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Not starting a debate - rider position over fences

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  • Not starting a debate - rider position over fences

    This is a legitimate question. I have been out of the real show scene for many years, I don't take lessons like clockwork on a weekly basis, so this is a purely educational question.

    When I look (on here, and elsewhere) and see critique photos, or just photos on fb, to me, the riders are perched up on the horse's neck, and have their body SO far out of the saddle, jumping WAY ahead, no closing of the hip angle at all.

    I jump ahead too, but I *know* I'm wrong. But I see this SO much, maybe this is more acceptable than I think?

    Even looking through a show's photographer's site, all I see are riders jumping ahead. Now, granted, I realize in some of them, its just the timing of the picture (like right at the point of takeoff). But more often than not, that position continues over the fence.

    Is this just the way a riders position is supposed to be? Or are more people just committing the same mistake?

    When I think about it, I don't see it as much in the jumpers. Could it be that its because a jumper goes at a fence with a little more forward, therefore thrusting the rider into a correct position, versus a quiet hunter? Or is it that I'm seeing it more in smaller fences, where the horse doesn't really have to give a big effort over fences? I find my position is far better over bigger fences.

    Just curious, honestly, not meant to be some sort of "the state of US riding" or something.

  • #2
    It's probably a habit, and given that hunters are about the horse, take place on nice even footing, over a fairly uniform course its just not the same big deal it is in other disciplines.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by spacytracy View Post
      This is a legitimate question. I have been out of the real show scene for many years, I don't take lessons like clockwork on a weekly basis, so this is a purely educational question.

      When I look (on here, and elsewhere) and see critique photos, or just photos on fb, to me, the riders are perched up on the horse's neck, and have their body SO far out of the saddle, jumping WAY ahead, no closing of the hip angle at all.

      I jump ahead too, but I *know* I'm wrong. But I see this SO much, maybe this is more acceptable than I think?

      Even looking through a show's photographer's site, all I see are riders jumping ahead. Now, granted, I realize in some of them, its just the timing of the picture (like right at the point of takeoff). But more often than not, that position continues over the fence.

      Is this just the way a riders position is supposed to be? Or are more people just committing the same mistake?

      When I think about it, I don't see it as much in the jumpers. Could it be that its because a jumper goes at a fence with a little more forward, therefore thrusting the rider into a correct position, versus a quiet hunter? Or is it that I'm seeing it more in smaller fences, where the horse doesn't really have to give a big effort over fences? I find my position is far better over bigger fences.

      Just curious, honestly, not meant to be some sort of "the state of US riding" or something.
      is it too early for chocolate flavored wine? its my new favorite drink
      Save a life...be an organ donor! Visit www.Transplantbuddies.org

      Comment


      • #4
        Fair warning, this is probably about to turn into a train wreck, even though you didn't intend it to be one.

        Personally, I think it's a style that is more common in the hunters but really not functional in the jumpers, so you see less of it there.
        Trying a life outside of FEI tents and hotel rooms.

        Comment


        • #5
          I was told that if you are in a correct balanced position and the horse suddenly "vanished into thin air." You should land on your feet. I always think that when I see my many chair seated casual trail rider friends who would land on their butts if horsey suddenly vanished into thin air. In my opinion, good athletes are balanced. Seems it would be much easier on the horse as well.

          Comment


          • #6
            There is no way to avoid a debate on this one...and statements like...all sorts of things were better back when...we are going to h*ll in a handbasket...why is everbody so bad...ad nauseum. It's a trainwreck recipe.

            Pictures, even alot of them, do not infer it's the way everybody rides and the way everybody is taught. Most of them are Hunters and most over pretty lowish fences (all the way down to 2'6") in level rings. Many are not accomplished riders on those show photographers sites as well. Just average riders having fun showing in a very controlled environment.

            I wouldn't worry about everybody else or make any assumptions.
            When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

            The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

            Comment


            • #7
              good equitation should not depend on the footing or the predictability of the mount.

              either you practice good equitation or you do not.

              many riders today, and it seems rampant in the H/J world, do not seem to care or value good equitation.

              it's a shame too because those fine horses they ride would shine all the more brightly if ridden properly.

              Comment


              • #8
                Find a trainer you like, that does well with their clients at shows and listen to what they tell you. Are you comfortable and safe? Then your good. Also remember each horse jumps different so you will ride a bit different.

                I pick a style I like and try to ride that way. And lucky I LOVE how my trainer rides so I watch him and try to do that.

                It's something that can be debated but no side can ever win because everyone has a personal taste and way of riding and as said before; horses are all different.....
                Live in the sunshine.
                Swim in the sea.
                Drink the wild air.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by webmistress32 View Post
                  good equitation should not depend on the footing or the predictability of the mount.

                  either you practice good equitation or you do not.

                  many riders today, and it seems rampant in the H/J world, do not seem to care or value good equitation.

                  it's a shame too because those fine horses they ride would shine all the more brightly if ridden properly.
                  I'm with you.

                  I also think that in addition to the jumping ahead, the ducking, collapsing upon horse's neck on landing, and the lower leg trailing 10 miles behind the rest of the rider's body o/f (and in hunters) are other things that have become way too commonplace for my liking. Pros over big fences included, and surprisingly more common.

                  But that's just me. Of course there are some select times when it's more about function over form..

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Not trying to start a debate of sorts either, but I think it has a lot to do with how most riders are taught the crest release nowadays. I literally had a trainer tell me one to put most of my weight down on the neck over the jump.... 0_o

                    Another factor could be, many taller riders do seem to go up farther on the neck, but it is a method of helping them stay balanced over the horse and it might not be as bad as it looks.

                    "Pat the horse; kick yourself" - Carl Hester

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Here's my theory. Being up high on the neck using a crest release creates a beautiful composition for a photograph. I remember the first time I saw a pro photograph with the rider's face turned to look at the upcoming fence and facing the camera, horse's head and rider's arms and reins balanced so nicely in the frame - it was very attractive and a new to me angle.

                      I know there are a few my age or better here, who possibly still have photos from back in the day - what angles were used/taken back then and do you all think it is like the phenomena of spelling and grammar - seeing it done a certain way makes it "the way"?
                      Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
                      Incredible Invisible

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                      • #12
                        It's also a reflection of too much incompetent instruction, which should be dealt with but don't ask me how.

                        But also a fact that many riders are far more recreationally minded then in the past. Many only ride 2 or 3 days a week, they are not really strong enough in the saddle to get away from using the neck for support-and most of them are not jumping high enough to create any problems. Other then it is ugly and they are very insecure should anything go wrong. But they don't care, they are just in it for fun. And lord knows even the AA mega circuits have classes at their level now.

                        None of my trainers allowed me to jump until I was stronger-but I was always a serious minded competitor. I learned not to worry about what others were doing and concentrate on moi.
                        When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                        The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          bad habit

                          it seems to be a common bad habit to me - no one wants to be ahead of the horse's motion in a vulnerable position.

                          i think we often try to "jump for our horses" and also were probably always told to "not catch them in the mouth" -

                          so how do you fix a habit such as this? - i have been working on it for a long time myself!

                          keeping your hands up and out in front of you seems to help somewhat - work on keeping your leg underneath of you in landing - letting the horse jump up to you and slowing down your personal motion (jump) in the air as to not get ahead of the horse.

                          I am interested to see what has helped other riders.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I also think many people don't teach auto release. People learn one thing and stick with what works.
                            Tu deviens responsable pour toujours de ce que tu as apprivoisé.
                            You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed
                            Le Petit Prince

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Mukluk View Post
                              I was told that if you are in a correct balanced position and the horse suddenly "vanished into thin air." You should land on your feet. I always think that when I see my many chair seated casual trail rider friends who would land on their butts if horsey suddenly vanished into thin air. In my opinion, good athletes are balanced. Seems it would be much easier on the horse as well.
                              My mare once spooked at some flags and I ended up standing on the ground next to her Up in the saddle one second, standing next to her holding the reins the next. The girl I was hacking out with said it was the weirdest thing she had ever seen

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by spacytracy View Post
                                Even looking through a show's photographer's site, all I see are riders jumping ahead. Now, granted, I realize in some of them, its just the timing of the picture (like right at the point of takeoff). But more often than not, that position continues over the fence.
                                My advice is to step away from your computer, stop looking at photographs, go to some actual horse shows, and watch entire rounds. Some of those riders you are seeing on the websites that you say look so awful are likely the same riders who are so effective that they are frequent winners at the top shows in the country.

                                I'm not following how you can tell from a photographer's website that the position you describe above continues over the fence (most photographers don't take multiple, sequential frames of each horse over a single fence), but I also don't buy that you started this thread as innocently as you proclaim.

                                Regardless, GO to a real show and OBSERVE entire trips from start to finish. You'll learn a lot more from that than from whining on the internet about a bunch of photographs.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by webmistress32 View Post
                                  good equitation should not depend on the footing or the predictability of the mount.

                                  either you practice good equitation or you do not.

                                  many riders today, and it seems rampant in the H/J world, do not seem to care or value good equitation.

                                  it's a shame too because those fine horses they ride would shine all the more brightly if ridden properly.
                                  exactly.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by englishcowgirl View Post
                                    My mare once spooked at some flags and I ended up standing on the ground next to her Up in the saddle one second, standing next to her holding the reins the next. The girl I was hacking out with said it was the weirdest thing she had ever seen
                                    That's awesome!!!

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I'm a new-ish rider, so for me it is a BAD habit. I just cringe when I see pictures of me doing it. I know that "back in the day" there weren't really classes at horse shows at the lower heights, like 2'6", that there are now, so maybe we are all just seeing photos of the less experienced riders become more prolific.

                                      How to fix it? If someone yells "squat" at me in front of the jumps it works. I know my horse Max likes to get slow and behind my leg, so sometimes it is a symptom of me being desperate to go forward. We just work with no stirrups/1 stirrup/2-point and trying to be balanced and in the heel over fences. I think it just takes time.
                                      "Look, I'm trying not to test the durability of the arena with my face!" (Because only GM can do that.)

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        I should clarify - I have seen this in real life, at shows (mostly as an observer, a few times as a rider), and I am still seeing the same thing. I realize that behind a camera lens, you can capture a bad moment. Or maybe its my perception of what I would ASSUME is a bad moment, and really, its ok.

                                        I swear to you, I'm not trying to start something. I'm just wondering if this is the acceptable way?

                                        I'm guessing no, its probably not, but its kind of become so commonplace that more riders do it than don't?

                                        I honestly, and truly, am not trying to debate. Is it really just to make the horse look better? In an equitation class, would you see a deeper seat and less of that?

                                        I will freely admit, this is a problem of mine. And I know I do it, and I try really hard not to. I'm pretty much going back to basics in a sense.

                                        Please please please, dont debate. I'm really trying to be educated. And all I have to share is some Bully Hill wine and leftover red velvet cake.

                                        Comment

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