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Turning off the xc skills for show jumping

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  • Turning off the xc skills for show jumping

    The last few weeks, I've been taking lessons from a friend who is a very good and well regarded h/j/eq trainer. When I started regularly with her, I told her I wanted her to treat me like a kid getting ready for the medal finals (a stretch, I know, considering I'm twice the age of a lot of them about about 6 inches too short!), as I found, after watching round after round after round of various Big Eq finals this fall, that a prelim show jumping round could and should ride very similarly to an Eq round.

    So, basically, my ass has been KICKED. While we do focus a lot of position, it is also A LOT of making my aids very smooth, effective, and as minimal as possible. This has been great for Toby and I, and, when my brain is kicked into gear (which it was not yesterday), it is really helping me. Ultimately, Toby should become far more broke and rideable, and, hopefully, the rails should stay up and I will, hopefully, stop panicking in sj (along with the help from the sports psychologist, that is!).

    But, we have a running joke that I get through some exercises occasionally on my xc skills (Toby, too) rather than be a smooth, effective Eq rider. We were talking yesterday more about those instances, and agreed that a lot of event riders (I'm not her only one) tend to just "get it done." Crude but effective, as my longtime coach would say.

    I do notice, at all levels, that we event riders have a tendency to ride show jumping like xc. So, how to we to turn that mode OFF? Generally, it isn't terribly helpful, especially as the fences get bigger and the courses more technical. And, at the lower levels, it can be gasp inspiring. Anyone have any tips on how to think like a show jumper/hunter rider/Eq rider in our show jumping phase versus the do or die, come hell or high water, get 'er done xc riders we love to be?
    Amanda

  • #2
    I'm relatively new to eventing, but I've found that my dressage work has helped immensely for show jumping. I also show at training level dressage and am currently schooling first and some of the second level movements. Recently we've spent a lot of time on seat and position, particularly as it relates to changes of bend (ie in T3) and in the first level tests where you have to incorporate stuff on 10m half circles. The more I work on body alignment, the easier it has been to sit up and balance my horse in turns on a jumper course. The result has been a ride that is not only more effective, but one where I can stand to look at the photos afterwards.

    Comment


    • #3
      I don't think skills should ever be turned OFF. But they perhaps should be augmented with new ones. Keep riding tricky courses where the rails come down, and the finesse and subtlety tools will no doubt become sharper and more readily accessed. But when you're half a stride off to a big drop fence with a skinny at the bottom, you want your clubs and rocks within reach, too. You're a competitive person--go to some jumper shows where without your new skills you will have rails and mistakes. The rails and boo-boos don't mean anything, but are a good way to assess your facility with the new equipment.
      Click here before you buy.

      Comment


      • #4
        One of the things that I've noticed, is that many horses get down in their shoulders after running XC. So, and obviously this applies more to SJ after XC, but I try in my SJ warm up to get them really up in their shoulders, going uphill. Then I trot the vertical, to get the horse thinking 'jump up and crack back", vs jump long and flat.

        I also find it helpful if the horse has a legit add in them, meaning that horse has been taught how to properly jump out of a deep distance. Horse must back itself off the fence and jump round and up.

        I think both of those things make SJ easier and more successful.
        Unrepentant carb eater

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        • #5
          There is a big difference between equitation skills (which should always be valued/sustained) no matter what type of fences, and the kind of jumping a horse does over stadium/cross country/(steeplechase/roads and tracks--which have all but disappeared). The kind of bascule, and effort should be different for each phase. A horse which tries to use stadium type fences would traditionally become exhausted in x-c because of all the phases; that is less true with the shortened phases. The presentation/methodology for jumping different types of fences should be part of every horses education.
          I.D.E.A. yoda

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          • #6
            Not that I necessarily do it well but I try to ride more collected in SJ than XC. Our horses are geared to a lot of forward on XC so by thinking collected I try to harness that power a lot more.

            I'll admit that is tough because my happy place is getting to gallop across the wide open spaces.
            A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it.

            Comment


            • #7
              I do turn it off. I think that I just go to a different box in my head. The reactions and fixes need to be different because questions are different. In xc, you generally have space to get back your canter and balance after taking a flyer...stadium, you may have now taken down 3 fences and left a stride out in a combination. Sitting and being in the back seat from xc might get you over the fence...and while important in xc...it will cause hind rails in stadium.

              Best thing I was ever taught was to get the correct canter in warm up from the start....then ride the canter for the course.

              It also helps if you come from a show jumping background first before being an event rider
              ** 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


              • #8
                For me the biggest thing was learning to allow my horse to come to the base and power off a strong hind end.

                Sounds easy but it's not. Well... for some it is. For others allowing the horse to do his jobs, with tools you have progressively installed, is not easy. There's been some spirited debates at some end of the day have a beer in stabling discussions that pondered the question "Does a good rider allow a mistake by their horse or cause it by not allowing the horse to do it's job?"

                Many comments have been hashed up and there was a poignant remark that possibly there is an element to "control freaks" and equestrians that causes some riders to install the "run and gun, get 'er done" into their mounts.

                Conversely we see eq/jumpers riders who fear walking down a tiny non manicured slope and they do not install the same "do or die" elements in their horses.

                AS with all lessons.... it's probably us, not the horses's own faults. They do what we tell them. And when we say over "GO!" telling them "Wait!" can take a while to install as a fully functioning tool.

                This takes time. Not draw reins, gadget bits or super gadget rigs. The horses need muscles to wait and push from what is a slower speed effort. The rider needs to tune their eye to see the "shades of grey" in distances and striding.

                Proof that we don't see riders educated enough in waiting. How many can still happily trot their horses willing over a 3'6", 4' or 4'6" vertical. I have seen riders melt at the idea of trotting a 3' oxer. Would benefit all rider horse combo's if they actually had a tool box filled with the necessary equipment for all scenarios. But this would take time and work. Something that has slightly fallen out of favor.

                Emily
                "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries

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                • #9
                  What, you mean seeing a long spot ten strides out and gunning to it isn't a good idea in stadium?

                  My very big thing in stadium is evaluating your canter. Get your canter early. Is it too fast, too slow, too long, too short, too on the forehand, etc.? If its wrong, fix it. Jump the first fence, land, evaluate your canter, fix it. Rinse and repeat, including after the last fence. Its always about putting your horse back into the perfect canter.

                  My brain slows down for stadium vs. xc. I need to take more time to think through things and make sure that I am 'present' if that makes any sense. I used to trot into the stadium ring and then everything would be a blur until I was trotting out of the stadium ring. I would only vaugely remember what happened, and I wouldn't be able to recall jumping certain fences. Its like I just checked out which was kind of scary and I needed to make sure I was actually paying attention and actively riding.

                  COUNT! I count everything. Most of the time my counting makes no sense but it doesn't really matter because it just keeps me breathing and focused on what I'm doing. If I'm actually paying attention to the numbers I'm counting I'l typically count 1,2,1,2 into a single fence, and count up for lines (1,2,3,4...).

                  Lastly, I have a general rule of thumb about leaving my horse the heck alone about two or three strides out from the fence. At that point, he's already got a plan for where he's going to take off and anything I do will just mess him up. The only thing I allow myself to do is put some leg on but no picking, tugging, yanking, or sitting and driving when I'm within a stride or two of the fence.

                  I try to not worry about seeing a distance, if you have the canter it doesn't matter where you get there. Counting also helps you see where you'll be farther out so you can change what you have to before the last minute.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I agree with others who say that having the right canter is huge.

                    I work for a show jumper right now so I get to sit in the stands during the Grand Prix and listen to all of the commentary.

                    The main thing I really notice is that things start to go really south whenever a horse flattens out and stops coming up under himself. As soon as that happens the rider tends to have a hard time getting him back. He rushes, which leads to pulling, which leads to more hollowing out, etc etc. Of course the really good ones know how to get their horses back together with no fuss, but that wouldn't be me for sure

                    Walking the course, and knowing how your horse will react to each fence is key. Seeing which areas might cause him to rush or get flustered, and picking out good spots to gather yourselves without having to yank right in front of a fence. Quietly riding a nice round canter and waiting for the horse to come to the base, and then getting out of his way so he can use his back.

                    I'm sure it's not entirely the same as jumping a 5 foot course, but it seems like same principles would apply.

                    Of course, I've never ridden a course in my life, so take my words with a grain of salt

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      to an oxer XC. think at the bottom of a hill, and snap the front end up they are ready to go XC


                      Originally posted by Judysmom View Post
                      One of the things that I've noticed, is that many horses get down in their shoulders after running

                      Lucinda would agree with you; She wrote once that after a horse is able to get deep and obviously this applies more to SJ after XC, but I try in my SJ warm up to get them really up in their shoulders, going uphill. Then I trot the vertical, to get the horse thinking 'jump up and crack back", vs jump long and flat.

                      I also find it helpful if the horse has a legit add in them, meaning that horse has been taught how to properly jump out of a deep distance. Horse must back itself off the fence and jump round and up.

                      I think both of those things make SJ easier and more successful.
                      breeder of Mercury!

                      remember to enjoy the moment, and take a moment to enjoy and give God the glory for these wonderful horses in our lives.BECAUSE: LIFE is What Happens While Making Other Plans

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Rather than think about it as turning of the XC, I like to think of it as always riding the SJ while turning on the drop/water/bank ect of XC. For the most part, on XC, you can ride the galloping fences like you would ride a stadium fence. Simply set up 10-7 strides out and ride the canter. Think SJ and adjust for footing or terrain or an obstacle rather than think something entirely different. Any good SJ position should be balanced and centered so it shouldn't be a problem out on XC. The difference is that you have more time inbetween your fences on XC and you do have terrain (again, stay centered).

                        The cool thing is, if you start thinking of XC as a longer SJ and really ride the canter to each fence, you'll start hitting the better spots and have a little less need of that super defensive seat (which should be pulled out for the muckier footing and tough terrain and such)
                        "I'm too sexy for my blanket, too sexy for my blanket, these mares-they should take it..." (J-Lu) - Featuring The Skypizzle Pony aka Classic Skyline

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Judysmom, I like he thought of teaching a horse to rock back and up from a deep distance rather than getting over the shoulder, then dragging the rest behind. How do you teach/work on that?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Win1 View Post
                            Judysmom, I like he thought of teaching a horse to rock back and up from a deep distance rather than getting over the shoulder, then dragging the rest behind. How do you teach/work on that?

                            By getting a good canter!

                            Really...that's it. Simple, just not easy. From the jumper world, we did a LOT of flat work to improve the canter to get the best jump. TONs walk, canter, walk, counter canter. LOTS of counter canter. LOTS of turn out the haunches to canter etc.
                            ** 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


                            • #15
                              I used to be terrified of show jumping, because it always used to go either great, or terrible. There was never an in between for me, because if something went wrong I basically had a mental meltdown.
                              But since I've started taking show jumping lessons with a Grand Prix rider shes really helped me get past the "oh shit I messed up" stage. She always insisted that I got a balanced canter with power, and I kept my hands and my eyes up when I was coming to the jump.
                              I don't really think of it as turning off the xc portion of my brain, because getting a good canter and lifting my hands is the same thing I would do for a coffin or an accuracy question on XC. Its just a different tool in the toolbox, like xctygirl said.
                              Chrissy

                              RIP Beaming Sportsfield (1998-2012)

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by yellowbritches View Post
                                While we do focus a lot of position, it is also A LOT of making my aids very smooth, effective, and as minimal as possible. This has been great for Toby and I, and, when my brain is kicked into gear (which it was not yesterday), it is really helping me. Ultimately, Toby should become far more broke and rideable, and, hopefully, the rails should stay up and I will, hopefully, stop panicking in sj (along with the help from the sports psychologist, that is!).
                                I have to say that there is something I fundamentally disagree with here.

                                Cross country SHOULD be about "making my aids very smooth, effective, and as minimal as possible." Your horse SHOULD be "more broke and ridable." If that isn't how you ride XC you need to be improving your XC skills. Those aren't "skills" that are transferring to show jumping those are flaws.

                                William Fox-Pitt and Michael Jung don't have a "git-er-done" styles of riding XC and anybody that does has room for improvement. Being effective, subtle and quiet does not mean that you don't have the ability to make silk out of a sows ear when the $h*t hits the fan or that you have to be crude for a horse to find a fifth leg. When your horse has learned to adjust his balance simply by a change in your balance you don't need to jerk him in the face for a recovery.

                                What I see as a bigger problem in show jumping is not that people are riding in the haphazard way they ride XC, but that they are missing an important element that they do well with on XC and can't transfer to SJ--that element is having the horse in front of their leg. Perfectly lovely forward horses on XC become backward and stuck in SH. Combine crappy canter with seat of the pants riding and yeah, it's ugly. But really, it comes back to riders not being able to identify and ride the appropriate canter for the job at hand.

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by subk View Post
                                  I have to say that there is something I fundamentally disagree with here.

                                  Cross country SHOULD be about "making my aids very smooth, effective, and as minimal as possible." Your horse SHOULD be "more broke and ridable." If that isn't how you ride XC you need to be improving your XC skills. Those aren't "skills" that are transferring to show jumping those are flaws.

                                  William Fox-Pitt and Michael Jung don't have a "git-er-done" styles of riding XC and anybody that does has room for improvement. Being effective, subtle and quiet does not mean that you don't have the ability to make silk out of a sows ear when the $h*t hits the fan or that you have to be crude for a horse to find a fifth leg. When your horse has learned to adjust his balance simply by a change in your balance you don't need to jerk him in the face for a recovery.

                                  What I see as a bigger problem in show jumping is not that people are riding in the haphazard way they ride XC, but that they are missing an important element that they do well with on XC and can't transfer to SJ--that element is having the horse in front of their leg. Perfectly lovely forward horses on XC become backward and stuck in SH. Combine crappy canter with seat of the pants riding and yeah, it's ugly. But really, it comes back to riders not being able to identify and ride the appropriate canter for the job at hand.
                                  I agree with you 100%. But we all, including the fabulous riders you mention, will have moments when we need to sit back and kick like crazy. And it WORKS on xc. THAT'S what I'm talking about. Those moments when it doesn't go right for one reason or another. Event riders have a survival mechanism that you don't see in other jumping disciplines. The problem comes when we whip out those instincts in a show jumping ring because someone, like myself, gets panicky for whatever reason (bfne's point about having more time to THINK on xc is why xc can often go much smoother than sj. It is very much the case with me. I can eat it in sj, but go out on xc and put in a very polished, smooth round...because I have time to THINK).

                                  I understand that EVERYTHING needs to be smooth and effective. But my weak link is sj (as it is for others, too), and my instincts and smoothness go out the window for various reasons. This is why it is the focus of my winter and why I am dealing with it from a very different angle than past years.
                                  Amanda

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by yellowbritches View Post
                                    The problem comes when we whip out those instincts in a show jumping ring because someone, like myself, gets panicky for whatever reason (bfne's point about having more time to THINK on xc is why xc can often go much smoother than sj. It is very much the case with me. I can eat it in sj, but go out on xc and put in a very polished, smooth round...because I have time to THINK).
                                    I'm to green to offer suggestions on jumping, but I am curious about being "panicky" in SJ. You are not the only one to mention this and I don't understand why. For discloser purposes, I tend to get a general anxious before I do anything at a show, in part because I'm still new, in part, because being new, there are still unknowns for me...but for someone like yourself, you've been around the block a number of times (and I bet still looking like the 29 you are), what is it about SJ that causes panic?

                                    Joking for a moment, I could see being panicky if the situation was if you drop a rail an evil overlord will destroy some big city or aliens will cart you away to some distant planet where you'll have to ride dressage All The Time ....that would get me in a panic, but at the end of the day, we're just doing this for fun. My bet is that if you'd not be tense (from the sounds of it you are relaxed on xc), not be panicky then Toby would also be relaxed. Heck, he might even look at you and say "About time Mom, aint all fun carting a block of wood around this course".

                                    My trainer is on my caboose all the time about just three basic things, breath, rhythm, and balance...oh and counting, but that goes with breathing. When I got those three things in line Sterling just flows along. He knows what to do and I am always yelled at .. erm...coached...to not micro-manage, but just breath, rhythm, and balance. (So I guess I did have advice ) When I watch the ULR (my favs Sinead, Becky, MJ, Mary) what I see is a rider moving with the horse, setting the horse up, and letting it does its job. They look relaxed and it translates to the horse. Now if they can "look" relaxed when dollars are on the line and a whole bunch of people are watching, I bet we can find the fun with the little pressures we put on ourselves. Frankly, I am starting to really enjoy SJ (different yet the same as xc), because I love the precision, the quick reactions, the coiled power working within both of us. I've not done a combination in show, but I've created my own at home and they are a blast to ride....Find the fun first, I think the rest would flow after that.

                                    (Great thread for I did read stuff that I can take to my trainer for discussion/learning)

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      JP60--- a lot of rider who say they panic in SJ do not mean Panic in the fear sense. They typically mean panic in the sense of over or under riding when things do not go perfectly.

                                      Good show jumping at a high level requires a slow mind but quick reaction. It requires a rider to stay calm. To adjust quickly when things are not going well but not over adjust. Often, you just have to be patient. This is what is meant by "panic". Instead of just waiting for the fence, they put too much leg on and send their horse for that first distance they see (often the long spot). Or know that is what they have a tendency do and start riding too backwards.....

                                      It isn't panic in the sense that is scares them....it is panic in the sense of an OCD clean freak in a dirty room.


                                      ETA: I'm FAR from perfect in stadium....and understand up close and personal what are probably YBs issues in stadium
                                      ** 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


                                      • #20
                                        For me, "panic" would perhaps be better described as "OH SH**" in stadium that results in the snowball effect on the rest of the course riding badly. That is, unless I just happen to have the presence of mind to take time in a turn, breath out and refocus. On cross country, typically I can have one of those moments, breath a bit, and refocus. There is so much less time in SJ.

                                        I really appreciate the great thread and all the comments about the canter - my focus for this winter. And my most frequent OS moment on stadium - riding a careful horse into a combo. He "gets careful" and pushes back against my leg just enough to miss and lose impulsion heading in. What was that again about in front of the leg????
                                        Last edited by millerra; Jan. 3, 2013, 09:50 AM. Reason: better english

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