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Emulating Top ULRs' galloping position

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  • Emulating Top ULRs' galloping position

    One of my biggest things I need to consistently work on is an effecting galloping position. I know there seem to be 2 camps as of late as to what is "correct": the "traditional" jockey crouch style and the "upright" straight leg, bridged reins style. Reading over various articles, one quote by Will Coleman really struck me as making the most sense of developing an effective riding style out on xc. Paraphrasing greatly "Find someone who is successful with a similar body type as you and try to emulate that." Obviously, I am not similarly built as WFP, but I can appreciate his technique that obviously works for him.

    So that got me thinking, who the heck is MY body type that is riding at the top? I'm all arms and legs, which according to a local BNT, is awesome in an eventer... I consider my torso on the short side and with extra large flotation devices up top Average/athletic build otherwise (not stick thin or extra cushioned either) and average height of 5'6." For leg length reference, I ride in an 18" xc saddle with moderately forward flaps.

    This is an old photo, but the best I have of myself in a galloping position. I have changed my leg slightly, so that my ankle is not nearly as flexed in this photo. http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fb...type=3&theater

    I see a lot of extremes in height in the female riders, lots of really tall and really short, plus it's hard to figure out in photos with them astride. So I've been looking at their leg and torso proportions. I think the closest I've found is Ingrid Klimke, possibly Allison Springer or Karen O'Connor. My other issue is actually finding photos of their galloping position! Lots of over fences and head on shots (which I realize are prettier), very few side shots during long gallop stretches.

    Who do you emulate and what photos do you use?

  • #2
    As easy as it would seem to simply try and duplicate another rider's gallop position, I think that your most balanced position really comes down to your personal preferences, balance, body, experience/practice and your horse. While I am not a "Top ULR," I ride advanced and have quite a lot of experience around the lower and upper levels. I can say that I have never necessarily been taught the "proper" galloping position, but rather, it developed itself throughout my life as an eventer, molding and changing for each level and each horse to accommodate our strengths and weaknesses. Now my position may not be right for anyone else, or "correct," but my horses like it, I am secure, and we get teh time done pretty well. (Note, I am 5'1" and a leggy build) That said, here are a few pictures of me at UL speed, hope this helps a little:
    CCI*:
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...type=3&theater

    CCI**:
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...type=3&theater

    Advanced:
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...type=1&theater

    Advanced, my trainer, Sally:
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...type=3&theater
    www.tabeventing.com
    http://www.tracey-eventblog.blogspot.com/

    "A canter is a cure for every evil." - Benjamin Disraeli

    Comment


    • #3
      Dunno about Ingrid height wise but I liked her xc position best of the ones I could find on Google images. Oh and Sharon White also. Enough angles to absorb motion and be less taxing for the horse. I do not care for the straight legged position since it has been scientifically demonstrated to be more tiring for the horse. I know it works for certain people, but since it is impossible to demonstrate that their horses would be more or less tired if ridden differently, I'll go with the replicable experimental evidence.

      Jennifer
      Third Charm Event Team

      Comment


      • #4
        Do what feels right to you. If you can comfortably maintain your position and slip in and out of it easily for various fences, you aren't smacking your horse in the back, and you don't feel completely used up at the end of the course, you are probably doing it right FOR YOU.

        A BNT attempted to change my position a few years ago...I failed miserably at what he wanted (partly because I was still half crippled from spraining an ankle a couple of weeks earlier!). I am not tall or leggy, so my position is going to be quite different from someone who's 6ft tall and 5'8" of that is legs. My position also varies a bit depending on the horse I'm riding. A slabsided TB is going to fit me differently than a big WB. And my galloping position when I was eventing and hunting ponies was very different from how I sat on Vernon, who I was eventing at the same time.

        So, do what works for YOU. Experiment (I do), but, at the end of the day, do what you need to do.
        Amanda

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by yellowbritches View Post
          Do what feels right to you. If you can comfortably maintain your position and slip in and out of it easily for various fences, you aren't smacking your horse in the back, and you don't feel completely used up at the end of the course, you are probably doing it right FOR YOU.
          Slightly off topic, and I know it's been discussed at length in other threads, but DEAR GOD I wish this "fad" would go away. I watched a sale video the other day (I'm not shopping, I was just youtube browsing for offspring of a bloodline) and couldn't help but wince as I watched the rider PLOP, PLOP, PLOPPING along over a decent sized prelim course.

          Ack.

          Comment


          • #6
            I'm not sure I "emulate" anyone since I don't regularly study other peoples' galloping positions.

            I try to stay balanced, up out of the saddle, and interfere with my horse's movement as little as possible while trying to stay comfortable. If that happens to "look" like the way someone else does it, that is pure coincidence.

            Really I think it's like comparing one's style of running to someone else's--it can get done efficiently and effectively in a lot of different ways, so whatever works for you!

            I doubt very much that trying to force oneself into a particular shape is effective. I'd just say spend lots of time in two-point and find a balance that works for you. It is more (I suspect) a muscle-memory thing than it is a specific learned posture. I'm no paragon of equitation, but I was only ever taught how to balance in two point and the rest was learned out there galloping, by finding a position that could be sustained effectively.
            Last edited by deltawave; Jan. 28, 2013, 02:23 PM.
            Click here before you buy.

            Comment


            • #7
              Not an ULR or anything, but figured I would throw in my thoughts.

              I can't physically ride with a locked knee. I have knee issues which have resulted in tendonitis in one of my knees so locking the knee aggravates it greatly. I do tend to brace a bit on my toes since dropping my heels too deep has the same affect on my knees, but otherwise I like my angles and I like to keep my hands up and in contact with the horse's mouth.

              Prelim:
              After a fence, giving him a pat/urging him on
              Coming down to the last fence, so sitting up more (you can see me bracing off my toe more in this one, and yes, my stirrups were too long)
              "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

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              • #8
                I found Caroline Moore's website http://www.caroline-moore.com/ has some useful tips and one, I'm sure, was about rider position across country. But I can't find it now, so you will have to read all her 'tips' - which is a worthwhile exercise.
                "Good young horses are bred, but good advanced horses are trained" Sam Griffiths

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by ThirdCharm View Post
                  Dunno about Ingrid height wise but I liked her xc position best of the ones I could find on Google images. Oh and Sharon White also. Enough angles to absorb motion and be less taxing for the horse. I do not care for the straight legged position since it has been scientifically demonstrated to be more tiring for the horse. I know it works for certain people, but since it is impossible to demonstrate that their horses would be more or less tired if ridden differently, I'll go with the replicable experimental evidence.

                  Jennifer
                  ^
                  THIS!!!!!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ThirdCharm View Post
                    Dunno about Ingrid height wise but I liked her xc position best of the ones I could find on Google images. Oh and Sharon White also. Enough angles to absorb motion and be less taxing for the horse. I do not care for the straight legged position since it has been scientifically demonstrated to be more tiring for the horse. I know it works for certain people, but since it is impossible to demonstrate that their horses would be more or less tired if ridden differently, I'll go with the replicable experimental evidence.

                    Jennifer
                    I've wondered if the straight leg has contributed to jumping ahead and ducking. I see some UL riders with their butts way up and their heads way down. Which clearly works fine for them, but I sorta think that if you're good enough to go advanced, you're probably good enough to not habitually duck.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I really don't think the galloping position should affect jumping. About 3-6 strides out, one typically sits back down (or "hovers"), bringing back shoulders, getting the horse ready, prepping for the jump. I don't think I've seen anyone jumping from the galloping position.

                      I do stand up considerably, and find that I can do so in a way that allows me to save my own energy as well as keep myself off of the horse's back. I lean forward somewhat, and I don't think I actually "lock" my legs straight. My position changes significantly as I approach a jump and my horses have learned that the position change means it is time to look for the next question.

                      Originally posted by eqsiu View Post
                      I've wondered if the straight leg has contributed to jumping ahead and ducking. I see some UL riders with their butts way up and their heads way down. Which clearly works fine for them, but I sorta think that if you're good enough to go advanced, you're probably good enough to not habitually duck.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Gallop in a way that suits YOU. If you feel balanced in the saddle, don't hit your horse in the back as you go, or rely on his mouth for support, your probably doing just fine. As someone who gallops for a living and competes up to six different horses every year, depending on what horses I'm riding, my style might emulate many different riders. I find that each horse usually has it's own likes and needs from me in between fences. But also, I can't ride my 16.3 hh Irish horse the same way I ride my 15.3 hh tb. If your out of your horses way and stable within yourself, don't worry so much.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Dumb question-do we think there's a noticeable difference in air resistance/drag between a more upright position and the more traditional position that resembles a jockey position? I can't help thinking that some riders are so upright their bodies are like parachutes.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I think the more upright style suits a horse that needs to be driven forward vs. while it's much easier to get up out of the tack and stay there on a horse that has its own motor (or is pulling your arms off.)

                            I have the same trainer as Zoomd and she is one of my all time favorite riders to watch xc! But she also tends to have very forward, light horses (partially because she brings most of them along herself) which lend themselves to a very forward ride.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Zoomd- your first two links don't work for me Can you post the public link? (Go to picture, hit refresh, copy the 'public link' at the bottom of the page)
                              .

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I guess that you are a visual learner, so am I. I found that watching Sharon White was very helpful (not that I could look like her at a gallop in a million years, but it gave me an image to work towards).

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Highflyer View Post
                                  I think the more upright style suits a horse that needs to be driven forward vs. while it's much easier to get up out of the tack and stay there on a horse that has its own motor (or is pulling your arms off.)

                                  I have the same trainer as Zoomd and she is one of my all time favorite riders to watch xc! But she also tends to have very forward, light horses (partially because she brings most of them along herself) which lend themselves to a very forward ride.
                                  Hmm...interesting point. I know I tend to get "low" when I want them to go on (and usually they need very little kicking, but I typically ride small OTTBs), and I bring my shoulders up and back to slow them down (trying to apply this to my show jumping on my uber sensitive horse, too).

                                  Some of the less forward horses I've ridden have needed more "body english" to get the point across....maybe i stayed up more to keep them moving. Wish I had videos of more of my rides on different types!
                                  Amanda

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I audited a Lucinda Green clinic a few months back and her advice: Don't follow fads, and if you're going to try to emulate a rider, make sure the rider is the same sex as you.

                                    She said female riders need to emulate female riders, male riders need to emulate male riders. Of course, she went on to say certain riders should never be emulated because for an ammie/LL rider to do it, it could prove disastrous. I'm blanking on names of riders, but I thought it was good advice.

                                    She mostly didn't like locking of knees and being too forward. (But said it works for certain UL riders because of physiology or what-have-you.)

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      I get the point of finding what works for each person individually. I think I have a fairly decent seat in and out of the saddle (work really hard to keep my butt out of the saddle when it needs to be!), but I'm always looking to improve or try new little "tricks" that might just set the lightbulb off for me to be even better, more balanced.

                                      My trainer used to steeplechase and has definitely helped in this area since I started riding with her. We're fairly the same height wise, but I'm still longer in the leg and more counter-balanced up top so I struggle with finding the happy medium of being balanced without leaning too far forward. I also like to put in a "painful" arch in my back, painful at least for the observer! If I had a good visual to try to mimic, it might help break that habit as well.

                                      I'll look into Sharon White, don't know why I didn't think about her before!

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Check out the Chronicle's latest article on the topic--lots of interesting information!

                                        http://www.chronofhorse.com/article/...alanced-gallop

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