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Spinoff: Drops scare me

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  • Spinoff: Drops scare me

    I don't mind ditches or galloping up and down hill or jumping up and downhill; or jumping up banks; don't mind water; but drops, even weenie ones terrify me.

    Anyone here have a training program on learning drops? I have a friend who has an 18" or so drop in her pasture, but even it terrifies me.
    "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
    Thread killer Extraordinaire

  • #2
    i used to hate drops too...still sorta do. what helps me is to grab my ohcrapstrap and just hold on!!!

    we did the double downs at big bear and after 3 or 4 times they sorta became fun!! like a roller coaster!!! but starting off every time....eeehhhh, heebie jeebies! i walk them! or even slow trot them.....

    also... i hate drop jumps into water!! finally figured out regular drops but now the water gets me. i guess it's the jumping in part. which.....is probably why i hated drops initially....fleck did the whole 'golden retriever diving into the lake' jump down them instead of just slipping down...... so now he's learned to slip...which is great...

    but...now we are adding the jump down into water... and it's hard to find my position! i think that's the hardest part...just trying to figure out where your body should be!


    • #3
      Think about pushing your heels down, legs in front of you, shoulders back, and rolling your pelvis forward as you go over the drop. Also, most important thing is don't look down! Keep your eyes up and look into the distance. And don't forget to slip your reins. Practice on your friend's drop. Start at the walk, then trot, then canter.


      • #4
        What about walking down it? Liike maybe go out for a trail ride, start talking to your friends about that hot guy you like at work/school, walk down drop, continue on.


        • #5
          Yes, walking down helps, along with lots and LOTS of repetition. And (see my thread on our Training debut) when you slip the reins, slip BOTH of them!

          We are going to school down banks next Wednesday--the date is firmly set in ink now!
          Click here before you buy.


          • #6
            Caution when schooling drops...even the smallest puts lots of pressure on front tendons. Repeated schooling down drops is never a good thing...but a couple of times each time you go out is fine.
            Last edited by snoopy; Sep. 22, 2008, 07:34 AM.


            • #7
              Originally posted by enjoytheride View Post
              What about walking down it? Liike maybe go out for a trail ride, start talking to your friends about that hot guy you like at work/school, walk down drop, continue on.
              I've been taught that trotting or cantering drops is safer than walking down them. It helps them get their front ends out in front of them leaving room for their hind ends to land. That can't make sense, but I know what I mean


              • #8
                I LOVE drops, but I sort of grew up riding down them as a wee little child.

                I second the idea to walk the drops. I walk up to "em, slip the reins to the buckle several steps out and mosey on up to the drop, and let him put his nose on the ground and plonk down the drop. Fortunately I ride a "I must Conserve Energy" Quarter Horse so he never launches off of a drop unless its at a show and he's all revved up.

                I dunno about the safety thing, I could have sworn that Lucinda had us walk the drops at the start in her XC clinics. her whole thing is Safety on XC. She also had us walk the ditches.


                • #9
                  I absolutely LOVE drops. Give me a field of banks, and I will jump them all down. Give me the same field and teel me to jump up the all and I will throw up. My horse was too close and caught her legs going up a small bank, so I'm worried that it might happen again. Although the new green bean lovbe going up, and is getting so much better going down. (we're cantering without launching!)

                  I was walking my BN course today, and glanced at the N course, and I was so jealous that the N course had steps. When I went Novice there, there were no steps.

                  I think the best thing is to just walk up and down the little bank your friend has, and give yourself a reward for going down by going back up.

                  A thing that worked for me to get over going up banks with out freaking out, was when I had a clinic before my C-2 pony club rating. On my feedback sheet, the instructor told me, I needed to stop letting my mind take over when it comes to jumping up, otherwise it'll take control. So, I got over it and forced myself to think nothing as I went up them, like it was a normal take off to a jump.

                  Hope it helps!


                  • #10
                    First off, can you explain more specifically WHY drops scare you? (Easier said than done, I know!) Have you had a bad experience in the past, or is it just the different feeling that worries you? I know a lot of people, including myself, don't like that feeling of completely letting go, especially with a strong horse that may spurt off on landing.

                    Try and remember to keep your hips/lower back/knees (aka shock absorbers) very supple and following. If you get tense and "lock up" you will be jarred on landing, which can be disconcerting. Think about taking a deep breath, and then exhaling as your horse drops down. Focus on YOU-your position, breathing, and where you're looking (ahead, NOT down!) and let your horse deal with the bank. Of course, this is all assuming you have a trusty steed who will drop down quietly on a loose rein. If not, step one is to find that horse!


                    • #11
                      oooh, one more thought... i always feel braver and that my horse knows what's going on a little better if i school going UP first sorta gives him a heads up
                      certainly at some point you'll have to just go down but...while learning and getting rid of the fear...start going up first (unless that's scarier!)

                      and... .cause i can't help showing off my boy... and it's entertaining...check out my face on these down drop pics hee hee. i'm such a geek!! and by the way... don't try to do what i did...not saying i had good form or anything.. just sharing my freaked out face

                      hee hee... i'm such a geek!!!


                      • #12
                        flec, I make the same stupid down fence face. No matter what it is, if the landing is low, I make that stupid face.

                        stupid face:

                        ya, look at the silly tendons in my neck. oui.

                        down bank = Purps fav questions. yup yup. love um. down, up, sucken roads. They are my fav.

                        the biggest question is, why do they scare you?
                        When the horse does them properly you hardly feel the impact. Really, the horse should squat and then drop down lightly. Some however, do not and instead they leap and land hard. This makes the ride very uncomfortable and jarring.

                        I like to always think about trotting. Even on course, if I think, slow and trot, then I get a nice quiet canter which works well for my horse.

                        Lucinda Green told us to trot off all banks. Even Advanced banks.
                        Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!


                        • #13
                          purps!!! Ha ha!!! that is the same face!! must be something to do with the positioning too!! hee hee.... i'm sure my neck veins are a poppin' too, you just can't tell in that photo!!!

                          and yes... i am not sure i'll even canter down drops/banks...or atleast not plan on it!

                          i've also noticed my pony tends to drop at an angle...seems to always want to drift...hmmm. perhaps that is my fault?! you think!?!? hee hee. oh well.

                          good luck OP!!! they IS scary but you can do it!!! it just takes some time...and some cajones!


                          • #14
                            Go slow, long reins, sit back. Way back. Not just at the edge, but a stride or 2 before. And of course, kick.

                            They need to stretch and look down to be confident, and they need to go slow, and you need to keep your weight back big time. I see a lot of people just 2 point off banks, and I cant believe their horses dont start stopping, because it must feel horrible to have someone laying on your neck as you drop off a bank, then flop on the landing. I guess this teaches them to launch off, and treat the drop more like a jump, since thats how the rider is riding it.

                            Once you have a solid back seat, they wont seem scary anymore because you feel like you are secure. My horse is an awesome drop horse. Squat, drop...almost straight down, which is great if there is a bending line to a skinny or the B and C of a coffin afterwards.

                            This is a 3'' drop on a steep decline. Its really punishing if you dont have a solid sit back. http://s20.photobucket.com/albums/b2...74476_3900.jpg

                            Came in at a jog, let him take the rein he wanted, peer down to make sure we werent in fact jumping off a cliff (since thats what it looks like on the approach) and was sitting way back about a stride before. And about 5 strides afterwards, until the ground leveled out!! It rode very nicely. I was very proud, since this bank separates the boys from the men with such a steep landing. Go forward, and go rolling!


                            • #15

                              I hate drops too!!
                              And have the "face" to go along with it.
                              Check this out:
                              Amwrider: May the fleas of a thousand camels infest their genitalia and may their arms be too short to scratch.


                              • Original Poster

                                Now that I think about it, it IS all in my head.

                                First time I went over the weenie, but real, drop was in a clinic. I'd never ridden one before because in the hunt field we don't have real ones there, and the things that are like drops can be weenied around. Damn thing at the clinic in my friend's pasture may be two feet instead of only 18", and it's revetted with concrete blocks on the drop side.

                                We were told to trot down it and slip the reins, but there was nothing about body position or what to do to keep balanced. So I trotted down it, landed like a sack of potatoes on his neck, lost both stirrups and my reins, and the horse took off, quite literally running away. I didn't go off, but it's the closest I've come in a long while on that horse. I can't remember if I had an "oh, sh*t strap", but once I managed to find the reins, everything was okay.

                                So I'm going to start very small and try and build my confidence back. Maybe build a small drop here to work on.
                                Last edited by vineyridge; Sep. 22, 2008, 01:18 PM.
                                "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
                                Thread killer Extraordinaire


                                • #17
                                  start by putting a log on a down hill slope.

                                  drops are nothing more then the landing part of a fence.

                                  a good way to get the feel is to jump fences going down hill. Then drops will be a SINCH because they are way easier then jumping downhill fences!!
                                  Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by luise View Post
                                    Think about pushing your heels down, legs in front of you, shoulders back, and rolling your pelvis forward as you go over the drop. Also, most important thing is don't look down! Keep your eyes up and look into the distance. And don't forget to slip your reins. Practice on your friend's drop. Start at the walk, then trot, then canter.
                                    That is exactly what I do.

                                    I had the worst fear of drops. Horrible. I would easily jump UP a 3' bank, but tell me to jump off a 18" drop? Yikes, no way! What finally worked for me was my trainer repeating what I should be doing (in the above quote mostly) out loud as I approached the drop. Focusing on what she was saying kept me from tensing up and freaking out as much. Of course, drops still make me a bit nervous, and I still can't do the big ones, but I'm pretty confident up to 2' drops now anyway, and I'm sure the rest will come with more time and practice. They're kind of exciting now that I sort of got it.


                                    • #19
                                      I got to do teeny-tiny banks, drops, and ditches right from the start. Here's a little drop into water from my second XC outing. I think that a couple of rides on a confident, easy "packer" type will help you get a lot more comfortable with them, and that will translate to your horse. Of course, you may not have the opportunity, but it can't hurt to check with your instructor and see if you can work something out.
                                      Stay me with coffee, comfort me with chocolate, for I am sick of love.


                                      • #20
                                        Whisper, your horse is SO CUTE! Your pony looks like fun.