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looking down at xc jumps

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  • looking down at xc jumps

    I'm having this problem where I am continuously looking down at xc jumps instead of looking ahead. It's almost like I can't control it, I feel as if I have to look down. Does anyone have any advice to overcome this issue?

  • #2
    What do you mean by looking down at them....are you still looking down while going over them? You generally should be looking at the top of them as you approach and then lift your eye to where you are going after the jump disappears between your horse's ears.

    If you can't control it...I'd say you may be trying a bit too hard too get to the jump right. Maybe focus on something other than the jump...like the quality of your canter and see if changing your focus allows you to correct your eye and position. But really, this sounds like something you need a good trainer or ground person to help you correct.....and it will probably correct just fine as you have more experience.
    ** 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


    • #3
      Originally posted by eventer26 View Post
      I'm having this problem where I am continuously looking down at xc jumps instead of looking ahead. It's almost like I can't control it, I feel as if I have to look down. Does anyone have any advice to overcome this issue?
      Well, as my trainer would probably say, "Don't do that."

      Seriously, it is a pretty simple thing so as you approach the jump, keep your eyes on it and as soon as it goes out of sight between your pony's ears, just look for your next jump. TELL yourself to do this, 5 strides out or so. You can even say it out loud, or get someone to yell at you.

      If this is really a compulsion that you can't help, then practice over little logs or poles on the ground first, and gradually move back up to your typical height.

      But I am no expert...

      Comment


      • #4
        What size fences are they?

        1. Practice galloping fences on 3-6 inches shorter so you feel almost bored with the needed scope? Practice galloping and balancing your horse and then look at the horizon - where the sky and land meet - at a stride in to the fence and let your horse jump - you should not be worrying too much about the stride because with the fence smaller - you should be able to just take it in the stride your horse is at. A lot of times you interfere with your horse's ability to jump from a good spot by looking down too much which is usually why people are looking down to begin with! Do that until you feel a rhythm and then go back to the size you were on before.

        2. If the fences are really small, maybe you need to go up 3-6 inches. I have a few horses in my barn that CANT find their stride over an 18-24 inch jump. Like starter divisions are impossible. They need 2'6" or higher AT LEAST cross country or else the rider has to be 'good' enough to create a jump in the horse over nothing. Does that make sense? The small fences make the riders look down because the fences are so small - and these big horses train their riders to do that because they stumble jump over them. Give the horse something to find a stride over helps sometimes.

        3. Not sure how long you have been working on this but you may need someone to holler at you. Ihave a few riders I am yelling LOOKUP LOOKUP LOOKUP all the time. THey do fine until I stop - and then they look down again. But I just keep at it and I want to shoot myself at the end of the lesson but then 6 months later - I notice I am saying it less. You could come into every fence saying to yourself Lookup lookup lookup..... and discipline yourself with that sort of mantra.

        I did that - I had trained a lot of horses but my personal horse had been a streeplechase racehorse and he usually launched way early no matter what gymnastics we did etc. He got to a place where he was going well but I had to ride to the base and find that stride he did not think was there at every fence. It got to a point that he expected it. So when I started riding my WB who was like WHAT ARE YOU DOING? when I rode him the same way - I had to practice looking at the horizon, lightly squeezing my legs, lifting my hands an inch and otherwise do NOTHING. I would stare at the horizon and tell myself to do nothing. Do nothing. Do nothing.

        Its amazing how SO many horses jump better when I tell the riders - just focus on your riding and get out of your horse's way. All the looking down and worrying about their stride and all that - usually if we ride balanced, focus on the balance and consistency in the canter to and from the jump - the horse makes it over correct and happy - much better than if we are hanging off their neck staring at the ground. Why do so many people do that? LOL

        I have two kids who ride for me that when they finish a line - I tell them - DONT WORRY - your horse's feet are still there - you dont need to look! I am like - what are they looking at?!?!

        4. Of course - gymnastics in the barn - a long series of bounces and one strides and put a piece of bright colored duct tape on the fence at the end of the arena and STARE AT IT while you jump.

        Comment


        • #5
          I can have the same problem and have been doing this for years!! I make myself look at the next fence about 3 strides out from the fence I am getting ready to jump. And I make myself STARE at it, like I am staring a hole in it. If it is far away, all the better cuz then I really have to be looking at/for it.

          I know find I do mostly at fences that worry me. Esp ditches!! And if you have a stopper, if you look at the fence, they will stop. To look at it too!!

          If you are looking at the fence as you going over it (guilty as charged here too), again, stare a hole in the next fence. DO NOT TAKE YOUR EYES OFF IT.

          It is a habit you have to develope and stick to until you are no longer even thinking about it.

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by LaraNSpeedy View Post
            What size fences are they?

            1. Practice galloping fences on 3-6 inches shorter so you feel almost bored with the needed scope? Practice galloping and balancing your horse and then look at the horizon - where the sky and land meet - at a stride in to the fence and let your horse jump - you should not be worrying too much about the stride because with the fence smaller - you should be able to just take it in the stride your horse is at. A lot of times you interfere with your horse's ability to jump from a good spot by looking down too much which is usually why people are looking down to begin with! Do that until you feel a rhythm and then go back to the size you were on before.

            2. If the fences are really small, maybe you need to go up 3-6 inches. I have a few horses in my barn that CANT find their stride over an 18-24 inch jump. Like starter divisions are impossible. They need 2'6" or higher AT LEAST cross country or else the rider has to be 'good' enough to create a jump in the horse over nothing. Does that make sense? The small fences make the riders look down because the fences are so small - and these big horses train their riders to do that because they stumble jump over them. Give the horse something to find a stride over helps sometimes.

            3. Not sure how long you have been working on this but you may need someone to holler at you. Ihave a few riders I am yelling LOOKUP LOOKUP LOOKUP all the time. THey do fine until I stop - and then they look down again. But I just keep at it and I want to shoot myself at the end of the lesson but then 6 months later - I notice I am saying it less. You could come into every fence saying to yourself Lookup lookup lookup..... and discipline yourself with that sort of mantra.

            I did that - I had trained a lot of horses but my personal horse had been a streeplechase racehorse and he usually launched way early no matter what gymnastics we did etc. He got to a place where he was going well but I had to ride to the base and find that stride he did not think was there at every fence. It got to a point that he expected it. So when I started riding my WB who was like WHAT ARE YOU DOING? when I rode him the same way - I had to practice looking at the horizon, lightly squeezing my legs, lifting my hands an inch and otherwise do NOTHING. I would stare at the horizon and tell myself to do nothing. Do nothing. Do nothing.

            Its amazing how SO many horses jump better when I tell the riders - just focus on your riding and get out of your horse's way. All the looking down and worrying about their stride and all that - usually if we ride balanced, focus on the balance and consistency in the canter to and from the jump - the horse makes it over correct and happy - much better than if we are hanging off their neck staring at the ground. Why do so many people do that? LOL

            I have two kids who ride for me that when they finish a line - I tell them - DONT WORRY - your horse's feet are still there - you dont need to look! I am like - what are they looking at?!?!

            4. Of course - gymnastics in the barn - a long series of bounces and one strides and put a piece of bright colored duct tape on the fence at the end of the arena and STARE AT IT while you jump.
            I think this is my problem now that it's written out. I look because I'm trying to figure out the distance. I want to know if my horse will add an extra stride or not. I know it's more important to stay balanced but it kinda just happens. I think my horse adds an extra stride because I look down now that I think about it....just gotta focus on that rhythm! Personally speaking, XC is just a little more difficult for me to judge distances than SJ because of the large distances between jumps.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by eventer26 View Post
              I think my horse adds an extra stride because I look down now that I think about it....just gotta focus on that rhythm! Personally speaking, XC is just a little more difficult for me to judge distances than SJ because of the large distances between jumps.

              Stop looking for a distance. You are struggling to judge distance xc because it is VERY hard....not because of the large distances between jumps. If you can see a distance to a single fence in a ring...it doesn't matter how far apart the jumps may be. But xc...you add in the horse having a longer stride AND more importantly, the change in terrain...and seeing a distance becomes hard to impossible. For some fences on a flat or consistent approach, you may be able to see a distance but for most xc fences, that will not be the case.

              So stop looking so hard. Ride the balance and the canter, have a feel but then let your horse do his part of the job and jump the jump Stop trying to guess whether he will add a stride or not....just wait for him to jump.

              I'm oversimplifying things here...and a good trainer on the ground watching you ride is who you should be listening too....but I do think you need to change your mindset a bit for xc. Do not get so focused on finding a "spot" for now.
              ** 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

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