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tips on staying with a horse who has a big bascule?

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  • tips on staying with a horse who has a big bascule?

    Things have been progressing nicely with my lessons - my legs are much tighter than two months ago and I don't get nearly as tired as I used to.

    Now that I'm getting back into jumping, I'd like to get some advice on staying with a horse that has a big jump with a lot of bascule. Even though I've jumped up to 2'9" in the past, it was on horses with a flatter jump.

    Because I'm coming off a hiatus, the jumps now are low, but the horse I'm riding jumps everything big and he really cracks his back so I find it more challenging to stay with him. Any tips on how to deal with this?

    I do a lot of no stirrup work to continue working on developing tight and steady legs. Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated, particularly in terms of hip angle, release techniques and so forth...

  • #2
    Grab mane.
    "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.


    • Original Poster

      Originally posted by EqTrainer View Post
      Grab mane.
      Believe me, I did a lot of that in my last lesson.


      • #4
        Whatever you do, do NOT look down!

        That's bad enough on a regular jumper. But get that back really cracking, and looking down just throws everything all out of kilter.
        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


        • #5
          Time is the biggest factor

          Just keep working positively and make sure you don't take away the horse's engine to try and makes things easier (it won't).


          • #6
            Be very careful that you are not launching yourself off your toes when he leaves the ground. It's been a bad habit of mine in the past.

            When the horse takes that last stride, relax your calves and drop your heels, and think about pushing your feet toward the horse's shoulders. That last is more of an imagery technique then something you'll actually do, but (at least for me), it allows you to let the horse jump up to you instead of jumping "for" the horse. It also puts you ever so slightly behind the motion, so when he cracks his back it doesn't throw you forward up his neck.
            Life would be infinitely better if pinatas suddenly appeared throughout the day.


            • #7
              Relax. Your body will go with the flow.
              "Dressage" is just a fancy word for flatwork


              • #8
                Be very careful that you are not launching yourself off your toes when he leaves the ground. It's been a bad habit of mine in the past.
                This, except for me erase "It's been" and insert "unless all the stars align, it is"

                It's like a cycle, big bascule, scared rider, tense leg, weight curls up...face plant on the far side. AGAIN. I find this is aggravated if I think about my "release" too much. I focus on my hands, this shortens my eye, next thing you know I am staring at the fence as we go over, hunched up like Neanderthal man with my heels up. AGAIN. I also have ADD, so my mind RACES...between two fences on a Hunter course, I can literally replay every nasty critique I've ever gotten...that's another surefire way to tense up before the fence and start the cycle anew. You do need some elements of arrogant fearlessness to jump a big horse. You need to KNOW YOU CAN DO IT.

                How do I fix this? Well, I haven't. Not entirely. When I am "on" though, my eye is staring at a spot about 8 feet in the air and 20 feet past the jump I'm headed to. I would say I hit my zone one in ten fences. That's just where I am at in my riding. I forget my hands, and only think about loosening my hip and letting my weight drop. It's not "relax"...but it isn't "tense." I am studying the Feldenkrais method right now, and "relax" is kind of a dirty word. Relaxed is not how you play sport. Engaged and ready is how you do athletics...engaged and ready without excessive tension/tone. It is WAAAAAAAAAAY easier said than done...most humans can't even sleep without excessive tension/tone somewhere in their bodies!!

                Sadly, I figured this out after I sold my basculey, heart-of-gold TB to a fearless teenage eventer. And pardon the CAPS. I'm not angry, I just emphatically, really, really heard and understood your question!
                Lifestyle coordinator for Zora, Spooky, Wolfgang and Warrior


                • #9
                  Grab mane and make sure the horse is forward. Have fun!
                  Against My Better Judgement: A blog about my new FLF OTTB
                  Do not buy a Volkswagen. I did and I regret it.
                  VW sucks.


                  • #10
                    Showed the eq (or tried to anyways) on a horse that turned into a giant beachball over the fences.

                    Best tip: short stirrups. I rode with jocky length stirrups. Helped me get off and stay off his back.

                    Other tips mentioned also helpful.

                    Good luck!


                    • #11
                      It's even more fun when big bascule horse has a happy buck upon landing!

                      And jockey length, really? Because can't imagine that being as how I used to gallop and ride races. Trust me there's short and then short. But yes a shorter length does help.

                      Sing Mia Song's advice was the best really and something I try to remember. Mind you I'm only just jumping again and sent my very powerful 4yo off to a pro so I wouldn't mess her up during her formative jumping lessons! But Mia's advice reminds me of when I was learning to come out of the gate effectively. It's quite awkward at first but then someone told me to have one leg a little forward and one a little back, with heels down, and grab mane, and relax. Horse will effectively pull you up and a nice smooth motion and all is well. To me her advice is very similar when dealing with the big jump.

                      COTH, keeping popcorn growers in business for years.

                      "I need your grace to remind me to find my own." Snow Patrol-Chasing Cars. This line reminds me why I have horses.


                      • #12
                        Yes, grab mane, look UP and REALLY Strech down into your leathers thru your heel! Ask me how I know, have a mare here that we are marketing for the owner, that the first couple of jumps in a schooling session are HUGE! Yesterday we trotted over a 2' x-rail to warm up and she almost jumped me out of the tack the first two fences. After that she gets easier but STILL cracks her back. She is, oddly enough, a stock bred paint. She has good jumping form and a HUGE hind end that she REALLY uses. TO make matters worse, she is built sort of down hill, at least she LANDS very "downhill" so you feel like there is NO HORSE infront of you!! Once I get thru those two jumps, she and I get in sync, but invariably she does it everytime! I wish someone would buy her and make a jumper out of her!


                        • #13
                          push your heel a little forward the last stride.


                          • #14
                            Right before the jump (just until you get used to his jump), you could try getting up into a small half-seat rather than sitting completely on his back. If the horse stops, that is not a good idea, though. Haha. I just know that a lot of people who have trouble staying with the horse have been helped by that.
                            "Many are riders; many are craftsmen; but few are artists on horseback."
                            ~George Morris


                            • #15
                              I second the extra short stirrups. Makes life a lot easier! I have one jumps me out of the saddle easily and I'm left praying to just please gawd, let me land back in the saddle after being airborne


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by fair judy View Post
                                push your heel a little forward the last stride.
                                Such a small little tip, but I found that when I did the equitation it really helped me.

                                That being said, I still have some issues from time to time...

                                Enjoy at my expense.
                                Ryu Equestrian & Facebook Page
                                Breeding Horses Today, for the Equestrian Sport of Tomorrow.
                                Osteen & Gainesville, Florida.


                                • #17
                                  ^ I love your horse, he looks very fun! I agree with the video caption, four strides definitely counts for something!

                                  I was thinking about that heels forward thing today, it WAS a good tip, one of those sound-byte kind of ones that is easy to remember and execute

                                  At least I think it was good. I didn't have anyone watching. By the end of my session my horse was nicely cantering in and out of some scary natural obstacles that we both balked at initially. That must be good.
                                  Lifestyle coordinator for Zora, Spooky, Wolfgang and Warrior


                                  • #18
                                    I ride soft and deep in my seat and try to remember to keep my hands low. If I lift my hands my horse gets really tense doesn't just jump round but jumps extra hard and isn't fluid.

                                    Pushing your heel forward a smidge on takeoff and landing deep in your heel will help.
                                    friend of bar.ka


                                    • #19
                                      I think focusing just on heels down and eyes up takes care of a lot of the problem.

                                      Or you could always try my old trainer's approach--she had a school horse who insisted upon a major release and the rider staying with him as he deer-jumped fences. He would give you about 3 "gift" fences where she yelled at you to stay with him, and then he would pretty much take off, then slam his feet back down to the ground and launch you. Only took once for me :-). My friends still enjoy telling the story of how I landed flat on my back across an oxer, bounced and hit it again before hitting the ground, and then practically grabbed his ears the next time through :-)


                                      • #20
                                        I had to buy a new saddle.

                                        one with knee and calf blocks rather then a knee roll.
                                        Made all the difference.
                                        Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!