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How Do You "Make" A Horse Jump Clean?

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  • How Do You "Make" A Horse Jump Clean?

    I often see folks in articles making statements like "I rode for a clean round in stadium," or "I really focused on making sure he jumped clean."

    I am wondering if there is some secret level of stadium jumping prowess I am missing out on. Are there specific things that you do to "make" your horse jump clean?

    I am talking, of course, above and beyond rhythm, balance, straightness, which are naturally essential to any good round.
    Life doesn't have perfect footing.

    Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
    We Are Flying Solo

  • #2
    I think, essentially, straightness, rhythm, and balance is what they're talking about. Trying to ride to a certain caliber so that the horse's effort is optimized and the rider's interference is limited. I don't think any rider can go in and 'make' their horse physically pick it's legs up. They can only do their job in the partnership and allow their horse the room to do his.
    Last edited by tres grey; Mar. 6, 2011, 04:52 PM. Reason: typo


    • #3
      I think that this is also sometimes in reference to a round where they were willing get a few time penalties (riding deep in the corners, etc.) at the expense of being really accurate at the fences. A lot of horses take rails when they are rushing, or disorganized. Sometimes the rider needs those few extra seconds to put it all together.
      "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals" Immanuel Kant


      • #4
        ^ Agree. Willingness to add, too, instead of letting the horse barrel down the lines.


        • #5
          I spend a lot of time watching, and here is what I've noticed. Some horses want to be clean. You could get them to the fence in any shape or manner and their own desire to not hit anything will make them jump clean. These horses are also excellent at over riding the stupid human and making their own distances.

          Other horses know that stadium rails fall down and aren't real concerned with it, or lack the talent to think for themselves, so the rider has to work harder at making sure the distance and straightness is there.

          I think both horses have their challenges.


          • #6
            I got a little lecture last year at PPF when I was 3.5 points behind the leader of my division and she had a rail down. I was last to jump.

            I chased my guy to a distance and he jumped flat and ticked the rail which secured my red ribbon. On the ride home, I said to my trainer "Well, at least he jumped everything." (he has an old habit of being a little stopper)

            And she said (in so many words) "YOU CANNOT KEEP THINKING LIKE THAT! You need to ride EVERY SINGLE STEP to the best of your ability and he WILL jump clean. You LET him get strung out and jump flat or he wouldn't have had that rail. You COULD have won. You need to slow down time and THINK about your course, not just get out there and connect the dots!"

            She made her point!
            Big Idea Eventing


            • #7
              I agree with all of the above. I will add this about the two horses I had at one time a few years ago. One was a big, clunky guy who was very honest but not so careful. I rode him to the best of my ability but we'd always, always, always have rails. It was a disappointment when we walked out of the stadium ring after sailing XC and putting in a great dressage test. My other horse was a little TB who was like riding a Porsche and we only had one rail in our entire career together (which was entirely my fault). He needed a little more finessing XC but would usually end up winning the dressage. So it was XC that would get us, not stadium. Anyways, just wanted to add my two cents.


              • #8
                This might possibly need it's own thread, and I know I'll hear some really excellent reasons why I'm wrong...but......I don't think there should be time penalties in show jumping....especially at the lower levels. It should be a test of accuracy, not speed. Tie breakers, if needs be, should be XC time.


                • #9

                  Repeat after me: "Our Father, which art in heaven-----"


                  • Original Poster

                    Hahaha, but Denny, I already USE that method! Here I was hoping for some eventing Ark of the Covenant to open and reveal unto me a super-secret technique!

                    In all seriousness, thanks, these are really great thoughts. I have been thinking about this a lot lately (yes, I admit to daily obsessing about eventing when I am supposed to be working...eventing is more fun) and the closest I could come was along the lines of what you said, Vicarious and Beam Me Up. Just being extra careful with lines and jump presentation.

                    Enjoytheride, I have observed this as well and I think you are right, each has its own set of challenges and rewards, as Merle observed.

                    My gelding has a good jump in him, but as the heights come up, his toes can get to knocking. I really have to give him a good ride to the fence to have it done well -- if I screw up, he will do his damnedest to get us out of it, he has a good heart, but it all goes much better if I don't screw up! (Doesn't it always, LOL) So I guess the moral of the story is, if I want more consistency, I have to make myself a better, more consistent pilot (back to blatantly obvious truths). Making myself really focus and think about every. step. of the ride is a challenge I have been working really hard on as I have learned how important it really is!
                    Life doesn't have perfect footing.

                    Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
                    We Are Flying Solo


                    • #11
                      You pole them beforehand?
                      "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
                      Thread killer Extraordinaire


                      • #12
                        If you have an idea of how the horse needs to be ridden, then it really is a matter of taking some extra time and CONCENTRATING. I spent a long time struggling with clear rounds at training with Vernon, and when I finally put all the pieces together and concentrated so hard my head hurt, I got my clean round (never did master it at prelim...but then again, when I thought I finally had it at home, I got eliminated on xc at the next event, and fell off at the following ).

                        Some horses, though, are just heartbreakers in show jumping. My Ralphy boy was like that...just REFUSED to snaps his little feet any higher. He was a classy little jumper, but just never bothered to jump quite high enough in stadium. His conservative jump was lovely on xc, but migraine inducing in sj.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by vineyridge View Post
                          You pole them beforehand?
                          At a show, right before I go into the ring, my trainer jacks up a vertical quite high and I come to it without helping my horse. He usually pulls the rail by thwacking it with his legs. Then we go into the ring straight after and he jumps his eyeballs out. Any rails we've had recently are 100% my fault. Not polling obviously, but maybe a bit of the same effect with a more koscher method.


                          • #14
                            Hey Denny, does saying 'Holy S***' over fences count? If so, I'm already using that method on a regular basis.
                            http://thoughtfulequestrian.blogspot.com - My Ventures Into Eventing


                            • Original Poster

                              Thanks, yellowbritches, this is what I thought. My head is tired...
                              Life doesn't have perfect footing.

                              Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
                              We Are Flying Solo


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Divine Comedy View Post
                                At a show, right before I go into the ring, my trainer jacks up a vertical quite high and I come to it without helping my horse. He usually pulls the rail by thwacking it with his legs. Then we go into the ring straight after and he jumps his eyeballs out. Any rails we've had recently are 100% my fault. Not polling obviously, but maybe a bit of the same effect with a more koscher method.
                                Problem is, at a recognized show, you cannot change the warmup jump height? Correct me if I'm wrong? so, how does your trainer do this?
                                "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison

                                So, the Zen Buddhist says to the hotdog vendor, "Make me one with everything."


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by vineyridge View Post
                                  You pole them beforehand?
                                  My grey horse was not allergic to rails and not great at verticlas.

                                  before going in I would canter him to a nice big vertical and get in his way a little so he would hit it really really hard.

                                  Then I would trot straight to the in gate.

                                  You bet I closed my knee to stay in the tack the whole way around.

                                  I had a new eventing buddy around those seasons that really freaked out the first time she saw me do that.

                                  she asked, "don't you want to jump one more before goin in!!!??"
                                  I said, "nope, his next effort needs to be over a fence that counts."

                                  He always jumped the crap out of that first fence--and most fences following.
                                  Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by eventer_mi View Post
                                    Problem is, at a recognized show, you cannot change the warmup jump height? Correct me if I'm wrong? so, how does your trainer do this?
                                    You can change it to something like 6" above the height of the division (or maybe 3"?).

                                    If DC is running Intermediate the coach can jack it up over 4'.

                                    But most likely an airy, wide, 4' oxar will get the job done.

                                    One time said coach jacked up the oxar for his students and then left it that way. So I just pointed my 5 year old at it (I was going Training and the fence was quite large and wide) and cantered up reaaaaal slow like. Said coach almost peed his pants because my horse was a slow mo jumper and it looked almost fatal--he started yelling "leg, leg, leg!" He then put the fence down right away. I had a nice clean round after jumping that oxar. HAHA!! Thanks DC's coach!!
                                    Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!


                                    • #19
                                      There is a rule about heights in warmup. I believe it is one hole higher than competition height (I could be wrong, maybe it is two). Also rules about rolling groundlines out, etc.
                                      The big man -- my lost prince

                                      The little brother, now my main man


                                      • #20
                                        In Florida for sure, all of the coaches for all of the riders in the Intermediate and Prelim divisions were varying the fences. I definitely need a smaller fence to jump first, I'm not interested in jumping a tiny cross rail then going straight to a 3'9'' fence! So yeah, the coaches tend to change the heights a lot so that we can warm up at smaller heights, then the last vertical I jump is probably only one hole above the division heights.

                                        And yeah, my coach will vary them in Area V too....but so will most people at these divisions.

                                        If I were at Novice or Training, I wouldn't really want the warm up fences changed in height, and my coach doesn't usually, so far as I know.