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?? about flying lead changes

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  • #41
    Originally posted by meupatdoes View Post
    Interestingly I employed this exact same method and people watching said, "Why are you teaching that hunter such a dressagey change?" I said, "Um, I learned this from one of the top hunter programs in the country, actually." And then when I go to dressage lessons the dressage trainers love my horses' changes. Universally deemed "100% clean" and "straight."
    Here's the problem, the OP asked about eventers in general terms compared to hunters in general terms. Taking what you've said, you certainly have noticed that you don't represent "hunters in general." What percent of hunter riders do you think have ever had "dressage lessons with dressage trainers?"

    I live 5 minutes from the site of about 7 top hunters shows a year and numerous schooling shows. I actually get to watch quite a few hunter rounds every year. (God knows I have to do something if I'm there for a class and we are waiting interminably for someone to show from another ring.) Here's what I know: what passes for a lead change in the hunter ring on average, in general, sucks--oh, it's acceptable for a hunter ring, but if you are judging in terms of a correctly given (much less ON command since you seem to be about "control") classically and correctly performed flying lead change, not so much.

    Going back to watching the Emerging Athletes clinic--an invitation only to the best and brightest young jumper riders with the likes of Linda Allen and Melanie Smith coaching-sure they got their changes (and obsessed about getting them) then almost every single one of them while on the correct lead would take a corner with the shoulder popped out. It happened so many times it got to be funny. They were simply fantastic riders 3 strides before, over, and 3 strides after, but on the flat, between fences? 75% of them didn't demonstrate the skills or understanding to ride out of a paper bag.

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    • #42
      Originally posted by subk View Post
      Here's the problem, the OP asked about eventers in general terms compared to hunters in general terms. Taking what you've said, you certainly have noticed that you don't represent "hunters in general." What percent of hunter riders do you think have ever had "dressage lessons with dressage trainers?"

      I live 5 minutes from the site of about 7 top hunters shows a year and numerous schooling shows. I actually get to watch quite a few hunter rounds every year. (God knows I have to do something if I'm there for a class and we are waiting interminably for someone to show from another ring.) Here's what I know: what passes for a lead change in the hunter ring on average, in general, sucks--oh, it's acceptable for a hunter ring, but if you are judging in terms of a correctly given (much less ON command since you seem to be about "control") classically and correctly performed flying lead change, not so much.

      Going back to watching the Emerging Athletes clinic--an invitation only to the best and brightest young jumper riders with the likes of Linda Allen and Melanie Smith coaching-sure they got their changes (and obsessed about getting them) then almost every single one of them while on the correct lead would take a corner with the shoulder popped out. It happened so many times it got to be funny. They were simply fantastic riders 3 strides before, over, and 3 strides after, but on the flat, between fences? 75% of them didn't demonstrate the skills or understanding to ride out of a paper bag.
      So I guess what we take away from this post is that if you ride for "average, in general" in ANY discipline, the results will suck.

      I actually quite agree with that.

      Imagine how much better those kids would ride if they really set their teeth to the details. If they focused on those little things so they could actually ride their horse BETWEEN the fences as well. You seem to have identified some glaring holes, in allegedly advanced riders, for want of careful attention to flat work. You seem to think the "general" hunter ride is nice and glossy but lacking in depth (as you yourself identified, and with which I do not actually so much disagree.)

      Hm.
      I guess they focus on other things.
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      • #43
        Originally posted by meupatdoes View Post
        So I guess what we take away from this post is that if you ride for "average, in general" in ANY discipline, the results will suck.
        Well, no. From what I've observed sucky flying changes don't really seem to effect lower level hunter placings and NOT having them at all doesn't seem to effect low level eventing placing.

        The problem here, and where I think the hositiliy is, is when you snarkily ask "What ELSE are you working on" it is pretty obvious you're not coming from a knowledgable postion about eventing then you turn around and make claims as to what our training scale should be. Ruffles feathers, as you should expect it too.

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        • #44
          Originally posted by meupatdoes View Post
          Imagine how much better those kids would ride if they really set their teeth to the details. If they focused on those little things so they could actually ride their horse BETWEEN the fences as well. You seem to have identified some glaring holes, in allegedly advanced riders, for want of careful attention to flat work. Instead their ride, symptomatic of the "general" population, is nice and glossy but lacking in depth (as you yourself identified.) I guess they focus on other things.

          Hm.
          This I can agree with.

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          • #45
            Originally posted by meupatdoes View Post
            . People are acting like it is some huge herculean rocket science when it isn't.
            I'll be the real judge of that.

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            • #46
              Originally posted by RAyers View Post
              I'll be the real judge of that.
              I want to find you the button I got for my college roommate. It said, "Well, yes I am a rocket scientist!"

              She insisted that being an aerospace engineer and working for NASA (even it it was on the space shuttle) didn't make her a rocket scientist--"those are the nerds doing propulsion."

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              • #47
                Originally posted by meupatdoes View Post
                So I guess what we take away from this post is that if you ride for "average, in general" in ANY discipline, the results will suck.

                I actually quite agree with that.

                Imagine how much better those kids would ride if they really set their teeth to the details. If they focused on those little things so they could actually ride their horse BETWEEN the fences as well. You seem to have identified some glaring holes, in allegedly advanced riders, for want of careful attention to flat work. You seem to think the "general" hunter ride is nice and glossy but lacking in depth (as you yourself identified, and with which I do not actually so much disagree.)

                Hm.
                I guess they focus on other things.
                I'm sorry, but in what world does flying change = riding between the fences and lack of change = not riding between the fences.

                Why are you so focused on the change? As many of my trainers have told me (and been correct) you focus on the canter, not the change.

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                • #48
                  Originally posted by Jazzy Lady View Post
                  I'm sorry, but in what world does flying change = riding between the fences and lack of change = not riding between the fences.

                  Why are you so focused on the change? As many of my trainers have told me (and been correct) you focus on the canter, not the change.
                  Jazzy, she's responding to my post about top jumper kids GETTING changes but not having any understanding of flat work and balance--they'd get the change then still allow the horses to canter a turn unbalanced. If these kids "really set their teeth to the details" and learned about good riding BEYOND just getting a change, they'd ride better. I agree.

                  Just to add, these jumper kids I'm talking about would be on level with our CCI* and ** Young Riders. I'm thinking all those kids would have their changes AND ride a corner in balance. (Although probably not the eye and raw talent over a stadium fence.)

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                  • #49
                    Originally posted by Jazzy Lady View Post
                    I'm sorry, but in what world does flying change = riding between the fences and lack of change = not riding between the fences.

                    Why are you so focused on the change? As many of my trainers have told me (and been correct) you focus on the canter, not the change.
                    Um, you are the one focused on "the change."

                    In my post, which you quoted, and additionally subsequently bolded, I stated "the details." Plural.
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                    • Original Poster

                      #50
                      O.K., now I get it why maybe this was a topic people wished I had not brought up, as evidenced by the replies...sorry, really was just an innocent question.

                      I had a jumping lesson today in the indoor. 3 jumps in a bounce off the corner at a trot to a 2 stride out. So, we were alternating directions each time and most of the time my horse got the correct lead needed, but sometimes not, and because of the tight quarters and other jumps coming up quickly, it would be nice to have a balanced change. (my horse is young, and we have more than 1 hole, I'm sure, so no flying changes here). Instead we broke and did a simple change which has it's place in that situation (rebalance).

                      So, I guess I will just continue working on it all in the hopes of a creating a whole horse, not settling for a horse with holes! Thanks everyone.

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                      • #51
                        Originally posted by galloping-gourmet View Post
                        So, I guess I will just continue working on it all in the hopes of a creating a whole horse, not settling for a horse with holes! Thanks everyone.
                        If you're jumping around 2'6"-3' hunter courses not having a flying lead change is a "hole." If you are jumping at the 2'6"-3" level in eventing not having a flying lead change is NOT a hole.

                        If you're jumping around 2'6"-3' hunter courses being unable to gallop in the open is NOT a hole. If you are jumping at the 2'6"-3" level in eventing being unable to gallop in the open is a hole.

                        Hunters and Eventing are two different sports. They have different training scales and progressions. They both end with horses that jump and have changes, but other than that the end product is very, very different. It would be incredibly short sighted for me to expect a hunter trainer to use the same training progression as used for an eventer. For some reason people who ride hunters regularly come over here and act like we are stupid, lazy or ignorant because we don't use their hunter world training scale for our event horses. Then they are surprised if we get a little pissy.

                        I don't define what makes my eventer a "whole horse" by hunter standards, reining standards or dressage standards. You shouldn't either.

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                        • #52
                          Originally posted by subk View Post
                          It would be incredibly short sighted for me to expect a hunter trainer to use the same training progression as used for an eventer. For some reason people who ride hunters regularly come over here and act like we are stupid, lazy or ignorant because we don't use their hunter world training scale for our event horses. Then they are surprised if we get a little pissy.
                          Great post However, in all fairness, I would say eventers trash hunters just as often as the other way around. Hunters criticize eventers for lack of changes, being 'crazy', getting left behind, etc. Eventers trash hunters for being too slow, bad flatwork, jumping ahead, having 'bad' changes, etc.
                          Wouldn't it be great if people would stop criticizing other disciplines that they obviously don't understand? The goals for each discipline are so different, that to criticize the training, type of horse, rider position, etc. is just pointless. If you truly want to understand the other discipline, ask questions, then shut up and listen. If you just want to prove your discipline is 'better', my mother always said 'if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all'
                          Last edited by Big_Grey_hunter; Dec. 6, 2012, 09:10 PM.
                          .

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                          • #53
                            Big_Grey_hunter a serious question: I spend almost no time on the COTH H/J forum, do eventers really go over there--on a regular basis--and criticize how hunters are trained?

                            This is about the 3rd or 4th thread in the last few months where we've been told flying changes aren't "hard" (we must be lazy) and they aren't "rocket science" (we must be stupid.)

                            Sure, we are all a little pride full and think our own sport is the best (seriously, if you don't think that you need to switch!) but it is one thing to be critical of the other talking among ourselves and it's another to show up at someone else's place and tell them they're doing it wrong. If eventers are being rude over on the H/J forum let me know, I'll go give 'em hell for you!

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                            • #54
                              Originally posted by subk View Post
                              If you're jumping around 2'6"-3' hunter courses not having a flying lead change is a "hole." If you are jumping at the 2'6"-3" level in eventing not having a flying lead change is NOT a hole.

                              If you're jumping around 2'6"-3' hunter courses being unable to gallop in the open is NOT a hole. If you are jumping at the 2'6"-3" level in eventing being unable to gallop in the open is a hole.

                              Hunters and Eventing are two different sports. They have different training scales and progressions. They both end with horses that jump and have changes, but other than that the end product is very, very different. It would be incredibly short sighted for me to expect a hunter trainer to use the same training progression as used for an eventer. For some reason people who ride hunters regularly come over here and act like we are stupid, lazy or ignorant because we don't use their hunter world training scale for our event horses. Then they are surprised if we get a little pissy.

                              I don't define what makes my eventer a "whole horse" by hunter standards, reining standards or dressage standards. You shouldn't either.
                              Actually, you started with the discipline trashing, if I recall correctly, by claiming that hunter people ride their horses into the wall and then "snatch" for the change, and implying that hunter people don't care about balance.

                              Originally posted by subk View Post
                              Because you can't win a class in the hunters without a flying lead change. Hunter judges care more about the change than the balance. Eventers care about the balance which makes a flying change convienent, but not necessary--of which the video is a lovely example. I'd take her simple through the trot changes over ride 'em into the wall and snatch the inside rein ANY day!

                              Seems like you were sitting "over here" and acting like hunter people are stupid, lazy or ignorant.

                              Must have come as a shock to hear that good hunter programs (and good HORSE DEVELOPMENT programs, period) teach the counter canter first, manage to not have that mess up changes in the future, and still ride in a nice balance, often quite early in the horse's career. (I for one do not train horse any differently depending on whether it is headed for the dressage arena or the hunters, or both). This is what makes them good horse development programs, regardless of what specifically the horse competes in be it hunters or dressage or eventing.

                              If you don't have that kind of depth to your ride, anyone can look over the rail no matter what type of discipline you are competing in and see that there are some things to be worked on. As you also helpfully pointed out. "Depth" is what you have when nobody no matter who's looking from over any rail can find a hole.
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                              • #55
                                I haven't read everything but this is my take on it.

                                Every horse has lead changes (flying) barring physical problems that would prevent them. Get a horse in a decent balance and it can and will change (how many horses gallop around in the pasture counter cantering?).

                                Hunters ask for the change, and often the horses are well trained to know their own balance and switch as they feel the shift. A good hunter rider can probably get good lead changes from most horses because they are trained to ride the canter and ride the fences. Yes there are plenty of hunter riders who are on made horses and not really riding but someone trained the horse ect.

                                In eventing I would actually say that some of the base training of riding the canter can be lacking in the lower levels, hence hardly ever seeing lead changes. When I worked for a jumper barn I went from having never really ridden or trained a flying change to riding them all the time and getting them from every horse I was on, from just started 3yo to the 1.30m jumpers. In eventing I had never really needed it so I had never considered it nor had I asked for it, but I could ride to a fence in cross canter or counter canter a roll back because I knew how to get it done. Only in more recent years when I was prepping to move up to prelim did truly riding the canter become mandatory and I wish it hadn't taken so long. It shouldn't have taken a stint at a jumper barn to learn that, it should have been part of eventing. And yes, I'm sure there are coaches who do teach the kids to ride the canter but does a novice or beginner novice dressage test require it? no, you just have to go in a circle at the canter, not that hard. At training you have to be able to lengthen a bit, which is so easily translated to kick and then whoa at the end.

                                So why do hunters do flying lead changes and they are so rare in the lower levels of eventing? Because hunters it is trained, and the pros ride the horses more often than not so even when an amateur is put on, the horse knows the balance shift and that is all that is needed, not to mention the horse probably has a very balanced canter on it's own. In eventing it is more hit or miss, you can win without it and it is so much easier to do well without that sort of hands on training that you get in the hunters so the horses frequently don't get a chance to learn their balance in the same way.

                                There are of course exceptions to everything I said, but that is a generalization.
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                                • #56
                                  Count me among the people a little bit astonished that meupatdoes is telling us we are training with gaping holes...because we spend 2 days a week making sure our novice horses can canter down hills and 2 days a week making sure they can come truly into a connection back to front, and when we look at the flying change we think "really nice to have, I'll work on it over the winter."

                                  I am surprised no one has talked about the dressage training scale. No dressage trainer I know (and like meupatdoes, I know a few) thinks that 3 and 4 year olds should be doing flying changes. They have an entirely different approach to the change. I respect that.

                                  As eventers I think we are somewhere in between. We need to be attentive to the dressage training scale, although most of us will never get all that far along in the sport. We need to work towards a balanced, adjustable canter in our jumping, but when push comes to shove, I'd rather have a horse who can rebalance coming down a hill to a hanging log into water than a horse who will change in my show jump round.

                                  Is it perfect? No. Is it a "hole" in training? Yes. But when we look at our own sport and try and figure out how to develop an athlete who is safe, fun to ride, and has the training tools needed to safely and competently partner us through a competition, the change is LOWER on the list than it is for hunters. Different strokes for different folks.

                                  Meupatdoes, I respect that you clearly seem to ride hunter at a high level. I invite you to come to a serious eventing barn and spend a month prepping a horse to move up from training to prelim -- a good step up, but hardly "tempi changes." Tell me how many days the flying change was top priority of the day.
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                                  • #57
                                    Originally posted by asterix View Post
                                    Count me among the people a little bit astonished that meupatdoes is telling us we are training with gaping holes...because we spend 2 days a week making sure our novice horses can canter down hills and 2 days a week making sure they can come truly into a connection back to front, and when we look at the flying change we think "really nice to have, I'll work on it over the winter."

                                    I am surprised no one has talked about the dressage training scale. No dressage trainer I know (and like meupatdoes, I know a few) thinks that 3 and 4 year olds should be doing flying changes. They have an entirely different approach to the change. I respect that.

                                    As eventers I think we are somewhere in between. We need to be attentive to the dressage training scale, although most of us will never get all that far along in the sport. We need to work towards a balanced, adjustable canter in our jumping, but when push comes to shove, I'd rather have a horse who can rebalance coming down a hill to a hanging log into water than a horse who will change in my show jump round.

                                    Is it perfect? No. Is it a "hole" in training? Yes. But when we look at our own sport and try and figure out how to develop an athlete who is safe, fun to ride, and has the training tools needed to safely and competently partner us through a competition, the change is LOWER on the list than it is for hunters. Different strokes for different folks.

                                    Meupatdoes, I respect that you clearly seem to ride hunter at a high level. I invite you to come to a serious eventing barn and spend a month prepping a horse to move up from training to prelim -- a good step up, but hardly "tempi changes." Tell me how many days the flying change was top priority of the day.
                                    I am getting a little tired of people arguing with points I am not making.

                                    Can somebody please bluequote where I said changes should be a top priority? In fact I said they are the last thing I install in a baby green (2'6") horse. I do make sure they are in before proceding further than that. In practice I "school" an average of two lead changes a ride: one both ways in the warm up. On jump days they are worked into courses. That's the extent of the "top priority." If the canter is there it's all you need. The lead change is more of a TEST than a tool. Which is also something I have already said. If the horse fails the test, it's not the end of the world, and the work you do to get him to pass next time will only improve him. (Unless your plan is to run and snatch. That's bananas.)

                                    That is really all I am saying. If you find a way to twist that sentiment into some super confrontational light, as if I am somehow saying no one should be allowed to ride unless they do 50 lead changes every day, then I suppose you can get really offended.
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                                    • #58
                                      Originally posted by subk View Post
                                      Because you can't win a class in the hunters without a flying lead change. Hunter judges care more about the change than the balance. Eventers care about the balance which makes a flying change convenient, but not necessary--of which the video is a lovely example. I'd take her simple through the trot changes over ride 'em into the wall and snatch the inside rein ANY day!
                                      I'm re-posting the supposed bashing I started. I was comparing two less than optimal ways to deal with the lack of a proper flying change that are symptomatic of riding in both sports. How funny (and telling?) the meupatdoes just assumes that the into the wall and snatch must be referring specifcally to hunters!

                                      And if you think telling the truth about how hunters value a flying change over balance around a turn is somehow misleading, then go read a random group of hunter-for-sale ads and compare how many highlight "auto changes" vs. "well balanced." Then ask yourselves what pins higher in a hunter class all other things being equal: a simple change that's balanced around the turn or a flying change that goes with the shoulder popped out.

                                      By the way reiners install a change as 2 year olds and race horses can do it even earlier. There's a legitimate argument that would question exactly how much "balance" or "correct" work it REALLY takes to get a flying change. Which would beg the question why it would be SO important for a good (if generic) "Horse Development Program" much less a "test" of one.

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                                      • #59
                                        Originally posted by meupatdoes View Post
                                        I do not think a flying lead change is a tool.
                                        It is a symptom.

                                        If you truly have control and balance, you will have a flying lead change. It will be ruler straight, calm, and organized to the degree that you have control and balance.
                                        If you do not have a flying lead change, there is a hole in your control and balance...

                                        There is one quote. The implication is that this must be something very important. If not, then why even say it? Of course you point out plenty of folks get a change and still remain unbalanced. Therefore, lead changes are either NOT an indicator of a hole as you posit or these folks are so good they can get through bad changes and still win/place. Does a horse counter cantering while playin in a field have holes in its ability to preform? I tend to see it as a good test of balance for when we run XC.

                                        What I find interesting is what you describe in terms of training is counter to what I have been taught from riders/top dressage judges including those who developed the recent dressage training structure, oversee dressage judge education and have judge at the past couple of Olympic Games. None has ever described the necessity of a lead change. They all taught me about developing a balanced canter through the counter lead and to do simple changes through the walk or trot. Again, we only worked flying changes when we reached 3rd and 4th level.

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                                        • #60
                                          When I visiting Germany, all the 4yo's in D-training had changes, or were working on them. And were doing them in draw-reins

                                          I mean, my 3yo did a lead change the other day. Wasn't my goal, a spook-induced change if you will, but I have no doubt that she'll be easy to formally teach a change to. If they are on the aids, and in-tune to your balance, it's not hard. Coming from a h/j background I find it distracting as a rider to have a horse lacking a change, but the eventers don't notice it...so I think at the lower-levels (below Prelim) it's a matter of choice, and training. Do you have bigger fish to fry than a change? For an eventer, it may be the ditch with gremlins. For a hunter, the ditch is the change. You have it or you go home. Heck, no point in showing up w/o a change.

                                          My almost-made horse will 'hold' a counter-canter if asked, but prefers to change. While jumping or galloping, it's automatic, never taught. But he will absolutely counter-canter a fence if I ask. Maybe it has to do with contact? I see many lower-level eventers riding SJ in a dressagey-frame, where a hunter will have more freedom, making the change easier if the rider isn't 100% and doesn't have the hind-end engaged while fussing with their face.

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