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View Full Version : DISTANCES!!!! ughhh



ObiliviousJumper87
Nov. 24, 2001, 09:11 PM
I can tell when a good distance is coming and i tell also tell when a horrendous distance is coming. I have a horse who will save you from any distance but will let you know, hey man that wasnt fun and will pop over it funny and contort his body in every which way lol. I have done plenty of grids and gymnastics. i have finally moved up to 3'9 - 4' and these chip ins are goin gto kill us if they happen. My question in :

~How do I fix a bad distance when I see it coming.

B/c in a jumper show it will be a techinicle fault if i circle or cross my path. should i just gun it <scarey> or collect or what? as of now i am just circling and going deep into the corners and geting a good approach and roo figures it out. i need to find a way that i can cut off about 4 strides and not totally in the corner. i usually press him forward at the last two strides to make up and it sometimes works. jumping my dogs <lol> i have kinda figured out that if i got fast <but collected at the same time lol> i rarely will chip in but if i choke and go slow i will mostly chip in, UGH!! help!

Due to budget cuts, the light at the end of the tunnel has been cut off, sorry folks!!
~*Proud co-owner of CorLin Productions*~

ObiliviousJumper87
Nov. 24, 2001, 09:11 PM
I can tell when a good distance is coming and i tell also tell when a horrendous distance is coming. I have a horse who will save you from any distance but will let you know, hey man that wasnt fun and will pop over it funny and contort his body in every which way lol. I have done plenty of grids and gymnastics. i have finally moved up to 3'9 - 4' and these chip ins are goin gto kill us if they happen. My question in :

~How do I fix a bad distance when I see it coming.

B/c in a jumper show it will be a techinicle fault if i circle or cross my path. should i just gun it <scarey> or collect or what? as of now i am just circling and going deep into the corners and geting a good approach and roo figures it out. i need to find a way that i can cut off about 4 strides and not totally in the corner. i usually press him forward at the last two strides to make up and it sometimes works. jumping my dogs <lol> i have kinda figured out that if i got fast <but collected at the same time lol> i rarely will chip in but if i choke and go slow i will mostly chip in, UGH!! help!

Due to budget cuts, the light at the end of the tunnel has been cut off, sorry folks!!
~*Proud co-owner of CorLin Productions*~

Kachoo
Nov. 24, 2001, 10:19 PM
Let me tell you - the ability to identify the distance coming up but at the same time to have no clue what to do about it if it's not ideal has been a special talent of mine for years /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif. I coped with it pretty well at the 4' level, but when I moved up to the 4'3"s late this year, let me tell you - things weren't pretty. My trainer, bless his persistent little heart, lectured me again and again on technique and what I should do, swearing on his eternal soul that eventually, out of necessity, I would learn how. We practiced and practiced, and I tried one thing after another, and not too long ago, out of necessity, I learned how. The worst part of all? The techniques he described in the first place were exactly what I had to do. I'll try and describe them here for you.

Hearing you talk about chip-ins and contortions and going too slow out of your corners kind of gives me the impression that you have a similar problem to the one that kept coming back to bite me in the ass - is your first instinct to pick to your fences, trying to create the perfect distance? And instead of doing that, do you find you taper down the stride to nothing, until you're under the fence, leaving your poor little horse to pretzel himself over it /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif? What you were saying about pressing up to the jump was very much on the right track, but I think it will help you to do it much earlier than two strides away:

1) Build up a base canter that feels powerful and boundy but not out of control (think 75% of a hand-gallop).
2) A stride or two before your turn/corner/whatever, half-halt enough to balance him, bring him back just a little, and get his attention.
3) As you round your corner, shift up a full gear (85% of a hand-gallop) and DO NOT ALLOW YOURSELF TO PICK. Take the forward option when it makes itself apparent. I was so bad about it that every time I got the urge to grab his face, I made myself kick instead. Honestly, once you do this a few times, you will start finding solid, deep distances that you can ride UP to. Finding distances out of a consistently forward ride is much easier than trying to create one by picking. It may feel weird at first, but when I say forward, I mean ride up past your level of comfort. Experiment with how much you need.

Sure, there will be the odd time when you see a super-short spot coming up, but the beauty of the forward ride is that the worst-case scenario is you having to give a strong half-halt to break up the stride for a second and then, depending on what you see, either kicking back up or maintaining a smaller stride until you can kick him off the ground. You'll still have enough impulsion to clear the fence without him having to look like he's trying out for a spot in the Cirque de Soleil /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif, because you won't be on that cramped, squishy little stride. If you see a long spot, kick up enough to make it deeper. You will have enough power to handle it.

Hopefully, this has made sense to you. I know how frustrating it all can be, because so much of this part of jumping is trial-and-error. You're trying one thing after another, hoping it'll work, and it just feels too much like stumbling around in the dark for comfort. But honestly, once you finally discover the feel, it's very hard to miss. Every distance looks like it's painted for you in neon colors, and you'll be able to find them, no matter how big the fences get or what horse you happen to be riding. Just stick with it, and you will see results. Good luck, let me know how it goes.

Cheers,
Susie
http://www.kachoom.com

"I am an idealist. I don't know where I am going, but I'm on my way." ~Carl Sandburg

daytimedrama
Nov. 24, 2001, 10:25 PM
Susie you are great! but what if your problem ( like mine) is always opting for the long one? I used to have a stopper that only took the long one, I am getting better to be able to ask for a shorter distance, but there is always this nasty voice inside telling me to ask George to Superman it! Any Ideas? /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif

~Christina~
"I don't patronize bunny rabbits!" -Heathers
*Nothing is foolproof to a talented fool.*

geckoUBC
Nov. 24, 2001, 10:34 PM
I actually used to do what daytimedrama is talking about, and now I'm more inclined to pick to my fences as Kachoo described. What she said is EXACTLY what my trainer says!! /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif Balance through the corner, and come FORWARD to the jump!

But for daytime drama - my trainer would always say to add one more stride from what I wanted to do when I always went for the long distance. And make sure you get the add done far enough back so that you aren't getting terribly deep. Also jumping with cantering poles on both sides of the jump is good for both problems - you just have to get yourself to the pole and the jump will work itself out. You'll soon get used to the feel you have to have to get a nice spot to the jumps.

Kachoo
Nov. 24, 2001, 10:39 PM
Ah yes, I've suffered through every extreme of not being able to find distances. My most recent problem was the picking, but when I first came to Frank, all we worked on was fixing my kamikaze need to take off from six strides away /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif. Honestly, just as the urge to grab at the horse's face and taper down to nothing is one reason the distance never seems to be there, the urge to gradually build the stride on the way to the fence is another reason. After you do it enough, your eye becomes accustomed to finding that spot, and the more frustrated you get, the tougher it is. Once again, the thing that worked best for me was the formula I just outlined for ObliviousJumper. Set yourself a base canter that feels powerful and that you're happy with, half-halt just before the turn, and then ride out of it. Maintain that forward ride to the fence, and RESIST THE URGE TO TAKE THE FIRST DISTANCE YOU SEE, IF IT'S A RETARDED ONE. I know that we're all very fixated on the "oh my God, please just let me see a spot, ANY spot!" mentality, but do not change that canter until you see something feasible. Eventually, you will get to a spot where you will either have to wait just a tad for a nice deep distance or you will have to press up just a little to make the longish one deep. When I say ride forward, I'm not talking about gradually building on the stride all the way to the fence. All I mean is to equip yourself with enough power to give yourself plenty of options and then to maintain until you make a decision. Honestly, if you see a huge flyer coming at you, don't be afraid to sit up and wait past it - there is usually a nice deep one just after it. Cutelil pony was right on about practicing over groundpoles - try it there first, and then over fences. Also, although this probably isn't the problem, do you have a problem with excessive leaning forward? For some reason, some people find that leaning forward too much makes it easier for your eye to pick up longer spots, just as leaning back too much makes the short spots easier to see. The best thing is the middle path, as Buddha once said /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif. Hope this helps. I probably shouldn't be giving out riding advice, considering that I am by no means near being what I consider "very skilled" but these are problems I have been through myself, so I figure it can't hurt to share the ways I muddled out of them! Good luck!

Cheers,
Susie
http://www.kachoom.com

"I am an idealist. I don't know where I am going, but I'm on my way." ~Carl Sandburg

[This message was edited by Kachoo on Nov. 25, 2001 at 01:49 AM.]

Kachoo
Nov. 24, 2001, 10:58 PM
But I just found an interesting passage in my "Winning With Frank Chapot" book that discusses exactly this. I'll post some of it here, if that'll help:

"While trying to get that ideal distance, some of these riders shorten the horse's stride and try to slow the horse coming out of a turn. This practice can have disastrous results, especially if the rider decreases or breaks the horse's stride in the process . . . The best way to get to that ideal situation is to ride forward out of a turn toward a jump. I do not mean that a rider should gallop wildly out of a turn; instead, he or she should quietly ask the horse to go forward. If you go forward to the jumps, you will see the distances earlier, sometimes four, five, or six strides out. When that happens, you have plenty of time to make any adjustments several strides away from the fence. For example, if you see a very long distance to the jump, you can encourage your mount to lengthen its stride three or four strides before the obstacle. The same idea holds for seeing a tight distance. If you see a steady distance, you can take your horse back and shorten its stride gradually. When you get to the last stride before the jump, there is nothing, or very little, you have to do. Everything has already been done . . . ultimately, this style of riding will make your horse quieter and more relaxed about jumping . . . "

Whew /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif.

Cheers,
Susie
http://www.kachoom.com

"I am an idealist. I don't know where I am going, but I'm on my way." ~Carl Sandburg

AAJumper
Nov. 25, 2001, 12:27 AM
Susie, I've totally found what you've said to be true. First and foremost is to establish a forward pace. When I do that, then I have the option to adjust. Too weak of a canter and you can't add when necessary; too strong of a canter and you have your horse out on the end of it's step and you can't lengthen the step anymore.

I also went through the leaving WAY too long (like as in landing IN an oxer)stage to picking. For the leaving long, as mentioned earlier, when I saw something really forward, I'd tell myself there was always one more. For the picking problem, the establishing a strong canter to begin with always works. I was taught as you mentioned, Susie...strong canter to start, balance around the corner, and maintain a solid canter to the fence...no drastic changes.

ObiliviousJumper87
Nov. 25, 2001, 07:02 AM
very much! i just get not really scared but apprehensive towards the fence <he used to be a stopped untl his back was done> and thats all i think about and when we get those bads stops i am like OMG GRAB THE FACE and its horrible but i am really working on it.

Due to budget cuts, the light at the end of the tunnel has been cut off, sorry folks!!
~*Proud co-owner of CorLin Productions*~

JumpItHighPie
Nov. 25, 2001, 07:32 AM
I too, have suffered from all types of distance problems -

For about 2 months my horse would always add in one stride before the fence, no matter the fence height, no matter the if it were a long spot or short. So my trainer had me work on opening Pilot up, which really helped with both of our spots.

Here a just a few random suggestions-
1) Place a trot pole right before the fence, which will give your horse a distance rather then you having to place him at one. This will give you an oppurtunity to actually *feel* what it is you are looking for when asking your horse to take a specific spot.
2) Canter two ground poles as a line of fences- I know this sounds so "beginnerish" but this is an exercise I have been doing for years, and I tell you what, it does wonders for both me and my horse. It really allows you to concentrate with out worrying about the fence height or what-have-you.

I hope this help- I am not sure if this is what you were looking for, but they are just suggestions! Best of luck, you will get it sooner or later!

*Jenno*
"The man who makes no mistakes lacks boldness and the spirit of adventure. He is the one who never tries anything. His is the brake on the wheel of progress. And yet it cannot be truly said he makes no mistakes, because his biggest mistake is the very fact that he tries nothing, does nothing, except criticize those who do things." David S.
http://hometown.aol.com/pithegr8t

daytimedrama
Nov. 25, 2001, 11:30 AM
Thank you every one for your awesome replys I know that they are going to help. My poor trainer has also lectured and lectured me how George is not a horse like Wesley (my old stopper) and George will jump if we get close to the fence!

Poor George finally got fed up with me asking for the long one, so I've learned that if I don't ride and make a decesion, George will simply say, "ok mommy, we'll circle here until you can make up your mind!" That really got me back to Planet Earth and riding! /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

~Christina~
"I don't patronize bunny rabbits!" -Heathers
*Nothing is foolproof to a talented fool.*

Blueprint
Nov. 25, 2001, 11:52 AM
Ah the joy of distances. I used to be the worst about picking, and I would pick away to nothing. It has taken a while to get it right, but now I have a way easier time. My big thing is to keep my hip relaxed. That way I am always with my horse and I can really keep my rhythm. The distances are always there out of the turns, but the second I tense my hip and lower back the distance goes away and I pick.
Another big thing is pace. You have to start with enough. I had a trainer that gave me three rules; start with enough, keep it the same, and change ONLY when I have to. With enough pace you can either continue for the longer distance, or steady for the shorter. You have to give yourself options. And you don't want to take your pace away in the corners, then you will either end up gunning it or eating the jump. Always continue through the turns.
When I started riding jumpers it was so hard for me to ride past that perfect hunter distance, but it all made sense after a bit. Don't pull for that pat on the ground step, ride up to it. Remember to help you horse out when you get to that deep spot by holding your body back and supporting with lots of leg.
When you see that deep spot, you want to shorten your horse's step, without taking away the momentum. That way you give yourself more room, but you are still going forward. Oh and another rule, don't ever circle! Ride the distance, how else are you going to learn. I used to LOVE to circle till I found the perfect spot. That isn't allowed in the show ring so don't do it when you school. Hope this helps!

Emily

BaByHuEy1234
Nov. 25, 2001, 12:19 PM
Don't know if this has been mentioned but I'll go ahead and state my view anyway /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

When you jump 2 individual fences (not in a line) there are 2 major turns. The turn after landing from jump # 1 and the turn to jump # 2. After landing from jump # 1 get your horse & yourself organized before rounding the corner. Then as you are cantering into the 2nd corner with your **medium** step and canter right to the jump.

Maybe, your problem is that you are worrying to much about the distance. Really, the distance to the jump is the horses job because I mean lets face it, if we put them in a jumping lane by themselves they are going to jump the fences probably better than what they would do if we were on their backs.

At the Anne Kursinski clinic I attended this weekend the one thing she made a point of is: Less is better. So try not to do so much. Just ride the medium canter up to the jumps and just let the jump happen. It's your horses job you just keep the medium step to the jump. Because our job as the rider is only rythem (how fast) and direction (where).

I don't know if this has helped any, but I hope it has /infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif

~*Tracey and Baby Huey (The monster sized horsey)*~

DMK
Nov. 25, 2001, 02:55 PM
And on that note Baby Huey, I can't stress how important it is to RIDE the first turn!!!

Some people (not mentioning myself of course /infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif ) used to have a little siesta on the first turn. I'd take a nap, catch up with old friends, write a few novels... do just about anything but RIDE the pace through the first turn... Of course I was very good about riding the second turn, but guess what? It's too late then (especially if you don't have a long run to your fence). As long as you are correcting your pace in the second turn you are going to have a changing pace coming out of the turn (and possibly a crooked horse from the change in pace).

Whatever corrections, recoveries, etc. you need to do from a jump, need to be done BEFORE you leave the first turn. The second turn is all about the next jump - not the last one.

An exercise that helped teach me to focus on pace through turns was to ride an oval about 50X100 feet with a ground pole set about halfway down on each long side. Canter the oval, and as soon as you are cantering over the one ground pole, look at the second ground pole and never take your eyes off it though the two turns it takes to get to it (it's harder than you think, because this is a small enough circle that you really have to crank your head around). As soon as you are cantering over that pole, focus on the next one, and change directions every few times.

It's a great exercise because if you are not focusing on pace through the turn it's probably because you are not trying to feel your pace, and you may even be stargazing - or even looking at the next fence, but not looking at it in a way that equates your distance relationship with said fence (I call that "looking but not seeing" /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif ).

ScubySnak82
Nov. 25, 2001, 03:06 PM
I don't have much experience jumping 4'3, actually I have only done it once on a horse I tried lol, but I think finding a distance to 3'6 or any size jump shouldn't change from jumping something different, except that you have little or no room for error...but here is what helps me. I think I have a good eye. Finding the right distance is the least of my problems...I think gunning it to a jump that big, or any jump would make it so hard (and dangerous) to find the right distance. I think keeping a consistant collected stride would be the best way. My trainers always tell people that on the right stride, the distance will always be right there, and that seems to be true. Also something that my trainer told me the help me find distances to single oxers which really helps me, is to find the distance to the back rail of the jump, which prevents you from taking too long distances to oxers which can cost you rails in the jumpers.

Lauren /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

WHOA!
Nov. 25, 2001, 05:24 PM
Just in addition to what everybody else has said--

make sure you're controlling your horse's shoulder and hip all the way around your course. If he's bulging out or collapsing in, you'll never find a distance no matter how fabulous your pace is.

Spider
Nov. 25, 2001, 05:39 PM
with sally cousins, and IT WAS AMAZING! She introduced a couple of excersises that are relatively simple-looking, so they are often overlooked. These are also excersises that Rodrego (sp?) Pessoa uses w/ his horses.

1. Set ground poles up going across the diagonal and just use those to get the right spots, also practice moving up to a distance, and collecting to a spot.

2. ( i got more from this excersise) Set two ground rails up anyway spaced 30 ft apart. Practice moving up for 2 strides, and collecting for 3 strides. She says that you can learn a lot from these excersises, for example every horse can collect better on one side, and lengthen better on one side. (so maybe your horse can lengthen better to the left, and collect better to the right) This excersise also helps you learn how much aid you need to move up for 2 or collect for 3. Riding the poles is almost the same as riding the fences, there is less pounding on your horse.

I personally found that doing the second excersise helped me tremendously! I just bought my horse Nov. 5 and i haven't really jumped him all that much, maybe 3 or 4 times before the clinic. Ben's stride is much bigger than my other horse's stride so i was having a hard time seeing my distances. Riding this excersise made Ben so adjustable, he felt sharp to my aids which helps so much. I could move up to a distance or settle without ever feeling like he was going to run through my aids.
I hope that this helps. I know it really helped me

Horses can build character, not merely urge one to improve on it. Horses forge the mind, the character, the emotions and inner lives of humans.

Lord Helpus
Nov. 25, 2001, 07:16 PM
I think I am going to print out this thread. Its great!

To add (or reinforce) a couple of things that I have to think about all the time:

If I am having trouble with distances it is almost always because:

1. The horse is not straight coming out of the turn. A bulging horse will fool your eye every time.

2. I am not riding a constant pace. If I am lengthening, my eye will always see long (even if the spot isn't really there). If I am shortening, my eye will always see short (even if I have to hold so much that we end up walking over the jump).

And, as Ann Kurskinski said, many years ago when I took a clinic with her: "If you have to make a big move, it is always the wrong move."

AAJumper
Nov. 25, 2001, 08:03 PM
I like that quote Pam! It sounds like a catchy one...one that would stick in your brain.

ponygrl
Nov. 25, 2001, 10:22 PM
I've been taught if you can't see a spot or if you dont like the one you see....


CLOSE YOUR LEG AND PUSH.

this way you either push closer, or if you have to take the long one youhave the impulsion to do it with style.

"When in doubt, cowboy out!"

Laura

mwalshe
Nov. 25, 2001, 10:37 PM
I read this somehwere, in an eventing book by Jimmy Wofford I think- basically look at the jump it it seems to be leaning away from you you are coming in long- speed up. It it seems to be leanbing toward you you are coming in short- collect NOW so you can ride the last stride forward. If it just looks funny you are a half stride off- do something drastic!, which I guess depends on your individual horse etc. He said anyone who masters this will never really have problems seeing a distance and it works for me once you figure it out (you might want to read the original as Im sure it's explained better).

As for getting there from a corner etc. I think the most important thing is outside leg, outside leg and more outside leg. It usually gets you where you need to be.