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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug. 10, 2008
    Location
    Cornville USA
    Posts
    490

    Default I suck at oxers...

    I need a pep talk that is chock full of genius.

    I can't freaking ride to an oxer.

    Canter up to 4'6 vertical - not a problem. Find my spots 99% of the time.

    Have me canter up to a wide oxer (3'6+) and I can't find a freaking spot. It is never the height of the oxer that gets me, but the width of it. Tall narrow oxer = no problem. Tall wide oxer = blech.

    I'm not sure what my issue is exactly. Have a plan with a competent trainer - just trying to figure out my mental issues with it.

    So, what are some suggestions you might have? Anyone else have similar problems?



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb. 22, 2000
    Location
    Keswick, VA
    Posts
    7,868

    Default

    If you are focused on how wide the oxer is, you are not looking at the front rail.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul. 22, 2010
    Posts
    126

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by CBoylen View Post
    If you are focused on how wide the oxer is, you are not looking at the front rail.
    Weird.. I was always taught to look at the back rail



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep. 16, 2008
    Posts
    390

    Default

    I feel your pain! I love verticals and narrow oxers.... I even like triple bars, but sometimes those big square oxers freak me out and I end up making all sorts of mistakes. This has gotten better over time, mostly because I became more agressive in general. I used to sort of wimp out and give a weak ride, or just 2nd guess myself and chip. For me the improvement was in giving a stronger ride, if I am going forward with impulsion, then adjustments are easier for me and the horse and usually it all just flows anyway. I still psych myself out at horse shows, I always think they look wide. I know some people don't like it, but listening to music while riding has helped me too. I find a rhythm with the song and focus LESS on the jumps. A lot of the time I was overthinking it, now I just ride. Not sure if that will help you at all, but at least you know you are not alone with this problem. I would love to hear what others have to say about this.
    Impossible is nothing.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    May. 20, 2002
    Location
    Zone 7
    Posts
    1,224

    Default

    I'm a big fan of counting. 1,2,1,2 etc... I try and just establish my pace in the corner and stick with it and the counting helps a lot if your horse isn't charing or anything. I'm the opposite, though, I always second guess the verticals! Everyone has their thing, I guess. Good luck!
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb. 22, 2000
    Location
    Keswick, VA
    Posts
    7,868

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by EverAfter View Post
    Weird.. I was always taught to look at the back rail
    If you look at the back rail, you are adding the width of the jump to your distance. Probably not an issue at a smaller jump, but as the jumps go up that's a major portion of a stride and is going to make a big difference in your timing.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul. 22, 2010
    Posts
    126

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by CBoylen View Post
    If you look at the back rail, you are adding the width of the jump to your distance. Probably not an issue at a smaller jump, but as the jumps go up that's a major portion of a stride and is going to make a big difference in your timing.
    Lol.. it worked in the Junior A/O jumpers..

    Maybe I'm just insane.. definitely a possibility



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec. 19, 2007
    Location
    Camden, DE
    Posts
    1,948

    Default

    I love oxers. I rather jump oxers than a tall vertical any day. Just feels more natural to me. Not sure why. I am more apt to second guess at a vertical.

    I always look at the back rail and will count my strides up to them in a 1,2,1,2 or a 3,2,1 jump. It's hard for me to explain since I can feel it better than explain it.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul. 28, 2004
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    1,956

    Default

    I wonder about that too - back rail or front rail. I look at the back rail but I treat the back rail like a vertical and pretend the front rail is not there. Seems to work ok, but I do not jump very high these days!
    friend of bar.ka



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug. 10, 2009
    Posts
    43

    Default

    I feel your pain. I don't jump much over 2'6 these days but as a kid I evented at 3'6 and those big, bold 'galloping fences' made me feel so sick!

    What I would do wrong was to really get intimidated and start losing pace as soon as I got on the approach. And I don't know about you, but if I don't have enough pace, I. Can't. See. Squat.

    Luckily my horse at the time was very amenable to adding strides, or I would probably still be upsidedown in a ditch somewhere

    My suggestion - make very sure to get the right pace happening, and keep it. If you're feeling unsure and scared (terrified?), just get that pace, go down to the oxer and WAIT (be patient). That way you give yourself the best possible chance.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul. 24, 2006
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    5,368

    Default

    Back rails do not exist in my mind, and the bigger the fences get the more they disappear I agree that if you're focused on the back rail you'd better be good enough with your eye to calculate out the added width. Some people certainly can do that, though I would say that it's just plain easier to find your distance to a front rail. And with what you describe I would guess that you're fixated on the back rail or something in the middle (i.e. the width itself) and missing because of that extra footage.

    That's not to say that it couldn't be a psychological thing with big oxers (meaning that you second guess yourself and miss because of the uncertainty).

    So I guess I would think about the mental side of it. Are you missing because you're legitimately not seeing the distance (meaning you don't see that you're not hitting it right until your horse chips/stops/leaves long) or are you second guessing yourself and then changing something last minute to cause the bad distance? If it's the former I would think about changing your focal point. If it's the latter I would think about establishing a good pace and then committing to your decision (right, wrong, or other) as soon as you make it....come hell or highwater.
    __________________________________
    Forever exiled in the NW.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr. 28, 2008
    Posts
    7,242

    Default

    I used to have this issue and had to develop a workaround. As a result, I don't jump anything but 2' verticals. No, really, on every single jump, I look 2' up the front element and ride everything like a 2' vertical. That is how my eye is most reliable. No matter what -- boxes, airy vertical, triple bar, water, ramp oxer, I don't care -- I look 2' up the front element. It is what works for me. YMMV.

    If it is in fact an oxer, I use a little extra supporting leg on takeoff when it is above 3'6 or so.

    Just wanted to toss that out there, might work for someone else. I learned this when I was a working student and it is a great trick for those of us with a less than perfect eye for distance. It is easier to be consistent when your takeoff is always judged from the same perspective.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr. 16, 2010
    Location
    MI
    Posts
    245

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by EverAfter View Post
    Lol.. it worked in the Junior A/O jumpers..

    Maybe I'm just insane.. definitely a possibility
    No, this is what I was taught, too.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug. 10, 2008
    Location
    Cornville USA
    Posts
    490

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by CBoylen View Post
    If you are focused on how wide the oxer is, you are not looking at the front rail.
    I think that is exactly it.

    I think the narrow oxers and big verticals aren't such a big deal because my horse can pretty much go from anywhere - close the leg, and she goes.

    The bigger oxers need more finesse and precision and that is what I lack right now.

    I feel like I find my spots to the back rail. I come in with enough pace, establish a rhythm - I don't tend to pick all the way to the base. It isn't a confidence issue so much as it is a competency issue for me.

    I'm not sure how to change my perception...



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr. 28, 2008
    Posts
    7,242

    Default

    How often are you jumping? If you are not blessed with a natural eye, like me, you have to work for it and practice. A lot. To be consistent enough to jump around the A/Os I need to be riding 6-8 a day, jumping that many times a week at least. More is better. With enough riding, I have quite a good eye. I can never ride enough on one or two horses to get there, though.

    Can you pick up some rides on the weekend? Ride anything with hooves, any saddle time will help.

    I stick to the Adults these days, work/life interferes and I'm realistic enough to know I miss too often to go higher. Bummer but it is what it is.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug. 20, 2011
    Posts
    225

    Default

    I was always taught to ride to the front rail to oxers, I can't imagine finding a distance to an oxer off the back rail. Unless of course you do the math and factor out the width of the oxer for your distance but I am not that good haha
    ....Of the younger variety



  17. #17
    Join Date
    May. 21, 2006
    Location
    A gypsy caravan somewhere in Eastern Europe
    Posts
    548

    Default

    This is funny bc I have the opposite problem - I ALWAYS ride terribly to verticals - I override and fuss to the base - I think oxers intimidate me, so I just have to sit up and ride forward to them, so I rarely jump a bad one!

    But lots of people I've known have what my trainer called "oxeritis", I've just always been a bit different



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb. 12, 2010
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    414

    Default

    couple ideas:

    1. a trainer once helped me find the base at each oxer by drawing a line in the footing before the jump. If i couldn't get my horse's front feet on or inside that line, I had to pay big time. Her belief was that if I can't find the right distance to those big 4'++ oxers in the lessons, it needed to be fixed asap to both be successful and avoid getting into trouble by finding the long one.

    2. if you ride triple bars well, it's essentially the same ride - forward/ balanced to the base, sit up and look over the top. where do you look coming down to a triple bar?
    www.TackMeUp.com
    'What's in your trunk?'
    Free tools for Trainers and Riders



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar. 6, 2002
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    5,667

    Default

    Not much help, but condolences. I'll bury my horse at the first 2-3 warmup jumps, usually picking away until I tell myself to SHUT UP and just ride the right pace. When I do that, 99% accurate.
    What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what
    lies with in us. - Emerson



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Aug. 10, 2008
    Location
    Cornville USA
    Posts
    490

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Give and Take View Post
    couple ideas:

    1. a trainer once helped me find the base at each oxer by drawing a line in the footing before the jump. If i couldn't get my horse's front feet on or inside that line, I had to pay big time. Her belief was that if I can't find the right distance to those big 4'++ oxers in the lessons, it needed to be fixed asap to both be successful and avoid getting into trouble by finding the long one.

    2. if you ride triple bars well, it's essentially the same ride - forward/ balanced to the base, sit up and look over the top. where do you look coming down to a triple bar?

    The only triple bars I've done have been in a grid/line. They went well, but I didn't have the option to screw them up.

    My trainer put a bounce pole in front of the oxer. It helped set my horse up correctly (made her uber bold), but screwed with my mind more.

    I am comfortable with 3'9 oxer with not much spread. Higher than that doesn't bother me - schooling 4 - 4'6 verticals, but the wider oxers mess with my head.

    We're going back to basics today and schooling over low, wide oxers and try to problem solve my 'spot' issues.

    Fingers crossed for a break through!



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