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Developing eye for distances?

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  • Developing eye for distances?

    I've recently gotten a fabulous little all around gelding who was a 2'6-2'9 jumper, and I'm a (mediocre) low level dressage rider. He's needed lots of work (as have I) to adjust to contact and work on the flat, but today I took him for a spin in the jumper tack and WHEEEE! So much fun! He went very nicely in it, and I'm confident in my position and ability to get out of his way over (small) fences, but I have ZERO eye for distances, so I only trot in (though a couple times he throws in a stride or two of canter before takeoff).

    I've seen video of him previously and watched a barnmate canter him to fences, and he seems pretty forgiving if you're a bit off, but obviously I don't want to ruin a good horse with repeated bad distances, even to small stuff. I'm thinking I'll throw down poles and count like a maniac, but specifically what else can I do? Will it help me to walk lines more? Or specific exercises?

    I do have a fabulous coach, though I don't think we'll touch jumping for a while, as the focus is on his flat work and my talented barnmate/friend will keep him going over fences beyond my trotting x rails for kicks.


  • #2
    Concentrate on developing a feel for a good pace and your eye will develop accordingly.

    Good luck to you and your new horse.


    • #3
      Cantering ground poles is one good exercise. Another is setting up 2 fences with a related distance. Trot in and canter out and count the strides in the middle. Have fun!!


      • #4
        When you are that new to jumping (or if you are a chronic overanalyzer like myself), *don't* look for a distance. Keep a good rhythmic, forward pace, keep your leg on, eye up, and let your horse figure it out. I heard someone say (quite possibly on here) that the lower jumps especially are like a human walking off of a curb. You don't see people making huge changes in their gait, panicking, or falling off the curb - they just automatically make adjustments so they walk off the curb without an issue, and don't freak out if they are "deep" or "long."


        • #5
          Originally posted by BostonHJ View Post
          You don't see people making huge changes in their gait, panicking, or falling off the curb - they just automatically make adjustments so they walk off the curb without an issue, and don't freak out if they are "deep" or "long."
          Except for people like me who are impossibly klutzy, LOL
          Blog chronicling our new eventing adventures: Riding With Scissors


          • #6
            Originally posted by PaintedHunter View Post
            Except for people like me who are impossibly klutzy, LOL
            Don't worry, I slipped on a manhole cover the other day! It is a dangerous world out there


            • #7
              I have face-planted over curbs before
              Proud member of the Snort and Blow Clique


              • #8
                It's okay guys, we can't all be jumpers... some of you may be dressage horses.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by over the moon View Post
                  It's okay guys, we can't all be jumpers... some of you may be dressage horses.
                  Too bad I am a terrible mover!


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by BostonHJ View Post
                    Too bad I am a terrible mover!
                    Do you like chasing cows?


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by over the moon View Post
                      Do you like chasing cows?
                      I think I am more of the first horse type - not useful over more than 2' and prefer to have minimal direction, but excellent at being fawned over and memorizing courses.


                      • #12
                        Personally, I think I'm more of a cute local-show, ornery, lazy, judgmental walk-trot pony.
                        Blog chronicling our new eventing adventures: Riding With Scissors