Before I say anything, please do not judge me. I understand it was a stupid mistake and it was just a big confusion on my part. In the end I feel bad and embarrassed.
Two days ago I had a jump lesson on my gelding. Usually i ride lesson horses but that day I got to ride my gelding. He has the tendency to get to jumps very long, almost every time. He's pretty good at single fences but lines excite him and he gets there long. Now I'm a bit of a beginner jumper (only do 2ft) and so I don't have a lot of experience. It was my understanding that if a horse kept getting to a jump long than you would shorten his stride and get an extra stride in on the line. Again, BIG misunderstanding on my part. Here I was working on getting my gelding to shorten his stride. But all this time i'd been training my gelding to basically chip in every jump because I was making him fit in an extra stride. It felt a little awkward but much better than a huge long distance.
SO my trainer was super nice about it but she made me feel stupid. When she asked me why i was holding my hrose back I explained to her and she said "you don't have the experience to train a horse so don't htink that you can. When a horse is getting to a jump long you have to lengthen their stride. You need to get off his mouth, let him do his job." NOW, I know she was right. I'm not trying to say that she was wrong. I just was so confused because I felt sure and it made sense in my mind that you would shorten the stride on a line! But she made me feel stupid and I felt insulted that she would tell me I can't train my horse. I'd obviously managed to train him to do the wrong thing, but at least he was listening to me and being a good sport about it!
I know she really likes my horse but he's got his quirks and I'm new to jumping. I guess I just felt a bit insulted by her basically tellin me I had no right to try out new things because i really was clueless.
Ever had any stupid mistakes because of a misunderstanding of training?
All of the time, to me it is part of learning how to ride better. You tried something and it did not work. Now you know and there is not anything to be embarrassed for trying to safely figure it out.
I do think the instructor could have phrases things a little differently. Mine would have ask me, why I was doing that. Then explained what she would do and have me try that and why what I was doing was not working. It is all apart of the learning process.
Well, there are two parts to this. First, beginner riders should not jump on their own. They either can't recognize mistakes or can but don't know the appropriate correction. That's how small mistakes become big problems. So no, someone that is inexperienced at jumping cannot "train" a horse to jump without someone on the ground helping them. That's the truth, even if it was poorly expressed.
Second, however, is the issue at hand, and you weren't necessarily "wrong" in theory. A jump can be long for a few reasons. If, as it sounds like is the case from your trainer's assessment, your horse was leaving long out of the line because he didn't have enough pace or step to easily get to the out in the desired number, then you would want to increase his step by letting go and encouraging him. If, however, the horse was getting to the out long because he was carrying too much pace and doing one less stride than required, you would want to shorten his stride so that you are able to get the correct number. Telling the difference between the situations requires a) feel that comes from experience and b) knowledge of the correct numbers of strides in the lines as they are set and the ability and experience to count correctly in the lines. Without those things, mistakes cannot be appropriately addressed and no training can occur.
You don't always need to lengthen a horses stride when he is getting a long spot, sometimes you do have to shorten. It depends upon the type of stride you have. You don't ever want to "hold" a horse though, you half halt. And every person that gets on a horses back is training it every single time. It's the trainer's job to make sure that the student is making it as positive of a training experience for the horse as possible based upon the student's ability. Stop beating yourself up.
The only thing I can tell from your post is that you were and are still confused about what the appropriate strategy should be when looking for the 'right' distance.
C. Boylen and Laurierace are right in that there is no one-size -fits-all solution, just generalities that don't apply in every situation.
Without a video, it's impossible to offer advice that will help you with your jumping. But if your lesson left you feeling stupid, and incompetent, I would question whether it was constructive. One thing riders need to be successful is confidence, and this is what you should be looking to develop. When you are riding confidently, those good distances have a way of showing up.
CBoylen and others did a good job of explaining the distances.
You need to be sure that you are your instructor are speaking the same language. She needs to explain clearly to you how many strides you are expected to take and (based on her understanding of the horse) how she wants to to ride it, forward and extending or short and collected.
It sounds like you are concerned about your horse being a bit overenthusiastic about jumping so you are probably riding him a bit "backward" early in the line in fear of having "too much" after the second fence. When you get to the second jump, you have shortened his stride so much that he's got to reach.
Either way, good communication between rider and instructor is very important. It doesn't sound like she was trying to insult you, but to remind you that she's the one giving orders so if she wants a longer stride in the line she thinks you can handle it. Since you are a beginner at jumping as long as you know that she does know her stuff then listen to her, don't try to make the decision. Ride to her orders as best you can, then discuss with her after each line or course what you did and why.
If the decision is to "add the stride" then she has to help you learn to ride for the extra stride and sticking to your plan to get it.
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haha I did the same thing last week. I was used to shortening strides on many different kinds of horses, so I thought I could on this one horse. It was a fail even when I would try to add he would just get the long one anyway. So eventually I put two and two together and figured it would work better to press up to it, and it worked. I felt so dumb for trying the add but the pressing up to it really does work.
Originally Posted by SillyHorse
Some people wear Superman pajamas. Superman wears George Morris pajamas.
But if your lesson left you feeling stupid, and incompetent, I would question whether it was constructive. One thing riders need to be successful is confidence, and this is what you should be looking to develop. When you are riding confidently, those good distances have a way of showing up.
Heed these wise words. Everything which the other posters have said are things you want to remember. However, you should not feel 'clueless' post lesson. I feel more confident because of the skills my trainer has imparted. Couldn't imagine being embarrassed to learn, not the right environment for me. You might wont to consider what you gained from this trainers approach to teaching. (This doesn't mean no criticism, ego-stroking, etc - but you should feel informed not ashamed).
I bought my horse when he was 4 and I had been riding (weekly lessons) for about a year and a half. He was even greener than I was, so I worked very slowly with a good trainer who helped me teach him things as we went along. In between lessons on my horse, I took lessons on school horses to get better at each of the things we were working on.
Then my trainer moved and I worked with a different trainer for one summer. My horse was learning to canter and was having a lot of issues with leads, and this particular trainer told me I was ruining him. Her teaching involved a lot of yelling and expecting split-second responses, and I don't do well with yelling, and ended every lesson feeling worthless and miserable.
Found a new place to ride with a new trainer and new schoolies, and backed off my horse until I felt more comfortable with cantering in general, because I needed work on that anyway. New trainer was calm and patient again, and eventually my horse got over the lead issues as I felt more confident and understood what I was trying to do.
Now we're jumping, and like you, I'm a beginner--2' at most. My horse needs a lot of confidence. Sometimes that comes in the form of my collecting him and keeping him together coming up to a jump (because he tends to rush and fall on his forehand when jumping if I lose contact or don't really ride), and sometimes I have to gallop up to it and try to be brave and let him figure out the distance. Again, my trainer being calm and supportive and analytical helps me learn what is best in each situation.
My horse would be much farther along if I had someone else train him. But I like being able to say that I was on him for all his "firsts." So it's important that my instructor is really helping me learn how to teach him, and not making me feel like any more of an idiot when I screw up than I already do. I know I'm going to make lots of mistakes, but my horse is forgiving and smart, and I don't think anything I've done has "ruined" him yet.
So find someone who helps you become a better trainer for your horse and yourself.
ETA: By this, I don't mean that you need to instantly fire your trainer. That might be the solution, if this person is really not a good fit for your learning style (like the one trainer I rode with), but if the rest of the instruction works for you, talk to her... most of my lessons involve trainer yelling instructions at me as I'm coming in, either to pull him together or gallop up, so if your instructor is silent and you've been doing the wrong thing, you need someone to help you at the time so you can figure it out. My mind goes blank half the time on course so instructions as I go help me focus. (:
Look, if she didn't think you were capable, she wouldn't have had you jumping him at all. But what the other posters said about the way she made you feel, take that to heart, because as you progress, its going to get more difficult and you need to be able to rely one your trainer for support, guidance and training.
An Understanding or a meeting of the minds is so very important when working with a trainer, when you lose that or do not have that, things can go south in a heart beat.
Stop beating yourself up! Honestly, we all make mistakes, and it's why we take lessons. If your trainer always makes you feel bad about your riding/progress/mistakes that is not good. If this was just a one time thing that came out awkwardly, don't sweat it.
FWIW I'm not sure what the line about not being able to train horses has to do with the rest of the issue at hand.
Depending on the situation, if you are headed toward a long spot, it might make sense to move up, or to add both in and out of the line, depending. It sounds as though your horse was underpowered, if you were "holding him back" and therefore reaching the fence both long and dead, in which case it does make sense to pick up the energy and ride more forward to make both distances work--horses jump best out of a good, forward, balanced canter.
But aside from the idea that everytime we ride we are training our horses, I'm really not sure how the training line relates to the striding question. If this is the first/only time your trainer has made you feel bad, I'd try not to obsess--perhaps something just came out funny there.
Favorite Jimmy Wofford quote: "Experience is what you get right after you need it." If you don't make mistakes, there's nothing to learn from! I bet just about everyone on this board has made your exact mistake at some point in their riding.
I once didn't realize my reins were crossed before I threw them over the horse's head pre-ride. It took me AND my trainer a good 10-15 minutes to figure out why the horse was turning his head opposite to my hands! Now THAT'S an embarrassing, stupid misunderstanding
"Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out." ~John Wooden
Question.....if you have a horse why are you mostly riding schoolies? Is it because your horse is in training? Or you are more confident on the school horses? Does he leave long with other people?
I also think one should never walk away from a lesson feeling like you do. Perhaps you need to talk with your trainer.
I ride my horse several times a week but don't take lessons on him because I don't keep him at the barn I ride at and it is a lot to ask my mom to haul me weekly to lessons. THat's the only reason. I love my horse and I am not afriad of his habits or quirks. I'm over this whole thing now but just wanted to hear what ya'll had to say.
Everyone else has explained the add vs leave out conundrum very well, so on that note...now you know.
As for how your trainer made you feel, that's not cool. If she/he said exactly what you said they did, that's pretty rough, considering she hadn't exactly explained this concept to you very well if at all, so the onus of "stupidity" or lack of knowledge is on her for not teaching this concept to you.
If it were me, I'd ask trainer to focus a few lessons (on a schoolie so you can comfortably get the feel on a horse that doesn't feel excitable to you) on riding the same line in a different number of strides. Say, a five stride line where you work on getting five strides, then do the same line in six strides. You can get the feel of moving up your pace and impulsion, and then collecting and packaging for the six. It's an exercise that will really help you wrap your head around the concept by feel, not just thought. Once you've got the hang of it, you can work on the same exercise on your own horse in some lessons.
Good luck, but remember, people can only make you feel a certain way if you let them.