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Seeing and riding to your spot.....

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  • Seeing and riding to your spot.....

    I have been riding for almost 2 years now and have come so far in such a short period of time, for that I am thrilled.

    I am having the hardest time riding to my spots, I can see them, but for the life of me cannot determine weather to press the horse on or hold her back to get to it.

    My trainer has been a saint trying to help me ,but there is some mental block that is keeping me from getting this.

    COURAGE is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway. ~John Wayne


  • #2
    Its been said time and time again, the best way to practice is to set poles on the ground and just to experiment finding your distance. Experiment with riding up, taking it back a little, or just maintaining your pace. Try doing it on different horses if you can, that way youll get a feel for what youll want to do with a different length of stride (i.e. short strided horse or big rangy strided warmblood)
    2 years is a short time to have been in the saddle, I only JUST learned how to properly see and ride to my distances about 3 years ago...I've been riding for 13! Once you get it though everything else comes very quickly (Moved from 2'6" to 4'3" in those 3 years!). It all comes with experience and time.
    Good luck!!


    • #3
      Come out of the corner and start counting. Don't worry about what number you get to.

      The best thing you can do is maintain the pace and balance that you had in the corner. Most people have trouble with this, but if you can do it you will almost always get there right. When you start fussing you mess up the distance much of the time.


      • #4
        If you see your distance than you don't need to do anything other than support the pace and maintain your path to the jump. It is when your slowing down, speeding up or not going straight that you need to "do something".


        • #5
          I have been looking for "Spot" for years now. Counting is good


          • #6
            Keep your horse straight and on the same pace as you come out of the corner...most of the time you don't need to do anything. Many times if I think I am seeing something and doing too much maneuvering to get there...I am just getting in my horses way. Try to let your horse figure it out...easier said than done.

            Be sure that you aren't looking at the spot...that you are looking past the fence. Your destination is not the spot or the fence...but over the fence and straight afterwards.

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            • #7

              I don't teach feeling distances. I have riders count their pace (they work on this once they have cantering down, even before they start to jump). A simple 1,2,1,2,1,2 or even 1,2,3,1,2,3 anything in consistant rhythm. Count that rhythm all the way around out loud it works almost 99% of the time. If your counting looses rhythm with your horses canter then you need to half-halt if they have sped up or squeeze if they have slowed down. You want to maintaing a steady, foward, pace to each jump and rhythm is the key. Practice on the flat or over poles first.
              Another exercise you can do is jumping on a circle (cavaletties or jumps up to 2'). This helps you find your horses home pace and start to feel a consistant distance. Again though Pace & Rhythm are key.
              Good Luck!


              • #8
                Originally posted by fourmares View Post
                Come out of the corner and start counting. Don't worry about what number you get to.

                The best thing you can do is maintain the pace and balance that you had in the corner. Most people have trouble with this, but if you can do it you will almost always get there right. When you start fussing you mess up the distance much of the time.
                Agreed. Once I figured this out, I began seeing my distances 95% of the time. Also, looking past the pole or jump really helps me to "find" my distance. That being said, I "find" my distance about 98% of the time. The other 2% I close my eyes, go "oh sh*t", and support my horse


                • #9
                  Leading trainers and clinicians will tell you there is no such thing as a spot or a distance and to stop looking for one. It's just a canter stride.

                  Get the canter, keep the horse ahead of your leg and keep it there, keep the horse straight and let them find the "spot".

                  You might find work on the flat and over ground poles at the canter including lengthening, collecting and lateral work to keep them straight will help you keep that canter over the jump.
                  When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                  The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


                  • #10
                    I have no depth perception and thus only see my distance at most about 2 strides from the jump. That leaves precious little time to make any changes to close up the long spot or press to open the short spot. I've had to learn to have and keep the right canter out of the corner and then it usually works out. It's less about the distance and more about the canter...and then keeping your body quiet and letting the distance that comes up happen without interference from you.
                    Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
                    Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"


                    • #11
                      the spot is determined in the corner of the line. find your pace there and stick to it
                      chaque pas est fait ensemble


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Private Diamonds View Post
                        I am having the hardest time riding to my spots, I can see them, but for the life of me cannot determine weather to press the horse on or hold her back to get to it.
                        Do neither, and your distances will smooth out.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by fourmares View Post
                          Come out of the corner and start counting. Don't worry about what number you get to.

                          The best thing you can do is maintain the pace and balance that you had in the corner. Most people have trouble with this, but if you can do it you will almost always get there right. When you start fussing you mess up the distance much of the time.

                          In addition to this... don't try to make more than one decision. Make one and stick with it no matter how "bad" it turns out. Unfortunately for me, I just learned that there is no "perfect distance" and I have been chasing the elusive rainbow for years!


                          • #14
                            I agree completely with those who say just ride a good, straight canter to the fence and don't look for "the spot." I do find that if I'm more in the saddle i.e. not in two point, I also have a better sense of "where I am" on the approach. I think Jimmy Wofford once said something about finding the distance with your butt, by which I think he meant the same thing.


                            • #15
                              I agree with above posters. The less you do the better. Just remember that every jump comes out of stride. Meaning that if you have a weak canter, your jump will be weak. If you have a long strung out canter, your most likely going to want to gun for the long one; resulting either in the superman 'winger' or the horse saves your butt and chips. Focus on the canter. Count(as others have said) and maintain the rythme!

                              Don't let yourself think that ever jump is going to be the same. Keep a good, fluid, balanced canter throughout the whole course (especially in the corners!) and don't change much. The secret is disguise. You may be a little gappy, you may be deep. But if you have a solid canter with impulsion, hold your body in the air and let your horse jump to you, then your entire course will look fluid and symetrical.
                              There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the
                              inside of a man.

                              -Sir Winston Churchill