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Great comments from William Fox Pitt!

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  • Great comments from William Fox Pitt!

    Great comments from William Fox Pitt in the latest issue of Eventing USA:

    "Riders are often trying hard to get to 70% in the dressage when they should be working on their jumping balance"

    "I make my students ride in gallop position in trot and canter with no rein contact and no hands on the neck, as there is no point in trying to progress until a good balance is in place."

    "It is a great concern to me that so many riders are out of balance between fences, and then too stiff and upright on the approach to the fence"




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  • #2
    Great comments. Just reiterates that riding really has gone down the commode . No wonder the rise in injuries.

    Thanks for posting that.

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    • #3
      Very interesting. After having gotten to watch him ride in person for the first time this spring, his fluency and balance in the saddle really is a cut above even the "average" elite-level rider, and it is remarkable (at least to someone like me, who hasn't thought as much about it before) how much that balance and core makes him look MUCH safer and more competent than most even while tackling the most ridiculous cross country questions.

      Does he ever clinic in the US? It would be really interesting to see this teaching style/exercises in person.
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      • #4
        I thought they were really great comments as well.

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        • #5
          A few years ago, someone posted a link to an online Master clinic that William Fox Pitt had given. Watching it changed my cross country two point forever.

          If somebody remembers the link, maybe they would post it. You have to sit through four youtube like sessions, but the time is well worth it.

          The key is spending enough time in the tack, in your two point, to build up the strength in your legs and abdominal muscles.

          This year, I have included leg weight exercises at the gym, knee re-hab exercises, around two hundred crunches and 45 min. on the recumbent cycle, three to four days a week, plus riding 5-6 days/week.

          I just rode in clinics with Robin Walker and Jim Graham, both of whom said that my two point is strong.

          If I had not watched the Master clinic, I probably would have still been plopping and bopping on Tessie's back, going around cross country.
          When in Doubt, let your horse do the Thinking!

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          • #6
            Go hunting - you will achieve that balance.
            ... _. ._ .._. .._

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            • #7
              Every time I condition (twice a week) I am in 2 point if the horse is going faster than a walk. Once in a while, I will post when we're trotting, but I found a few years ago that my position was weak - my instructor had me try to stand vertically while trotting around - HELLO! Couldn't do it. And I was finding I was getting tired on XC and sore the next day.

              So I started spending more time in 2-point. At first I found trotting really hard - it's harder to balance than the canter. Now it's easy and I can spend 10 minutes straight trotting in 2 point without getting tired. I don't put my hands on her neck either, although I do try to keep her working - this is also a lot harder than if you are sitting or posting, but now I don't get tired or sore after an event - at least not from the riding part.

              If I want more of a workout I raise my stirrups, but with my spooky horse that has it's drawbacks!

              Get out there, it's good for you and your horse!

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              • #8
                Gee, I didn't know he had been watching me ride ;-)

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                • #9
                  My Eventing mag just came yesterday, and the "Year in the Life of Boyd Martin" series talked about his disastrous Southern Pines Event where he flipped Holly Hudspeth's horse and ended up the hospital. Boyd says that not enough eventers focus on doing the part that counts for the most at an event - we focus on the dressage sooooo much, just like W F-P says, and that he took his horses to Mark Weissbecker's lovely facility to school before the Fork, which paid off big-time.

                  It really made me think hard, too. Once I get my horse back going again, I'm going to spend a lot of time working on my balance for jumping. I've spent all this time improving his dressage that the xc has really taken a backseat. Thanks, Boyd and WFP - we needed this kick in the pants!
                  "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."

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                  • #10
                    So true. I have a green 5 y/o horse who is quite lovely, but the balance is key! If he's not balanced, then I don't do a good job jumping him. Luckily I have fantastic trainers who are working with us to get it right!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Dressage coefficient, anyone?
                      "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
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                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Originally posted by Auburn View Post
                        The key is spending enough time in the tack, in your two point, to build up the strength in your legs and abdominal muscles.

                        Or you could not expend the effort, and just lean on the neck like the ICP preaches. You know....the new "American" way.




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                        • #13
                          I'm going to post some photos from the Chamberlin book "Training Hunters, Jumpers, and Hacks."

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                          • #14
                            Posted by lsteveson:

                            Or you could not expend the effort, and just lean on the neck like the ICP preaches.
                            Anyone remember C.W. Anderson (I think that is the right spelling), .... he was an illustrator. He did the "Billy and Blaze" books.

                            He also did a book called "Horse Show" and it was humorous illustrations of all of the characters at the hunt-seat horse show (of course).

                            For one of those illustrations he did the *leaning on the neck with your eyes closed seat* and he called it the:

                            "Now I lay me down to sleep seat" .

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                            • #15
                              Ok so the question stands then, if you're truly balanced in two point and therefore don't lean on the neck with your hands, what do you do with your hands?

                              Seriously, I've been working on strengthening my two point position and I usually fall back to bridging my reins or grabbing a neck strap, but Monday I noticed I really wasn't using the bridge as a point of contact/balance point. After years of grabbing the neck strap instead of my horse's mouth, it's going to be a hard habit to break if it's a vastly different position.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                YOUR HORSE videos: WFP - Preparing to go XC

                                Originally posted by Auburn View Post
                                A few years ago, someone posted a link to an online Master clinic that William Fox Pitt had given. Watching it changed my cross country two point forever.

                                If somebody remembers the link, maybe they would post it. You have to sit through four youtube like sessions, but the time is well worth it.

                                :
                                I think it might have been these demo videos of William and Moon Man (aka Bob…who has since passed away) when they did a presentation at YOUR HORSE LIVE in the UK. I posted back in February 2008 when Moon Man died from colic. The link for the series of 8 videos is below click on "Play Video"


                                http://www.yourhorse.co.uk/Improve-y...Cross-Country/

                                "William Fox-Pitt explains the importance of good preparation before you go competing – with exercises and advice on how to build confidence and suppleness. Riding his world-famous 16-year-old event horse Moon Man, William passes on his expert training tips in this inspiring demo"

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Your hands are still supposed to be on their neck, not floating around. It just means don't lean your weight on them and use them to hold yourself on.

                                  I have many of my students ride, gallop and jump a few times in an exercise saddle. I find it shows them a great deal about their balance and position.
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                                  • #18
                                    Posted by Heliodoro:

                                    Ok so the question stands then, if you're truly balanced in two point and therefore don't lean on the neck with your hands, what do you do with your hands?
                                    Your hands are NOT really supposed to touch the neck, per se, they are supposed to *follow* the horses mouth. One hand on each side of the neck as each hand reaches forward to follow the mouth with CONTACT during the extension of the neck of the jumping horse.

                                    The line from bit to elbow is supposed to be the same (ie. NOT broken). The elbow must follow the horse's mouth just like it does on the flat. The shoulder to elbow line becomes the *hinge* that allows great extension over the BIG jumps. On smaller jumps the shoulder to elbow hinge does not have to reach as far.

                                    There should be a very soft backward *pull* of the elbow at all times (on the flat as well as over jumps). It is not a forceful pull, only enough to keep your elbow back in line (now we are talking the vertical line) with the shoulder-elbow-hip-ankle line. It should be a loose, supple pull.

                                    This makes the rider's body a hinging system that follows the horse in perfect (we hope) balance whether doing flatwork or jumping.

                                    The REASON for always maintaining a contact with the horse's mouth is because the rider can make the fastest communication to the horse. The aids are right in place at all times. If you are landing over a jump and want to take a hard right ... you should be able to rebalance the horse between the legs, seat and the contact of the bit. The rider should not *haul* the horse around a sharp turn . You should do a semi-pirouette.

                                    If the horse stumbles on the landing the rider can actually *catch* the horse and transfer the weight to the haunches and most likely save themselves from a possibly more serious fall.

                                    You (the rider) should never lose contact with the horse's mouth. That is your line of immediate communication. You can feel your horse through the bit. The contact does become stronger proportionately the faster you go. The contact is stronger at a hand gallop, but as soon as you ask your horse to *come back into your hand* they should respond and begin to listen more to your seat ... as you reset your pace.

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                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by BaroquePony View Post
                                      You (the rider) should never lose contact with the horse's mouth. That is your line of immediate communication. You can feel your horse through the bit. The contact does become stronger proportionately the faster you go. The contact is stronger at a hand gallop, but as soon as you ask your horse to *come back into your hand* they should respond and begin to listen more to your seat ... as you reset your pace.
                                      wonderful!! You just validated what my trainer has been trying to get into my head for a while. We're going to talk about this and maybe my dense brain will start to get it. My horse will be soooo grateful!

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Just rode with Lucinda Green at Ledyard. She had the hardest time getting some riders to do the "rag doll" walking approach to a small ditch. (in which you walk up to the ditch- no trotting allowed, on the buckle and your horse jumps leaving you in the back seat).

                                        But part of it is developing the balance to stay with your horse no matter how ugly the jump, and part of it is getting really independent with your aids.

                                        Interesting that it dovetails with these other BTE (big time eventers).
                                        They don't call me frugal for nothing.
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