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I asked Denny Emerson about riding distances...

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  • I asked Denny Emerson about riding distances...

    I asked him a few weeks ago to consider doing a between the rounds column on this subject (he said he'd talk to a few riders about--he also predicted that riders with the ability to ride a distance would say it's a must, while those without an eye would say it isn't)...but, anyway, I wanted to pose the question here because of what someone wrote on the "mini-rolex" thread:

    "I was at the Blythe Tait clinic that Robby put on, at training/prelim move up. The point I got from the pole excercise is that when fences get more technical, you must be able to have control over exactly what your horses stride is."

    [I had to go back and edit this because when I read it again, I see she said "what" your horses stride is, not "where." What follows is based on knowing "where" your horse's stride is (as in, arriving at the right distance for take-off). Sorry.]

    I agree with this wholeheartedly, but I've heard (from a student of his) that Jimmy Wofford says that you shouldn't have that approach.

    Meanwhile, to me, it's all related to dressage (not just because dressage is actually my forte, as much as I love the run-and-jump). I was just saying the other day to someone that success in stadium is far more related to success in dressage than in cross-country. For example, at Waredaca recently, the slopes and turns really made it important to keep the horse off it's forehand, in front of your leg and balanced. But if half-halts, flying changes and/or counter canter are not at your disposal, IMO, going clean becomes little more than a matter of luck (and/or a horse who doesn't like to hit the jumps).

    On the mini-rolex thread, people were at times critical of H-J'ers for their dependence upon trainers, but I want to end this post by saying that, IMO, eventers have a LOT to learn from H-Jers on how to be more than a lucky passenger in stadium. Riding distances IS important to them. Wofford aside, I still say it should be important to eventers (except for those whose horses are good enough to save their bacon whenever the need arises, of course!).

    Sportponies Unlimited
    Specializing in fancy, athletic, 3/4-TB ponies.
    http://www.sportponiesunlimited.com
    Sportponies Unlimited
    Athletic Thoroughbred crosses for the highly motivated, smaller rider.
  • Original Poster

    #2
    I asked him a few weeks ago to consider doing a between the rounds column on this subject (he said he'd talk to a few riders about--he also predicted that riders with the ability to ride a distance would say it's a must, while those without an eye would say it isn't)...but, anyway, I wanted to pose the question here because of what someone wrote on the "mini-rolex" thread:

    "I was at the Blythe Tait clinic that Robby put on, at training/prelim move up. The point I got from the pole excercise is that when fences get more technical, you must be able to have control over exactly what your horses stride is."

    [I had to go back and edit this because when I read it again, I see she said "what" your horses stride is, not "where." What follows is based on knowing "where" your horse's stride is (as in, arriving at the right distance for take-off). Sorry.]

    I agree with this wholeheartedly, but I've heard (from a student of his) that Jimmy Wofford says that you shouldn't have that approach.

    Meanwhile, to me, it's all related to dressage (not just because dressage is actually my forte, as much as I love the run-and-jump). I was just saying the other day to someone that success in stadium is far more related to success in dressage than in cross-country. For example, at Waredaca recently, the slopes and turns really made it important to keep the horse off it's forehand, in front of your leg and balanced. But if half-halts, flying changes and/or counter canter are not at your disposal, IMO, going clean becomes little more than a matter of luck (and/or a horse who doesn't like to hit the jumps).

    On the mini-rolex thread, people were at times critical of H-J'ers for their dependence upon trainers, but I want to end this post by saying that, IMO, eventers have a LOT to learn from H-Jers on how to be more than a lucky passenger in stadium. Riding distances IS important to them. Wofford aside, I still say it should be important to eventers (except for those whose horses are good enough to save their bacon whenever the need arises, of course!).

    Sportponies Unlimited
    Specializing in fancy, athletic, 3/4-TB ponies.
    http://www.sportponiesunlimited.com
    Sportponies Unlimited
    Athletic Thoroughbred crosses for the highly motivated, smaller rider.

    Comment


    • #3
      Do any of you remember earlier this year I floated the idea of a clinic where several trainers, presumably with differing methods and philosophies, might discuss, even argue, about such things as whether or not to look for a distance to a fence? If there is any topic that is likely to generate argument and discussion, this is probably it.
      If I do a Between Rounds on that topic, the way I`d want to structure it would be to interview several such trainers, and without much editorial comment from me, simply state their opinions and reasons.
      Do any of you have suggestions about who it would be good to interview, and would you think such a topic would interest people?
      Thanks,
      Denny
      http://www.tamarackhill.com/

      Comment


      • #4
        I think it is a very interesting and worthy topic. It would be interesting to see what trainers from the different disciplines would have to say - hunter, jumper, equitation and eventing coaches. It would be fantastic to have a mega clinic with the best trainers from all of these disciplines!
        suwanneefarm.com

        Comment


        • #5
          While the chance to hear Great Riders and Trainers speak on their methods would be Very interesting and Even I, as a Non-Rider would enjoy such a panel, there's is the old saying,

          "If you ask four horsepeople how to braid a mane, you get five different answers" [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]

          BarbaraG
          Great Warrior Volunteer

          But, probably the Best people to ask about "finding a distance" even if there is such a thing, paticularly in Staduim, would be the "specialists". Event riders make such a "muck" of it. IMHO.

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Thanks so much.

            I'd like to hear Mr. Wofford speak for himself since I only heard his opinion second-hand. So he'd be my choice for one of the people to particpate.

            I think someone who rides a lot of less experienced horses, perhaps like Ralph Hill, or someone who also works with a wide range of rider experience, like Jim Graham, would also be interesting to hear from.

            Sportponies Unlimited
            Specializing in fancy, athletic, 3/4-TB ponies.
            http://www.sportponiesunlimited.com
            Sportponies Unlimited
            Athletic Thoroughbred crosses for the highly motivated, smaller rider.

            Comment


            • #7
              <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by denny:
              Do any of you remember earlier this year I floated the idea of a clinic where several trainers, presumably with differing methods and philosophies, might discuss, even argue, about such things as whether or not to look for a distance to a fence? If there is any topic that is likely to generate argument and discussion, this is probably it.
              If I do a Between Rounds on that topic, the way I`d want to structure it would be to interview several such trainers, and without much editorial comment from me, simply state their opinions and reasons.
              Do any of you have suggestions about who it would be good to interview, and would you think such a topic would interest people?
              Thanks,
              Denny<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

              Denny:

              I would highly recommend including Jim (Graham) on this, since he's pretty "fuggedhaboud" a distance and "ride a rhythm."

              In my opinion, all will tell you that a distance happens. (This is pretty obvious.) But I think the riding philosophies differ in that some feel that riding a distance means "picking" your way to it, as opposed to riding up (forward) to it.

              I can't think of any event instructors I have ridden with who've gotten focused on looking for a distance. I wonder if Anne Kursinski would participate? I love her book and think she is really phenomenal!

              Robby

              You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.
              When blood is the beverage of choice, the sharpest fangs feed first.

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Robby, here's why I think I'm a bit biased about it. I make up my own horses, but then hire riders to take them in the ring for me. I've done this for years. I put great flatwork on them and get them very confident and brave over the jumps, but I have no eye, so I don't do many courses with my guys and rely heavily upon gymnastics to develop them without me screwing up things by getting in wrong.

                But to "finish" a jumper (whether it's an event horse or a hunter or jumper), the horse obviously needs to do courses, smoothly and confidently. Which is why I'll be darned if I'm going to pay someone to bury one of my babies in front of fence after fence. Or let it leave long and scare itself. (I'm also not too thrilled to see a horse I've slaved over to get the flying change or just a balanced counter canter cross canter its turns and bring rails down.) Similarly, given how much time and money I put into them, it also would worry me greatly to think of one of my guys going arse over teakettle on a cross country jump because it didn't get any help from its rider.

                So, I guess, in all honesty, I'm not really saying that everyone SHOULD be able to ride a distance, but I do believe that a rider who CAN has a distinct advantage over those who can't...at the very least, IMO, in the marketplace of professional riders they do (or should).

                Sportponies Unlimited
                Specializing in fancy, athletic, 3/4-TB ponies.
                http://www.sportponiesunlimited.com
                Sportponies Unlimited
                Athletic Thoroughbred crosses for the highly motivated, smaller rider.

                Comment


                • #9
                  You won't believe this, but I was talking yesterday in XC warmup with Denis Lynch about this very problem! (I just met him by the way during this conversation.) I have a young horse, doing work at home, and just now getting up to cantering a couple of fences. When I press him into my hand and get the rounder canter, my eyes goes kaput, and he has to jump himself in or out of whatever spot I've got him to. Denis said, "that's his job. He has to come off the ground. Don't worry about finding the spot. It's your job to get him there and his to come off the ground and learn how to get over a jump whether long or short."
                  Having been an old hunter/eq rider w/ Maclay win thousands of years ago, this sounds like utter heresy. However. Watching the horses gallop over the course at the ECC at Fair Hill, and viewing that beautiful galloping country, I am seeing his point. Does it have to do with jumping out of stride? And is that a concept only limited to outdoors style riding? And if you take into account the really big CCI courses, you MUST gallop to make the time and the horses must learn to jump out of stride because there simply isn't enough time to take to shorten, collect, pinpoint fence take-off. Or am I wrong?
                  Proud & Permanent Student Of The Long Road
                  Read me: EN (http://eventingnation.com/author/annemarch/) and HJU (http://horsejunkiesunited.com/author/holly-covey/)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    denny, this is a great idea!

                    I'd definitely recommend talking to Lucinda Green. She has always claimed she has no ability to see a distance and just rides out of a rhythm. But she is very exacting on what it is to ride the rhythm and how to hold a line to a fence.

                    And aside from all the usual suspects in the event world, I'd love to hear from people in other jumping disciplines like showjumping and steeplechase/timber racing. And even within those disciplines, there are differences -- for example, French training for jump racing vs. the English method; French showjumping vs. German showjumping. UK-based jumping guru Yogi Breisner (consults with racers, eventers and SJers) would probably have some interesting things to say.

                    And I'd really, really love to hear from William Steinkraus. He is one of the great minds and great practitioners of jumping and he's right here in the US.

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      I really, really think "it depends," hollie. It seems to me that most x-c jumps the horse should be able to handle itself. I've found that a lot of my guys develop a great "eye" on their own and easily make up for my lack of one when we are going through the country at home...

                      BUT in competition the horse hasn't walked the course. When you have related distances or a critical track, why else (I ask myself) do we humans walk the course? Out hunting, you can take them as they come because it's so natural. But cross country includes a lot of unnatural stuff that the horse just can't get to or through his own (that is, as the courses get more difficult and/or if the horse just isn't that talented or that experienced).

                      And then there's stadium, where the objective is to go CLEAN. The current horse I have competing is a machine x-c, but what made him an event prospect for me from the time he was first saddled is exactly what makes him need as much help as possible in stadium: he doesn't care if he scrapes over a jump here or there. He doesn't even care if he's cross cantering, crooked, and carrying his rider on his mouth on his way to the jump. He loves the game and so just keeps going.

                      I guess I'm just not sure it's "fair" to expect a cocky cross-country machine to go clean in stadium without some help from its rider.

                      Sportponies Unlimited
                      Specializing in fancy, athletic, 3/4-TB ponies.
                      http://www.sportponiesunlimited.com
                      Sportponies Unlimited
                      Athletic Thoroughbred crosses for the highly motivated, smaller rider.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I'd LOOOOOVVVVVEEEEEEE to hear from the timber/jump jockeys as well.

                        Robby

                        You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.
                        When blood is the beverage of choice, the sharpest fangs feed first.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          to be on this board with you Denny, A bit Star Struck yes, But you have always been my top eventing Idol, from way back. I love your between Rounds Forums, I too think it would be a very educational topic, as I suffer from the affliction of sometimes I see a distance sometimes I dont. I would also be very interested to hear Mark Todds opinion. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

                          "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety" Benjamin Franklin, 1755
                          Founding member of The Fossils over Fences Clique!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            For your article, what if you took a specific jump/ combination, or series of related fences at an actual competition. Ask Mark Phillips what recommendations he made to the individual horse/rider or how he would ride this fence on a particular horse. And then ask the actual riders in the competition how they prepared and rode the fence.

                            I think that if you keep the reference example limited to a specific fence, the answers that you receive will be more instructive.

                            Lucinda Green is very passionate about this subject. Please include her.

                            She has spoken and written extensivesly about her concerns. I subscribe to Eventing Magazine and she has written several articles with pictures on cross country technique. She also frequently contributes editorials. Her book on Cross Country riding includes beautiful pictures to illustrate her riding and training style.

                            In her clinics she talks about the rider being resposible for the engine, line and balance. The horse is encouraged to develope the responsibility for the rest.

                            I also think that it is important to interview someone who has successfully competed different types of horses.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Bruce Davidson have two interesting moments at Rolex one year. On Eagle Lion, who is an awesome jumper, they seemed to totally miss at the first combination on course, a bridge/ditch, bridge/ditch thing. They coped beautifully. Then on Apparition, I think it was, Bruce galloped at a Snake fence over a ditch and seemed to see his distance from about a field away. While other riders halfhalted a ways back, then rode forward, he seemed to fly it, knowing exactly where he was from way back. I would love to hear his take on this.
                              And If you ride with Denny and look too hard for your distance, you hear " Here spot, here spot"!!!
                              Kathi
                              www.ncsporthorse.com

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                What about addressing the question of if and when to move up. I understand as the person paying the bills it is ultimatly me who decides. As an amatur with my first event horse I rely in my instructors. I see some people not always getting the soundest of advise. I know this subjuct has been beat to death. I would find it benificial to hear what someone who does it for a living has to say.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  great to have you posting and not JUST lurking [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

                                  Definitely talk to Joe Fargis!! Very much of the rhythm school - and I have seen him work miracles with "dead-eye" riders by getting them to find and feel a forward, balanced rhythm.

                                  I think a number of things can be included in this discussion: the natural rider - born with a feel, the learned rider who has to work at it, the one who has spent their youth galloping and jumping XC as versus the one who has only ridden in the ring.

                                  This will be GREAT - and actually might work for one of the new "Ask the Expert" forums that Erin has invented for us! [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

                                  19 year member of the New Hope clique! [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]

                                  [This message was edited by Weatherford on Oct. 27, 2002 at 05:58 AM.]
                                  co-author of 101 Jumping Exercises & The Rider's Fitness Program; Soon to come: Dead Ringer - a tale of equine mystery and intrique! Former Moderator!

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Denny,

                                    I love all of the suggestions so far, especially Jimmy Wofford and Lucinda Green. I would also love to hear Eric Horgan's opinion.

                                    Thanks,

                                    Lany

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      To follow-up on why I think eventers could learn from French steeplechase training, I highly recommend a column that Lucinda Green wrote for the UK Telegraph last year.

                                      Lucinda Green: French horses are trained to look after themselves

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        As someone who, according to my trainer, couldn't see a "spot" if it jumped out and bit me, I would love to read such a compilation of views/discussion on the subject.

                                        All of the "names" mentioned are experts from whom I would be delighted to read opinions on the subject, but I would ask that you not limit your participation in the discussion to simply compiling the information. I can see limiting editorial comment on the opinions/theories of your other experts, perhaps, but I would be most interested in reading your views on the subject.

                                        And, I promise this isn't shameless "sucking up," (really, honest [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]) but I can't think of a single column of yours that I haven't printed and saved and shared, so please make sure to include your ideas and opinions.

                                        Thanks for joining us!

                                        Libby (who has been known to make her trainer stomp on her hat at her lack of "an eye" and very little natural "feel" and the failure so far to develop same despite much work at it)
                                        I have Higher Standards ...do you? Find us on FB!
                                        Higher Standards Custom Leather Care -- Handcrafted Saddle Soap

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