from being educated, have a naturally good sense of spatial relations. Not everyone does. Those who do would definitely seem to have an advantage or to be able to give their horses an advantage.

Maybe spot-gifted people are also fabulous at packing suitcases into the trunk of a car or hanging pictures evenly! /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Emily

The best way to predict the future is to create it!

NMS
Oct. 28, 2002, 05:57 PM
Not to complicate things, BUT..I also think there is a difference between riding "spots" xc and "spots" in stadium. The amount of speed certainly may limit the choice of spots xc. Maybe that is why the eventers prefer to ride rhythm. It would be interesting to also ask the show jumpers whether the "spots" they look for change when speed is added. Could we pose this question as well?

jenarby
Oct. 28, 2002, 08:29 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Gry2Yng:
Sometimes I see nothing/can't tell (which generally means I am about to hit the fence on a 1/2 stride) and I panic.

What do you see or feel? Or do you just ride?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

When I get into that situation you've described, I make darn sure I'm out of my horse's way and hope he saves my butt. I had one gelding who always seemed to know where his feet needed to be. He adjusted himself with no help from me. If I did "interfere" he always got me outta trouble. Probably will never find another one like that. Now that I'm riding so many TB's right off the track, I've lost a lot of confidence in my "eye" or "feel" for distance. So I put tons of flatwork on them to make sure they are balanced and I can adjust their strides without scaring the dickens out of them going into a fence and over. If I'm on one that is not at adjustable, this is when I have the most problems gettting to the fence correctly.

Good, Better, Best.....the best don't rest until their good is better and their better is the very best!

Robby Johnson
Oct. 29, 2002, 03:43 AM
I will write the book.

But we've gotta get the subjects nailed down.

This is how I see it being put together: each rider has his/her own chapter. We open with an introduction, then have each opinion/method discussed.

The important thing to do is identify the common artery that courses through this complex veinous system.

Robby

I see a stairway so I follow it down
Into the belly of a whale
Where my secrets echo all around ...

Daydream Believer
Oct. 29, 2002, 04:22 AM
I agree with an earlier poster who suggested spacial relations/depth perception are very important in having a natural eye. I think this comes easily to some and harder to others...and to some, never.

I can usually tell about 4 strides out if I'm going long or short and maybe make a little adjustment. I, only once in my life, saw a spot 8 strides out and it's only ever happened once which is why I remember it! /infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif It just clicked and was an amazing thing. Most of the time I just fuddle along riding the rhythm too like everyone else. My coach tries to get me to count strides but I never seem to remember to do so. Maybe with practice and riding several horses over fences daily instead of one and maybe two and only jumping twice a week, I might have gotten really good at it.

I think that it is really a key thing that to develop this eye for distance you MUST practice, practice and practice. If you look at the majority of people who are really good at this, they are the folks who ride horses for a living like Mike and Bruce and the hunter/jumper pros. I think many of us could also do it but lack the time and practice.

"I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself." D.H. Lawrence

KateDB
Oct. 29, 2002, 05:37 AM
Robby, I would be delighted to help you with this one!
Speaking as one who does usually have an eye, I think the missing link is certainly riding the rhythm/pace. I can see a spot and make sure that spot works, while ruining the rhythm and pace (riding backwards to the spot). So, ideally, one would want to have both the eye and the sense of rhythm and pace (two very separate but equally important things).
I love the exercises I have ridden with Heath Ryan. I find them to be very easy and he has commented on my eye and on his eye saying that I will hit it correctly 99% of the time where as he does not. BUT, he can ride the rhythm and pace and meet it.
Then in riding with Lucinda, you have de-emphasis on the spot and absolute weight on the rhythm/pace. She has definitely tackled me on riding to spots, saying "Stop showing us that you have an eye and instead that the horse can figure out when to jump himself"! Funny enough, when Lucinda rides, you can see that she sees a spot and almost imperceptively rides to it - almost like her natural instinct overrides the theory she teaches!!!
Finally, even when one does have a natural eye and sense of rhythm/pace, (as mentioned) practice, practice, practice. I know that if I haven't jumped, or done pole work, I lose the feel and it only comes back with practice.

(We must include Heath in the book - I find that he is extraordinarily intellectual/cerebral in his teaching and thrives on this type of question!

One thing you can give and still keep is your word.

VTrider
Oct. 29, 2002, 05:53 AM
I can't tell if I have found my jump or not until I am 3 strides out - I better keep on having lots of sex!

KateDB
Oct. 29, 2002, 05:54 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>who would agree that seeing that perfect distance 6 or 8 strides out and knowing you're right on the money is (sometimes)better than...uh...sex?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE> That depends (upon where your talents lie/lay!)!!! /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif


One thing you can give and still keep is your word.

[This message was edited by KateDB on Oct. 29, 2002 at 09:06 AM.]

denny
Oct. 29, 2002, 10:33 AM
Jane Savoie was going to write a dressage based novel, and Robert Dover volunteered to write all the sex parts! So Robbie, looks like from the direction this thread is headed, you are going to get lots of help with certain sections of your book!
Denny

Daydream Believer
Oct. 29, 2002, 11:18 AM
ROTF! I can see you're going to get addicted to this BB too Denny!

"I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself." D.H. Lawrence

Robby Johnson
Oct. 29, 2002, 11:29 AM
I can see it now, Denny ...

"Before I start the horse over courses, I use immense gymnastic exercises to teach him how to take care of himself. But before that, even, I make sure I've visited my local S&M club, for a little lesson in humiliation! Sometimes, I even take the horses with me. You know what they say, 'one cannot taste pleasure until he's tasted pain!'"

Robby

I see a stairway so I follow it down
Into the belly of a whale
Where my secrets echo all around ...

Erin
Oct. 29, 2002, 11:49 AM
I love it! Part Practical Horseman, part Maxim. /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Need a co-author, Robby? /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Hehe.. in all seriousness, what a fabulous topic. Geez, it could be a whole series of books... /infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif I'd love to see the different approaches across the disciplines, too.

KateDB
Oct. 29, 2002, 11:52 AM
And seeing the direction Robby has taken, the emphasis IS on Discipline!!! /infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif

One thing you can give and still keep is your word.

kileyc
Oct. 29, 2002, 12:08 PM
Hey Robby-How fun!
Let me know if you want any Jumper connections, one of my best friends is the media director at Spruce and could probably set up some interviews!
--April

Robby Johnson
Oct. 29, 2002, 12:27 PM
am I now seriously writing a book? (Would love to, surely hope so!)

Let's see ... on my list of horsey Things To Do:

1.) Write meaningful story on Baby Aiden auction.
2.) Get a pseudo-celebrity involved at Rolex.
3.) Investigate sponsorship opportunity for BNR.
4.) Work on ad campaign for my equine insurance agent.
5.) Write book on how to find a distance.
6.) Organize 2 more clinics for Spring.
7.) 3 USEA Committees.

OK, do you think I could really quit the healthcare job and consult now? LOL!

I'm beginning to feel like Edina Monsoon from "Absolutely Fabulous!"

Edina: "Chanel. Dior. Lagerfeld. Givenchy. Gaultier, darling. Names, names, names. Harpers, Italian Vogue, English Vogue, French Vogue, bloody ABBA bloody singing bloody Vogue darling!"

Robby

I see a stairway so I follow it down
Into the belly of a whale
Where my secrets echo all around ...

ThirdCharm
Oct. 29, 2002, 12:41 PM
Distances aren't the only things lots of practice is good for.
;-,

JenniferS

Erin
Oct. 29, 2002, 12:47 PM
Crap, Robby, I just realized I was supposed to send you Aiden info this weekend! Ack!

Do we have an Overextended and Overwhelmed Clique? /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Am sheepishly heading to my address book to email you now. /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

And hell, I've been looking for a book topic to get me out of this 9 to 5 business for a long time. I'm serious... I'll write anything. /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

(Sorry for hijacking the topic folks... /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif )

Robby Johnson
Oct. 29, 2002, 01:06 PM
You are so practical and on-target and I'm so, well, not! A perfect balance if I do say so myself.

You can write the "Phillip Dutton says ..." parts and I'll write the "if you miss, so what, that's what Xanax is for" pieces!

Robby

I see a stairway so I follow it down
Into the belly of a whale
Where my secrets echo all around ...

drifting cloud
Oct. 29, 2002, 01:33 PM
Originally posted by Robby:<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Let's see ... on my list of horsey Things To Do:
1.) Write meaningful story on Baby Aiden auction.
2.) Get a pseudo-celebrity involved at Rolex.
3.) Investigate sponsorship opportunity for BNR.
4.) Work on ad campaign for my equine insurance agent.
5.) Write book on how to find a distance.
6.) Organize 2 more clinics for Spring.
7.) 3 USEA Committees.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
Robby dear, you forgot to include
8.) Get nude riding pictures made /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif

"You're only young once, but you can be immature forever!"

denny
Oct. 30, 2002, 02:18 PM
Robby, if you are serious about doing this project, and I hope you will,I`ll be happy to do some of the interviews, if that would help you out. The key is the top people in a bunch of different jumping disciplines, don`t you think? Then what, some form of standard interview, like "how do YOU do it, and how/what do you teach?
I`m off to California, slightly healed hip and all, to kill myself in a 50 mile race on Sat., but I`ll be back by midday on Mon.
My email at home is e3horse@hotmail.com.
Let me know what I can do to help. This critically important topic hasn`t had a fraction of the attention it warrants, probably because it is so elusive to capture in print. You are brave to take it on, in addition to all you already do for the sport.
Thanks,
Denny

Mary in Area 1
Oct. 30, 2002, 02:23 PM
Make sure you print and frame that last response!It's pretty special for Denny Emerson to thank YOU for all YOU do for this sport. Imagine!

Robby Johnson
Oct. 30, 2002, 02:54 PM
If you can possibly imagine, I'm even lighter than a feather now!

I have emailed Denny with my ideas and we'll see what happens. So exciting, the possibility of capturing this concept. Rather like going on a safari, or searching for the Loch Ness monster! (Not that I've ever done either!)

My concerns, of course, are on the publishing/organizational side of things.

I think, once outlined, this is a book that will basically write itself.

Robby

I see a stairway so I follow it down
Into the belly of a whale
Where my secrets echo all around ...

sarapony
Oct. 30, 2002, 03:12 PM
Because you don't need a job! You can become the ghost writer for all of the riding greats of this era.

"No time to marry, no time to settle down. I'm a young woman and I ain't done runnin' around." - Bessie Smith

JER
Oct. 30, 2002, 03:36 PM
But I don't want to wait for the book!

I was looking forward to a concise and provocative discussion of the rider's eye in an upcoming Between Rounds -- does this mean it's not going to happen?

And then I'm kind of confused. Is this a book about jumping theory or about the more specific topic that started off this thread: seeing a distance/riding the rhythm/the eye in jumping?

That said, I don't want to squelch anyone's enthusiasm and I'd read just about anything with Robby's name on it. Probably even a cookbook.

lawgrl
Oct. 30, 2002, 03:52 PM
JER:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> I'd read just about anything with Robby's name on it. Probably even a cookbook. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Especially if it contained those nude riding pictures....

Daydream Believer
Oct. 30, 2002, 04:43 PM
I'm really looking forward to this book! I'm sure you'll do a great job.

"I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself." D.H. Lawrence

Mary in Area 1
Oct. 30, 2002, 05:03 PM
I'm a very good editor, and I speak the language! You may need another photo editor though. Don't want those pics around my teenage daughters!

barbaraG
Oct. 30, 2002, 05:32 PM
Just letting the pots soak.....

Does anyone remember a book published a few years ago about how riders handle Fear..??

"Riding through your fear" something like that

It is a collection of essays by Known riders about how they deal with their fear in Competition.

Could the book we are thinking about be done in a similar way??

"Finding your Eye" Riding your fences....

Oh, Robby...I just want to imagine how beautiful you are! /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

BarbaraG
GWV/back to housework

Weatherford
Oct. 31, 2002, 02:00 AM
Robby - I repeat my earlier interest in working on this project. If we want international riders involved, perhaps I could interview over here when here.

I can also take to my publisher and perhaps some others.

Email me, OK?

/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

19 year member of the New Hope clique! /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

IFG
Oct. 31, 2002, 06:48 AM
Just to go back to what Denny was saying about riders like Rodney Jenkins, I think that eventers have a lot that they can learn from those people. I think that starting out in the hunters where we were to count off the last three strides before a fence, vary how many strides between fences from 4 to 8 when the distance was set for a 6 really helped my eye. Admittedly, I can get obsessed over a spot and pick to it, but if I remember to have impulsion going in, I rarely miss.

Something that I also remember well from being a kid was going to the Garden and watching the open jumpers, especially when they would do the puissance wall. I still remember the Germans and their style of collecting around the ring to a burst in the three strides before the fence. I will never forget Barney Ward on this enormous plow-type red roan named Wow. He would canter in place almost to three strides before the fence, then the horse would explode forward, up and over, and he usually made it without taking down the wall (often over 6 feet).

I remember watching I think it was Ginny Leng riding Master Craftsman XC in the olympics (on TV), you could see her do the same thing though not so obviously, balance, see the spot, and move forward to it.

I still do this when I jump (at MUCH lower levels). I try to balance, see my spot, and move up to it to take the fence off of the going stride. When I am riding well, it becomes second nature, and there is no thought involed. Other times it becomes picking at the horse. But when it is going well, I think that it gives my green horse a sense of confidence that he will always hit the fence at a good spot. I don't see many folks who have come up thorough the eventing ranks ride this way.

I don't have an answer as to whether it is good or bad, but it seems to work for me. When I try the rythm method, I often find my horse in a bad spot.

JER
Oct. 31, 2002, 07:03 AM
IFG, if the rider is always going to pick the spot, he/she better always be right. Otherwise, you are very likely to damage the horse's confidence.

Three strides from the fence is too close to make an adjustment for most riders and most horses. At this point in the approach, the horse needs to know he's going to be able to jump without sudden interference from the rider.

Robby Johnson
Oct. 31, 2002, 07:16 AM
is are there riders, like s/j riders, who *do* pick their distance to each fence? Three strides between elements certainly can happen in a s/j course.

I think the important thing to gather is what methods work, and put them into a collective text. What is even neater to me, to think about, is how different methods could be illustrated and applied to different types of horses.

As Madonna would say, "I do not endorse a way of life, but describe one, and the audience is left to make its own decisions and judgements."

(I'm beginning to scare myself, even!)

Robby

I see a stairway so I follow it down
Into the belly of a whale
Where my secrets echo all around ...

Pixie Dust
Oct. 31, 2002, 07:22 AM
I think the 3 strides is once the spot is already chosen. I remember doing an exersize with a jumper trainer where we cantered a circle and pointed at the jump at 3 strides. It was kind of this canter canter canter turn one two three.

I'm not real crazy about that explosion style myself. I like to see / feel something more rythmical. But it seems to be the ticket for the puissance and other GIGANTIC fences.

JER
Oct. 31, 2002, 07:30 AM
I'll try to find the exact quote, but William Steinkraus says that the rider should ride into related distances/combinations thinking either 'holding' or 'going', and that should be enough to get the stride you want.

This is a very elegant and simple explanation, and I have yet to see a situation in which it doesn't apply.

IFG
Oct. 31, 2002, 08:04 AM
Bgoosewood, I agree if I try the explosion style, my horse thinks that he is back at the track and the rest of the course is shot, but it does make the point of balance to move up. I find I usually will make an adjustment to balance 4-6 strides out. I try to use the final strides to either balance to the fence or move up if needed. Watching open jumper after open jumper do it to each fence on the course really made an impression on me as a kid. You never saw those guys bury a horse to a fence. At that height the horse would stop, and that happened very rarely.

RAyers
Oct. 31, 2002, 09:41 AM
An excercise I do for the jumpers is similar to bgoosewood's, except we also do 2 and 1 stride turns to a fence. It is not really a "turn and explode" but rather a compression and extension. Think of it like a high jumper. They really only need the final 3 steps to actually clear the bar, and the rest of the approach is used to compress their body (spine). I think Paul Schokemohle once noted that a horse really only needs 1 stride to clear the big GP fences, provided he can compress sufficiently. I learned how true this was years ago when the only arena we had was 60'x100' and I was doing the smaller prixs. No turn was more than 2 strides and we would school at 5'.

The thing here is that us amatuers do not necessarily try to find a spot, but rather just ride forward to the fence. The horse will compress itself between your leg and the fence, if it is going to jump. The bigger the fence (say 4' and up) the easier this is. Your job is to keep your body balanced with the horse, hence keeping your eye up and across/past the fence (unlike what you do in XC). Now, the great riders have done this so many times that they can actually pick a "spot" because it is completely ingrained. Riders such as Rodrigo Pessoa, Michael Whitaker, Jan Topps, Ludger and Marcus Beerbaum, are some of the best riders to watch how to do this. I use them as my images of how to ride during stadium.

Reed

lawgrl
Oct. 31, 2002, 09:50 AM
I like the idea of doing a collection of essays concerning this subject from top riders in a variety of disciplines.

poltroon
Oct. 31, 2002, 12:41 PM
One big difference between eventing and sj is the terrain. XC, since the ground can be uphill, downhill, or undulating, the idea of balance and rhythm is more important. You can't say "oh this should measure 48' for a perfect three".

In jumpers, the horse that will be very successful is a horse who is very careful. This kind of horse will become a stopper very quickly if asked to jump from bad distances, by a rider who goes for a 'spot' but is not accurate. (This horse will thrive over big jumps when ridden with great accuracy - but might be a stopper for an amateur at 3', and will never make it xc.) So a rider who can produce an accurate spot for horses will be rewarded.

H/J riders do tend to get a lot more jumping practice, too.

Re: picking. Learning to rebalance your horse by going forward more instead of using the hand can help with this. Think steeplechaser! /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

IFG
Nov. 1, 2002, 07:39 AM
Poltroon,

Really good points. BTW, after 8 years in LA crying when I looked at the LL Bean pictures, I have returned to the heavenly NE. As I write, I look out the window at the gorgeous autumn leaves. I feel for ya!

Sannois
Nov. 1, 2002, 09:25 AM
I want an Autographed copy from Denny and Robby, when it is published. I have printed this whole thread. There is so much valuable info and insight from all you great riders! I think my eye is improving just since I started reading this thread! Robby I am Green with envy! /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety" Benjamin Franklin, 1755
Founding member of The Fossils over Fences Clique!

Weatherford
Nov. 1, 2002, 09:26 AM
recently conducted a Master Class in England - his belief is it all comes down to "natural pace". "Our job as riders is to maintain this pace and to simply steer in the right direction."

"when it comes to distances, the human eye lies, and the rider is, in most cases, unable to calculate the distance to the fence with any degree of accuracy. The distance the rider perceives from the same point to a particular fence will appear different upon each approach. To solve this, the rider must leave the horse in charge...."

There is more - fascinating!!

19 year member of the New Hope clique! /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

barbaraG
Nov. 1, 2002, 07:38 PM
Thank-you, Weatherford.


I am more confused now--Almost glad I don't ride and need to figure this out

BarbaraG
GWV/
asking the question, is it "eye" or is it rhynm? /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Robby Johnson
Nov. 2, 2002, 03:46 AM
does Voorn refer to letting the horse find *their* natural pace? If so, I could jump on his band wagon pretty quickly!!! Willow was always really happy (XC) at about 450 - this was when Novice was about 350. But at about 450, I could actually kick her forward and she was more balanced.

Now, here's something I have to throw out. In my new Eventing magazine from the UK, there's an article on Lucinda and Miss DaMeena from their s/j at Blenheim, where they were lying second until she had a rail at the second to last fence. She said, "I could just kill myself for not taking more of a tug."

I don't know her, nor have I ridden with her. But others here have said she uses a method that doesn't involve distances whatsoever, just rhythm.

So my question is, would she be taking a tug because her rhythm was broken, or would she be taking a tug because she actually saw a distance that she needed to get to?

Robby

I see a stairway so I follow it down
Into the belly of a whale
Where my secrets echo all around ...

subk
Nov. 2, 2002, 01:34 PM
This thread hasn't left my thoughts in days! I think as riders we talk about all these big concepts that are really hard for a brain to grasp with nebulous words things like "forward," "in front of your leg," and even "pace." I'm going to use a word that for some reason we horse folks think is a very gauch word (and god forbid that denny himself reads it!): SPEED.

Whether you're one of those peoples that can count and see strides (left brainers) or one of those that just feels it (right brainers) the thing in common, heard over and over is "rhythm." But what is rhythm? Try "constant speed."

To find a distance your brain has to work a mathmatical computation. Remember those horrible word problems in school that was something like "if a train is traveling at 85 mph how long will it take to reach the station if the station is 60 miles away?" (R=D/T or Rate=Distance/Time) Both you and your horse are working, a more complicated version, of the same problem. If the train is going 85mph then a burst of 97mph only to slow down to 76mph it becomes a MUCH more difficult problem. The Rate variable needs be a constant!

Once you get the constant speed part only then will your brain (or your horse's brain) have the capacity to learn to see or feel your striding. Once you have constant speed you will have rhythm and once you have rhythm balance is not very far away.

pwynnnorman
Nov. 3, 2002, 03:15 PM
But, Weatherford:

"when it comes to distances, the human eye lies, and the rider is, in most cases, unable to calculate the distance to the fence with any degree of accuracy. The distance the rider perceives from the same point to a particular fence will appear different upon each approach. To solve this, the rider must leave the horse in charge...."

The key to this statement of his is how to interpret the phrase "in most cases."

If, by "most cases," he means your rank-and-file amateur or a pro who doesn't get to jump, jump, jump a lot (like some h-j'ers can), then I'd agree with him. BUT I've come upon several NOT Big Name riders (if they were BN's, I couldn't afford them), who could take a well-flatted greenie and never miss a distance. Another woman I used hopped on my jumper (also advanced in dressage) and before going into the ring, did a few ideal distances, then worked a couple tight ones and then did a few flyers, went in the ring and got a great ribbon.

By no means a BN, it was nevertheless quite a treat to watch her test all the horse's buttons (she also did lengthenings and shortenings on the flat, including working up to an almost canter-piaffe). To see her get to know my guy was to realize just how much control a rider with an eye (and other skills) can have with an amenable mount. I swear to you that if my guy had taken a rail that day, it would NOT have been the rider's fault. She put him so precisely to every fence that it was almost a foregone conclusion (since the jumps were only 3'6" or so, well within his abilities) that he'd go clean (and we had decided to go for the clear, not the time).

I guess, in all honesty, I brought up this subject because I am just so very, very impressed by riders who can do that. In a way, it's odd and somewhat unfortunate that this subject is such that those riders don't often get the kudos they deserve (IMO).

Sportponies Unlimited
Specializing in fancy, athletic, 3/4-TB ponies.
http://www.sportponiesunlimited.com

cookiesncream
Nov. 3, 2002, 06:09 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by subk:
This thread hasn't left my thoughts in days! I think as riders we talk about all these big concepts that are really hard for a brain to grasp with nebulous words things like "forward," "in front of your leg," and even "pace." I'm going to use a word that for some reason we horse folks think is a very gauch word (and god forbid that denny himself reads it!): SPEED.

Whether you're one of those peoples that can count and see strides (left brainers) or one of those that just feels it (right brainers) the thing in common, heard over and over is "rhythm." But what is rhythm? Try "constant speed."

To find a distance your brain has to work a mathmatical computation. Remember those horrible word problems in school that was something like "if a train is traveling at 85 mph how long will it take to reach the station if the station is 60 miles away?" (R=D/T or Rate=Distance/Time) Both you and your horse are working, a more complicated version, of the same problem. If the train is going 85mph then a burst of 97mph only to slow down to 76mph it becomes a MUCH more difficult problem. The Rate variable needs be a constant!

Once you get the constant speed part only then will your brain (or your horse's brain) have the capacity to learn to see or feel your striding. Once you have constant speed you will have rhythm and once you have rhythm balance is not very far away.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


I see the line of your argument, but, in my experience, primarily in show jumping, it is very important to make a distinction b/n speed and rhythm b/c it is often imperative to change the speed through lengthening or shortening stride, while it is rarely recommended to change the horses rhythm.

I can usually see a distance quiet well in smaller rings, where I don't have the chance to get my eye on the jump to early, but I have problems in large fields b/c I tend to see a distance from the gallop at about 9 or 10 strides away, which is often more of a mirage than the actual distance (esp. when approaching a technical line ie continuing on that gallop is NOT correct if I am approaching a tight verticle/verticle combo.) The way my BNT taught me to see a distance on huge fields or open terrain was to stay on the my horses open galloping pace until about 6 to 8 strides away from the jump. Up until that point (which he called entering the "hot zone") I should only be concentrating on cultivating a high quality gait as I look over the jump or to an area near the jump so I can steer to the jump without getting my eye set on the jump. His method was to sink into the tack and campact my horses stride to a working canter with a light half half and then solid feel when I enter the hot zone, but maintaing the rhythm that we had established when we first began. If there was a particular techinical question that the fence we were approaching asked, it might slighly change the degree of collection I would ask for as I entered the hot zone, but it would never change the method. After about 1.5 to 2 strides creating the new canter, I would then look at the jump (or above it) and an appropriate distance would be right there. Depending on how technical the fence was I might have to do a little something during that time (such as a water jump, where I would need to create the situation to allow me to override the jump.)

I do agree that the mathmatic equation for determining a distance is definilty important, but I know that I will not find the right distance to a particular jump if my rhythm is changing, even if my speed is staying the same. I think the mathmatical analysis becomes msot important when analysing different kinds of jumps. It is important to find different distances when jumping a verticle, oxer, grob, up hill, triple bar, bank, etc. My BNT had me do a drill a couple times where he would set up a course at the size we would be showing (4'6") and then make a line in the dirt in front of every fence showing where the ideal takeof spot should be for that fence, for that part of the course, on my horse (who has a tendency to jump like a shovel, with a slow, low shoulder, flat back, but incredible punch from his hind end.) After going around the course, we would analyze where we actually took off in relation to where we were supposed to take off, and why. This was an amazing exercise for me because I am very analytic. Although I always know when I am taking off too deep or too long, it was great for me to have the comparison of how if feels to be 2" too deep, versus 4" to deep, versus just right, versus 2" too long. After we did that just once, the second and third time around we took off from the line in the sand to every single fence. The amazing thing is, that once I thought about getting my horse to that line, rather than to the fence, all I did was concentrate on riding his stride and rhythm, we were much better set up for the jump, and it was not just that we had a better canter, so we could adjust more and have more options, but we didn't need to excersize those options b/c I was able to find a good distance. I guess what I am trying to say is that, even though I believe exercises like that are incredibly useful in developing the ability to give your horse the best chance of clearing an obstancle, I don't think it is possible or beneficial to completely rely solely on one's eye. I think the canter and rhythm are far more important, but you still need to address the jump enough to give yourself a chance to see a distance.
I am sorry this is so long and rambling.....I guess I am trying to clarify some of my own thoughts.

mwalshe
Nov. 4, 2002, 12:50 AM
That last post is really interesting. It is almost the same thing my old boss did and in an article in LAst months PH Jimmy Torano describes using the same method to re-train his wife's eye away form the long spot she kept going for. I think it's VERY useful.

Riding the rythmn unfortunately doesn't work for my analytical little brain. If you think about it, maintaining a perfectly even stride no matter what is going to leave you taking off from a half-stride half of the time.

Gry2Yng
Nov. 4, 2002, 04:27 PM
you aren't talking about maintaining a perfectly even stride. YOu are right, it wouldn't work, but you have to keep the stride length the same JUST LONG ENOUGH to determine whether you are short or long. (Let's just let go of the need for rhythm for a second.) If your stride length is constantly changing, you can't ever determine where you will arrive in relation to the fence.

Once you have answered the question "If I change nothing - where will I be?" you make an adjustment. Mathmatically, at worst you are a half stride off, so you press or you tug. The sooner you see it, the less you have to do.

For example, if, three strides out, you see that you are going to be a bit too deep, you just pull your shoulders back a bit and a well trained horse shortens each of the following three strides just a bit. If you see that you are a bit long you might relax the contact with the same leg and your horse will lengthen those last three strides for a perfect distance.

cookiesncream
Nov. 4, 2002, 05:13 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by maggymay:
That last post is really interesting. It is almost the same thing my old boss did and in an article in LAst months PH Jimmy Torano describes using the same method to re-train his wife's eye away form the long spot she kept going for. I think it's VERY useful.

Riding the rythmn unfortunately doesn't work for my analytical little brain. If you think about it, maintaining a perfectly even stride no matter what is going to leave you taking off from a half-stride half of the time.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I find this response very interesting, b/c the method i described in my previous post was used to exactly the same reason as JT had for retraining DT's eye: I would always go for "the bid" when I was out galloping around an open space, and it just wasn't working for me.

Regarding the second part of the reply, I just wanted to put in my 2 cents to agree with the previous poster. Although it is true that if you never, ever differ from a 12' stride, you would often end up 6' off, riding the rhythm as a method is more geared towards getting a consistent stride and rhythm so you can determine where you are, which then better allows you to change the length of the stide (not the rhythm) to get to the correct take off point. If an adjustable horse is already on a nice, balanced rythmic canter, then it is easy to even in the last 3 strides before a jump, lengthen 2 ft. per stide or shorten 2 ft. per stide, which, either way gets you to a correct distance. This, being the worst case senario (imagen if you saw it 6 strides away....then you would only have to add or take away 1 ft per stide, which is almost nothing!), still sets you up prefectly to choose the correct canter you need to address whatever question is being posed by the jump (ie. you would probably choose to compress for that extra stide entering a tight airy verticle combo, whereas you might choose to lengthen, while maintaing your powerful, rhythmic canter, if you were entering a long oxer oxer combo).

In my experiece, which admittedly has more to do with SJ derbies than real cross country, riding the rhythm, esp. when addressing the jumps, is even more important than on flat terrain, b/c you often need to choose a specific distance (is it would be really stupid to take go for the bid when jumping up hill), and it is hard to be able to make that decision if the rider is not very conscious of rhythm, b/c I have always found it harder to 1) keep my horse on a steady rhythm over rough terrain, and 2) it is hard to find a distance to to jump that is on a completely different plane than you are (although I have actually been known to see distances to the next fence while still in the middle of sliding down a slide....don't worry, i didn't take that distance....it would have been bad, but i waited it out and saw the correct one once I was actually cantering forward, rather than sliding down on my horseys a$$)

Another long rambling post...sorry....I am procrastinating

mwalshe
Nov. 4, 2002, 05:29 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Gry2Yng:
you aren't talking about maintaining a perfectly even stride. YOu are right, it wouldn't work, but you have to keep the stride length the same JUST LONG ENOUGH to determine whether you are short or long. (Let's just let go of the need for rhythm for a second.) If your stride length is constantly changing, you can't ever determine where you will arrive in relation to the fence.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
OK, right, I agree with you BUT if you listen to many a lesson or read over this whole thread you will hear many people say "Don't EVER look for a spot just ride the rythmn". I don't know if they actually mean that or if you just articulated their actual position in your post and they are not being clear. What you describe is the method I learned and still use- wait, look for your spot and then ride to it.

That is not what I have heard from other sources though. I once took a clinic with a BNT hunter/eq trainer who made up just canter around over low fences without doing anything. After getting numerous bad distances we all finally got one decent fluky one at which point he said "Yes! that's it! See what I mean?" . Frankly I didn't and I was confused by what he was going for. Maybe on this thread the difference is just semantics but at the clinic I asked and he said that he did want us making ANY corrections on the way to the fence, just maintaining an even stride.....

Gry2Yng
Nov. 4, 2002, 05:36 PM
After a few days I start to lose track of who said what, but I still don't understand what people who don't see do. Do they just take the chip when it happens?

cookiesncream - Don't know whether you have heard it before or not, BUT when a fence is place on a plateau (for example a fence on top of the Lexington Bank at KHP) you cannot see the distance until you get over the lip. If you try to see *it* on the approach you will miss. You must wait. When I walk courses with a question like this I tell myself, "There is no distance until I get to the top." /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif And you have to take some of those goofy dips one stride infront of the fence into consideration as well.

For those who don't see distances this will really throw you out of wack, but I try to see a distance to those little gullies in relation to the fence so that my horse's front feet either land before or after the gully depending on the striding to the fence. That said, when I miss, I get in the back seat kick and slip the reins like everyone else.

cookiesncream
Nov. 4, 2002, 08:30 PM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Gry2Yng:

cookiesncream - Don't know whether you have heard it before or not, BUT when a fence is place on a plateau (for example a fence on top of the Lexington Bank at KHP) you cannot see the distance until you get over the lip. If you try to see *it* on the approach you will miss. You must wait. When I walk courses with a question like this I tell myself, "There is no distance until I get to the top." /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif And you have to take some of those goofy dips one stride infront of the fence into consideration as well.

QUOTE]


I guess I didn't articulate it very well, but i was trying to say the same thing about being on the same place/level as the jump before looking for a distance.....i guess it didn't come out right, but to translate my slide analogy, seeing a distance coming down the slide would be like seeing one before getting onto the plateau....you may see something, but it sure as hell isn't right.....waiting untill you get on the plateau is comparable to waiting untill you have finished the slide to address the jump....in this case, your plateau would be a lot like a big bank, right? the same can certainly be said for waiting until you go down/up the bank before finding a distance to the next fence, even if it is a related line.......goofy dips one stride in front of the jump must just kinda suck;)

cookiesncream
Nov. 4, 2002, 09:11 PM
I know you guys are probably really tired of all my responses to this topic, but it really intrigues me, so, here's another one.
Here is what a few different (mostly h/j people) have told me about their "distances":

Successful hunter trainer-she often sees distances 10, 15 strides away, which is great, except she has to always work really hard not to see distances too early on babies (a lot can happen on a 3 yrs old in 15 strides!)

Successful Grand prix jumper rider-he doesn't see where he is going to take off until the stride before he takes off....been riding since he was a little kid, but has just never developed more of an eye. usually he rides the canter and everything goes great. occasionally, it is painfully obvious that he doesn't see distances

Successful BNT Grand prix rider-this guy has such an amazing eye that on one little mare that has a somewhat unique attitude towards the whole rider/horse interaction (ie she does open jumpers, but completely refuses to be broke) he finds his distance in the corner and then makes it happen by shifting his weight, which moves her laterally. she doesn't have real sharp go/whoa skills, but she has been very successful in the open jumpers using the lateral direction method. this is the trainer that taught me the "hot zone" method i wrote about earlier, which he presumably uses most of the time, except when the horseys make something special necessary

Another former Grand prix rider-didn't have a consistent eye, so she would count strides to everything (think "it will be 35 strides from the first fence all the way around the ring to the second fence, then 40 strides to the water at fence 3, etc, etc.....wouldn't that be a fun way to ride cross country.....just 100 strides from fence 3 to 4) but this method totally worked for her.

Maybe there really is no right way so much as finding a way that works for you, and, hopefully, your horse......i guess this is just rambling, but I am so curious about this......can't wait for the book!
and for my 2 cents about the book, find some accomplished riders who really had to learn to ride (ie were not blessed with natural talent as kids). they are often the most insightful for those of us like me who lack natural talent b/c they really had to think through and learn everything to get where they are, whereas others can do things right b/c they feel right w/o deeper thought about it

pwynnnorman
Nov. 5, 2002, 04:32 AM
Interesting statement: "I still don't understand what people who don't see do." And what you said that follows. Correct me if I'm wrong, but your words imply that you DO ride (or make an effort to ride) quite "precisely," even on x-c? You don't just leave it to the horse (i.e. YOU don't merely riding pace, carriage and rhythm, but not distance--you ride the distance, too?) Am I reading you right?

I recently heard that a very successful BNR also believes in a very precise ride, even x-c! Amazing the different views there are on this!

Sportponies Unlimited
Specializing in fancy, athletic, 3/4-TB ponies.
http://www.sportponiesunlimited.com

Gry2Yng
Nov. 5, 2002, 06:18 AM
Keep it coming cookies, I am ALWAYS interested in how other people make their eye work, because as discussed, unless you are told, you don't know that slides and plateaus mess with your eye (or I suppose you can do ALOT of them badly until you figure it out).

I really enjoyed your thoughts from different riders.

pwyn - yes, I do see a distance, even xc, but this has become a bit of a problem for me. I have found that my eye has to re-adjust to gallop speed, so I was having trouble making the time at prelim because I couldn't see the distance out of a 550 gallop. I also like the perfect jump to everything, which has given my horse a lot of confidence, but again, keeps me from REALLY galloping at some of the galloping fences.

When I see the "big dip" issue, I always try to plan my distance to the gully because that dip is just like having your horse change his stride length, the distance disappears when they step in it, and I HATE puking over anything.

But I am getting better at letting go and letting it happen. I have walked a few xc courses with a rider who doesn't have an eye, and I have found it helps my time - and also gives me less to think about.

percheron
Nov. 6, 2002, 11:42 AM
The other day I had a 60 foot line set up panel verical to a rolltop. set about 2'6".
I ride a very green mare and have not jumped much in a couple of years. I use to have a good eye and had been told so my some top intructors. I remember playing a game in a group lesson .We had to call out how many strides we were out from different types of fences.

Any way back to the line. My 11 year old daughter and her 13.1 have no clue about eye or stride they just jump. They were able to get a nice steady five in that line every time rolltop to vertical vertical to rolltop they did it by rhytum and feel. My green mare and I had the worst time getting the line I knew it was a five or even a four if we cantered in forward. some times its in the not knowing and keeping that forward feeling that gives us the best rides. We over think.

I have been struggling with trying to get my eye back. It seems to be coming but it is by the holding till i see it method.
After reading this thread and remember what I had been taught about forward first b-balance second rhthumn third . I went out and jumped again and it rode much better.
If you see your distance thats great but having those three elements first and always. It will ride well.

Weatherford
Nov. 6, 2002, 05:42 PM
I believe that the height of the fences - and the heights you learned to jump over originally - will impact your attempt to "re-find" your eye. Or at least that has been my experience. So, if you are struggling with that 2'6" height/distance/line - chalk it up to learning in the days when all we DID jump was 3'6"...

19 year member of the New Hope clique! /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

percheron
Nov. 7, 2002, 05:43 PM
Yea thats what my instructor says. Its because I was use to larger fences and that you never really see the smaller ones. Forward balance and rhythm will have to be my mainstay for a while.

denny
Nov. 8, 2002, 04:02 AM
I`ve been in brief correspondence with Robby about his huge project, the definitive eye book.To be titled,don`t you think, "Here,Spot,Here,Spot!"(Why won`t that damn dog ever come when I call him?)
I definitely agree with those who predict that there will be quite a range of answers, and certainly no definitive one way to get in right, time after time.
But that`s o.k. I would have given anything 40 years ago when I 1st started jumping to have been able to read lots of people`s ideas and theories about this MOST relevant of questions. And if Robby`s book turns out to be a grand smorgasbord of options and theories, I feel he will have done a gigantic service to all of us who jump.That`s because I so totally agree with whoever wrote that article about Rodney Jenkins when she said that there is nothing that gives a horse more confidence than consistently getting him to the right take off point, and nothing that discourages him more than constantly getting him in wrong, so he has to struggle.
As far as I know, NOBODY has tackled this great mystery in any definitive way, and I for one can`t wait to read what Robby discovers!
Denny

CluesGirl
Nov. 8, 2002, 04:15 AM
I think I will get it for Clue for Christmas, since he is the only one who seems to know what his favorite distance is for the day.

Some days, he agrees....others, he doesn't.

I'll let him highlight his favorite points and he can give it back to me for reference. /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Seriously - that is the first time I've read that Rodney Jenkins quote....and my horse has turned into quite the dirty stopper since I have lost my ability to ride him to a correct distance. I wish they had a prescription glass for my depth-perception (only when jumping!) problem.

What a wonderful idea with this book.
I'll be 1st on the list.

An Irish woman is not drunk so long as she can hold on to one blade of grass and not fall off the earth.

Give Blood - Ride Horses!

pwynnnorman
Nov. 8, 2002, 04:24 AM
Did you guys decide on a format? I like the series of essays idea a lot. Will you need an illustrator (and/or someone to diagram schooling figures, etc.)? There are probably resources here, but I have a student who is just an awesome talent in that area.

Sportponies Unlimited
Specializing in fancy, athletic, 3/4-TB ponies.
http://www.sportponiesunlimited.com

asterix
Nov. 8, 2002, 07:48 AM
I know this is a lot of work, but perhaps it could be gleaned from clinics over the course of a year or so -- video an exercise, with the clinician's commentary.
Early in this thread the idea of a video was floated, and it might be a great add-on to show some of these things in motion...

Pixie Dust
Nov. 8, 2002, 08:18 AM
Oooo, a companion video would just be too awsome. /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

I'm not convinced about the small jump/big jump business. I remember hearing about an Anne Kursinski clinic where they (the high group) did all the exersizes with dinky little jumps. I mean the distance will be different but the concept is the same.

I do not smirk. But if I did, this would be a good opportunity. - Worf

Robby Johnson
Nov. 8, 2002, 11:49 AM
Oh, feeling oh-so-clever on this gorgeous autumn day! Hoping my pony will be good tonight, before I head to aeropuerto to collect Ms. S-V. And hope he will go well in the morning.

I am currently working to outline a concept (with great input from Weatherford and Jeanette), then the next step in the process is getting a publisher to commit to it, then we'll start the fun part.

Writing a book like this requires a lot of research, which really isn't the hard part. It's convincing someone to fund it that is, and that must be accomplished with a concise synopsis/outline.

So we'll see what happens.

I'm not sure we'll need an illustrator, p-wynn ... Denny has agreed to pose for all of the photographs wearing Heidi's collection of thongs, and even said that *he* will step forward and give us the "tackle shot" that I'm too shy to do.

Robby

I see a stairway so I follow it down
Into the belly of a whale
Where my secrets echo all around ...

joliemom
Nov. 8, 2002, 03:23 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Denny has agreed to pose for all of the photographs wearing Heidi's collection of thongs, and even said that *he* will step forward and give us the "tackle shot" that I'm too shy to do.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE> Denny's such the renaissance man, Rider, Trainer, Educator, and now, Fisherman!

joliemom, yes, I do know what a tackle shot is

"If you ain't got it in ya, you can't blow it out." Pops

Life is an Event
Jan. 11, 2009, 11:48 PM
Thought this thread from a long long time ago deserved a bump.



I asked him a few weeks ago to consider doing a between the rounds column on this subject (he said he'd talk to a few riders about--he also predicted that riders with the ability to ride a distance would say it's a must, while those without an eye would say it isn't)...but, anyway, I wanted to pose the question here because of what someone wrote on the "mini-rolex" thread:

"I was at the Blythe Tait clinic that Robby put on, at training/prelim move up. The point I got from the pole excercise is that when fences get more technical, you must be able to have control over exactly what your horses stride is."

[I had to go back and edit this because when I read it again, I see she said "what" your horses stride is, not "where." What follows is based on knowing "where" your horse's stride is (as in, arriving at the right distance for take-off). Sorry.]

I agree with this wholeheartedly, but I've heard (from a student of his) that Jimmy Wofford says that you shouldn't have that approach.

Meanwhile, to me, it's all related to dressage (not just because dressage is actually my forte, as much as I love the run-and-jump). I was just saying the other day to someone that success in stadium is far more related to success in dressage than in cross-country. For example, at Waredaca recently, the slopes and turns really made it important to keep the horse off it's forehand, in front of your leg and balanced. But if half-halts, flying changes and/or counter canter are not at your disposal, IMO, going clean becomes little more than a matter of luck (and/or a horse who doesn't like to hit the jumps).

On the mini-rolex thread, people were at times critical of H-J'ers for their dependence upon trainers, but I want to end this post by saying that, IMO, eventers have a LOT to learn from H-Jers on how to be more than a lucky passenger in stadium. Riding distances IS important to them. Wofford aside, I still say it should be important to eventers (except for those whose horses are good enough to save their bacon whenever the need arises, of course!).

Sportponies Unlimited
Specializing in fancy, athletic, 3/4-TB ponies.
http://www.sportponiesunlimited.com

pwynnnorman
Jan. 12, 2009, 08:02 AM
Scared me, though, when I saw my name there! I thought someone was impersonating me.

What got me about rereading these posts was this one by Heather, because I think it solidifies my own beliefs concerning the safety aspects behind this subject, especially at the higher levels of the sport :



I think that if you are not blessed with a natural eye (as I was not) you then try to learn by the "ride the rhythm" method--however, in nmy expereince, [B]that method is only as good as the mount you are sitting on.

2ndyrgal
Jan. 12, 2009, 09:13 AM
we need updates! And hopefully Denny will use the next couple of months to figure out a way to help this hapless newbie at Adult Camp in March. The big horse, who is the world's greenest 8 yr old, always sees his spot. Quite disconcerting, about 6-10 strides from the fence, he gives you the same feeling you get when you're driving and you hit the cruise control, he goes the same speed, but you have the feeling that very little you do is going to influence him, save steering. I had him in the hunter ring for a bit, and though he went around clean and clear, even the pro's that sat on him, send hit was a bit unnerving riding him down the lines, they just couldn't put their finger on why. He doesn't rush or pull, just sort of "carries" himself (and his rider) on to the next thing. His reaction time is such that if you correct within the last few strides, you might as well not bother.

clivers
Jan. 12, 2009, 10:08 AM
I'm so glad to see this thread resurrected Life' !! During my lesson yesterday the other rider, my coach and I had a lively discussion on this very topic.

I would absolutely LOVE to see a video + discussion DVD produced on this topic. Just a hunch, but I think the enterprising folks who may hopefully still be planning to produce such a product would find that many of us riders would consider it a valuable tool that we would happily purchase!

BaliBandido
Jan. 12, 2009, 02:15 PM
"And I agree with those who claim that the possession of that kind of eye conveys a huge advantage to that rider`s horse.What do you guys think?
Denny

As long as that horse always has that rider! This may have been said already- (I skipped ahead!) but I think in developing the horse a good 'eye' is an advantage in teaching the horse and in developing its confidence- up to a point.

As a H/J trainer there are alot of horses that are considered 'pro' horses that have absolutely no ability to think for themselves, they really do wait to be told what to do- all of their self preservation is pretty much gone. Those horses then get sold to an ammie or kid and it can get a little ugly when they do not have perfect piloting.

As with anything, I think moderation is the key. Yes the horse benifits from a good foundation, formed with correct rides to allow the horse to be confident, but if that translates into the rider manipulating each footfall then it is overdone.

The trick seems to be finding that balance- figuratively and literally. Once a horse is comfortable jumping around and is relaxed, I think the rider now has to step back a little and stop placing the horse at the right 'spot', but continue to have the horse in a position to jump well from a distance that the horse finds.

I do try to ride my kid and ammie horses in a manner that does not have them surrender to my judgement, but instead try to give them the best path, pace and position of thier body (on hind end, straight, not lugging etc) and then ride that solid rthyem to the jump. Sometimes after I have ridden something a lot I will notice they are waiting on me too much and I realize that without even really thinking about it, I have taken over and the horse is now not so much a partner in this job, but is my vehicle. I don't really want that!

I think it is not an either or situation, I think a rider can develop an eye- even if it is not always right- but I think more important is creating the things that make a good distance- proper balance, impulsion, pace, path etc.

I think the rider has a job to do and the horse has a job to do, I do tell some of my more 'fussy' riders that if they are going to tell the horse what to do every second then they are responsible for every distance and they better be accurate. If they are not, then they need to stick to doing just their job which is properly riding the horse so it can do its job.

Great discussion, great points being made.