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Dumb question about distances

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  • Dumb question about distances

    So I've never really had to set up my own jumps since I board and thus really have no idea about distances between jumps while on the ground. Obviously it's a useful skill to have that I am lacking, so I was wondering if anyone could enlighten me about measuring how far apart you should set jumps? I'll ask my trainer as well but she is out of town and I would like to set up a course of poles to work on distances and lead changes.


    ETA: I know you walk the space between the jumps but where do you start from, how long should the steps be, etc.

  • #2
    I am far from being any sort of expert, just the layman speaking here.
    But typically, you'd set it on a 12' stride(i.e. 24' = 2 strides, 36' = 3, etc). If you're setting up a line of jumps, you need to add some space for takeoff & landing. I usually add about 12' in the line for this, but you may need a couple feet more/less depending on the size of the jumps. A horse won't need quite as much takeoff and landing space for a 2'3" vertical as they will a 3'6" oxer.
    For poles, I would only add a few feet extra, if any.

    I'm 5'8", and I do 4 big strides for me(not huge, but fairly big ...3') to equal one nice stride for the horse. Basically, four 3' human strides = one 12' horse stride.
    Like I said, I'm no expert. I never had anyone teach me how to walk lines or set up courses, just kind of improvised - but I've yet to set up a bad distance, so it seems to work alright for me.


    • #3
      For a jump course...

      24' One stride ( or slightly shorter)
      36' two stride
      48' three stride
      60' four stride
      72' five stride
      84' six stride
      ............ you get it.

      That's setting on a 12' stride and allowing 6' for landing and 6' for take off, which is pretty typical. As far as setting distances for poles I wouldnt allow any extra footage for take off and landing, or if you do, very slightly. This way you will teach yourself to ride to the base of the pole and then teaching yourself to ride to the base of a jump.

      Do yourself a favor and buy a 100ft tape so that you can be accurate and consistent. After you have your poles accurately set.... walk them out and see how many strides YOU take inbetween the lines. Im 5'2" and have to stretch my stride out to put 4 strides into 12' of space, but every person is different. A typical person has a 3' stride. Hope that helped.


      • #4
        To keep yourself safe I second getting a tape measure. Walking the distances is a skill learned over time and came be practiced by measuring and marking 12 feet. Then practice walking it so you are consistent in your stride then practice practice


        • #5
          My trainer has a great trick she's uses to help people learn to walk distances. She takes a 12' jump pole and lays it on the ground. Then we practiced walking the length of the pole. You could also put pieces of tape on the pole at 3', 6', and 9' to help ensure that you're taking even strides.


          • #6
            Keep in mind that if the jumps are low, say below 2'9", the distances between jumps will be shorter. 24' between two jumps (in and out) is for taller jumps.

            Walking a jump rail is a great way to practise your own personal striding. You can also practise it at home by marking that distance in your hallway or someplace straight


            • #7
              OP, I don't think it's a dumb question. I think it's a good question and there are probably more people than you think who don't know! I think you should change the thread title to reflect that!


              • #8
                And when you're walking keep it a slightly big but easy stride for you to take. If you're trying to take big huge steps it's a lot harder to be consistent. And it's a good skill to have, not only for horse stuff, but in everyday. I've found myself walking distances while setting up lawn games and other outdoor activities.


                • #9
                  Jimmy Wofford's book on jumping exercises is great, and he gives exact measurements.

                  I would not set a 24' one stride unless I was riding a well-broke horse over a larger course on a horse show step. When you are doing a one stride to start a horse out jumping in a little gymnastic, for example, 18' is plenty.
                  The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
                  Boy Wonderhttp://tiny.cc/G9290
                  The Hana is nuts! NUTS!!http://tinyurl.com/SOCRAZY


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by IrishDeclan View Post
                    My trainer has a great trick she's uses to help people learn to walk distances. She takes a 12' jump pole and lays it on the ground. Then we practiced walking the length of the pole. You could also put pieces of tape on the pole at 3', 6', and 9' to help ensure that you're taking even strides.
                    This is how I was taught to accurately walk distances as well. No point in walking them if you don't know how long your stride is!


                    • #11
                      101 Jumping Exercises for Horse and Rider - great book with all sorts of distances based on the exercise being done.

                      VERY different striding based on whether you trot or canter in. Different striding based on whether you are encouraging a lengthened or shortened stride.
                      The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


                      • #12
                        In my experience with poles, I would leave 2-3ft for take off and/or landing. In other words put your first pole for the line down, step 2 feet away, walk your line, then add 2 more feet and put the second pole down.


                        • #13
                          A note about how much to put for take off/landing: if you're going to be showing hunters, they will follow the rule of thumb of 6' for take off and 6' for landing. It would be beneficial to ride this at home so you aren't getting used to a smaller take off/landing and are surprised at a show.


                          • #14
                            If you will be showing higher than 3ft the distances are usually moved out....3'6 is generally set on 13 ft. I really like the idea of marking a rail on the ground at three foot intervals so you can learn a consistent 3 ft step for you. That way every 4 of your steps equals 12 ft. Gymnastic distances are another thing entirely....they are set to get your horse to do something specfic so again the distances are important so the correct question is being asked. The 101 Jumping Exercises and Jimmy Wofford are excellent suggestions.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by JB View Post
                              101 Jumping Exercises for Horse and Rider - great book with all sorts of distances based on the exercise being done.

                              VERY different striding based on whether you trot or canter in. Different striding based on whether you are encouraging a lengthened or shortened stride.
                              I agree.

                              chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).


                              • #16
                                As others have said, the distances change somewhat based on trot/canter in, inside/outside, etc. but you should absolutely learn how to take a 3 foot pace so you can count the stride and distance on the courses. At home, you should practice short and long distances so they don't mess you up in competition but if you can't step off the distance accurately, you won't have any idea what the actual distance is. I'd measure it and then walk it. I'd also mark of distances and just walk them (that idea with the pole is good too) until you can do a 3' step.


                                • Original Poster