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  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkevent View Post
    I may be way off base, but I'm wondering if this also has something to do with the number of horses that the UL riders are now riding per event.

    Maybe this style has adapted to be the easiest for a broad range of horses? I would also think that riding multiple horses over the course of an event would be exhausting, no matter how fit you are.

    YUP! It is a lazy galloping position. Easier for the rider and harder on the horse. If you have to adopt that position then you are riding too many horses in one event.


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  2. #42
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    I think this video posted by EN from the water jump at SP says it all about the US riders' jumping positions:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...&v=U1fSZDZnDvw

    Granted, I am *not* an advanced level eventer, so I have no idea what is going through half these people's minds, but I am a stickler for basic equitation. Quite frankly, the majority of the riding in this video was seriously ugly. Jumping ahead, letting left behind on the way out... and I think a large portion of it has to do with rider fitness. As Jimmy Wofford says, riders who go around with too-long stirrups and have that straight-legged galloping position are those who aren't strong enough to maintain proper posiiton around the course. If they're tired by the time they reach this particular water jump, they're not able to hold themselves together.

    And it's not just on XC, as someone said. I was flipping through the photos from Red Hills and saw that 90% of riders go around SJ with their heels up in the air and laying on their horses' necks. This isn't the hunter world, people!
    -my life-
    Translation
    fri [fri:] fritt fria (adj): Free
    skritt [skrit:] skritten (noun): Walk


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  3. #43
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    What is up with the flapping elbows going into the jumps at that water complex? Riders should not look like ducks, who are trying to fly across a pond. What good does flapping your elbows at your horse do?

    There were only a few riders, who stayed centered, following and tactful through those jumps. Kudos to them. I believe that Will Coleman may have been one of those riders?
    When in Doubt, let your horse do the Thinking!


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  4. #44
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    I think the flapping elbows come from riding slightly behind the motion.

    I know this from experience. Pretty much every picture I see of myself o/f, my elbows are out. I also was riding slightly behind the motion due to defensiveness from riding greenies and nervousness. In those photos, my horses were also going hollow because my seat was too deep. The elbows went out in an effort to "catch up" midair.

    I've since been working very hard on changing my position to sit more lightly and go with the motion. The change in my horses jumping style is dramatic.



  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by FrittSkritt View Post
    And it's not just on XC, as someone said. I was flipping through the photos from Red Hills and saw that 90% of riders go around SJ with their heels up in the air and laying on their horses' necks. This isn't the hunter world, people!
    Thank you! I am glad I am not the only one who noticed this.



  6. #46
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    I don't imagine that riding a ginormous drop into water then having to turn to precisely meet a couple of skinnies is something many people can accomplish elegantly. It does look rough, but going from needing to slip your reins for the drop to a sharp turn of related distances to jumps that require precise approaches is a lot to deal with in the course of what, 10 seconds? I doubt many people can possibly ride a question like that without having to resort to some "seat of the pants" riding at some point. I don't see at all how fitness would play a role in making that all ride smoother. Maybe having arms made out of rubber bands?


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  7. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by FrittSkritt View Post
    I think this video posted by EN from the water jump at SP says it all about the US riders' jumping positions:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...&v=U1fSZDZnDvw
    Wow! Incredibly nice riding over a very difficult set of jumps!


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  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by magnolia73 View Post
    I don't imagine that riding a ginormous drop into water then having to turn to precisely meet a couple of skinnies is something many people can accomplish elegantly. It does look rough, but going from needing to slip your reins for the drop to a sharp turn of related distances to jumps that require precise approaches is a lot to deal with in the course of what, 10 seconds? I doubt many people can possibly ride a question like that without having to resort to some "seat of the pants" riding at some point. I don't see at all how fitness would play a role in making that all ride smoother. Maybe having arms made out of rubber bands?
    I'd agree with you if none of the riders made it look smooth. But there were several (Will Coleman, for one) who were able to slip the reins and really ride through without flopping all over like a dead fish. I think riders can ride by the "seat of their pants" but without compromising the quality of their position. I'm not saying have perfect angles, but throwing your body over a horse's neck and not using your legs to help steer makes it obvious you're relying solely on your hands.
    -my life-
    Translation
    fri [fri:] fritt fria (adj): Free
    skritt [skrit:] skritten (noun): Walk


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  9. #49
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    Sorry, you don't get to the Advanced level by riding solely on your hands.

    I don't know how far along that combination was in the course, and I don't know all the horse/rider pairs, but I do know that not all horses take the same kind of ride. You can't ride to a question like that all pretty and elegant, not on every horse. Some of those horses needed that energetic a ride, and some didn't.

    Smooth is good. Safe is better, and lovely equitation does not necessarily make for a safe round on an Advanced XC course.


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  10. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by saje View Post
    Sorry, you don't get to the Advanced level by riding solely on your hands.
    You'd be surprised at some of the riders around here, then.....

    Quote Originally Posted by saje View Post
    I don't know how far along that combination was in the course, and I don't know all the horse/rider pairs, but I do know that not all horses take the same kind of ride. You can't ride to a question like that all pretty and elegant, not on every horse. Some of those horses needed that energetic a ride, and some didn't.

    Smooth is good. Safe is better, and lovely equitation does not necessarily make for a safe round on an Advanced XC course.
    I disagree. Smooth = proper position (not necessarily "good equitation," if you're comparing it to the Big Eq), meaning heels down and eyes up at the very least. Notice the riders who had the most trouble usually had trouble starting at the second drop -- they got pitched forward on landing and couldn't recover in time for the corner, which IMO is indicative of a not-so-solid leg and core.

    Boyd had a great ride, yet he (along with PD) have the most unusual jumping positions out there. As Jimmy (again) says, "Learn from how their horses go, not their position." So yeah, not necessarily good equitation, but a solid seat along with body control is imperative to a smooth and safe round.


    Edited to add: I watched the video again, and I'd say there were plenty of good rides, to contradict my original post saying the majority were bad. (At first I watched it in pieces since I'm at work. ) I suppose the scary rides were the ones that stuck out most in my mind!
    -my life-
    Translation
    fri [fri:] fritt fria (adj): Free
    skritt [skrit:] skritten (noun): Walk


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  11. #51
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    I don't know, I've never tried dropping into water at speed then turning through a combination. I imagine that if you have anything really faulty about your basic position or riding skills that a complex like that would make you fall off. No offense to the hunters, but if you ducked over the drop, you'd go splat. If you just rode with your hands, you'd probably miss those turns or really lose momentum. If you actually interfered with your horse enought to pull him off balance, unless he was amazingly honest with a heart of gold, you'd still be scaring people at training level or prelim.

    I'm sure 80% of those rides could be improved for a text book, but they were good enough to get the horse and rider through safely within a good margin and move along to the next question.

    I imagine that there is also a pretty strong element of body balance and control that comes with riding a drop that can only be improved through experience and repetition of the movement. I imagine it takes a while to get it to not be jarring even with a tremendously strong core and back- it's actually looks more about relaxing and absorbing shock then the strength to clamp in place. It's just a very hard set of questions and I would not expect anyone but the best and most experienced riders to do it perfectly. IE, the ones who didn't look so great will keep getting better.....


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  12. #52
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    I agree that's a poor combination to be trying to critique "form" with; most made it happen, which is what counts. Makes me wonder if my original query stems more from seeing pictures that are a snapshot of one fence of a tricky combination, than genuinely non-"traditional" riding. Heck maybe it doesn't matter how smoothly one jumps single jumps any more, there are so few of them. Maybe survival IS the most important element of top-level xc strategy.
    "One person's cowboy is another person's blooming idiot" -- katarine

    Spay and neuter. Please.


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  13. #53
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    EN posted Kate Samuels helmet cam ride: http://vimeo.com/62517557
    (Full article here)

    That water complex was fence 22, and about 6 minutes into a not-quite 8 minute course. There must've been at least 30 jumping efforts so far, plus a fair amount of gallop/compress/gallop. It's an Advanced course, it's supposed to be testing. There were indeed some tired horses and tired riders out there. It's not a sin, it's the nature of the game.

    As I'm struggling with keeping it together at Prelim at the ripe ol' age of 51, I will sure as hell will give kudos to anyone who can get around an Advanced course safely. Style points are extra. When I get to the Advanced level and do it well, them maybe I'll be a bit more critical of what I see in pictures and videos.


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  14. #54
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    I agree, saje -- recognizing quite a few of those riders, I can tell coming in to the combination that the horses are well into the course, they just have that "I've already done a ton of work" look. I watched maybe 2/3 of the video and saw maybe one or two rides where a rider slipped a bit and had to reorganize, but jumped out fine. None that looked out of place on a challenging Advanced course, which SoPines II notoriously is. That was a very tough question of accuracy and reflexes and I thought most looked pretty darn organized and focused considering.


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  15. #55
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    As a spectator I'm not so interested in style as I am in the rider's ability to remain soft on the horse. That was the one thing I saw in common with many different styles. Of course a rigid rider isnt going to get to that level, period.


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  16. #56
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    So between the corner (3rd element) and the rolltop (4th and last element) most riders did it in six strides and most riders were unable to shorten and re-organize their reins in those six strides. These are the top 1% from which we choose Games pairs.


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  17. #57
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    And how many of those with long reins didn't make the last element? That doesn't sound like hand riding to me, that sounds like good balance and connection throughout the leg and seat.

    I don't se it as unable, I see it as not needing to, or not wanting to disrupt the balance and rhythm in what looked like pretty deep water.


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  18. #58
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    Agreed -- you can't say unable. In fact, I can pick at least four out of there that absolutely could and I've seen them do it; but they don't need to. They are focused on keeping the horse moving forward from behind in the water and staying locked on the jump, why mess with the reins until afterwards??


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  19. #59
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    Odd observation that made me chuckle a bit while watching the water jump video. Watched the first few rides, agreed that, while effective, there's definitely some 'ugly' riding going on. Then along comes rider #249, and everything looks soft and nice, very balanced and pretty, and then she has to circle before the last element... Yep, in upper level eventing, pretty is as pretty does. I'll admit that it's more pleasing to watch someone who manages to make some of the big, tough combinations look like a hunter round, but getting around is definitely what counts.

    I'd be interested in comparing video of something similar from later in the eventing season as well--I imagine things might look a little smoother for the majority with a little more mileage over the advanced track??


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  20. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by saje View Post
    And how many of those with long reins didn't make the last element? ...
    Quote Originally Posted by wildlifer View Post
    ... but they don't need to... why mess with the reins until afterwards??
    The long reins are just great until something unexpected happens. Funny how our medal hopes have been dashed over the last decade or so because riders weren't prepared for those funny unexpected happenings. Down bank at the Olympics anyone?

    Here is the competition. If we aren't expecting/encouraging our riders to ride at this level of accomplishment then we're hasbeens and/or wannabes. One water complex, with 2 drops and 2 rein adjustments in less than 9 seconds:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7eRAHXLa6jM

    Personally, I think our US riders CAN be this good--but the work to get there starts now, not on the world stage.



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