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Galloping position redux

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  • Galloping position redux

    A few months ago there was a Practical Horseman article by Jennie Brannigan about the "new" galloping position that is a lot more vertical that the traditional 2-point. There was a big discussion about it here:

    http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/sh...oping+position


    What's in my mailbox yesterday but a new PH and Wofford's article is all about galloping positions!


    His take is that the 'new', stand up position is much harder on the horse, if easier on the human, and I definitely got the impression he is not in favor.

    After the first article I played around with the more straight legged approach while doing my conditioning. I found it to be a bit precarious and have not really changed my ways. I was happy to have Mr. Wofford's support for my "Nice little 2-point" which I find quite comfortable and stable.

    And that's my pot-stirring for the day.

  • #2
    I had a great chance to compare the two positions last year. A lesson with Boyd Martin had me trying the straight leg position, which did seem less tiring to me, but not as natural. A few weeks later, we had a Wofford clinic and I asked him his views. He favors the traditional position, saying that with a straight leg, the rider has no "springs" or ways to absorb the shock of galloping, making it harder to move fluidly with the horse.
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    • #3
      I am more comfortable in a modified 2 point for galloping. I feel more stable and able to move better with my horse. I haven't read the Woffard article yet but will this weekend.
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      • #4
        I can say from a galloping point of view (as in TB's at the track) having a straight leg is WAY LESS tiring, but that is also for flat surfaces. But it also requires you to put your weight in your hands at the base of the neck. I can see if you were in between fences and needed to be in that position for a lenth of time it would be beneficial, but for short term or on approach to a fence it could get you in trouble. I would find it hard on your horses legs too if you kept that position going down hill.

        I wish I could watch the videos.

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        • #5
          I've tried both ways too, and find the old style much more secure. I think also that it gives the horse a smoother ride. I'm sure that some of it depends on body type - I'm have a pretty long torso, so I'm not really balanced upright.

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          • Original Poster

            #6
            He spent a lot of time on physics, including that when the horse gallops he not only moves forward, but he goes up and down a little. When your knees are bent you absorb quite a bit of that up/down effort, but in the straighter knee/hands on neck position, the horse must lift you up too with every stride - so it's harder on the horse.

            Now, maybe the proponents of uprightness will say that the rider's weight is negligible and it's not THAT Much harder on the horse?

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            • #7
              Haven't gotten the lastest issue yet, but of course I agree.

              The new "American way" fad is embarassing for our country!




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              • #8
                When I worked at the track standing up straight in the stirrups was strongly considered to be a lazy/weak rider making things way harder on the horse than necessary. But hey, making things easier on ourselves at someone else's expense..... it's the american way!

                Jennifer
                Third Charm Event Team

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by cllane1 View Post
                  I had a great chance to compare the two positions last year. A lesson with Boyd Martin had me trying the straight leg position, which did seem less tiring to me, but not as natural.
                  Boyd made an interesting comment about the galloping position to my group at a clinic. He said his observation is many riders are not out of the saddle enough, and therefore, their "bum" slaps against the saddle, which is not good for the horse's back.

                  In watching many riders on the cross country course, I see he has a point, but it's mostly in the LL.

                  He was not advocating a straight leg position, but did say it was important to stay enough out of the saddle so your "bum" doesn't hit it.
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                  • #10
                    Of course, if your stirrups are too long, it is hard to get your bum out of the saddle without standing straight up!! Many many problems would be fixed by jacking the stirrups up a couple holes.

                    Jennifer
                    Third Charm Event Team

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by jenm View Post
                      Boyd made an interesting comment about the galloping position to my group at a clinic. He said his observation is many riders are not out of the saddle enough, and therefore, their "bum" slaps against the saddle, which is not good for the horse's back.

                      In watching many riders on the cross country course, I see he has a point, but it's mostly in the LL.

                      He was not advocating a straight leg position, but did say it was important to stay enough out of the saddle so your "bum" doesn't hit it.
                      Well, for what it's worth, Jimmy certainly would agree that when your a** hits the saddle, you are doing something wrong. I've been in clinics with him where part of his assessment of you at the start is to have you gallop a big loop at whatever pace he sets (without a watch of course -- you have to show that you can feel it), without letting your butt touch the saddle ever.
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                      • #12
                        i think both need to be used. the new style is much more efficient for long gallops between fences. if done correctly, your butt will not touch the saddle. nothing kills me more than watching people go around xc with the butt smaking the saddle every stride. of course, as someone said above, for up hills and down hills, obv the old style is more appropriate. if you watch the best xc riders, they can do and use both.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by ThirdCharm View Post
                          Of course, if your stirrups are too long, it is hard to get your bum out of the saddle without standing straight up!! Many many problems would be fixed by jacking the stirrups up a couple holes.

                          Jennifer


                          Yes, but see Jennifer, that's much too *hard*. It's much easier to just lean on the neck.




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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by llevent View Post
                            i think both need to be used. the new style is much more efficient for long gallops between fences


                            You've obviously drunk the Kool Aide.....

                            Please explain why none of the other countries, you know....the ones that beat us all the time, do not use this position.

                            The ONLY benefit is that it's easier for the rider. What happened to the rider working hard to improve their balance and strength instead? So that they can do it correctly?

                            Galloping along off the horses back using the natural shock absorbers (of the rider's knees, hips, and ankles) is actually the most "efficient" way to gallop long distances.




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                            • #15
                              I dont think I would want to be in any position where my balance point is forward on my hands pressing into the neck. Maybe its because the little dude is not above random spooks between fences, or maybe its because I dont see how you can keep a horse between your aids like this.

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                              • #16
                                Originally posted by lstevenson View Post
                                You've obviously drunk the Kool Aide.....

                                Please explain why none of the other countries, you know....the ones that beat us all the time, do not use this position.

                                The ONLY benefit is that it's easier for the rider. What happened to the rider working hard to improve their balance and strength instead? So that they can do it correctly?

                                Galloping along off the horses back using the natural shock absorbers (of the rider's knees, hips, and ankles) is actually the most "efficient" way to gallop long distances.




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                                And apparently you are far too good to try it.

                                It is not necessarily easier.. if you properly tried the positio, it does require stamina and a ton of balance. the point of the position is to stay OUT of the horses way as much as possible so they can do their thing.. i think the "most efficient" way is whatever stays out of the horses way for those long gallops, esp when trying to make time at the UL, not so much for LL.

                                and i dont know, but our most recent olympian to win gold for us uses this technique. so there is one. plus you have to keep in mind that a lot of people don't "work hard" to improve their balance. there are way too many LL riders smacking their @$$ on the saddle. yeah, i take pride in the fact that my @$$ doesn't touch the saddle unless i want it to.

                                both positions require a lot of practice; whatever one that keeps you from bashing your horses back is the one, well i think both, you should use.

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                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by llevent View Post
                                  And apparently you are far too good to try it.



                                  it does require stamina and a ton of balance.

                                  Oh I've tried it. That's why I hate it so much. I was down at the training sessions in Florida when this new "fad" came about. It put my well balanced galloping horse way on the forehand (which increases the concussive forces on the horse's front legs), and made me feel like I was way too forward. If the horse stumbles (which he is more likely to do when the weight he is carrying is so far forward over his front end) you are in a very precarious position. It's like riding your bike with your hips way up over the handlebars! And it was clear that my horse hated the fact that my shock absorbers in my legs were not working. Horses would much prefer to carry an object that moves with them at the gallop.


                                  And no, leaning on the neck does not require balance. Look up the word "balance" in the dictionary.




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                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by lstevenson View Post
                                    Horses would much prefer to carry an object that moves with them at the gallop.


                                    And no, leaning on the neck does not require balance. Look up the word "balance" in the dictionary.




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                                    I'm pretty sure people using it move with their horse.. i mean you can try and tell boyd or karen or jennie that they dont, but you'd probably be wrong... and yes, you use a bridge on the neck, but the majority of your weight is balanced over your center of gravity.

                                    to each their own. whatever works for you, use it. there are hundreds of variations in riding. riders and our horses are all built so different. just because you don't use it doesnt mean its improper or horrible for the horse, and on top of that, just because you don't like it, it doesnt mean that it wont work for a lot of other people.
                                    Last edited by llevent; Jul. 22, 2011, 03:59 PM. Reason: typos

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                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by llevent View Post
                                      Iand yes you use a bridge on the neck, but the majority of your weight is balanced over your center of gravity.


                                      If you are leaning your weight on that bridge, like they suggest, your weight is NOT over your center of gravity, it's on your hands. Which are way up the horse's neck.

                                      I honestly think anyone who promotes riding this way should try riding a bicycle with their hips way up over the handlebars to see what happens to their bike's balance when they do that.

                                      Bottom line is the best riders in the world of Eventing are not from this country, and they do not ride this way, and never will. And it's an illogical position.




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                                      • #20
                                        The 'straight' leg is easy to teach in a clinic situation when you have a lot of weekend warriors.....but I don't think it is the best gallop position. A quick fix for crappy position and better than sitting on your horse...yes...but not what I would model as the best position.
                                        Last edited by bornfreenowexpensive; Jul. 23, 2011, 07:41 AM.
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