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Making the Distance

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  • Making the Distance

    I have trouble with seeing the proper distance and getting it. My horse and I get in deep sometimes to the jumps, and it is really bugging me. What are some ways to improve my eye and help get better distances the majority of the time, I want to make the lines as smooth as possible.
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  • #2
    For me its all about pace, if my pace is off so are my distances, but if i have a good foward pace i can make little adustments when needed to get the distances. try working on your pace and dont focus too much on getting the percect distance everytime because you wont

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    • Original Poster

      #3
      Originally posted by eqrider1234 View Post
      For me its all about pace, if my pace is off so are my distances, but if i have a good foward pace i can make little adustments when needed to get the distances. try working on your pace and dont focus too much on getting the percect distance everytime because you wont
      Thanks! That is one thing my horse and I have to work on, she likes to be lazy
      Confessions of a Cool Kid! <--- check out my blog (:
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      • #4
        Same with mine! work on a one two one two rythem and moving up out of the corners put on a pair of spurs to and make her go! when you say so, thats a big thing for my horse as we used to add every course the first line in a show.. not fun. And if you have spurs at least mine is sensative and will move UP when i ask instead of

        ughhhh maahhh do i have to? are you sure.. ughhhh i guess so.. oh wait to lait suckkkk back and CHIP..

        now its.. ahhhh spur better move up, perfect spot. just. about. every. time.

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        • #5
          Like eqrider1234 said, it's pace, or rhythm. Keep your rhythm and you can find your distances. There are 3 spots to a fence: long, right, and deep. Each spot is fine as long as you support your horse where he takes off. At a long spot you want to go with your horse, at a right spot, stay, and at a deep, back yourself off a little and let him jump up and over. Staying on the da da dum rhythm is key. You can practice seeing your distances over poles and then move up to cross rails and eventually larger fences. Practice jumps on a circle (this is the easiest way for me to find my distances), jumps on the diagnol, jumps on an angle, ramped oxers, triple bars, etc.

          This is a great video by the legend:
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BO9ixs9IIW4
          www.justworldinternational.org

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          • #6
            For an easy distance fix, fix the rest of your ride. Keep a steady, forward but collected pace, get the right turn and get a steady approach. Make sure your eq isn't telling him to add against your wishes.

            To work on your eye specifically, canter poles on the ground and treat them just like jumps. Set up a series of poles and practice leaving strides out and adding them in.
            "Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out." ~John Wooden

            Phoenix Animal Rescue

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            • #7
              Now why did you have to go and steal my horse? No seriously, my horse and I struggle with this very issue. Mine's a bit of confidence because sometimes if we get in too deep he'll stop (which is of course because I let him slow down lol). My instructor had us concentrate more on keeping our canter the same, nice, forward canter and less about actually finding the spot. I also have the habit of pulling back if I don't see the spot so he told me that my only option if I thought I needed to make an adjustment was leg. We worked on this over like 2'-2'3" fences so it was fine if we did get a nasty spot but it was to work on not pulling back all the time.

              Anyways, I find it really helpful to work on poles and crossrails, etc... It's also nice to do gymnastics because they can really help with getting the correct distance.
              No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle. ~Winston Churchill
              For Hope, For Strength, For Life-Delta Gamma
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              • #8
                PACE!! definetly. gymnastics can also help.
                also, i constantly work with poles, and just work on finding the perfect distance each time, hopefully, your horse will evenutally learn to find it himself after you drilling him on them!
                when i work with poles, i tend to get a gallop like canter and go to the pole, but find a good distance, then get a slow pace, find a distance, perfect pace, find disance, repeat. this may help your horse in the case of moving up or down for a distance (just a suggestion)!

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                • #9
                  My trainer makes us do a lot of work with ground poles. You can canter over a pole on the ground a lot more than an actual jump, so you can practice more without your horse getting tired.

                  For me, I've kind of memorized the feeling of when my pony takes a short distance. I can feel it coming on and just know when to ask for the bigger spot. It's hard to explain without sounding crazy. I can't see my spots, but I can feel them if that makes any sense. I think it has to do with lots of practice, and knowing your horse's stride really well.
                  https://catchacanter.wordpress.com

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                  • #10
                    Pace is the most important thing. You need to keep the same step all the way out of the corner and to the jump. Your horse needs to be balanced and forward... it sounds so simple. The best way to do this is sing. Row Row Row Your Boat is good.

                    Another thing that works for some people is to count. Don't really worry about getting there in a certain number of strides, just start counting when you come on line (I try to start 6 or less strides out because numbers with two sylables - like seven - throw me off, but it don't worry about the number). Start with a small jump or a pole on the ground, count your strides as you come out of the corner. It will help you start to know where you are.

                    Some people like to count backwards from a certain number, but that can cause problems when they realize that they are wrong. Many people will subconsiously start adjusting the horses stride to end on 1 (or 0) even though the stride was right on and screw up the distance.

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                    • #11
                      Not just pace alone though - make sure you set up your corner nicely, come through balanced, and maintain your rhythm to the fence. Look past the fence, support with your leg and hand, and let the fence come to you.

                      Now, if only I could keep that mantra flowing in my head all the time...

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by dghunter View Post
                        Now why did you have to go and steal my horse? No seriously, my horse and I struggle with this very issue. Mine's a bit of confidence because sometimes if we get in too deep he'll stop (which is of course because I let him slow down lol). My instructor had us concentrate more on keeping our canter the same, nice, forward canter and less about actually finding the spot. I also have the habit of pulling back if I don't see the spot so he told me that my only option if I thought I needed to make an adjustment was leg. We worked on this over like 2'-2'3" fences so it was fine if we did get a nasty spot but it was to work on not pulling back all the time.

                        Anyways, I find it really helpful to work on poles and crossrails, etc... It's also nice to do gymnastics because they can really help with getting the correct distance.
                        I did have a bit of a habit of interfering with the horse with my hands when I didn't see a distance. My coach had me make the turn to the jump and then put one hand behind my back. This way I couldn't pull and ruin a distance and I had to ride more off my leg. When I went back to riding with 2 reins I was much more balanced and willing to move up to a longer spot.

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                        • #13
                          Alot of times, when you miss, you can look back at your hoofprints on the take off side and see they are not straight. Even if you had it off the turn, you can see your track bending to one side or another and well off center by the time you get to the fence. Shortest distance between 2 points is a straight line, not staying on it changes what would be a good spot to a half stride.

                          Working on a decent pace, not too slow, and getting straight off the corner and stying straight solves most of these issues. Eyes up and on the center of that fence helps as well.

                          Some flatwork on the lateral aids will help the straightness and ground poles will be your best friends.

                          Leading clinician claims you find your distance and set it IN THE CORNER. Your only job after that is stay on that line and pace. He has proven himself right.
                          When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                          The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by kaazs View Post
                            I have trouble with seeing the proper distance and getting it. My horse and I get in deep sometimes to the jumps, and it is really bugging me. What are some ways to improve my eye and help get better distances the majority of the time, I want to make the lines as smooth as possible.

                            Why should you be any different than the rest of us??
                            *****
                            You will not rise to the occasion, you will default to your level of training.

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                            • #15
                              Yes! Rhythm, pace and approach are all very important. Also remember to keep your hands forward & following the horse's motion. When we have trouble, our trainer often makes us close our eyes on the approach to a single fence & we learn to feel and trust the horse to figure it out for himself. It can be challenging, but it usually works .

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Your horse sees a distance far before you do -- put him a good rhythm and balance and just ride the canter and stay out of his way. Stop trying to make so many adjustments and you'll see a better ride.
                                Life doesn't have perfect footing.

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                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Thanks guys for all your good advice
                                  Confessions of a Cool Kid! <--- check out my blog (:
                                  My Youtube

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                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by kaazs View Post
                                    Thanks guys for all your good advice
                                    As has been said many times before, PACE, PACE, PACE. Harrold was quite the champion at going slowly and not always wanting to move off my leg, which wasn't necessarily a huge problem (more of an annoyance) when the jumps were small, and quite a problem when they got a bit bigger. We would come into a corner with a good pace, for example, and then come out of it a bit slower and with less impulsion. 3 strides out from the fence, it would turn into kick, pull, wait, oh no, oh crap let's just jump anyways. Needless to say, we had quite the chipping and refusing faze. What Harrold was trying to tell me is that if I rode him like crap and didn't keep my leg on, a feel on his mouth, and convince him that going forward to the jumps really was in his best interest, he wasn't going to help me out. It certainly taught me to ride better!

                                    Also, if you have a good pace then the distance isn't always paramount--especially when you're learning. If the fences are small, and you keep your leg on and your eye up, things will essentially take care of themselves. This is not to say that you shouldn't attempt to find your distance, just that if you don't see it, make sure you are working on the other things as well.

                                    As for seeing your distance better, have you tried the pole game? Canter up to a pole and count the strides...starting with 1-pole, then 2-1-pole, then 3-2-1-pole, etc. See how high you can get! This really helps develop your eye. When I jump, I always try to do 3-2-1-jump which helps me a lot, because the more consistent my ride is, the easier I can see my spot from 3 strides out.

                                    Good luck!

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I agree with what everyone else said, but the 1-2-1-2-1-2 thing doesn't work for me. I don't know why, but I tend to get bad distances.

                                      One of my previous trainers told me to count backwards from 10 with each stride. Start counting when you come out of the turn or about 4-6 strides out. So it becomes 10-9-8-7-6-JUMP! When I do that I tend to get my distances. If I don't, there's no chance in hell.

                                      By the way, I'm an intermediate rider who jumps under 2'6" so I'm not an expert, but it works for me.
                                      Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique

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                                      • #20
                                        This is going to sound really stupid, but I've also found it quite helpful to "count my strides" when I'm not riding. Huh? I mean like when I'm walking, I count steps between the cracks or other "obstacles"; when I'm driving, I count strides/feel a rhythm between utility poles, street signs, shadows, whatever.

                                        It gets me thinking about rhythm, pace, and (when I'm walking, not driving,) stride length.

                                        I know this sounds bizarre, but it does seem to have helped!

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