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Struggling With Distances

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  • Struggling With Distances

    I have been jumping for years, but it was only about 3 years ago that striding was introduced to me (I know, crazy, but that's how it is). I am now struggling with my distances. I used to nail my distances all the time by just riding forward to the jump, but not any more.

    I do ride a green OTTB, but he is awesome and will generally do what I tell him. I typically like to take really deep distances or add a stride. It is very frustrating for me and I was just wondering what you guys have found anything that helps. I have a feeling it is just riding a thousand more jumps, but I am wondering if there are some exercises I can do to help my eye, put less strain on my horse's legs or if any of you are having this struggle right now.

    Thanks.

  • #2
    canter poles on the ground to save your horses legs. If you keep your horse balanced and forward and keep a rhythm you will find most of your distances... when you start looking for a distance you will automatically want to DO something and you will miss. For some people it helps to count, either up or down to the fence... I count up, that way it doesn't matter what number we jump on. Other people like to count 1,2,1,2 or 1,2,3,4,1,2,3,4, some people sing (row, row, row your boat is a good choice.)

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    • #3
      This sounds like a fantastic exercise that I'm going to try.

      (Link should work now!)
      Last edited by AlyssaSpellman; Mar. 3, 2012, 02:58 PM.
      "It's hard to wait for something you know might not happen, but it's even harder to give up when you know it's everything you want."
      Blog | YouTube

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      • #4
        I was only introduced to strides during high school after I had been riding since I was five (tragic, I know). I wholeheartedly second the cantering poles as excellent exercises for working on your eye, and also, practicing shortening and lengthening. The poles certainly will help along with counting (aloud or to yourself).

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        • #5
          I'm a big fan of counting in my head as I go around to help maintain a rhythm, and with keeping a rhythm, it helps me find my distances more easily. So I start my canter and count "one, two, one, two..." or "one, two, three, one, two, three..." When you have that underlying rhythm, its also easier to see when you have to move up or slow down.

          I had no idea about striding either until I was with my current trainer. Looking back, I can only imagine how scary my riding was to others b/c it was gun-ho around a course...
          "to each his own..."

          just a horse obsessed girl who finds blogging way more fun than being an adult...
          http://equinerainman274.wordpress.com/

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          • #6
            Agree with canter poles. Also, it is sometimes easier to do it on a large circle, while counting 1, 2, 1, 2 and just maintaining a rhythm.

            When coming into a line, you must be straight and not falling in, or having the horse bow out. It'll screw up whatever distance was there. Get correct bend, maintain a rhythm, and just count 1,2,1,2. Don't look at the base of the jump. If you don't see anything glance away, then back, and you'll usually see something. Never take your leg away. Always support with leg.

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            • #7
              Have you had your eyes checked?

              I know for me, I went from "getting my distance" >95% of the time and "screw ups" were a bit deep or a bit long, though supported since I knew where I was, to thinking I had the distance and then being completely surprised in the last two strides. It sucked, especially for my horse who hated being "lied to."

              Went to the doctor and, apparently, I was 15/20 in my right eye and 20/30 in my left. The slight differences between them completely screwed with my depth perception. I then got a prescription pair of sport glasses that I only wear when jumping.
              Pacific Coast Eventing
              Standing Yeager GF

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              • #8
                Originally posted by SuZQuzie View Post
                Have you had your eyes checked?

                I know for me, I went from "getting my distance" >95% of the time and "screw ups" were a bit deep or a bit long, though supported since I knew where I was, to thinking I had the distance and then being completely surprised in the last two strides. It sucked, especially for my horse who hated being "lied to."

                Went to the doctor and, apparently, I was 15/20 in my right eye and 20/30 in my left. The slight differences between them completely screwed with my depth perception. I then got a prescription pair of sport glasses that I only wear when jumping.
                I wear glasses mostly just in class and when doing work on the computer but I'm wondering if I should look into getting contacts..I've been struggling with my distances lately, maybe my depth perception is the culprit? Or perhaps I'm still just a lousy amatuer

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                • #9
                  Can you lesson every now and then on a packer type who finds the distance on his own? Might help you see how its supposed to come out/look from the saddle?

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                  • #10
                    Depending on how your horse rides around a course, you could try grabbing mane, closing your eyes a few strides out from the jump, and just "feeling" when the horse goes. This helped me with distances and rhythm.
                    I like mares. They remind me of myself: stubborn know-it-alls who only acknowledge you if you have food.
                    Titania: 50% horse, 50% hippo
                    Unforgetable: torn between jumping and nap time, bad speller

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