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How does Richard Spooner stay on?

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  • How does Richard Spooner stay on?

    Serious question.

    If you know Richard Spooner or have seen him jump, you understand my question completely. If you haven't seen him or aren't familiar with him, just google him and check out some of the photos that come up.

    So my question is... how in the heck does he stay on? He has a HORRIBLE leg, lays on his horse's neck, and seems to have no balance at all... over grand prix fences. Most people would be in the dirt if they rode like that.

    It is a wonder of nature, to me.

  • #2
    He has amazing balance, that's how. And he is quite capable of fabulous eq, over GP fences. If you can find the video of him riding a GP course a few years ago WITHOUT STIRRUPS it would be very educational. He had an injury and chose to ride without rather than putting weight in the stirrup at least in the first round.

    Like a lot of fast riders over big jumps, his leg can slip a bit and he can pivot on his knee. Not at all uncommon.
    **********
    We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
    -PaulaEdwina

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    • #3
      Serious answer: because he rides better than 99.999% of the world could ever dream of.

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        I realize that he must have good balance in order to be a grand prix rider, period.

        But compared to some other jumper riders, such as Beezie Madden or Mclain Ward, who, most of the time, have spotless equitation, how does someone like Spooner get away with such sloppiness?

        Thoughts?

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Milo19 View Post
          I realize that he must have good balance in order to be a grand prix rider, period.

          But compared to some other jumper riders, such as Beezie Madden or Mclain Ward, who, most of the time, have spotless equitation, how does someone like Spooner get away with such sloppiness?

          Thoughts?
          Perfect eq is not required to have a very fast round. Richard is known to be "the master of faster," because he can stay in such good balance on the horse to create a very efficient jump and tidy track. And for what it's worth a lot of the european stars have very similar form. I sure wouldn't call it sloppiness; they do what works for them and their horses and are extremely successful at it.
          **********
          We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
          -PaulaEdwina

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          • #6
            I worked for Richard one winter while I was galloping horses in California. While you may think he's sloppy and it looks that way, he was by far one of the best horseman I ever worked for and got the best out of some tricky horses by being a much better rider. He really is quiet and light at the end of the day. He taught me more in one winter than I had ever learned before and much of that was just by watching and seeing how he interacted with his horses. He is really amazing.

            Terri
            COTH, keeping popcorn growers in business for years.

            "I need your grace to remind me to find my own." Snow Patrol-Chasing Cars. This line reminds me why I have horses.

            Comment


            • #7
              He has very strong upper body strength which many men have. Interesting form considering didn't he win the USET medal final in NJ as a teen?

              Comment


              • #8
                1988 was also reserve champion in both big eq finals. And he's won a class or two since then, so fortunately the OP's concerns are for naught.

                Comment


                • #9
                  As a kid, we gave him the nickname "floppy legs".

                  Does he have a son? I remember seeing a similar styled rider at a grand prix about 10 years ago, and as my sister and I were laughing and exclaiming "floppy legs!", a little boy came up and said "that's my daddy!"
                  Not sure if it was Richard Spooner or not though.

                  In all serious, I think it would be difficult to ride that way but he obviously does an effective job and has it worked out. I don't think it is sloppy, per say, but he must have a very strong upper leg and knee to pinch onto the saddle.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    its called talent
                    "You can't really debate with someone who has a prescient invisible friend"
                    carolprudm

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                    • #11
                      Having seen him ride in many GP's I can't say I noticed his poor eq. I only noticed how lovely his horses looked, how well he rode them, how technical and clean he goes, the only criticism I can give is that he can't drive a stick shift truck in the Ride and Drive! and I have video to back that up!
                      The ultimate horse mom

                      http://www.youtube.com/user/LeeB110

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                      • #12
                        It's so easy to criticize from the safety of a keyboard. No offense OP, I'd love to see a video of you ride! I know I'm not remotely close to being a GP rider. And, I'd be happy to have his talent and ability.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          You could say the same about the entire Whitaker family.
                          http://www.horseplanet.net/riders/ri...ohn%20Whitaker

                          Getting a horse over large obstacles doesn't have a whole lot to do with looking pretty
                          ... _. ._ .._. .._

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                          • #14
                            I don't think it has anything to do with how the OP rides. I dislike watching RS ride - can't believe that GM even has him on the US team at times. I also think it is very bad for young people in the sport to watch him.

                            Personally, he grips with his knees and he is lucky he is so light and that the horses he ride don't stop.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Oh good lord, just shoot me now. He's on teams because he wins. It's not his responsibility to set an example for the equitation set.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Richard Spooner is an amazing rider. Pictures taken during a grand prix very rarely show the rider's style accurately. Watch a video of Spooner sometime - he is fun to watch.

                                As others have pointed out, he did ride multiple rounds of a grand prix at Indio with no stirrups because he broke his foot in the warm up. I think he won the class.

                                I also think there is a video running around of him jumping into a triple, getting into trouble, and dropping his reins and removing himself from his horse's way completely so that they could get out safely. (That could have been someone else, I haven't seen the video in awhile, but I'm pretty sure it's Richard Spooner).

                                He's an excellent rider and an excellent horseman. That he sometimes grips with his knees doesn't really matter.
                                "Are you yawning? You don't ride well enough to yawn. I can yawn, because I ride better than you. Meredith Michael Beerbaum can yawn. But you? Not so much..."
                                -George Morris

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by prodomus View Post
                                  I don't think it has anything to do with how the OP rides. I dislike watching RS ride - can't believe that GM even has him on the US team at times. I also think it is very bad for young people in the sport to watch him.

                                  Personally, he grips with his knees and he is lucky he is so light and that the horses he ride don't stop.
                                  Most aspiring young riders would do very well to achieve half the success that Richard Spooner has.

                                  Grands prix, nations cups, etc... are objective contests based on who can leave jumps up in the fastest time. They are not equitation classes. What you are saying is a little like saying that a horse with an unconventional style shouldn't get to play either... which would eliminate a ton of very, very successful horses at the highest levels. While it's always lovely to see someone with a beautiful position win, these aren't beauty contests.
                                  **********
                                  We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
                                  -PaulaEdwina

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Lucassb just said it beautifully (as have several other people).

                                    Richard Spooner gets it done and gets it done quickly. Is he the most traditional and classic in his position? No. But does he leave the jumps up and get around the course safely and efficiently? Yes.
                                    http://www.youtube.com/user/supershorty628
                                    Proudly blogging for The Chronicle of the Horse!

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by prodomus View Post
                                      I don't think it has anything to do with how the OP rides. I dislike watching RS ride - can't believe that GM even has him on the US team at times. I also think it is very bad for young people in the sport to watch him.

                                      Personally, he grips with his knees and he is lucky he is so light and that the horses he ride don't stop.

                                      With all due respect, you haven't a clue. I'd take him over some pretty riders any day of the week. Don't know too many GP riders that take horses straight from the track and hop on to see what they are like under saddle and over fences. And quite contrary to what you say, horses will jump for him that wouldn't jump for other people.

                                      He had a horse there when I was there named Bentley that I think was one of his first GPmounts. He got him because he use to stop all the time. Thing about the horse was that if you left him alone, let him find the distance, and placed him right he'd never stop. The moment you got in his mouth and were going to tell him how to jump was the moment he stopped. And Kirk was no picnic either. Doubt anyone else would have got him to the level Richard did.

                                      I would suggest spending time with him on young horses or watching him at home before you make judgements as above. He expects much from those that work for him as well in a good way. He actually made me feel very good about my abilities but at the same time really got after me for of all things my form. You know being a crumpled exercise rider and all.

                                      Terri
                                      COTH, keeping popcorn growers in business for years.

                                      "I need your grace to remind me to find my own." Snow Patrol-Chasing Cars. This line reminds me why I have horses.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I'm gonna throw my hat in this ring...

                                        I don't jump so the names mean not much to me. The ranks don't either. I celebrate success so good for any rider that can hold his or her own at the top levels.

                                        But....it is kind of funny how we all are brought up as riders having equitation preached to us. Then to watch many! professional riders, you would think they never had an equitation lesson in their life.

                                        makes me wonder if all the geometry and physiology of the horse and rider working together against gravity really holds any water. Maybe equitation isn't really that important to ANY level rider?
                                        ...don't sh** where you eat...

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