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Galloping position

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  • Galloping position

    I just saw Jimmy Woffords article on the X-country galloping position in Practical Horseman and it is very different then the locked knee, straight leg position with the bridge on the neck that I have been taught. In fact, he says that is absolutely wrong. I'm confused, who is correct?
    The ants are my friends. And they're blowin' in the wind.

  • #2
    Jimmy.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by 1* View Post
      I just saw Jimmy Woffords article on the X-country galloping position in Practical Horseman and it is very different then the locked knee, straight leg position with the bridge on the neck that I have been taught. In fact, he says that is absolutely wrong. I'm confused, who is correct?
      Locked knees will prevent you from using your leg correctly both for general steering and in an emergency/quick thinking scenario.

      Straight leg position can hinder balance

      Bridge on the neck means you aren't balancing yourself, you are balancing yourself on your horse's neck. This can wear your horse down more quickly for a longer gallop and also - how do you steer with a bridge? Little corrections can be made, but not serious steering - especially in an emergency/quick thinking type situation.

      So yeah...Jimmy is right....you want to have the leg strength and balance to sit on the horse on your own and have an independent seat.

      Not that you are going to be able to do this tomorrow - but it should be worked on.

      Comment


      • #4
        locked knee??? how do you gallop on terrain with a locked knee???

        I find the bridge useful when I'm really "resting" (a long boring straight gallop on a horse who knows how to balance himself) or when I'm rating in sets or towards the end of that long boring gallop. Although some people I have worked with have espoused using the bridge sort of "all the time" I found it a relief to clinic with Jimmy, who really wants your stability to come from your base and keep your hands more fluid/flexible. Just feels more natural to me.
        The big man -- my lost prince

        The little brother, now my main man

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        • #5
          Denny did a fantastic article (with pictures) about the galloping position years ago. I can't remember if it was in COTH, Eventing, or Practical Horseman.

          A proper galloping position (at speed) should resemble a downhill racer's 'tuck.' Your body parts (knees, hips, etc.) must be in a position to absorb the movement of your horse's gallop, any stumbles, etc. A straight legged position will only help get your more off balance if your horse takes a funny step or as you travel over uneven ground.

          Perhaps Denny may even have a picture to share.
          Random horse pics http://www.flickr.com/photos/glfprncs/
          Talk to me about fitness or nutrition (I'm an A.C.E. Certified Personal Trainer)!
          My blog! http://personalsweatequity.blogspot.com/

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          • #6
            please show pictures?! Of Jimmy, and others.

            I've been told that I'm wrong with my position too.
            http://kaboomeventing.com/boomer%20cross%20country.jpg
            and for the life of me I can't ride in a bridge. kind of like I can't drive with the cruise control on because I feel like if there were a problem I would be out of control...

            Yet I don't seem to be able to ride with my feet crammed in the stirrups and my toes at my horses forearm like the OCs.
            Seems that everyone says that is the correct way to go.

            though then how do you put your leg on with them way out infront? maybe just smack your horse with your bat to go forward?

            I don't know.
            so I stopped wondering.
            I figure if my position is not secure then I'll fall off and figure it out from there.
            trial and error

            I'll certainly be reading this thread with interest...
            http://kaboomeventing.com/
            http://kaboomeventing.blogspot.com/
            Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!

            Comment


            • #7
              I recently splurged (well, it was a birthday gift) and bought the video of an XC run that I thought was pretty good. It was a good run, but watching it gave me SO many things to work on. I critiqued my jumping (anyone ever do a frame-by-frame of every jump on a course? Very enlightening), but I really critiqued my galloping position. I also recently borrowed a video camera, so as soon as my horse is fit I'll be getting someone to film me in the outdoor arena in a hand gallop. I'm using the fitness-building phase to work on a slew of exercises from various sources (including Jimmy's article) and working with my gut based on my memory from the video (don't worry--my jump instructor teaches out of our farm, so I can get regular feedback as well).

              I can't say enough how valuable that video was--I thought I was soft and following, and my arms are (I don't use a bridge), but my legs were much stiffer and further out in front of me than I realized. It's causing me to drop back in the saddle early and hinder my horse's jumping efforts. Incidentally, it's also enlightening to see your actual speed vs. perceived speed and compare it to vids/personal experiences of watching ULRs go around!

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Man, thanks guys. Perhaps "locked" is too strong- but my knees are straight- no shock absorption to try and keep from "posting" at the gallop. I think I have some work to do on this....
                The ants are my friends. And they're blowin' in the wind.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by purplnurpl View Post
                  please show pictures?! Of Jimmy, and others.

                  I've been told that I'm wrong with my position too.
                  http://kaboomeventing.com/boomer%20cross%20country.jpg
                  and for the life of me I can't ride in a bridge. kind of like I can't drive with the cruise control on because I feel like if there were a problem I would be out of control...

                  Yet I don't seem to be able to ride with my feet crammed in the stirrups and my toes at my horses forearm like the OCs.
                  Seems that everyone says that is the correct way to go.

                  though then how do you put your leg on with them way out infront? maybe just smack your horse with your bat to go forward?

                  I don't know.
                  so I stopped wondering.
                  I figure if my position is not secure then I'll fall off and figure it out from there.
                  trial and error

                  I'll certainly be reading this thread with interest...


                  This is an interesting thread; I'm waiting for Denny to weigh in
                  "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

                  "It's supposed to be hard...the hard is what makes it great!" (Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own")

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by purplnurpl View Post
                    please show pictures?! Of Jimmy, and others.

                    I've been told that I'm wrong with my position too.
                    http://kaboomeventing.com/boomer%20cross%20country.jpg
                    and for the life of me I can't ride in a bridge. kind of like I can't drive with the cruise control on because I feel like if there were a problem I would be out of control...

                    Yet I don't seem to be able to ride with my feet crammed in the stirrups and my toes at my horses forearm like the OCs.
                    Seems that everyone says that is the correct way to go.

                    though then how do you put your leg on with them way out infront? maybe just smack your horse with your bat to go forward?

                    I don't know.
                    so I stopped wondering.
                    I figure if my position is not secure then I'll fall off and figure it out from there.
                    trial and error

                    I'll certainly be reading this thread with interest...
                    You picture isn't at the right angle to tell....plus it is hard to judge from a picture. It isn't about falling off....it is about being in a position that allows your horse to most efficiently gallop. My instinct from looking at your shot is that you look more about to come to a fence than galloping inbetween (you are not off their back enough for galloping). They are different positions.

                    Perhaps look at some photos of top riders galloping. But again...better to see it in person.
                    ** 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


                    • #11
                      in defense of the bridge

                      I have to disagree with the criticism of bridging your reins. I spend lots of time in a single bridge on my 4 year old. I've been known to bridge them during dressage lessons - with a pure D trainer. On a horse who's unsteady, the steadiness of a bridge can be very helpful. My P and T horses liked it for galloping because it is quiet and they can just balance on it (these are ex racehorses, so YMMV). And it's less tiring for the horse to have a quiet balanced rider.

                      The biggest fault I see these days with lower level riders on XC is that they are on the horse's back on XC - maybe banging, maybe sitting, but certainly not in a steady 2 point. These guys could use a bridge. Their horses would be grateful. I'm not saying that people shouldn't be able to stay in 2 point for 5 minutes, but please, if you can't do it and nevertheless must be out on XC, spare your horse and bridge your reins or hold the mane.

                      I've never had a problem steering with a bridge - in fact, it prevents the outside rein from getting too long and the shoulder bulging, so with some horses it can be helpful. My horses tend to go where I look and point with my upper body. My 16.2+ leggy 4 year old can turn a 10m circle in a bridge. It's easy. If I do need power steering, I drop my bridge and pick it up again afterward. Easy.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Saskatoonian - I understand what you are saying about bridging and I have bridged on occasion.

                        The problem would be relying on the bridging, which is why you should be able to run an entire course without bridging. It takes balance and muscles to hold yourself up and not lean on the horse's neck.

                        Jockey's bridge when racing thoroughbreds, but they don't lean. The problem with never learning how to gallop with an independent seat is that the person never really learns their own balance and are at greater risk of turning a small mistake into an accident.

                        So, it is generally best to tell the new riders - don't bridge! Then they can learn the value of bridging, at certain times, after they acquired the proper seat.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Saskatoonian View Post
                          The biggest fault I see these days with lower level riders on XC is that they are on the horse's back on XC - maybe banging, maybe sitting, but certainly not in a steady 2 point. These guys could use a bridge. Their horses would be grateful. I'm not saying that people shouldn't be able to stay in 2 point for 5 minutes, but please, if you can't do it and nevertheless must be out on XC, spare your horse and bridge your reins or hold the mane.
                          The bridge is a really useful tool -- you've named a bunch of ways it can be useful, but I have to disagree with this statement. If you can't stay in your 2 point for 5 minutes and bang on your horse's back, you should NOT use a bridge, you should stay home and practice.
                          I'm not being snotty -- I spent a lot of time when I was going Novice just working on this at home until I got strong enough, and I know it can be hard if you are new, as I was, to eventing...

                          but if you try and solve this problem with a bridge you are just leaning on your hands (and your horse's withers) for balance -- and you are not developing your own strength/balance.

                          That's just a recipe for disaster -- the first time the horse hops sideways or stumbles on xc, will the rider lift his hands, rebalance himself and the horse with independent upper and lower body, or topple off because he has no base??
                          The big man -- my lost prince

                          The little brother, now my main man

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by 1* View Post
                            I just saw Jimmy Woffords article on the X-country galloping position in Practical Horseman and it is very different then the locked knee, straight leg position with the bridge on the neck that I have been taught. In fact, he says that is absolutely wrong. I'm confused, who is correct?


                            Absolutely Jimmy is correct. This new "trend" (which unfortunately seems to be the ICP way? Or at least some of the more well known ICP instructors) of riders standing straight up leaning over their hands really annoys me.

                            There is nothing wrong with riding with bridged reins, but to gallop along with your center of gravity way forward over that bridge is unbalancing for both horse and rider. And the rider bringing their weight that far forward also jams the tree points of the saddle right into the horse's backs. The rider's center of gravity should be centered over the middle of the saddle not the pommel.
                            http://www.MyVirtualEventingCoach.com

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by asterix View Post
                              That's just a recipe for disaster -- the first time the horse hops sideways or stumbles on xc, will the rider lift his hands, rebalance himself and the horse with independent upper and lower body, or topple off because he has no base??
                              That is exactly what a correct bridge helps with- your horse trips and the bridge can keep the rider on. Not saying you do not need to have a base or you should be out there when you are not fit enough to do teh course without leaning on your bridge or the bridge is a substitute for proper balance and strength but what you mentioned is one of the better reasons for using a bridge IMO. In fact, I think there is a picture in JW's 3-day book where his horse tripped on the landing in the water and the caption credits the bridge with being the reason he stayed on (could be confusing this with another rider/book but I don't think so). So running around leaning on your horse's neck to keep you up is one thing but the reason not to do it is not that you are more likely to fall off if your horse stumbles.
                              I bridge my reins for pretty much the entire xc course- will drop it when I need to slip my reins or something. I do not spend much if any time leaning into my bridge on gallops between fences. Being in a bridge does not adversely affect my ability to steer or balance me or my horse (my inadequacies as a rider do that themselves without any help from my bridge ).
                              There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.(Churchill)

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by lstevenson View Post
                                Absolutely Jimmy is correct. This new "trend" (which unfortunately seems to be the ICP way? Or at least some of the more well known ICP instructors) of riders standing straight up leaning over their hands really annoys me.

                                ...The rider's center of gravity should be centered over the middle of the saddle not the pommel.
                                Yeah, I look at those guys (and they are guys that started it) and wonder how many people will get sucked into emulating them. The thing to remember is that my curvy female center of gravity is going to be different than some stick of a man's center of gravity. So, if the center of gravity is different the position is going to be different. I'd fall off if I galloped around like Dutton. Great to watch though.

                                Something fun and educational to do is to jack your stirrups up to jockey length and try cantering around. That as much as anything I've done has helped me hone in on where my balance needs to be.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Completely agree, Asterix, that they should be staying at home practicing - but they're not. It's not my practice, or what I was taught, just what I see.

                                  As for stumbles, bobbles, and general winging around, well, let's just say that there's a reason I ride goofy green horses or strange horses with a bridge. So we might have to agree to disagree on that one.

                                  And yes, Bambam, that picture is in Wofford's 3 Day book.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    At some point I was shown the straight knee, knuckles on the neck, reins in a bridge for galloping and told that was correct. I hate it. It hurts my back and shoulder.

                                    Much prefer the "skier" stance. Much easier on the joints, and allows for quicker reaction time (IMHO).

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Not all beginners sit in the saddle

                                      Even though I'm somewhat new to eventing (XC), I tend to be in "2 point" too much I think. Someone said the most common mistake they saw newbies do is "sit in the saddle" too much.

                                      Here's my "galloping position"...and if anything, I'm out of the saddle too much?
                                      http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/k...ace_082507.jpg

                                      Of course, this was just a little schooling...and pony is just cantering (not a real gallop)

                                      I never bridge either..not that I think it's wrong or right...just don't do it. No need to at my level (mostly doing hunter paces, or schooling horse trials, schooling XC at beginner novice)
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                                      • #20
                                        Haven't seen the article so all my impressions are what I'm picking up from replies here. I find it slightly amusing that it seems you have Jimmy on one hand saying no straight legs, no bridge (that's what I'm reading... correct me if I'm wrong) and I know for a fact that one of his all-time most successful students (Karen O'Connor) teaches galloping position IS bridged reins and straight legs. She taught me to gallop at a series of clinics. Granted I think I modify it a little simply because straight legs feels awkward... but at the same time, I do feel comfortable with a bridge and I do get my arse out of the saddle -- which I think is a fault of a lot of newer riders to cross country riding.

                                        That's all... just sharing my slight amusement
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