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Position spinoff--drop position

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  • Position spinoff--drop position

    I found this quote in the 1987 English version of the German FN "Advanced Techniques of Riding" under the section "Guidelines for Event Training" and thought it was interesting.
    A rider who leans backwards over drop fences, or when climbing down a slope, is behind the movement. Such a seat is a thing of the past. Sometimes a rider uses this outdated technique to avoid being thrown forward when the horse peck on landing. It is also wrong, because the horse can regain his balance more quickly if his back is free, and when his balancing rod--his neck--has freedom of movement. To remain in the saddle the rider should crouch, 'make himself small', lower his centre of gravity, get a firm grip, and bring his lower leg with deep heel and knee a little more forward so that he can brace himself against the stirrups.
    Pages 139-140.


    The rest of the eventing information in this book is very thought provoking. Of course, it was written in the days of long format, but their training schedule is great, and the comments in general are not at all what I would have expected to read from the German FN.
    "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
    Thread killer Extraordinaire

  • #2
    Unless the drop is extremely small (in which case there's no real reason to move much at all), the movement is going to be the same as any jump, just with an exaggerated "down" portion. The horse is still going to jump up (so you still go into 2 point the same way)... and then they bascule over the fence and then down to the landing. Your body should change so that you are in balance and, in that wonderful visual, if the horse was removed, you'd land on your feet. JMHO of course. Leaning WAY back IMHO is a good way to get smacked in the bum by the cantle and actually thrown forward... at least it was on my old mare.
    "Of course it's hard. It's supposed to be hard. It's the Hard that makes it great."

    "Get up... Get out... Get Drunk. Repeat as needed." -- Spike


    • Original Poster

      I can recall quite a few riders who look like they are standing in their stirrups and leaning slightly back over huge drops. What I don't see is the crouching down and "making himself small." At least I don't seem to recall that.
      "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
      Thread killer Extraordinaire


      • #4
        Originally posted by vineyridge View Post
        I can recall quite a few riders who look like they are standing in their stirrups and leaning slightly back over huge drops. What I don't see is the crouching down and "making himself small." At least I don't seem to recall that.
        They should not be leaning back as much as the horse is dropping away. Feet a bit forward is something that I've always been taught but not to move my shoulders back. You just keep your hips soft and allow them to open as the horse moves away (eta: and slip the reins). You want to land in your leg still. If you lean back, you will land on their back and be more likely to cause them to drop their hind legs.
        Last edited by bornfreenowexpensive; Mar. 25, 2013, 03:45 PM.
        ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **


        • #5
          I remember being told to "hail a cab." Basically have your body straight with your legs underneath you. I'm not sure if there is an appreciable difference in end result though.


          • #6
            I was taught to event by a Frenchman who is about 6 inches shorter than I. He never taught me to slip the reins, sit back, anything than a regular break over on downhill or drop fences. He had the incredible combination of balance, size, strength, and feel to ride that way. I did not. I cannot overstate what a relief it was (for me and my horses) when I was taught how to stay tall, slip the reins, and let the horse step out from underneath/in front of me. But I do think it is more common on the continent to keep a more crouched/two-point over drops/downhills. And that's just fine. It's not a method that works for me, but if they can pull it off, go for it.
            Phoenix Farm ~ Breeding-Training-Sales
            Eventing, Dressage, Young Horses
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            • #7
              When I walked the T3D course with Eric Smiley a few years ago he said something along the lines of there being "no need to change positions unless the drop was at least twice as big as the one we were jumping."


              • #8
                I never lean forward with my shoulders when doing a down bank. I keep my shoulders upright. Stay loose in the hips and let them flex. and stay up out of the saddle. So I guess I'm old fashioned. I ride the down bank as the second half of a fence... ie the descending part.


                in the first seconds of this 2 minute video Greg Best clip he talks about rider position.... the grey horse and rider give a good example I think... maybe not.

                Point being that you approach a drop in 2 point and your shoulders never go fwd of that position.
                Last edited by NRB; Mar. 25, 2013, 05:00 PM. Reason: clarity


                • #9
                  It actually sounds quite a bit like what Wofford directed us to do at a clinic - we were trying too hard to not get forward and the end result was we were all leaning back too far, banging our horse on the backs on the way down and ending up in a big heap on the far side with no contact.

                  He wanted us in the same position as we cantered up onto, across, and down off the bank. We were not jumping Beecher's Brook or the Leaf Bit, but one size was on the Prelim course. Once we got the hang of it, the horses were happy and it felt very fluid.


                  • #10
                    I like Andrew Nicholsons' way. He says don't go against the horse, go with them. I like that feeling.
                    Proud & Permanent Student Of The Long Road
                    Read me: EN (http://eventingnation.com/author/annemarch/) and HJU (http://horsejunkiesunited.com/author/holly-covey/)


                    • #11
                      At a clinic some tie back, Nick Holms-Smith called the forward position the 'wombat' position, and that there is an either /or train of thought. Over those honking great Rolex, Badminton drops (6' or so) I usually see the rider leaning back, feet forward and the weight going into the irons. Be sure to check the stitching on your leathers for that.
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