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Yet Another Auto Release Question

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  • Yet Another Auto Release Question

    My greenie is finally developing her jumping style, and I've discovered that she jumps hard, high, and with a big bascule. Which is great, considering she needs to be scopey for the Pony Jumpers. Unfortunately, we had an episode of "stop-at-every-fence-itis" a few days ago because I no longer can give her enough rein over fences when I use the crest release.

    I can already come out of grids with one, but she's pretty much the only horse I ride and takes 2' at 3'6 sometimes (just on a whim).

    Any good exercises for getting a really good auto release without bashing her in the mouth and wrecking her confidence? I'm already pretty tight in the tack and do a lot of no-stirrups, if that helps.


  • #2
    It doesn't sound like your crest release is correct. That's where I would start. There should be no circumstances under which you are hitting her in the mouth while using a crest release, no matter how high she is jumping. Also without seeing it, I would usually attribute the issue you're having to a deficiency in leg, not a restriction of hand.


    • #3
      Agreed 100% with Chanda. Your crest release is not being executed correctly.
      Proudly blogging for The Chronicle of the Horse!


      • #4
        Can you not give enough rein or is her over-jumping surprising you and thus resulting in hitting her mouth over the fence?

        Have you tried grabbing mane to stay out of her way?

        I agree that it sounds like something is going wrong with your crest release. I would try and fix that before moving to an auto release.

        What do you mean by tight in the back? Generally I would consider a tight back to equal tight arms and locked elbows.


        • #5
          Bernie Traurig advocates learning the automatic release as soon as a rider "has a reasonably strong position in the air." I tend to think everything Bernie says is smart, so it probably won't hurt to try? It might even improve your crest release.

          If you want to know his technique for learning the automatic release, you'll find it here: http://www.getmyfix.org/1360/5-minute-clinic-10/

          I'm rusty and I found his system very helpful (disclaimer: I wrote the story so you should assume all sorts of bias.)
          Enabling hunter/jumper addicts everywhere.


          • Original Poster

            It's less of her getting banged in the mouth and more me not being able to give her enough rein without either A) slipping the reins or B) crawling up her neck. Neither of which I want to do. Grabbing mane hasn't helped.

            I meant tight in the tack. I can stick to just about every back-cracking overjump she's given (with a solid leg), but she just drops her head a lot over the fence. I'll come in with a light, even loose, rein, and over the fence there will be super strong contact, even with my hands planted more than halfway up her neck.


            • #7
              Lower your hands towards her mouth, not towards her ears.


              • #8
                I was taught the auto release by "flipping" my hands, so that my thumbs were closest to the horses mouth and the rein ran through my palm. Then over cross rails we practiced dropping our hands down towards the horses shoulders.

                If she has a tendency to over jump I would suggest longing her over said cross rail a few times until you're getting a "normal" jump. So that when you get on her you can focus on you


                • #9
                  Like Cboylen stated it is hard to say without seeing what is going on.

                  Though there is nothing wrong with the crest release and one should be able to afford the horse enough freedom with it, for a horse that is sensitive even the slightest drag created by positioning the hands on the crest or the neck can be inhibiting.

                  My question, given that you state grabbing mane does not work either is whether you are getting left in the back seat, consequently having to catch up and then getting caught behind when she comes down and hitting her in the mouth after her jump?

                  Also as one poster eluded to the AR, outside of balance over the fence, has a lot to do with freeing your arms so to speak. Turning your thumbs up and keeping you elbows close to your side helps to release the arms to the shoulder, or at the very least to limit you from locking the wrist, and elbow which tends to stop you from bracing with your arm. In order to brace now you need to involve the shoulder which requires you to move your center of balance back, which becomes a really obvious move, usually leaving you in the backseat again.

                  As well when you grab mane you should be extending your arms as much as possible, for me I can usually almost touch the average horses poll, don't throw your hands at them, and do not rest on the neck. As your horse compresses before the jump they will move you slightly forward in the saddle, at the same time the compression lessens the distance, neck to shoulder, and this is the perfect time to simply let the motion and their compression position your hands high on the neck to grab mane. I have never had a horse get so round that it required that much rein.


                  • Original Poster

                    Thanks for the tips, guys!

                    I'll try to get a picture of her super jump sometime, though. It's hilarious.