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How do you change your ride between stadium and CX ?

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  • How do you change your ride between stadium and CX ?

    One of the posters on another thread mentioned that they ride stadium completely differently than they do cx...and I've heard that from various people many times before, just never explored it in detail. I'm not sure that I ride these 2 phases all that much differently. I may ride a bit more fowardly/less "compact" in between cx fences, but generally approach fences in the same way whether it be on cx or stadium (try to establish steady, forward rhythm and "leave the horse the hell alone" as my trainer puts it)...but then again, i'm still a new-ish novice-level rider.

    Do you ride stadium and cx differently? What level do you start noticing the need to change your ride significantly between the 2 phases (obviously will be less need to change the ride for BN vs. advanced) ?

  • #2
    My horse can get really flat and lazy with her toes in stadium, so I have to ride the WHOLE COURSE (ideally) thinking "uphill, uphill, balanced, forward, hocks engaged" or she will begin diving and pulling rails. She also can feel rush-y but is not naturally fleet of foot, so I can't be too slow, either. For me, stadium is fun and I don't stress out about it much, but it's a challenge in that I have to ride EVERY INCH of the course with Bonnie.

    On XC, she is much, MUCH more respectful of the jumps and so I don't have to worry so much about concocting the perfect ride. I just have to keep her from pulling and getting on her forehand, and she's very good about finding the jumps and doesn't mind going forward to them at a good pace. If there are combinations, I have to really help her, because she's not sure of herself if there's a lot going on visually. This isn't a problem in satdium, but if there's a lot to look at out on XC she can peter out and get worried. So a different, supportive ride there.
    Click here before you buy.


    • #3
      Well, you need a lot of different canters XC. Last I really counted (someone asked) there are about five you need at Prelim, maybe more. All need to be balanced, straight and adjustable. The stadium course, if flat, maybe only two. Possibly more if the terrain calls for them.

      From the threads on this board it appears that even BN at the AEC's required at least two types of canters XC, possibly three (I did not see the course). You could say the canters are learned by "feel" but that requires lots of time in the tack riding varied terrain--hence many feel foxhunting is advantageous. In this day and age it needs to be taught, so there are probably names for all those canters. Maybe someone else can chime in about that.

      I also adjust my stirrups for the terrain XC (shorter). One of my horses jumps XC in a snaffle, but stadium in a hackamore because he can see all those fences and has those canters down. At this point he doesn't need much help from me. I still have to have some say in the matter XC.

      They are the same though in that it is the choice and quality of the canter that helps the horse jump well.


      • #4
        Show jumping should be ridden like a good hunter course with each fence "hunted": quiet, light in the front end, consistent rhythm throughout. For the rider, they will ride quite differently, as well... I began working with an eq coach and found that suddenly our rides were far better than in the past. We spent a lot of time working on shaving time, as many of the courses are twisty with roll backs--classic of a good eq course. You horse should be able to open up its stride and close it while keeping the same or nearly the same rhythm. Think collected trot and extended trot. Both *should* have the same rhythm or tempo, but cover different amounts of ground. As RMK posted, straightness also plays a huge roll. This is where quality flat work becomes extremely important

        When I go cross country, I try to channel my inner Mark Todd. We mean business from go and because my UL horse is moving up to Advanced in the spring, I simply stand in my stirrups about 6 strides out from a gallop fence to set him up. When I come down to a drop or water, I'm in the back seat quite a bit more with a very bouncy canter to prepare him for what's ahead. Same with coffins. If you rode like this in show jumping, you'd be pulling rails left and right. If you watch event riders, many that don't focus on show jumping do tend to pull rails because of this. They're sitting and driving to the fence, then have to snap over the top, which then makes then have to snap back on landing, rather than having a quiet ride over the top of the fences.

        A Grand Prix jumper rider once told me that in show jumping, every distance is related, even if it's a line, around the corner, then a diagonal line. You still have to keep the same rhythm and "step" through the whole course. Cross country is far more varied. One UL rider said that to average 520mpm on a prelim course, you will at some point ride at 800mpm in a gallop lane to make up for time lost in technical combinations. Even if you are riding at BN at 350mpm, at some point you will most likely be up around 450mpm due to trotting at some point on course--especially if on a young horse. Far more varied and a bit more forgiving than a tightly wheeled show jump course where the rails can easily come down.
        Keep your feet on the ground, but always look to the stars!