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H/J person - question about eventing position

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  • H/J person - question about eventing position

    I have a question about an eventing person's riding position. I recently went to watch a clinic and just didn't understand if this was the way these people were trained or if this is proper in eventing. The clinic was stadium jumping so they started off with small fences and never got higher than 3'. But I saw that people had their reins really long and their hands spread pretty far on either sides of the horse. I ride with a shorter rein and my hands together. And I kept seeing people really working their horse's heads by taking one rein and the other so that the horses looked like they were wagging their heads side to side. Also over the fences which they were only trotting over there was no release, at all. Also no one had their heels down, but had their feet loose and were just letting them wiggle. IS that typical? Please explain. I want to go watch a another clinic, but want to know more background
  • Original Poster

    #2
    I have a question about an eventing person's riding position. I recently went to watch a clinic and just didn't understand if this was the way these people were trained or if this is proper in eventing. The clinic was stadium jumping so they started off with small fences and never got higher than 3'. But I saw that people had their reins really long and their hands spread pretty far on either sides of the horse. I ride with a shorter rein and my hands together. And I kept seeing people really working their horse's heads by taking one rein and the other so that the horses looked like they were wagging their heads side to side. Also over the fences which they were only trotting over there was no release, at all. Also no one had their heels down, but had their feet loose and were just letting them wiggle. IS that typical? Please explain. I want to go watch a another clinic, but want to know more background

    Comment


    • #3
      Yes ansd no.

      Some of it is typical but not correct.
      Some of it is not typical.
      Some of it is correct/intentional.

      First of all the correct/intentional. The lack of a "hunter style release" is intentional. An eventer, like a jumper, often needs to rebalance and change direction in the first stride on landing. To do that effectively, you need a following hand (aka "automatic release"). When it is done right, it does not interfere at all with the horse's jump. But with a less than perfect rider (that is all of us, right) it soemtimes DOES interferes. But as long as you don't actually get left, slightly too much contact over the top of the fence is a much lesser evil that not being able to balance/turn on landing.

      With very low fences, the horse doesn't need to actively use his head and neck over the fence, so "no visible release" is not surprising. With a a bigger fence, you would (hopefully) see something you would recognize as an automatic release.
      Janet

      chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).

      Comment


      • #4
        Long reins, hands held wide.

        There is an exercise when this is intentional, but generally you want the reins shorter, with the hands closer together.

        When you land off a big drop, you often need to slip the reins- meaning you land with reins taht are too long. But you may still need to rebalance and turn before you have a chance to shorten your reins. SO we do an exercise where we intentioannly ride with long reins, to practice dealing with it. It also helps teach you to use weight, leg, seat and eyes for steering, not just reins.

        Who was the clinician?
        Janet

        chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).

        Comment


        • #5
          Wagging the head with the reins, aka seesawing, is almost never correct.

          Was the clinician telling them to do this (in which case I would ask why)? Or were they jsut doing it on their own?

          Were they doing this with the long reins and wide apart hands? If so, maybe they were just trying to figure out how to steer with long reins.
          Janet

          chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).

          Comment


          • #6
            Heels down is, if anything, even more important in eventing, because it provides the all important base of support. However, I have to admit that, at the lower levels, there are far too many riders who do NOT keep their heels down.
            Janet

            chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).

            Comment


            • #7
              Well said Janet,
              Re: heels not down - was this in the non-jumping part of the clinic, 'cause in dressage that extremely deep heel that you see in hunter & equitation is not desirable because it leads to inflexibility in the joints of the leg (heel, knee, hip...there's a cascading reaction). Yes, it's sometimes very useful when anchoring one's leg over fences, though.
              Also, regarding the wagging head: Some riders will deliberately flex and counterflex their horses (ie strong bend to the inside for a few strides, then strong bend to the outside, all with long frame and sometimes long reins) in order to supple their horses at the start of a workout. You may notice that quite a few international showjumpers will do a few strides of that as they enter the ring.

              See ya...

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Thanks for explaining. THe group I saw I think was newer to the sport. Some people did automatic releases and one girl did not release and no hip angle change at all but her horse seemed really hot the whole time. About the wagging heads. It was not during a flat session, but was during the whole thing and they weren't just warming up. The clinician was not worrying about anything really that the rider may have been doing wrong so far as equitation or hands or anything. They weren't really working on exercises for themselves, but were doing more grid work for the horses and letting the horses figure out goofy things.

                Comment


                • #9
                  IME it is very common for those riding hot horses to a) not ride the jump and b) not ever let go of the horse's face! Its that fear of 'if I let go, he will run faster', however untrue it may be.

                  I'll occasionally do a grid or even some singles with long reins - but only on my friend's prelim./int. experienced horse, not on my greenie. Its very relaxing if you are a tense rider to canter up to a jump almost on the buckle, and use your body and your eyes to control the pace and turn. It fine tunes both you and the horse's senses, as long as you have one that generally listens!

                  Plus, it can force you to be really independent with your hands, allow you to practice different releases, etc. without yanking your horse in the mouth.

                  Seesawing and heels up are BIG no-no's! Neither one produces anything but a pissy horse and a sloppy rider.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    tblagg1110 <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">I kept seeing people really working their horse's heads by taking one rein and the other so that the horses looked like they were wagging their heads side to side. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
                    I see this more and more and it drives me a little nuts. It seems to be a fad, a bit of equestrian pop culture. There are several methods, well tested by time, for softening a horse besides wagging the neck and head. There is no need for a "new" method, especially one that messes with the horse's lateral balance.

                    Generally, eventers employ the “balanced seat” which is the traditional military seat. There are many books on the balanced seat. You can search for authors like Harry D. Chamberlin, Vladimir Littauer, Gordon Wright (teacher of George Morris), Sally Swift, Sue Harris, and others who’s roots are in military riding. Next to the dressage seat, the balanced seat is the most written about. The American Hunter/Jumper seat is a derivative of the balanced seat in much the same way that lite beer is supposed to be beer.
                    Farm http://www.equineequip.com/triplecreekfarm.htm
                    Main Interest http://thebalancedseat.com
                    Discussion http://thebalancedseat.com/yabb/YaBB.pl

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">The American Hunter/Jumper seat is a derivative of the balanced seat in much the same way that lite beer is supposed to be beer. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

                      *choke* I should know by now not to drink water while reading Horseguy's posts. LMAO.
                      Chief Irrelevant Poster and member of the Broken Leg Brigade.

                      I wouldn't event at all, but it feels SO GOOD when you complete in one piece...

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Unfortunately these are bad leftovers fro the old BHS days, which, Anne Kursinslki brought to the longlisted riders' attention in the 1980ies when she first coached them, and, it continued with Ginny Leng around the same time; there is this stupid idea that thee should be no releases with an event horse, with all due respect I doubtthat there are even a half dozen riders who event with solid enough positions to correctly use an automatic release.Even with a`crest release , and, grabbing mane there are lots of swinging lower legs, and seats returning to the saddle in the air. At Anne and, Ginnys' clinics there were many advanced riders who, had their reins taken away from them , and looped around their horse ' necks, so they could not pull. and, several of them ended up horses, and, riders on the ground, when thed horses could not leave the ground. You will find the same belief anmong many older pony clubbers that , horses cannot jump unless tgeir heads are down! I have heard that from many riders ,
                        '/ but how can they jjump without their heads down?"followed by, "Now my dressage is better, but my horse won't jump" What does that say about some misguided hough "certified" instructors?
                        breeder of Mercury!

                        remember to enjoy the moment, and take a moment to enjoy and give God the glory for these wonderful horses in our lives.BECAUSE: LIFE is What Happens While Making Other Plans

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          At a JW clinic this spring--he really lectured that you do not jump with your horses heads down like you are doing dressage. The horse has to see the fence and they see by looking down their nose. If you have their chin on their chest they are not going to see the jump!

                          I think bad riding is bad riding (and I see it with hunter/jumpers too). In the JW clinic, he bascially took the reins away from several riders.

                          I do not see a big difference in how I jump an event horse verses and how I was taught to jump the jumpers except for some x-c fences (and perhaps how you jump stadium on day 3 after a 3-day). I think there is a difference between a "release" and following a horse. You give a release in the jumpers, hunters and most jumps eventing but you do not in x-c where the horse jumps some of the fences from speed more like a timber horse. If you watch a good jockey with a timber horse, he is not giving a release but is with and following the horse. If you have a bridge in your reins and are galloping over a fly fence cross country, you may not be giving a "release" over the top of the fence, but with the bridge and your hands in their neck (or in my case, fingers wrapped in the mane)--you will be following and not restricting. The horse uses that as support over the fence. I could be totally wrong but when I asked the question "Why can't I give a nice release x-c" a good friend who has ridden in more *** than I will spectate at said to me...because your horse will flip over. They need the support over some of the cross country fences at speed.
                          ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            There's also the simple fact that with some of the hunter-style releases I've seen, it's a surefire way to end up flat on your back in the middle of the XC course, with nothing to look forward to but a long walk home. That's not to say that you shouldn't give.
                            Chief Irrelevant Poster and member of the Broken Leg Brigade.

                            I wouldn't event at all, but it feels SO GOOD when you complete in one piece...

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Why can't I give a nice release x-c" a good friend who has ridden in more *** than I will spectate at said to me...because your horse will flip over. They need the support over some of the cross country fences at speed. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

                              BornFreeNow... Thats a really good point, one of those things you always sorta thought about but never said out loud for fear someone would laugh at you! I think horses do need support over jumps and you can't just throw the reins away, thats why i don't understand people who ride x-country in big harsh bits and just throw their hands up the neck before the fence, it just seems like mixed messages.
                              http://www.clarkdesigngrouparchitects.com/index.html - Lets build your dream barn

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                The head wagging thing. Hmmm, interesting when jumping. Whatevah. BUT in dressage, you do over bending, counter bending. Works wonders on the Winstonator to get him to unlock and use his hind end without me pestering him. It's a bending from the leg, not just the head. But I certainly wouldn't do that when approaching a jump. I have done it on occassion between fences because he would lock. But not wagging, just a bend, counter bend. Now, with a proper half halt we have, I use that.
                                Hands low and wide. Absolutely when teaching a youngster. It should look like you're driving a truck, channeling the horse to the jump. This way, they can't pop a shoulder or wiggle. Another Winstonator thing. Sucker is flexible! Now we don't have to do that, he actually listens to my legs.
                                The non auto release. Well, I think you would understand that when you do your first downhill jump But it shouldn't be a death grip. It should be quite soft. You don't see Kim Severson releasing up the neck, yet her horses head and neck are stretched over the jumps and she still has perfect contact.
                                Legs flopping. ACK!!! How friggin' dangerous! We usually do have the death grip in the leg. The ankle and knee are pivot/cushion points but the leg remains stuck to the side.
                                Sounds like a bad clinic to me.
                                Where are you? Maybe some folks here will tell you about auditing some other clinics.
                                Even duct tape can't fix stupid

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by bornfreenowexpensive:
                                  At a JW clinic this spring--he really lectured that you do not jump with your horses heads down like you are doing dressage. The horse has to see the fence and they see by looking down their nose. If you have their chin on their chest they are not going to see the jump! </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

                                  BornFree...that is one thing I really had driven home to me at the Wofford clinic I attended. They must be able to look down their noses at the fences. Pulling them into a dressage frame is dangerous in any jumping endeavor.

                                  Not to hijack the thread...I think the head-wagging thing is really weird myself. Asking the horse to bend comes from the legs and seat more than the hands. Wagging the head is just hand riding. Allowing a long rein is a great way to learn to move with the horse over fences (if the horse is well-behaved for the exercise).

                                  I'm curious who the clinician might have been. Some clinicians are really picky about equitation. Others focus more on how the horse goes. I think both approaches can work in the right situations.
                                  We need health care reform, not insurance reform. Health care for ALL!

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by AllyCat:
                                    I'm curious who the clinician might have been. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

                                    I think, at this point, everybody is curious about this...but it doesn't seem the OP is willing to reveal that. It's too bad, because those of us who do clinic and train with certain riders might benefit from knowing who it was that directed some of this riding. Of course, even the greatest of trainers can't control what a person is/is not doing to/on a horse, so maybe it was just a group of inexperienced riders. Would be helpful to know more about the situation so we could assess more before spending all this time giving feedback regarding what "may have been" or "might have been" going on (head wagging, heels up, long reins, loose seats, stiff releases, etc.). Is this for real? I may be lucky, because I've never seen a group of clinicers who are such bad/inappropriate riders, on the whole.

                                    I also second the suggestion that another poster made about finding out the OP's location and recommending another clinic for auditing. You would really learn a great deal, after experiencing this past clinic, to witness a clinic with an entirely different clinician and set of riders. It would give you some perspective on what everybody has offered in explanation here, as well as in regards to some of the more detailed specifics of our discipline.
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                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Bad riding over fences (no equitation)is just that. Ideally everyone would start with developing balance and (what is now called) automantic release from the beginning. The crest release (developed by gm to sell horses quicker) has destroyed the U.S. domination of style. This is not only the perview to hunters, but is everywhere.

                                      The only difference, there is really no addressing the lack of it in eventing.

                                      A person who saws the face will likely get stuck with a horse behind the leg, destroy the dressage work, and have stops at fences. It is impracticle and poor riding.

                                      Swimming lower legs do not support good or safe jumping, and if the heels are not down there is no steady support to the fence. Obviously no release to trot fences, is minimal equitation, there must be a slight amount (no alot, no ducking, etc) and will end up with horses which are too quick to fences.

                                      The entire English style of eventing (slipping reins, leaning back at end of drops) has taken over from the dominant caprilli style of elegance cross country because that style takes time and focus.

                                      I would say at one point it all was balanced seat, but it jumped the track to loss of equitational standards both places.

                                      (So, horseguy.....are you col k?????....)
                                      I.D.E.A. yoda

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Let me set things straight. George Morris did not "invent" the crest release as a way to sell more horses, it was part of a teaching program. As one advanced and became a more solid rider one also advanced their release to an automatic one. It was meant merely to help build confidence and keep the rider from balancing on the horses face. That was back in the day when a rider spent time on the lunge line without stirrups or reins as well to develop an independent seat and hand. No one appears to do that much anymore.

                                        The crest release evolved to that perchy hands above the mane, upper body support in the show ring sometime in the 80's. It was never meant to be anything more than a stepping stone to a proper automatic release. If you will go look at George's book or if he still does the Practical Horseman critiques - time after time under the pictures of some now BNT/BNR - he says all they need to do is lower their hands for a perfect following hand for a straight line from bit to elbow, an automatic release.

                                        People took George's intermediate stepping stone in learning to ride and made it the final product for the average rider. I have pictures of Rodney Jenkins from the 70's doing a crest release on hunters, he never rode with George. He is such a natural rider that no matter what he does up there, he is showing the horse off to it's best and staying out of it's way. Of course Rodney wasn't doing that floaty above the horse crest release either, not leaning on his hands either and not on every horse or every jump.

                                        Lynda

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