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Anyone else scared of gymnastics?

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  • #21
    Originally posted by Papyruse View Post
    I also have a problem with giving huge releases and leaping up on the horse's neck. I feel like I've gotten into the habit of jumping for the horse with my upper body instead of letting the horse carry me over.

    And trust me, I've ridden some stoppers so I don't know why it's taking so long to solve this problem
    There's your problem! I say that with nothing but love because I am HORRIBLY guilty of this. If you're forward of your horse's center of gravity over a gymnastic / bounce, that's what is doing it.

    Start them tiny, focus on doing nothing. Tiny movements - trainer often has to remind me that nothing should be extreme, and the horse should be jumping, not me! Easier said than done, I know. It's an impossible problem to solve if you're scared though, I can tell you that much!

    Everyone else had good advice, so just hang in there!
    "Look, I'm trying not to test the durability of the arena with my face!" (Because only GM can do that.)

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    • Original Poster

      #22
      Thanks for all the suggestions everyone! Unfortunately my instructor starts with the grid up already. I have no problem doing larger courses, I think because I have time to sit and really drive for the next fence. I don't land on the same pace as I came in at and I think that's another thing taking part in the problem as well. As already stated I rely too much on my seat and not enough on my leg. Granted I can make my seat very light when needed but I usually rely on it for pace rather than lower leg, and when I DO use leg, I end up lifting my heel. Oh well, I guess we all have our weak spots. I'm riding extremely sporadically due to money. I used to be a lot better but after several months off I really regressed.

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      • #23
        Originally posted by Papyruse View Post
        Thanks for all the suggestions everyone! Unfortunately my instructor starts with the grid up already. I have no problem doing larger courses, I think because I have time to sit and really drive for the next fence. I don't land on the same pace as I came in at and I think that's another thing taking part in the problem as well. As already stated I rely too much on my seat and not enough on my leg. Granted I can make my seat very light when needed but I usually rely on it for pace rather than lower leg, and when I DO use leg, I end up lifting my heel. Oh well, I guess we all have our weak spots. I'm riding extremely sporadically due to money. I used to be a lot better but after several months off I really regressed.
        Really? You're falling off in the grid and I'm a little shocked that your trainer hasn't realized that's she/he has over faced you and your horse! If its not already obvious to your trainer, you need to TELL him/her to drop the fences and take away some elements until you're ready to do more. There's nothing wrong with that, safety comes first.

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        • #24
          My suggestion is to bring that up with your instructor before you get on for a lesson. I'd say something like how i feel overwhelmed with a full grid already set up and would feel more comfortable with building up as the lesson went on.
          I say to tell him or her all this while you're on the ground, and not in the middle of a lesson. During the lesson, your nerves might be higher, especially if bringing up a problem might make you nervous, too. And in the middle of the lesson is a little harder for an inflexible instructor to change plans/pace and focus the lesson on building slowly.

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          • #25
            I LOVE gymnastics but agree they have to be built up as you go and set properly for each horse to have any value. I think you may need to have a chat with your trainer outside the lesson.
            McDowell Racing Stables

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            • #26
              Took my first fall during a gymnastic... Never really gotten over it!

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              • Original Poster

                #27
                Originally posted by Satin Filly View Post
                Really? You're falling off in the grid and I'm a little shocked that your trainer hasn't realized that's she/he has over faced you and your horse! If its not already obvious to your trainer, you need to TELL him/her to drop the fences and take away some elements until you're ready to do more. There's nothing wrong with that, safety comes first.
                I guess I should clarify. I have fallen off in the past on grids but not with this trainer. The worst I've done is put in extra strides.

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                • #28
                  I personally love grids! I use them to improve both myself and my horses (the young and the old). As others have said, you can drop your stirrups and do it that way. Personally if I am teaching someone there are a few methods that I use depending on the horse and rider. If you have a reliable horse, keep your leg on and sit up straight as you go over the first jump close your eyes and do the rest with them closed (sounds scary right) but it will acutally cause you to wait for the horse and not over react at the jump which allows your position to be more natural. The second method is to just sit up, hands up and put your leg on and try to relax in the saddle and think slow. Hope that helps
                  www.SlateEquestrian.com

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                  • #29
                    The bottom line is that with gymnastics (aka grids) you have to apply judgement. Used with good judgement, gymnastic exercises can be very beneficial for horses and/or riders to isolate and address any number of issues.

                    If the judgement used is flawed in any way, gymnastics can backfire pretty badly, and be a disaster.

                    This can happen to people with experience who decide to take "little" shortcuts (overfacing a horse with an already set-up exercise) just as easily as to those who don't have a clue.

                    You can upset a sensitive horse or a green rider with a cavaletti that's set wrong--so never underestimate the harm a badly measured or otherwise inappropriate grid can cause (I'm guessing safety cups aren't even part of this discussion?).

                    If in doubt, keep it simple! Take a lesson...hire a clinician...get help! Don't experiment on your own, or with a trainer who is using you and your horse as guinea pigs!
                    Inner Bay Equestrian
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                    • #30
                      Originally posted by M. O'Connor View Post
                      The bottom line is that with gymnastics (aka grids) you have to apply judgement. Used with good judgement, gymnastic exercises can be very beneficial for horses and/or riders to isolate and address any number of issues.

                      If the judgement used is flawed in any way, gymnastics can backfire pretty badly, and be a disaster.

                      This can happen to people with experience who decide to take "little" shortcuts (overfacing a horse with an already set-up exercise) just as easily as to those who don't have a clue.

                      You can upset a sensitive horse or a green rider with a cavaletti that's set wrong--so never underestimate the harm a badly measured or otherwise inappropriate grid can cause (I'm guessing safety cups aren't even part of this discussion?).

                      If in doubt, keep it simple! Take a lesson...hire a clinician...get help! Don't experiment on your own, or with a trainer who is using you and your horse as guinea pigs!
                      Love this answer!

                      I use them to help address weaknesses that I might have or my horse might have.
                      I find I often 'feel' something is just not quiet right but I cannot pinpoint it.
                      The gymnastics are quick to pinpoint the problem so I can address it.

                      The problems the OP noted are things that can be worked on through gymnastics.
                      Though, please please please make sure you are measuring and setting them up correctly. There is nothing more scary to me then when I see the kids at the barn setting these up themselves and not knowing how. Recipe for disaster.


                      My words of advise for the OP. Set a simple gymnastic, and I say simple as being simple for your horse. Something you are confident he could go through blindfolded sort of speak. That way you can concentrate on yourself.

                      One I use a lot is.... 3 trot poles (set 4.5ft apart), 9-ft to X - 18' - II (oxer or crossrail)- 10ft landing pole.
                      You can change the distance in between to whichever distance you like but I find one strides really force you to concentrate on what you are doing and become a quick thinker, train your reflex's, where as the longer striding you have more time to think.

                      Let your horse alone and go through it. Plan what you are working on before entering the gymnastic and practice it on the flat so you get the feel. Then repeat it in your head.
                      If you are setting a gym which is beyond your comfort zone, you will not be able to concentrate on the correction you were aiming for.


                      Good luck!
                      http://dotstreamming.blogspot.com/

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