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Adding Hand

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  • Adding Hand

    I find this just a bit daunting and of course, practically heresy in discussing stadium jumping. For my guy, I can have enough leg to get him motoring around fast and flat, I can sit up all I want, but unless I can "package" that by adding hand, the rails fly and the distances suck. I do try to go fairly neutral the last three strides. How "handy" are you guys in stadium? By handy, I don't mean a hollowing stiff contact, but a more give and take "stay with me here" half halt.

  • #2
    How do you ride your dressage tests? You need to do the same in stadium. One thing I think about to keep my contact following the canter is 'elbows belong to hips'. This helps me relax and follow without throwing it all away. If you half halt and he doesn't listen, it's ok to be strong to get it done, but then leave him alone again. Easier said than done, which is what I'm working on too

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    • #3
      It sounds as though you need to work on your half halts, which are more than a matter of just sitting up.

      Half halts come from stopping your body from moving forward, while adding leg to drive the hind end under in a rebalancing. It shouldn't require more than a closed hand. all in a heart beat.

      If your half halts are not working you need to go back to your flatwork. Trot, then stop your body by sitting deeper, simultaneously adding leg. If there is no or minimal response, close your hand hard, pull if you have to but add leg. You want all four feet to stop and halt. Pat him when he settles. Repeat. Usually after one or two repetitions, when you stop your body, he will check, and think halt, but since your leg stayed on, and you paused for only a fraction, he will rock back and move on. Remember, body first, hand lastand leg always.

      If you just add hand to the forward you will stop the front end and the forward power. If you train him to work form your body, you can rebalance, which you want. This exercise is taught at the trot, but will carry through to all gaits.
      Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

      Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

      Comment


      • #4
        I agree with merry in that it sounds like you don't really have a half halt or he's blowing through them. Corners and turns are a good place for me to sit up, rebalance and if he doesn't listen, get serious about coming back to a rhythm before we leave the turn.

        Do you have a consistent, connected half halt in the trot and canter on the flat?
        Life doesn't have perfect footing.

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

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        • Original Poster

          #5
          Thanks guys! Well, he's good on the flat, he does listen to my half halts, it just seems a times to be a bit, "strong" in stadium. I know it takes what it takes, but I don't want the "Mr Man with the heavy hand" thing going either.

          Comment


          • #6
            Stadium course, out on the hills with cougars and bears, your aids should be delivered and received the same way.

            Someone somewhere needs aid reinforcement.
            Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

            Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

            Comment


            • #7
              I didn't realize how much connection I needed to have in stadium to get my mare to jump her best.

              It's hard to describe, but it's the same feel I would use while galloping when I want them super round over their topline and sitting in my hand. Then my half halts can come from my leg and core with just a squeeze of my fingers, since she's already connected in my hand. Super-round is the feeling I have to have. And she has to come back to that immediately after landing or she sticks her nose up and runs. Make sense, maybe?
              Big Idea Eventing

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              • #8
                I'm not usually a bit suggestion person, but what bit are you jumping him in?

                I've also had success (if you have an honest horse who's not the stopper type) riding up to jump and halting right in front of it a few times, then jumping and using that exercise to add a half halt in front of the jump and get them listening to you and off their guard.
                Life doesn't have perfect footing.

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

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by eponacowgirl View Post
                  I didn't realize how much connection I needed to have in stadium to get my mare to jump her best.

                  It's hard to describe, but it's the same feel I would use while galloping when I want them super round over their topline and sitting in my hand. Then my half halts can come from my leg and core with just a squeeze of my fingers, since she's already connected in my hand. Super-round is the feeling I have to have. And she has to come back to that immediately after landing or she sticks her nose up and runs. Make sense, maybe?
                  I am in the same boat as you, need to have him super connected and round and he jumps like a million bucks. If I don't "do enough" to make the connection happen, he jumps flatter and lower. I also find that a leg yield feeling after fences/going into turns helps get the control back without having to add as much hand.
                  No Trouble
                  2/2/05 - 7/29/13
                  Rest In Peace my quirky brave boy, I will love you forever.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    If you train yourself to always expect balanced movement from your horse, you'll start to think you're not giving any half halts because it's so instinctual. It'll help you cross country, too...

                    I think a lot of riders have more of a hunter-type position between jumps in stadium; not their cross country position, but more a half seat in which half halts are more like 1/8 halts in effectiveness. If stadium is the only place you're having trouble, try to ride more like an equitation rider - sitting deeper, and more upright. Using your seat properly will cut down on how much you need your hand, and help you get the same responsiveness you do in dressage. If not... perhaps grids are in order.
                    Originally posted by Silverbridge
                    If you get anything on your Facebook feed about who is going to the Olympics in 2012 or guessing the outcome of Bush v Gore please start threads about those, too.

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                    • #11
                      If you learn visually, I would watch how the good jumper riders go around. Don't get caught up in thinking connection always has to equal round or "on the bit". Showjumpers frequently go much more "up and open"... light in the hand and with the balance shifted back. They aren't afraid to sit down, either.

                      A couple of my favorites.

                      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jgpP2XyTvjE
                      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wyxp-l6Kf3U

                      And from eventing-land, James Alliston is, IMO, one of the better showjumping riders.

                      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPV2ErZRsyU
                      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gyTS5...feature=relmfu

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Wildlifer, he goes in a D-ring snaffle, seems to settle with that pretty well. Wanderlust; Cool videos, thanks. Seems like the first two jumpers have a lot more in their hand, which makes sense given the size of the jumps they are packaging up for. James was a little closer to my style, still, they all rode very positively to the fences, and they really are not afraid to say, "wait". I ride him a bit more open, like Luke Skywalker. It's a delicate art, don't kill the engine, but don't let him get too long, and try not to get in his way!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          RB, a while ago you posted a video from a clinic you took. I think it was right around the time you moved to Training. I don't remember the specifics of who you were riding with, but you looked REALLY good in the video. IIRC, you were balanced, good distances, good impulsion, an all around nice picture.

                          I'm no expert, but I would go back and watch that again. You definitely already have it in you to get the job done well. Maybe that clinician brought out the side of you that you need to recapture?
                          Always be yourself. Unless you can be Batman. Then always be Batman.

                          The Grove at Five Points

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Aw, thanks Acme, very kind words. Did I mention that I have ADD,OCD and make everyone crazy trying to get things perfect? I know, I know, I picked the wrong sport for that!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I've been working with a super jumper coach and this is something we've done a lot with. I too, felt like I was "going neutral the last 3 strides", you know, a following/allowing hand and all that. What really was happening was I was basically dropping him in the last three strides! Not totally, but by trying to be neutral and soft, I was essentially floating the reins to him and abandoning the contact and balance we'd built.

                              Now, mine was 4 at the time and very green to jumping, and 16.2 and growing fast...so he needed some assistance with the balance or everything got faster, longer and more downhill

                              What he has had me work on is not changing ANYTHING in the last 3 strides, including contact! Whatever compression, engagement, etc you need to do to set up for the fence (4-10 strides out) needs to be done and then you have to settle into that connection for the last 3 strides.

                              At first it really felt like I was a big mean jerk, and of course I was terrified that I would hit him in the mouth. But as my coach pointed out (and as we all know from dressage), an intermittent hand is a harsh one and a steady contact is reassuring and actually softer for the horse to go to. I am an experienced enough rider to truly have an independent seat and hand so I'm not going to just hit him in the mouth. (I keep repeating this to myself when I get worried!)

                              Basically he has to jump up into the contact instead of being allowed to get longer and longer as we go. Sometimes this results in some ugly fences in the beginning of the schooling, but if I stay consistent, his balance improves tremendously and the whole connection and picture is much better.

                              Hope this is somehow helpful to you!

                              PS: Don't forget to keep your legs on as you keep the contact! Some calf pressure to keep the connection going back to front all the way to the point of takeoff!
                              Last edited by echodecker; Apr. 16, 2012, 10:24 PM. Reason: Forgot the legs!
                              TPR!
                              Thoroughbred Placement Resources, Inc
                              www.goodhorse.org

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                              • #16
                                Originally posted by riderboy View Post
                                Aw, thanks Acme, very kind words. Did I mention that I have ADD,OCD and make everyone crazy trying to get things perfect? I know, I know, I picked the wrong sport for that!
                                Yeah, but the right profession

                                I am also a "must get it right, must get it right, must get it right . . . . "! It is our greatest strength and our greatest foe .
                                Always be yourself. Unless you can be Batman. Then always be Batman.

                                The Grove at Five Points

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