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Hmmm. Jumping position observation

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  • #21
    Well, I know Phillip Dutton will probably tell you himself that you should not copy his equitation -- he gets the horses around in a way that helps them the most and his unconventional style is certainly nothing GM would write home about. But it works for him. I would never try to copy it -- I am neither strong enough, experienced enough, short enough (LOL), or anything else enough! It can look crazy in single photos though!
    Life doesn't have perfect footing.

    Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
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    • #22
      I've seen KOC like that more than a time or two.
      Again, like PD, she's a shorty.
      http://kaboomeventing.com/
      http://kaboomeventing.blogspot.com/
      Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!

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      • Original Poster

        #23
        Well, maybe that's a factor, being a shorter rider. I was thinking maybe I've been seeing too many of the photos that Denny posts on facebook. That's an unfair comparison, though (to an extent) because he probably has thousands of pics to choose from (and he's not short), and the ones I'm referring to are generally from a particular competition and the publisher has only so many to choose from, esp if they're highlighting a particular rider.

        I think what set this off is that I saw a pic I thought was pretty poor, of a not-quite-in-PD-or-KOC's-league-yet rider who I otherwise really like, and thought it looked really weak. Then I saw a video of the same rider, and it looked like said rider was adopting the straight-leg-bridged-rein galloping style, and I though "Hmmm; wonder if there's a correlation?". (KOC is not someone I had in mind when I started this, she didn't happen to be in the pool I'm referring to--which is not to say there are no bad pictures of her). It's not a particular form flaw, either, it's more a general--weakness; like I said, reminds me of how my pre-training runs felt, back in the dark ages.

        Anyhow, I don't want to get into a form-bashing discussion. Everyone has bad moments, and many great riders have habitual equitation flaws but get results anyway (hello? Anyone seen Rich Fellers' lower leg? And GM seems blind to it, go figure--which just highlights again that there are many things besides "form" that make good horsemanship. No argument there.).

        Really, I was just wondering if anyone else had wondered if there was a correlation. And while others have mentioned seeing what I'm seeing, no one has agreed that there is a correlation (sorry, ncRider, didn't mean to overlook you).

        But, no, purpl; I'm not talking about stadium jumping. Even bare-chested stadium jumping--I mean, who's watching equitation then??
        "One person's cowboy is another person's blooming idiot" -- katarine

        Spay and neuter. Please.

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        • #24
          I'm a little confused as to what specifically you are seeing--something with the leg, something with the upper body? I would say this: The reason the straight legged, upright position is popular is because it is less taxing and takes less physical fitness and strength to maintain.

          Listening to Wofford a few weeks ago in his clinic after the ICP symposium he did specifically discuss that his preferred version of more classic galloping position takes a much more physically fit rider.

          One thing I wonder is if your legs are locked and your hands are helping to support your upper body by pushing into the neck then all that weight being supported in your hands is weight that is NOT being supported into you feet. So at a big galloping fence where a big position change isn't necessay is it possible some riders aren't getting all the weight transfer to their heels and instead sort of float in balance with their upper bodies instead of truly being locked in?

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          • #25
            When I think straight leg galloping style I think PD and BM. So are we talking about like this pic of PD on xc at SP this weekend: http://www.flickr.com/photos/9316986...in/photostream

            Or is that not what you're talking about? I agree that I don't see a problem in asking genuine questions about upper level riders. Obviously it works for them so who is to say we couldn't learn a thing or two by observing and talking about it.

            If this is what you had in mind let me know, if not you might have to give a few more details for us to figure out what you mean. I don't think anyone would be offended if you gave names or posted examples.

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            • Original Poster

              #26
              Well, I don't think anyone is going to accuse either Phillip or Boyd of not being physically fit enough for the riding they do. That may be a danger of that position for more casual riders, but certainly not for them. But even in the pic posted above, which is not one of the ones I we referring to, he's pretty far in the back of the saddle, which can't be good for the horse's back. And I can't help thinking that there's an element of balance on the reins there. Perhaps this horse needs that tight of a hold, but it bothers me to see so much rider interference over fences of this size. Maybe I'm being naive.

              And maybe that's what he means when he says his equitation is nothing to be emulated.

              But that's aside from my question. I think maybe what subk said above might shed some light on the question. I'm really not talking about any one picture, or any one fault. Just a general overall impression that there are position flaws sneaking in on the riders who have adopted this position.

              ETA--Okay, I'll cave; the picture that finally pushed me to ask the question is the one on the cover of the Chronicle, from Red Hills. I do not like to see that much tension in the horse's head and neck over an effort of that size. Again, his balance is way in the back of his saddle and it looks to my possibly uneducated eye that he is balancing on the reins. But this is NOT THE ONLY PICTURE, nor, for that matter, the only rider, that prompted me to ask the question. Granted, PD has said that this horse is pretty cheeky on xc; maybe he needs to be ridden that way. But it looks to me that the rider is somewhat in the horse's way, and that I don't like.
              "One person's cowboy is another person's blooming idiot" -- katarine

              Spay and neuter. Please.

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              • #27
                To clairify, the above picture of Philip is the big water. So big roll top, one stride to big jump/drop into water, bending line to big ass corner, S curve to that last jump. I think that is why he has his reins longer.
                the ones I have seen have mainly been in SJ.
                www.ncsporthorse.com

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                • #28
                  Photos are picked more for composition and action instead of correct horsemanship. I wish that equine magazines would take into account that correct riding ought to be the first consideration. And I'm sure that if that were the first consideration, we'd see better examples of all riders. The average mortal will never ride the way Phillip does. I remember Jim Wofford wrote or said something to the effect that you should watch the way Phillip's horses go, not the way Phillip sits on them. If you want to watch a correct rider who is short, watch Sharon White or Jan Bynny. For a real oldie but goodie, watch Torrance Watkins. Women need to be careful of watching male riders as an example of "how to" in my opinion. Body shape and similar body muscling is most important when looking for a rider to emulate. Another thing to take into consideration when watching the "older" crowd jump, many of these folks knees, backs, and bodies are getting pretty stiff, and they are doing some compensating that again, shouldn't be emulated. They have the eye that the average mortal doesn't, and if the average mortal does those adjustments and is wrong, the horse isn't going to appreciate it.

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                  • #29
                    Originally posted by gardenie View Post
                    The average mortal will never ride the way Phillip does. I remember Jim Wofford wrote or said something to the effect that you should watch the way Phillip's horses go, not the way Phillip sits on them.........Women need to be careful of watching male riders as an example of "how to" in my opinion. Body shape and similar body muscling is most important when looking for a rider to emulate.
                    These are both really excellent points, that's what I was trying to get at, thank you for saying it better! And it was Jimmy that I was thinking of that I remembered saying that about PD -- NEVER copy him, but watch his horses!

                    I think you get at something as well with women vs. men. NOT that women are not strong, they can kick some serious booty and I'm all about girl power. I work in a very physical job and can throw a boat or carry field gear around with the guys all day long. But physiologically, they're still stronger than me, even though they go home and play with their kids and I go home and ride the crap out of my horse.

                    I've observed a similar phenomenon when I rock-climb -- men (and these are generalizations, not all) tend to go for muscle first, while women use more balance and technique first. You might have two athletes with nearly equal abilities, but you'll often notice differences in the way they physiologically achieve the same goal. And there is nothing wrong with that -- I always say, work smarter, not harder, LOL!
                    Life doesn't have perfect footing.

                    Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
                    We Are Flying Solo

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                    • #30
                      Originally posted by monstrpony View Post
                      Well, I don't think anyone is going to accuse either Phillip or Boyd of not being physically fit enough for the riding they do.
                      They are fit to ride they way they ride now. Ask them to ride around a couple advanced tracks in a day with a classic galloping position and I assure you they would be feeling it. If they didn't they would ride upright now. Upright is EASIER and it is no secret that it is.
                      Originally posted by gardenie View Post
                      Women need to be careful of watching male riders as an example of "how to" in my opinion. Body shape and similar body muscling is most important when looking for a rider to emulate.
                      Women also have a center of balance lower in their hips while men have their's in their chests. Our lower center of balance means it is easier to compensate for a more forward upper body angle by simply pushing our hips back.

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                      • #31
                        It's difficult to critique cross-country equitation over anything other than a straightforward, plain fence. There are simply too many variables that could have an impact on position; like shea'smom said, anything that involves a drop, turn, skinny, corner, ditch, etc is likely to have a less-than-perfect equitation pose. Why? Because you have to Get The Job Done, long reins or not, when your horse drifts or pops a shoulder or props at a ditch. The best riders will always be in a good balance in the middle of the horse...maybe they'll have extra contact on the mouth, maybe their butt will be touching the saddle, maybe the horse's head is even twisted a bit... but the horse will be between the flags and the rider is in a safe, effective position. You can always pat your horse and apologize on landing; but you can't take back the 20 penalties for a runout.


                        The British riders (Mary King, WFP, etc) have a very fluid style that photographs "behind the motion" a lot of times, but seeing them on video you can tell they do not hinder their horses at all. Their hips are usually well behind their upright shoulders, hovering in/above the saddle, and it's quite a safe place to be on XC.

                        As for the galloping position: want to watch some awesome gallopers over fences? See the races at Cheltenham. That is the most effective, most efficient way to gallop to jumps.
                        “A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it.”
                        ? Albert Einstein

                        ~AJ~

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                        • #32
                          Originally posted by subk View Post
                          Women also have a center of balance lower in their hips while men have their's in their chests. Our lower center of balance means it is easier to compensate for a more forward upper body angle by simply pushing our hips back.

                          I was just going to post this every response...you beat me too it.

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                          • #33
                            Is it possible that this change in rider position is related to the changes in format?
                            Hillary Rodham Clinton - the peoples choice for president.

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                            • #34
                              I actually have been noticing this a bit more lately. Looking at photos from Red Hills on EN in stadium I noticed the riders seemed to be looking down at the fences or their upper body was along side the neck of the horse or just sloppier looking than usual. I dont know if this had to do with the terrain or the difficulty or the course but it looked much messier than usual. Maybe it was just how the course rode that day.

                              I am no expert and I do only ride at Training level, but as a big fan of many upper level riders and watching countless DVD's and living on EN it does look like the position is changing these days.

                              I see what the OP can see and agree. If anyone is curious to what I saw check out EN Red HIlls coverage, not the cross country just th show jumping. As IMO xc is a whole different ball game!

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                              • #35
                                General observation on my part.
                                With the increased number of combinations many riders 'appear' to be whoaing their horses in mid-air and often turning. Which is what I see with the cover picture. Notice the horse is starting to turn right and PD's position is right-turn, though the horse seems to have a somewhat different attitude. Which goes to what someone said that the horse is opininated on XC. For comparison, look at page 46, another let's go this way horse and then the picture in the cosequin ad.
                                My guess is this horse is not always an easy ride as he looks very clever, strong and believes "he knows" how to jump the fences. Maybe a throw-back to the old LF type horse.

                                Have to ponder more on the straight-leg galloping position in relation to the jumping position.
                                "Never do anything that you have to explain twice to the paramedics."
                                Courtesy my cousin Tim

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                                • #36
                                  Originally posted by purplnurpl View Post
                                  I've seen KOC like that more than a time or two.
                                  Again, like PD, she's a shorty.
                                  Yeah but she has long ass legs for her height.

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                                  • #37
                                    Originally posted by eqsiu View Post
                                    Yeah but she has long ass legs for her height.
                                    No joke -- I'm at least 5-6" taller than her with my own long ass legs and I still have to take jog steps to keep up with her on a XC walk, sheesh!
                                    Life doesn't have perfect footing.

                                    Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
                                    We Are Flying Solo

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                                    • #38
                                      I may be way off base, but I'm wondering if this also has something to do with the number of horses that the UL riders are now riding per event.

                                      Maybe this style has adapted to be the easiest for a broad range of horses? I would also think that riding multiple horses over the course of an event would be exhausting, no matter how fit you are.
                                      http://thepitchforkchronicles.com

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                                      • #39
                                        Originally posted by Gestalt View Post
                                        Is it possible that this change in rider position is related to the changes in format?
                                        Except that it seems to be a U.S. affectation and the riders like William Fox-Pitt and Michael Jung that regularly hand us our rear ends in international competition don't do it...

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                                        • #40
                                          My problem with the straight leg galloping position is that while it may be easier on the rider, there is scientific evidence that it is harder on the horse. That bothers me.

                                          And I agree, watch any of the Brits or Germans and NONE of them gallop that way.

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