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Spinoff: William Micklem and How Much is Too Much?

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  • Spinoff: William Micklem and How Much is Too Much?

    I LOVE Jim Wofford, and I'm starting to love William Micklem, too, via his blogs. I see in his words a true love of horses, eventing, and a desire to help both be better.

    So in the blog post being discussed on the other thread, this paragraph really stood out for me:

    Therefore the round and fall that killed this rider appeared to be totally out of character with the horse’s early cross country career. He was given less freedom to make decisions and consequently jumped with decreasing confidence and involvement as the rider made mistakes, while the rider in consequence started riding more strongly because of the lack of confidence. It was a vicious circle that culminated with the horse falling, when half stopping and half not caring when on a bad stride, and landing on the rider. I have little doubt that this type of training senario has been a contributory factor in other serious accidents. So this is not something to be taken lightly.


    I am a little bit worried, because I don't want to do this to my horse. He's got more experience than I do, and when I first started riding him, I basically said "YOU do it!". And he did. We weren't always as balanced as I would have liked, but I was able to work on my form, etc.

    This past year, I've been learning to say "here's how we'll do it". And he's been wonderful, and our balance has improved, and we're better prepared for various obstacles. But now, when I don't take charge (honestly, when I've been a bit frightened by a jump, or simply not ready), we've had our first stops, stops at fences he'd normally do in his sleep.

    Am I causing this? I think we're better when we're balanced for the type of fence....but I'm worried about messing up my horse, who never stopped before.

    How much are WE supposed to control? How much should the horse be allowed to control? How can we learn to direct without getting in the way??
    --Becky in TX
    Clinic Blogs and Rolex Blogs
    She who throws dirt is losing ground.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Kairoshorses View Post

    This past year, I've been learning to say "here's how we'll do it". And he's been wonderful, and our balance has improved, and we're better prepared for various obstacles. But now, when I don't take charge (honestly, when I've been a bit frightened by a jump, or simply not ready), we've had our first stops, stops at fences he'd normally do in his sleep.

    Am I causing this? I think we're better when we're balanced for the type of fence....but I'm worried about messing up my horse, who never stopped before.

    How much are WE supposed to control? How much should the horse be allowed to control? How can we learn to direct without getting in the way??
    I would not worry too much if you are working under the guidance of an old school trainer who believes mistakes should be made going forward. It more sounds like your stops are occurring when you stop riding at a fence you are afraid (or you start riding backward when you are afraid).

    It doesn't sound like you are trying to "control" the horse too much like they are discussing in the other thread. When you are frightened of a jump on xc ride forward to it and don't worry about micromanaging a distance etc. just think about the rhythm and I bet your experienced horse will jump for you.

    By no means should a rider be out of control, but the horse should be able to think for himself at the fences. So if you are riding forward to a fence but get an awkward distance he/she should be able to use his "fifth leg" to get out of it and still land feeling happy and confident for the next obstacle.

    Sometimes we, as human beings tend to over-think riding horses. When it gets too complicated just go back to sitting up and putting your leg on to support and the rest will get sorted out.

    We are not hunters we aren't looking for the perfect distance each time out. If we try to micromanage to that endpoint the horses will stop jumping.

    Comment


    • #3
      IMO it's as simple as stop trying to "look for distances". If you regularly tell the horse when to take off, or are constantly protecting him from having to think about what to do with his feet by placing him perfectly at every jump, his ability to figure out his own footwork diminishes.

      Focus on getting the right canter for each situation, maintain the rhythm and balance to each fence, and otherwise leave your horse alone. Then your horse will know that his footwork is ultimately his job. That the rider is in charge of the line, speed, balance, impulsion, ect.....and his job is to take care of the footwork.

      When a horse KNOWS that is his job, he is a very safe ride x-c.
      http://www.MyVirtualEventingCoach.com

      Comment


      • #4
        spinoff

        I'm with lstevenson on this one and this is how I have always been taught and I train my students with this type of theory. However, here is a bit of an issue for me and others that I know. You can't get yourself through the ICP by this theory. They are all about "perfect" distances etc, etc!!

        So, if this is the way they are going to be "certifying" people how to train eventers then don't we have a bigger problem here??

        I am not an ICP Instructor and will not go through this program for many reasons but this is a big one for me.
        http://www.three-dayfarm.com

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Kanga View Post
          I am not an ICP Instructor and will not go through this program for many reasons but this is a big one for me.


          Same here.

          And they wonder why there are more and more horses falling on x-c?
          http://www.MyVirtualEventingCoach.com

          Comment


          • #6
            lstevenson

            Your Right! This in my mind, is the root of the problem. Now, just think how many people out there they are giving that piece of paper to, telling them this is correct.

            Scary thought!
            http://www.three-dayfarm.com

            Comment


            • #7
              Definately with lstevenson and Kanga on this issue.

              Anybody know where this "look for distances" abomination got started?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by BaroquePony View Post
                Anybody know where this "look for distances" abomination got started?

                I have an opinion on that, but don't think it would be politically correct to say...
                http://www.MyVirtualEventingCoach.com

                Comment


                • #9
                  Mabey?

                  I think we might be able to blame the hunter world on this one! Eventing (in the US), in my opinion, has allowed the hunter world to influence too much.

                  Now, we could get into "the powers that be" on this one but we would be starting another very long thread!!
                  http://www.three-dayfarm.com

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Kanga View Post
                    I think we might be able to blame the hunter world on this one! Eventing (in the US), in my opinion, has allowed the hunter world to influence too much.

                    Now, we could get into "the powers that be" on this one but we would be starting another very long thread!!

                    Kanga, I think you and I are thinking exactly along the same lines.
                    http://www.MyVirtualEventingCoach.com

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Over thirty years ago, Bruce Davidson told Lucinda Prior-Palmer (then, Green now) that he tries to see his distances to cross country fences as far away as possible.

                      It is laughable that one would not consider seeing distances to ALL fences every time you ride. You invite absolute disaster any other way. Might as well go back to the foxhunting chair seat and throw out modern forward seat riding if you are going to remove the teaching of the skill of seeing distances.
                      You can't run a horse at fences like a steeplechase horse and hope they get the landing gear up in time.

                      You have to teach a rider to see a distance and you have to teach a young horse to take off from a variety of distances, and land and be adjusted to distances. I've got a 13-year-old and we are learning to land and gather our stride and until he masters this we have to stay at Training level, because at Prelim I won't have room to make an error on seeing distances like I can at 3'3". It is ALL of my riding over fences this year. I like my neck too much.

                      You guys are cracking me up. I am imagining a drafty old castle, a dark dining room with musty linen and dimly lit candelabras with craggy old ladies sitting around it, fiercely waving old claw-like hands in the air...."Don't teach a rider to see a distance!" (Just kidding but it's a funny scene!)
                      Proud & Permanent Student Of The Long Road
                      Read me: EN (http://eventingnation.com/author/annemarch/) and HJU (http://horsejunkiesunited.com/author/holly-covey/)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        see his distances to cross country fences as far away as possible
                        This I agree with, but it is the FAR AWAY aspect that I consider to be the difference compared to what I think I am seeing in the "see your distances" of today. I was taught to look at the next jump as you were coming down for your landing and then "gauge your distance". Once again, the wording is subtle.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by retreadeventer View Post
                          You can't run a horse at fences like a steeplechase horse and hope they get the landing gear up in time.

                          What part of the rider focusing on the right canter, with the correct line, speed, impulsion, and balance sounds anything like that?

                          Really, it doesn't take a genius to see that if riders/trainers insist on finding that perfect spot every time they jump a horse, they are diminishing the horse's natural instincts and don't give him any opportunity to practice thinking on his own about his footwork. And then when they do make a mistake, which they most likely will eventually, that the horse will have a better chance of falling.

                          It's ALL about the quality/balance of the canter/gallop. Which takes a lot of skill on the riders part to achieve. It's not like just because they don't look for a takeoff spot they are doing nothing like you imply!
                          http://www.MyVirtualEventingCoach.com

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Different Training Philosophy

                            retreadeventer- Not sitting around any dark room here. This is one of the major differences in training eventers over on this side of the pond. There are many great trainers that don't teach distances to be the priority when approaching a fence. Now, again, we could start a big long thread on this issue and really get into it BUT lets just say to keep it simple here there are 2 real different training philosophys on this.

                            If you read earlier in the thread what lstevenson said, she is correct in her approach to jump training according to many of our great eventers!!
                            http://www.three-dayfarm.com

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Posted by retreadeventer:

                              It is laughable that one would not consider seeing distances to ALL fences every time you ride.
                              We got stuck blindfolded riding grids. Thank you BHS instructors. No seeing distances there.

                              Our Olympic performance was laughable.

                              God, I wish I had a castle.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I agree with Kanga and lstevenson. I was always taught that if you have the correct balance and impulsion for the fence you are jumping, then even if you get to a less than perfect distance, the horse has a good chance to be successful. My trainer always said, the correct balance gives your horse more workable options. If you come to a very vertical fence running downhill on the forehand, the most perfect distance in the world won't help you. The balance is what makes it work.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  If you come to a very vertical fence running downhill on the forehand, the most perfect distance in the world won't help you.
                                  Oh sh_t, oh dear, that made my skin crawl

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally Posted by retreadeventer:

                                    You can't run a horse at fences like a steeplechase horse and hope they get the landing gear up in time.
                                    If I'm not mistaken that was a member of the "younger generation" that did this at Rolex

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Whenever I read these threads, I always question what each person literally means when they say "see a distance".

                                      Does it mean: I know I will/want to take off at spot X and I will adjust my horse to that spot?

                                      Or does it mean: I am riding at XY speed and balance and in this rhythm I know I will arrive a little deep and/or long?

                                      Because I SWEAR I don't (can't) see a distance yet time and again, my coach will yell at me for 'riding a distance'. Err... didn't know I was BUT by riding the rhythm I find I "know" when my horse will take off (and therefore I do make a move when I shouldn't)...

                                      Just want to know how you all define "seeing a distance".

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by lstevenson View Post

                                        It's ALL about the quality/balance of the canter/gallop. Which takes a lot of skill on the riders part to achieve. It's not like just because they don't look for a takeoff spot they are doing nothing like you imply!
                                        I think this is what's happening to me. So perhaps I should change my question:

                                        How can a rider learn the quality/balance of a canter/gallop that is appropriate for various fences w/o messing up the horse who's had more experience than the rider?
                                        --Becky in TX
                                        Clinic Blogs and Rolex Blogs
                                        She who throws dirt is losing ground.

                                        Comment

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