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Why don't eventers have changes

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  • Why don't eventers have changes

    I know all about wanting to wait until the dressage is up to snuff but it makes things so much smoother while jumping. I personally think having changes on a horse while jumping doesn't effect the dressage because by the time you actually get to counte canter you can hold the lead based on balance. Further, how many eventers actually get to the point of needing a flying change in dressage?

    The hunter people say it's easy to put a change on a green horse, all their horses have changes since it's a requirement. So why don't eventers do the same thing?

    A lack of professional training? Horses that started out life doing something else and are now too old to do changes?
    http://weanieeventer.blogspot.com/

  • #2
    You got to it already - it's a requirement for hunters. A horse without changes simply will not thrive as a hunter except maybe at the very local level. So those horses find new jobs - sometimes as eventers.

    I personally think eventers should make it more a priority. It's kind of embarrassing to see even nice horses crosscantering during stadium. We can do better.

    Comment


    • #3
      I think a lot of eventers like to differentiate between "auto" changes in the hunter world and flying changes. I could see how horses with an auto swap ( will swap their lead to the correct one without rider influence) could be bad if you wanted to work on counter canter, etc. However, I can't think of a reason to NOT have ANY change- it makes for a much more balanced and even stadium/XC round. I think it is ridiculous that people think all flying changes can be bad for dressage. Its just another tool in the toolbox.
      It's psychosomatic. You need a lobotomy. I'll get a saw.

      Comment


      • #4
        I think it's one of those things that sort of doesn't take a "priority" place in bringing along a young event horse. Too many other buttons to install, maybe. If you want a hunter, though, that's like button number one that has to be installed. And if a horse doesn't do them readily and naturally--bye bye, hunter world. Each discipline has its "must haves" and flying changes just isn't one of them for an eventer. Gwen had them, automatic or on demand. I think she was born that way--lots of them are. Bonnie never has and never will; even as a foal she'd never swap out galloping around. I don't sweat it--she's very good about doing a simple change through 1/4 step of trot, she doesn't mind counter canter, she's no show hunter, and she'll never, ever compete at a level where it matters.
        Click here before you buy.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by CiegoStar View Post
          I personally think eventers should make it more a priority. It's kind of embarrassing to see even nice horses crosscantering during stadium. We can do better.
          I agree. I think, as a whole, we make the changes more difficult than they need to be. When I only evented, I'd come up with all kinds of excuses for not teaching them: He's not ready, not balanced, don't want to mess up our dressage, etc etc. Seriously, for YEARS I was all "Oh, Copper doesn't do changes", but ever since I had my little stint as a pony jock and discovered just how easy changes were if you'd just ask for them, I'm almost embarrassed of how I kept trucking along on my saint of a horse, counter cantering and totally unbalanced.

          Life is so much easier with a lead change. It's easier for most to switch leads than try to keep them balanced in counter canter through the short side of an arena. I know stadium isn't judged, so we're allowed a little more leeway, but I think a lot of eventers could use a lot more finesse.

          Comment


          • #6
            If you train your horse to get the lead you want over a fence, you don't need auto changes.

            You can go a long way in eventing like this.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by deltawave View Post
              even as a foal she'd never swap out galloping around.
              hmmm, this has been a top priority for all of the vets that have done pre-purchases on foals here. They chase them around until they see a lead swap on both sides. It is a soundness/neurological test. I have never seen a foal that didn't naturally swap leads - Warmbloods, TBs, Appys. Arabians, etc.

              Comment


              • #8
                Well, it's entirely possible that something is wrong with Bonnie, then. I've seen her do ONE at liberty, and she's done TWO with me riding--one at a flat gallop (where it's easiest) and one honest-to-God, properly asked-for-and-executed lead change. It was great! Haven't gotten one since. (I will say I don't really bother very much) She's a big-bodied, blocky horse, big and strong but not terribly gifted in the athleticism department. So I'm really not reading very much more into it than that.
                Click here before you buy.

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                • #9
                  Most of my horses just get their leads over the fences.

                  While I have no beef with correct, non-automatic changes on course, since flying changes aren't required in dressage until upper levels, the majority of riders without advanced dressage training might have a harder time jumping a fence, rebalancing the canter, and asking for a correct, non-automatic (non-hunter) change. At least, it is quicker and easier for most to execute a simple change. There is a reason that auto changes are required in hunters, not just "flying changes"; flying changes are actually a bit of work for the rider.

                  Auto changes I have a beef with, since it can definitely wreck a horse's training with regard to counter canter later on. If you can clearly identify which horses will never reach Preliminary at an early age, feel free to go ahead and teach them all auto changes, and send the rest on to me!

                  Jennifer
                  Third Charm Event Team

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Fairview,
                    I have certainly seen foals that don't swap, or even worse, go disunited and stay that way! Maybe it tells you something, maybe it doesn't. The one who went disunited did so for years. He was a bit difficult to train as he would swap out of true canter into disunited while being ridden. After lots of work and strength training, he became good at holding his lead, counter-cantering, and doing flying changes. When he got to this stage, he also stopped (mostly) cantering disunited in the field.

                    I agree with whoever said there are many other things that are more important for eventers. First priority goes to a horse that can handle going out on course alone and dealing with the various natural obstacles, then handle the demands of the three different phases.

                    Asking for your lead over the fence seems to be a forgotten skill. Also a horse that is trained to do a quick simple change or to counter canter is not necessarily worse off than a horse that does auto changes and is unable to understand the difference.
                    Blugal

                    You never know what kind of obsessive compulsive crazy person you are until another person imitates your behaviour at a three-day. --Gry2Yng

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Just to be sure I have my 'leads' straight ....

                      Flying change goes from one canter stride on one lead directly to the next canter stride on the other lead, change beginning with the hind legs. Rider asks for exactly when they want the swap.

                      Auto change is a flying change where the horse is supposed to think, "we're on this curve, I should use this lead"???
                      HAS provides hospital care to 340,000 people in Haiti's Artibonite Valley 24/7/365/earthquake/cholera/whatever.
                      www.hashaiti.org blog:http://hashaiti.org/blog

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by ThirdCharm View Post
                        There is a reason that auto changes are required in hunters, not just "flying changes"; flying changes are actually a bit of work for the rider.
                        Wow, please educate yourself a little bit before spouting off such silliness. A hunter change isn't an automatic change, it's simply a change of lead. Auto changes aren't "required", and the majority of hunters don't have auto changes. Auto changes are important on ponies and horses for young children, no one else really cares if they have to slip their leg back and pop their hip to the side.

                        And I have to disagree that it's easier to go through a simple change than a clean lead change in the shorter space between fences in eventing, especially when you consider the simple changes you see at the lower levels.

                        Simple change: Balance the canter, ask for the trot, balance the trot, ask for the canter, get the canter established. How many riders have you seen pull down to the trot, kick for the other lead, and carry on completely unbalanced? Most of them.

                        Lead change: Balance the canter, slide your leg back, get the change, carry on. Even when it takes a bit longer to get or gets a little fast, there's still far less time and balance waisted when poorly done.

                        A lead change is required in hunters because it doesn't interrupt the flow of the course, and allows the round to stay smooth. The horse can continue on in the correct rythm and balance to jump well. Not only does a simple change disrupt that, but it also has a greater chance of getting to the jump without having gotten yourself together first.

                        I would rather have a novice student stay focused and balance in counter canter to a jump than spastically try to get a simple change of lead. From what I've seen, most don't have it down, and would be better suited staying focused and getting a change since there's so much less to manage.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          yes, I'd agree with that definition! A correct flying change will have a little bit of a "jump" to it (not enormous, but...), whereas I think a proper auto change should look almost invisible.

                          My big horse did dressage long before he evented, and got to me so wound up about his changes (not in a good way ...he was wound up about dressage in general, thus the career change) that we let them be for at least a year. We spent lots of time at Training counter cantering to our fences (I did ask over fences, but he hadn't really figured that out either...).

                          Then we put his changes back on...and he began to do them pretty automatically in the SJ...and I moved up to Prelim...and he swapped out in my first d test in the counter canter...

                          This is obviously rider error, but it did show me why you would want to wait -- he could jump anything from either lead, but I got dinged for that change when he wasn't 100% straight in the movement on the test!!

                          My baby horse is working on truly carrying himself in the canter, being a bit of a drafty fellow. I am very happy to countercanter HIS Training courses until his canter progresses to the point where we can introduce changes in his dressage.

                          In the end, you only have so many days a week; so many other things to work on, and we do not need them in competition at lower levels the way hunters do.
                          The big man -- my lost prince

                          The little brother, now my main man

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by HorsesinHaiti View Post
                            Just to be sure I have my 'leads' straight ....

                            Flying change goes from one canter stride on one lead directly to the next canter stride on the other lead, change beginning with the hind legs. Rider asks for exactly when they want the swap.

                            Auto change is a flying change where the horse is supposed to think, "we're on this curve, I should use this lead"???
                            They're exactly the same thing. The only difference is that an auto change isn't asked for.

                            It isn't as common as people would like to think, and a lot of the time, a horse with "auto-changes" do them because the rider prepares for the turn, which indicates a change of direction. The horse has become pretty sensitive to this and has a good idea of what's coming, so they switch. But if you put a little kid on them who literally just sits there, a lot of horses with a supposed auto change suddenly don't have one anymore.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by asterix View Post
                              yes, I'd agree with that definition! A correct flying change will have a little bit of a "jump" to it (not enormous, but...), whereas I think a proper auto change should look almost invisible.
                              Nope, a lead change and an auto change should look the same. Coming from back to front.

                              Now, the jump vs. no jump is the argument between dressage and hunter flying changes. However, do you want your horse jumping in a grand prix dressage frame, and doing changes with that much air time? No. It'd take forever to get around a course. Horses that jump are in a much less collected frame, and will therefore have less jump than in a dressage test.

                              A lot of dressage riders won't admit it, but a young horse's changes look much more like a hunter change than a "real" dressage change. They're not as collected and not as strong, so there is much less jump to the change than what you see in the ring.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by HorsesinHaiti View Post
                                Just to be sure I have my 'leads' straight ....

                                Flying change goes from one canter stride on one lead directly to the next canter stride on the other lead, change beginning with the hind legs. Rider asks for exactly when they want the swap.

                                Auto change is a flying change where the horse is supposed to think, "we're on this curve, I should use this lead"???
                                Pretty much.
                                More to the point I don't see how counter canter is a problem with an auto swapper as counter canter is done with sufficient collection that you hold the bend of the lead you are on.

                                If you keep an auto swapper bent to the outside they will hold the "counter" lead.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I think my main issue is seeing some eventers' horses swapping in front only, because the horse is trying to balance himself but has not been educated in doing the full change (despite the fact that most horses have no problem doing them at liberty without a rider). These riders are not doing a simple change or teaching their horses flying/auto changes (take your pick of names, it's semantics). You see horses approaching fences on the cross canter because the rider has not bothered to fix it or proactively get a simple change before the turn.

                                  I consider my horse to have "auto" changes because they are pretty much 100 percent confirmed and he does it with a simple shift of my weight, but I always ask so that he knows not to do just do it whenever he feels. The same applies for hunters, which I used to do. It's easy to just trust the horse when the horse has confirmed changes, but a good hunter rider should not allow a horse to decide to do the change on his own.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I wish it were different

                                    I came up through eventing. I am a decent amateur and have trained a number of horses through prelim. I rode with lots of BNT's who never had me make it a priority. Now I'm focusing on dressage with a very talented horse who used to event. We should be @ 4th level - and haven't gone 3rd yet because of the changes. All my fault, and very frustrating. I suppose I could take him out 3rd anyway - the rest of our work is in the 6-7 range, but it's embarrassing. It's also embarrassing when I go to H/J clinics for fun. I ride better than a lot of folks in their 3-6 groups, but in their minds I am a hack because my horse doesn't change. We've made great strides and I think we'll have them locked in the next month or so - but lots of re-training and re-work that could have been avoided if I'd introduced and developed the skill for both of us earlier on.
                                    Last edited by piggiponiis; Mar. 7, 2010, 07:52 PM. Reason: spelling idiocy

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Coppers mom View Post
                                      Nope, a lead change and an auto change should look the same. Coming from back to front.

                                      Now, the jump vs. no jump is the argument between dressage and hunter flying changes. However, do you want your horse jumping in a grand prix dressage frame, and doing changes with that much air time? No. It'd take forever to get around a course. Horses that jump are in a much less collected frame, and will therefore have less jump than in a dressage test.

                                      A lot of dressage riders won't admit it, but a young horse's changes look much more like a hunter change than a "real" dressage change. They're not as collected and not as strong, so there is much less jump to the change than what you see in the ring.

                                      THIS! Hunters want a "discrete" , flowing change. You should hardly notice it happened. Not the same as flying changes in dressage. One is thru collection the other is not.

                                      FWIW, my horses ALL have flying changes for jumping. Some are "hunter-like" others have a bit more jump to them. Some of these horses have the changes in dressage, some do not. Some have had "auto" changes. The two star horse will NEVER be auto. He will counter canter all day and will cross canter to jumps as big as 3'6". The baby has a "hunter-like" very natural and smooth change. He is not auto. My grey horse was auto. Change the direction you were looking in, he swapped leads. He HATED counter canter.

                                      In answer to the OP's question, a lot of eventers don't have changes in the jumping because it won't make or break you at the lower levels. Most upper level horses either land their leads or have changes. Personally, I hate show jumping and am not interested in having an additional thing to think about, so I have changes. I also live in a hunter barn. They would kick my butt to the street if they had to watch simple changes.

                                      ETA: Simple change in hunter land is anything that is not "flying". Simple change in dressage land is thru the walk.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Interesting debate. I think like many have said, you don't see as many changes because it isn't required. I know that with my younger gelding I have not really worked on changes. He does them loose and undersaddle as needed to balance. We have worked a lot on the counter canter and he is comfortable with that and more than maneuverable in it. So for stadium I leave him be, as long as he is balanced. So sometimes he changes and other times we counter canter to the fences. We never cross canter to a jump, it just isn't balanced or pleasant to ride.

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