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Rhythm...am I the only one?

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  • Rhythm...am I the only one?

    So it seems that my horses’ rhythm has changed. Okay well not changed but has more suspension in it. My boy has been going in only front shoes the last three years. Well since we are moving up in height, we added back shoes to support him. However adding back shoes also helped with his SI, no dragging anymore, as well as added more suspension in his canter.

    I've always had a problem with rhythm. But I was just starting to get the hang of it the last couple months and we were doing really well! Now it’s all changed (I know, I know for the better)

    Well with this new rhythm has come a loss of confidence in my distances and decisions when approaching a fence. I have got the concept that he has let’s say Canter "A" and Canter "B" and each is used dependent on the height of the fence. Canter "A" is for under 3' and Canter "B" is for all the above. I am use to Canter "A" which is providing a bit of a problem when jumping 3'6.

    So am I alone? What have you done to learn the difference and be able to trust yourself again? I know the two exist, but I don’t seem to realize it as I am riding in between fences if I lose it.
    Calm & Collected, 13, OTTB
    Forrest Gump (Catasauqua) , 17, OTTB
    Little Bit Indian, 29, TB
    Owner of Spur of the Moment, Custom made spur straps! Find us on Facebook

  • #2
    This issue gets to the heart of what all of us old-timers are ranting about in the George Morris thread above. Ideally, if we could, I'd say to move your horse forward to the jumps, utilizing impulsion to let him open up his stride.

    As you've identified, however, the trouble is the judging wants to see a certain "number" there. So I think the trick for you is going to be collecting his new-found bigger canter into the rhythm that will work for you. Don't try to "kill" the canter lest he start 4-beating, instead keep the same impulsion and cadence but ask him to shorten his stride. Think "amplitude," not "small."

    One thing that's sometimes also overlooked is that jumping higher fences, he's going to leave the ground sooner and land later and farther away than he did at 3'. This is definitely going to affect the distances you get as well.

    Are you working with a trainer? If so, he/she should be able to give the two of you some exercises to work on this question. If not, there are some excellent things you can do with ground-poles to teach him to shorten without losing rhythm, impulsion, and cadence.

    Comment


    • #3
      I don't think that the judges wanting to see a "number" has anything to do with this issue. When you jump bigger fences you need more canter to do it. That's a fact. That's also why lines are set longer for the 3'6" than for the 3'. There is a bigger effort and a bigger arc over the fence. The horse lands farther into the line and take off sooner out of the line. It's that scope over the fence that makes the 3'6" hard -- we all know that pretty much any horse can JUMP the 3'6", but it's the ability to jump ACROSS it and cover ground that makes it hard for a lot of smaller or short strided horses to actually compete in the 3'6" hunters. And why they may do fone in the 3'6" jumpers where striding doesn't matter as much.

      Sure, the OP might have to think about collecting if she has a monster strided horse, but the 3'6" courses are usually set on a pretty nice clip. I don't see a lot of people chipping out.

      I see this as the OP just needing to get used to the pace she needs for the 3'6".

      So to the actual question:

      One thing I had to learn was not to let myself get lulled into the smaller canter, even over smaller jumps. When we school something smaller, I'm supposed to get right to the base of the out jump. If I can get there at 2'6", I'll be perfect at 3'. If I can get to the base at 3' I'll be perfect at 3'6".

      It's just a matter of getting used to the bigger canter. If you don't use it, you'll be scared when you feel it. It's hard to make yourself find it, though. Canter poles might help, if you want something to work on outside of lessons, or even just counting the number of strides you do between two fence posts.

      Eyes on the ground help a lot. So does trying to catch up to someone cantering ahead of you (with a well put together canter, of course!). If you can get used to canter "C," which is a really big canter, like something you would hand gallop to in a handy round, then canter "B," which bothers you now, will feel as easy as canter "A" does right now!

      Be comfortable with having more, and you can always take back and get less.

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Thanks everyone. I definitely have a trainer and she just smiled as the realization dawned on me why we were all of a suddenly having issues. We do primarily the jumpers, but will be doing some local 3-3'6 hunters since I know the striding in between the fences my trainer said it will really help/force me to use that new canter.

        Right now we have lots of greenies so the fences are relatively low (18in to 2') so I am trying a couple exercises over them to get use to the new canter and to switch between them so I can feel the difference. I’m all about feeling and seeing to understand...auditory learning just doesnt make it through my brain.

        I was just curious to see how other dealt with this issue.

        My guy is 17H and he has a fairly large stride but easily adjustable to just about whatever you need or want, which causes a problem when trying to distinguish between the two since he’s so adjustable. While I am thrilled he is this way, I’m not at this moment.
        Calm & Collected, 13, OTTB
        Forrest Gump (Catasauqua) , 17, OTTB
        Little Bit Indian, 29, TB
        Owner of Spur of the Moment, Custom made spur straps! Find us on Facebook

        Comment


        • #5
          Im gonna say your best bet is to just practice a lot at the different canters, the gallop vs the collected, etc. just so you can get a better feel through your body what the rhythm of each is. I count a lot, even out loud, when Im cantering and esp jumping to keep the pace in my brain.

          A friend recently compared it to dancing. You are going to move a lot slower when the rhythm of the song is slow and vice versa. Thats the only way I can think to compare it in your brain. His tempo has picked up and now you have to follow his lead.

          Also, I know you say he's really adjustable, so I would work on adjusting my own rhythm so he follows my lead even with his new suspension.
          "to each his own..."

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

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by jewll27 View Post
            A friend recently compared it to dancing. You are going to move a lot slower when the rhythm of the song is slow and vice versa. Thats the only way I can think to compare it in your brain. His tempo has picked up and now you have to follow his lead.

            I'm being a crabby drummer I know, but I think what the OP needs to focus on is really stride length; the horse's rhythm (the steady beat/footfalls) should not change regardless of fence height. The horse's tempo also should not change unless we're talking about jumpers. It is the length of stride that is different at different heights (again, in hunters).

            I often have the same trouble when moving up in height--I either crawl to the first jump of the higher fences and thud over it because I'm not letting the horse open up, or I wind up *whoawhoawhoa* to the out of the lines for the smaller courses. What helped me was to consciously let my horse open up his stride more than I thought was necessary in the opening circle (or long before we were approaching a bigger jump). It was always easier to whoa a little rather than to "gun".

            Good luck--I've been riding greenies and now the jumps are all starting to look big .
            "And now . . .off to violin-land, where all is sweetness and delicacy and harmony and there are no red-headed clients to vex us with their conundrums."

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Thanks everyone! I practiced some yesterday over 18in to 2' jumps and for a while it was a mix of whether I got it or not. However we took a breather and when I went back I discovered the rhythm and got all my "in" but was always long on my "outs" in the lines. I just needed to open him up going away from the barn and hold coming home and it seemed to work.

              Only problem is that Forrest doesnt respect that height (quite insulted actually) by any means and eventually it just turned into a war about holding and running through the fences. So we are going to raise the height to 2'6 and 3' which we are fairly solid at and practice it today.
              Calm & Collected, 13, OTTB
              Forrest Gump (Catasauqua) , 17, OTTB
              Little Bit Indian, 29, TB
              Owner of Spur of the Moment, Custom made spur straps! Find us on Facebook

              Comment


              • #8
                Don't practice an open, bigger stride over tiny fences set in lines. Singles are fine.

                It's a bogus distance because the "jump" does not even create an arc let alone carry them deep enough into the line on landing to keep the rhthym of the long stride, it turns into a half stride and they have to gun to get out. Or add. Either way you change the rhythm because you change your stride length

                The "correct" number of strides has more to do with them in relation to the rest of the course and the related distances so everything is in the same rhythm. If you count, count 1-2-3-4 ALL the way around the course, not just down the lines. Keep it on that count. If you cannot stay on that count-on the same step throughout your course in a Hunter class? You will not pin that well regardless of horse type.

                Even for Jumpers it is a great excercise to make them wait to be told to lengthen or shorten and hold it. As opposed to falling behind your leg and then run and gun to lengthen.

                Stride control and adjustability are really important when you move up to levels to where the fences are too big for a bad spot and you get combinations-if you don't have that adjustability solid, you won't get thru clean.
                When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by findeight View Post
                  Don't practice an open, bigger stride over tiny fences set in lines. Singles are fine.

                  It's a bogus distance because the "jump" does not even create an arc let alone carry them deep enough into the line on landing to keep the rhthym of the long stride, it turns into a half stride and they have to gun to get out. Or add. Either way you change the rhythm because you change your stride length

                  The "correct" number of strides has more to do with them in relation to the rest of the course and the related distances so everything is in the same rhythm. If you count, count 1-2-3-4 ALL the way around the course, not just down the lines. Keep it on that count. If you cannot stay on that count-on the same step throughout your course in a Hunter class? You will not pin that well regardless of horse type.

                  Even for Jumpers it is a great excercise to make them wait to be told to lengthen or shorten and hold it. As opposed to falling behind your leg and then run and gun to lengthen.

                  Stride control and adjustability are really important when you move up to levels to where the fences are too big for a bad spot and you get combinations-if you don't have that adjustability solid, you won't get thru clean.
                  Thanks findeight!

                  You've essentially nailed our issue on the head. I seem to get to my spots short at high heights, and while Forrest is very kind and generously saves my butt over the 3' and lower fences he wont do it on the higher ones and I dont blame him. So it seems that at the higher fences I hold to much, and it only seems to be at shows, not at home (go figure). He will adjusts at a simple half halt, its all there its defnitely rider issues.
                  Calm & Collected, 13, OTTB
                  Forrest Gump (Catasauqua) , 17, OTTB
                  Little Bit Indian, 29, TB
                  Owner of Spur of the Moment, Custom made spur straps! Find us on Facebook

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Sounds like you are at the point where you can only get an eye for the distance and step over bigger fences is to...jump more bigger fences. Not huge, just at least 3' where they have to get all 4 feet off the ground at the same time.

                    All the poles and tiny fences in the world will not help you when you look up and gulp OMG a JUMP and it looks so biiiiiiig. You gotta go jump 'em more at home.

                    Gymnastics migh help you out, set CORRECTLY of course. In low and out high, help you forget the jump and ride the stride of the darn horse over. Remember, NO helping the horse once you jump in to a gymnastic, just sit there and let them get you down it while you learn to just sit and go with them instead of pick, pick, pick.
                    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                    Comment

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