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Spinoff: straight vs angled approach on xc

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  • Spinoff: straight vs angled approach on xc

    I'm not really sure if this needs it's own thread, but I wasn't sure where to put it so.....

    ive been watching some helmet cams of prelim rounds recently. I ride at T and have some in-the-future thoughts of one day moving up. (If the stars align and the creek don't rise.) Anyway, one thing that really stuck out to me is that virtually everyone, from seasoned rolex pro's to first timers, seems to take many single fences at an angle. I know angled lines and corners are par for the course, but I'm talking about single, gallopy fences.

    It it got me wondering: could this increase falls? If a horse is a bit close anyway wouldn't being at an angle increase the chance of not getting the front legs up enough? What is the reasoning for doing this?

  • #2
    I would have to guess it is to save time. I would think that, not jumping a fence straight, from a physics standpoint, would increase the chances of not clearing the obstacle clean. I would think, at the level you are seeing it happen, the riders know if their horses have the scope to do it successfully.
    "Do what you can't do"

    Comment


    • #3
      Most likely you are not seeing the complete picture. People generally do not angle a fence just to angle. But will depending on the footing, change of terrain, face of fence or set up to the next fence.
      ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

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      • #4
        And, is it possible that what shows on helmetcam is the rider's head already turned for the next obstacle? That would create an impression of angling. Not that they don't angle, for reasons already mentioned.
        Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

        Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Sure- it may very well be done intentionally and for good reason. I hesitate to link a video here because I don't want to throw anyone under the bus-- I'm not saying it is wrong just wondering about it.

          Its hard to to see things like ground condition etc from a helmet cam. I don't think it is just turning of the head looking for the next fence though, as the ones I'm thinking of are single fences fairly far away from others.

          When I'm not about to work maybe I'll try to find a couple examples.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by merrygoround View Post
            And, is it possible that what shows on helmetcam is the rider's head already turned for the next obstacle? That would create an impression of angling. Not that they don't angle, for reasons already mentioned.
            Similar to this, realize that most helmet cams are mounted on the side of a helmet. This can give the impression of angles, since the camera itself is angled, and you might not notice as a viewer until the rider approaches something you expect to be straight on. Do fences in combinations appear similarly angled? Does an individiual rider appear to be angling all fences going the same way (ex. left to right)? If yes, it’s likely an angled camera, not an angled approach.

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            • #7
              Angling towards the fence can help your horse know what lead to get off of the fence. Another reason to angle is if the terrain on one side of the fence is better than the other.

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                OK, I thought I would try to find a few examples. Keep in mind I'm just trying to learn here, I'm not at all saying that anything here is wrong. I do think I am really seeing this, and it is not an artifact of the camera placement or the rider turning their heads. Other (most) of the fences look perfectly straight.
                First, this video looks to be pretty straight all the way around : flying cross.
                In contrast, this next one is Elisa Wallace. Look at fences 8, at about 2min, especially I think #10, at 3:17, 16, at 4:52, and to a lesser extent the last 2 fences. I do realize this may have been done in the interest of time, but this is the sort of angle I mean. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jr0jKYYt1ig
                Sorry, I can't seem to attach multiple links.
                Here is one more. See fence 2, at 1 min, 4, at 1:51, and 11 at 3:45, as well as the last fence. Maybe 2 and 4 were to set up for the combination? A little heads up that angles will be necessary? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8mTvmZ0vA8

                I guess my train of thought is that IF this is more dangerous (I'm not sure it is but it seems possible), then maybe it is not the best idea to do this unless necessary. Of course you have to school it, because these questions are on course, but is it increasing your odds of a bad accident when you make a habit of this at fences that do not require it? I will say that many of these fences in the videos look forgiving, but we did just have a horse flip and die at T over what we think was a forgiving fence. This is something that has been niggling at my mind. Maybe I'm just crazy and this is no big deal at all.

                Emily190 that does make sense. If you have time to watch the videos, would the extreme angle seen be necessary to get leads? I don't see that it would matter in these particular courses, however.
                 

                Comment


                • #9
                  Most of the time if you are angling for leads it wouldn’t be that severe of an angle just slightly bent so that your horse can see the open space.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    My draft cross that's being competed at Prelim can make time if he's able to angle a few fences here and there- it's sometimes more efficient and doesn't take the same amount of time as it would to square up and get completely perpendicular to the face of the fence. It's a skill that is tested at that level anyways so I don't feel like it's unsafe. Peter Atkins on Henny was famous for angling fences to save time. Sometimes it actually makes for a smaller effort (think those ascending brushy arrowhead spreads) to jump on an angle rather than to present on a perpendicular line.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by jumpsnake View Post
                      I do think I am really seeing this, and it is not an artifact of the camera placement or the rider turning their heads.
                      Yes, in the examples you have provided the riders are intentionally angling the fences.

                      Originally posted by jumpsnake View Post
                      This next one is Elisa Wallace. Look at fences 8, at about 2min, especially I think #10, at 3:17, 16, at 4:52, and to a lesser extent the last 2 fences. I do realize this may have been done in the interest of time, but this is the sort of angle I mean. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jr0jKYYt1ig
                      Sorry, I can't seem to attach multiple links.
                      Here is one more. See fence 2, at 1 min, 4, at 1:51, and 11 at 3:45, as well as the last fence. Maybe 2 and 4 were to set up for the combination? A little heads up that angles will be necessary? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8mTvmZ0vA8

                      I guess my train of thought is that IF this is more dangerous (I'm not sure it is but it seems possible), then maybe it is not the best idea to do this unless necessary. Of course you have to school it, because these questions are on course, but is it increasing your odds of a bad accident when you make a habit of this at fences that do not require it? I will say that many of these fences in the videos look forgiving, but we did just have a horse flip and die at T over what we think was a forgiving fence. This is something that has been niggling at my mind. Maybe I'm just crazy and this is no big deal at all.
                      A couple of thoughts:
                      1. Cross-country creates wear and tear on the horses in a number of ways. The first is jumping efforts, the second is footing, and the third is just the general stress on their limbs of each galloping stride. In Elisa's video, you can see that all but the last fence she angled are not wide fences (ex. oxer/table/box), but rather uprights, which means that angling them still means that the jump the horse needs to make to safely clear the effort is really not much different from if she had approached it head-on. Horses don't just go up and come down, they travel in an arc, and angling a fence essentially adds width. Since the arc inherently has width to it, angling an upright fence without width of its own may not change the jumping effort required while saving galloping strides, resulting in less overall wear and tear on the horse.

                      2. On the note of footing, in the second video (I admit I only watched the first example in this one) you can see the footing in front of that fence appears fairly chewed up. This rider may have been accepting a larger jumping effort in order to ensure her horse jumped off of cleaner ground, which may ultimately put less stress on the horse's body than jumping out of deep footing (both angling a fence and jumping out of deep footing essentially increase the jumping effort required - it is a judgment call in each situation as to which will have more of an effect on the effort).

                      3. Both of these videos are at prelim/1* level. I can't speak to the second rider, but Elisa has experience through 4* and this horse is almost certainly being aimed at higher levels than 1*. As a result, it is important to use lower level courses to prepare the horse where possible/convenient/logical for questions he will see later on in his career. Sort of an opportunity to mix in tougher questions as the horse gets established on a 1* course before you move up to 2* and all the questions are all that hard/wide/whatever. While yes, accidents happen at Training (and that is absolutely devastating), part of the process of making sure you mitigate the risk of accident is making sure your horse is as prepared as possible for the level they are about to face. Part of that can be increasing the level of difficulty of some questions on course prior to moving up officially.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        In both the videos above those angles were taken for time reasons. This is good course design. The fences are set up to be straight forward if you chose to take the time to jump that way, but you will be rewarded on the clock for accuracy if you angle them. An angled fence is an accuracy question similarly to a narrow fence. At preliminary this is a good question. You might want to look up those riders in the results and see where they were on time penalties--it won't tell you everything but it's a good clue. Also keep in mind, Ky Horse Park is very rolling ground. I saw several instances where there were slight left to right/right to left lines that I suspect were to improve the quality of the approach strides which is also very common and a sign of a well thought out ride.

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