Monday, August 11, 2008

Jumping Clinic!

Ok Everybody, I have to be quick on this after having some time off but thought I would give you all a little taste of the hunter seat equitation world.

And for a quick recap. Had a great few days off. My birthday was Thursday and ofcourse the weather was gross and rainy but it gave me a chance to relax. Went out to eat with my parents and my roomate. Then went to "G's" after and stayed the night. Friday hung out with "G" all day while he ran around and did chores. Saturday was the fun gymkhana show. I had a blast and so did Possum. We did barrels, poles, relay races and everything else in between. I had a ton of fun in a totally stress free environment. And yesterday was a total veg day. I didn't even take a shower until 1P. I ordered out for pizza and watched TV amost all day. I did take the dogs for a long walk/run. I also washed and folded laundry and washed my bed but that was about it. At night "G" and I watched Dances With Wolves, one of my favorite movies and he had never seen it. Thinga with "G" and I are still kinda tense at times so am trying to work on that. But over all it was a relaxing and fun weekend.

Now for the jumping pics.

Our first image here is just pulled from the net. But as you can see the woman is being left behind in the saddle and has no jumping position. She is sitting in the saddle while her horse is jumping, therefore not allowing him to round over the fence. She is also not releasing with her reins and is pulling him in the mouth. An appropriate release for her would be the crest release, her hands about a quarter of the way up his neck with hands resting on the neck and maybe grabbing mane to keep her position from falling back in the saddle and maintaining 2 point. I do have to say that the horse is cute and really showing some effort over this tiny jump and has a nice front end. Would love to see what he looks like with a proper release so he can use his head and neck and also with a ride off the back over the jump. I would also shorten her stirrups about 1-2 holes and this would also help her with hte 2 point position.

This next jumping pic below is a classic example of pinching with the knee and also jumping ahead. This rider, althouth he looks accomplished and this is a good size jump is showing a very dangerous position. Due to little to no weight in the heel and calf grip, the lower leg has swung back and the knee is pinching and acting like a pivot. This in turn has made the rider over compensate by jumping ahead. If the horse were to stumble or stop short this rider could easily be thrown right over the head. The base of support in jumping is a lowered heel with calf and thigh pressure. With that as the base and a proper stirrup length there really is little do no over the jump. Many people think that they have to do more or jump the jump for the horse. I am guilty of this at times. If your base is correct you just let the horses jump fold you at the hips and release properly with either a crest or an sutomatic release which I talked about before. This rider also has what I refer to as "puppy paws" the curling of the wrists. You always want straight wrists with thumbs up for t6he most part withthe give and take coming through the elbow. Cute horse though. Lovely front end with knees up and even. Looks like he is either being restricted by the riders release or needs work on using his head and neck more for rounding over the jumps. Trotting exercises and spreads will help this. The rider is also looking up which is good and appears to have a flat back, hard to tell with the wind in his shirt.

I really like this picture below. There are a few faults that I can see but nothing really major. First this competiton is jumping where style or form does not count against you, but this rider seems to be well versed in the basics and strong with her body. She has a good leg which is right near the girth with a lowered heel. Her stirrup length is correct for this height of fence and competition. Her release is nice and relaxed and she is following the horses head and motion. Her butt is a little low in the saddle although I can see it's not touching the saddle. Maybe up 2 inches would be preferable. Her back is slightly roached but I think that may also be her conformation and plus she is already looking to her next fence. The horse is already on the landing side of the jump so his style is hard to judge but he looks relaxed and is stretching well over this fence. He is in great shape and sparkles and is clean with nice fitting tack.

This Pic below is of a fellow blog reader Heidi. Thanks Heidi for submitting. Even though this jump is very small I can see you are working on the basics. Your lower leg is fairly anchored and you have a proper crest release although maybe give slightly more since it looks like your horses head and neck is slightly restricted. You do look like you've gotten left behind slightly. There should be a smaller angle in your hips and alittle more bend which will get your butt more over the saddle. Keep working on the basics such as riding with no stirrups. Have your trainer or instructor lunge you over small jumps so you don't always have to worry about your horse and steering and con focus on your own body. I have found this very helpful to me to strengthen my legs and core muscles. I also work on hand apart like an airplane to open my chest and stretch my torso. Your horse looks very eager to jump and is merely cantering over this small fence and he is already putting the landing gear down. Bu your head is up and back straight and your smiling!

This pic below is also of Heidi out on a cross country course. Her heel looks good but her lower leg has slight slipped back telling me that the grip in her calf should be more. She is also jumping ahead and slightly standing in her stirrups instead of folding at the hips and allowing the jump to come to her. She has her hands firmly pressed into his neck which is good to not accidently bump your horse in the mouth. Her hack is arched and head and eyes up. I know a lot of the time in cross country riders positions tend to be more defensive due to the footing and the type of jumps there are, but this log appears to have goor dooting on both sides and is on even ground. My advice to Heidi would be to work on folding at the hips and not standingin the stirrrups and also keep constant contact with thigh and calf, her heel does look great though. The horse is very typey and looks to be enjoying his job. He does show little effort with his front legs and is hanging from the knee down. Over a small jump like this it's not a big deal but over something larger, messy knees on a cross country course can cause a hors eto flip. Trotting big fences and takiung off from the base will help clean up this horses front end. I also like the matching vest and pad which is also a trend in eventing, but not in hunters or equitation. Great job Heidi and thanks for the pics.

Lastly, this picture is of myself on Moonshine last fall. I really like this pic but there is one glaring falut other than not wearing a helmet hehehe. I'm roaching my back terribly. Some of that is my conformation and some of that is habit. I am constantly reminding myself to keep my shoulders back and back arched. I tend to roll my shoulders in and roach my back. I do like my heel and stirrup length here. I'm right in the center of balance and have good distribution of calf and thigh pressure. My hand is following her mouth and she is able to use her head and neck to really get a good bascule over the jump. My head and eyes are up and basically I'm just trying to stay out of her way. I remember this day well. This was the niggest she had jumped so I was really trying to support her and then stay out of her way over the jump. She is really an exceptional mare in my eyes. She also has dead even and pretty front legs and has taken off evenly from behind as well. I just need to keep working on my back and shoulders and opening that chest.

Feel free to comment everyone, I can do more as well if people are interested. Have a great day.


Stephanie said...

Okay so I failed on getting a picture - but I am kinda double timing everything getting ready for that show - and I have no idea where my little kid horsey pics went! I'll have to call mom.

Don't ya just love that - 30 years old and I'm all "Mom! Where did you put my pictures!"

Leah Fry said...

Belated happy birthday! Enjoyed the heck out of this post but only understood about 25% of it. Every time I turn around, I find out there's just MORE I don't know.

Heidi said...

Thanks for the tips! You could be the next, friendly, George Morris ;-) Great idea for a post! Jack's front end gets better as the fences get bigger. He probably can't wait til I get the skills and the guts for bigger fences. I'm going to challenge myself to ride more without stirrups this week. Thanks again!

Pony Girl said...

That is so cool you did a gymkhana! I know a family that is really into gymkhana. When I was a youth we did a few play days and did the poles, barrels, and keyhole race. The only problem is that it can make your horses a little expectant and hyper in the arena. My sister gamed her show mare and and it made her jumpy and she lost her pleasure class edge.
The picture clinic was interesting, you are very knowledgable!

The Knutson's said...

Happy birthday!! Even if it is a few days late :)

What a great idea...especially because I have been practicing jumping lately. Can you say "rusty?" There really is a lot to remember, when you are trying to jump correctly--and not fall off!!--and you have not jumped in over 12 years.

Glad to see Miss Heidi jumping on your post. My sis never wears her helmet either...some people...just!!!

MET said...

Hi Molly:
Just got around to catching up on your blog, and wanted to tell you I love your haircut. It really suits you.
Have fun.
Mary Ellen