Go briefly over the jumpoff then do your course. If you go clean you have some time (2 minutes?) To start your course so run over and go over it with your trainer or a friend....worst case have it written down and go over it quickly then go do your jumpoff.
I always say then by colors and draw my course in air with my finger (totally not GM approved). I can't even fathom numbers in my head, it just doesnt work. That is why I am terrible at math! I describe the jumps, and then take a minute before my JO and go over it a couple times! You have time to take a breath, go over the course, and then proceed!
I use nicknames - usually super heroes or holidays related to the colors of the fences. I sort of have to keep chanting them to myself until even when I go "omg, where do I go???"... I can still remember whatever I've been chanting to myself for the last fifteen minutes. (Usually something like - Christmas, all the way down to fourth of July, Halloween, left turn to Easter, etc.)
I have ridden with a lot of other similarly hapless adult amateurs and nicknaming the fences, while not foolproof by any means, has been the most successful I think.
I usually give all the jumps names relative to their colors or special elements about it. When I get into the ring I "do" the course by going over the course with my finger but I also say all the names of the jumps. Giving the jumps names is very helpful.
And if I get to the jump off I repeat the process.
I MUST do the course walk or I'm hopeless, lol, so I walk for both the course and the jump-off. It helps me figure out where I'm going, because I've found that the course can look very different from inside the ring than it did from the outside.
I also know how many jumps there are so I can tick them off in my head as I do them (this includes jumps with multiple efforts: 5 "A" "B" "C", for example) and I remember the order by color (so, like, red to blue to green A-B to black to orange A-B-C to pink to yellow, bell, jump off red to green B to black to orange A-B-C to yellow or something. This is what I think as I'm jumping.)
Seeing someone else do the course (correctly!) also helps to cement it in my mind, so I usually leave the warm-up with enough time to watch two riders go ahead of me at the back gate.
These are some ideas, play around to see what works best for you, and once you develop a system, stick to it!
I do a combination of colors/numbers/references. My poor trainer never has any idea where I say I'm going because it usually sounds like "1 to Packers (green and yellow jump) 5 to the blue, 3 (yes, I use the wrong numbers!), hold to the vertical, 6 (yay! the right number!), rollback to the cutout, opening rein to the planks etc etc-- it works- only forgotten my course once, but I blame that on the insane amount of antibiotics I was on
Jumpoffs I do the finger in the air thing too!
Does your trainer happen to yell from the side of the ring? I have found that that REALLY messes me up! If I lose focus, all is lost, and it usually goes downhill quickly!
Pre-course walk, I snap a picture of the course with my phone so I have a map. (Over time this has been better for me than drawing bc of errors I've made or neatness). I walk the course with my map and assign names to each fence relating to its color or what it reminds me of - the nicknames need to be something that you're going to remember and maybe not what you hear other people calling it. I always go over my first round first. If it's a long first round then I will stop half way through my walk and recite the first half of the course a few times and follow with my eye. After I finish walking the rest of the first round, I recite the whole round and follow with my eyes. If I think I have it down pretty solid, I'll close my eyes and try to remember where each jump is in the ring and what color/name it is. Then I will go and walk my JO more of less doing the same thing.
Depending on where I am in the order of go, I like to stand on the rail and watch at least 2 riders. As they approach the first fence, I name it and say where they are going next.
With my younger sister at local jumper shows, we try to create funny sentences or stories with the jump sequence and that seems to really help her.
Like: The (1)Red & (2)Orange (3)Gate rolls *back*, (4a-4b)In and Out, of the (5)Green Swedish, and isn't (6)Patriotic, even though it has the (7)Option to be (8)Blue.
I will remember colors and descriptions of jumps. So I'd go in thinking red to white to red stripe to blue to yellow flowers etc. I'd also do the jump off the same way. Sometimes I'd say inside red or outside blue or diagonal purple etc. Just depended on how many jumps with the same color was in the course. If there are a lot of red I'd find something different about each red jump, like, red with why flowers, red with stripes, red gate etc. Then after the colors are remembered I did like a poster above said. I'd draw the course out with m finger while saying the colors a few times and then head in the ring. Seemed to work well, only went off course once in a jump off lol
Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole
I definitely take a picture with my phone of the course map as soon as it's posted.
I've always found it helpful to remember the numbers. That way I just remember (1, 4, 7, 3...)etc. Walking everything is also very helpful. I can't do the "Green, blue, etc." That confuses me. After going clear, I will repeat the (1, 4, 7, 3, etc) to myself and look at each of the jumps before going.
Originally Posted by rustbreeches
[George Morris] doesn't always drink beer, but when he does, he prefers Dos Equis
walking the course is a must. I'll give nicknames to colors - say a red & green in and out - that becomes 'Christmas', etc. My number one tip is to not be the first to go - I like to watch lots of riders go to cement the course in my head...
First I look at the course and go over it in my head; then I walk the course, I use a combination of "left approach to fence 1, right hand turn rollback to fence 2, 4 strides to a 1 stride, land, left turn to fence 4 yellow oxer" etc etc. I find it really helps to learn by using a combination of pattern, fence number, fence colour etc.
To finish off, I close my eyes and ride the course twice counting exactly the rythmn and pattern I will use in my ride. I always get laughed at for also using my finger in the air, but reality is I can count on my hands how many times I've forgot where to go........it's not many! If I don't ride the course in my mind PROPERLY I tend to screw it up!
I do think I'm in the minority with my order of go. I like to go FIRST! Get it over with and think to myself "beat THAT"!!
Go Ahead: This is a dare, not permission. Don't Do It!
I always felt a forever passenger of the shortbus !
I have done several things over the years.
Now I write down jump off
Look at course and learn from posted and go in and walk then I walk again
And tell me self how to ride the first round.
Example: right lead vertical rollback on the over in a forward five
Get quiet sit tall triple to the """"
Then I walk the jump off 2-3 times
Then I write my course on a pad after I am done from memory.
So probably sounds like a lot but when I ride I do not want to think about where I am going but more importantly how I will ride to win.
I consider my self less than average but because I know this and respect it by doing this I do quite well.
I cam't do the "names and colors" thing, although I know that works for a lot of people. I have to remember the jump numbers - I try to get an image in my head of what each number looks like. e.g., jump #7 is the red and white striped jump. So when I say "7" that visual pops into my head. This especially helps with remembering the JO.
I also keep a small, pocket-sized spiral notepad in my pocket. As soon as the courses are posted, I draw a copy of the course on a piece of paper, and write the jump numbers for the JO on it as well. I carry this in my pocket and have it there to double check as I work on memorizing my course. Right before I get on for my class, I tear out the paper and tuck it into the pocket of my breeches - just in case! I feel like having that back-up of the course in my pocket helps alleviate a lot of the "what if I forget?" anxiety...which in turn allows me to remember my courses better.