Help! What is wrong with me? Can't see a distance all of a sudden!
Need words of wisdom please! I have always had a natural eye and been able to see a distance 5 or 6 strides out from the jump. Recently, I have had trouble finding a distance and I am either not seeing anything at all or not seeing anything until maybe 2 strides out which by then, it is too late to be able to make any sort of adjustments. I am frustrated and sad and don't know what is wrong with me!
Have you started wearing glasses or changed your glasses?? When my daughter started wearing them her "eye" for a distance went away. I very BNR's mother told me she had the same issue. Might be connected with your new problem. Good luck!!
Last edited by crosscreeksh; Oct. 31, 2012 at 08:45 PM.
Something has changed then. Did you stop riding for awhile? Change horses? What size jumps do you jump? I don't ever make a big move 5 or 6 strides out. I like subtle changes but I'm a hunter rider. Do you do hunters or jumpers? Sometimes its as easy as looking away when you don't see something and then focusing back again.
Just like Kevin Costner is Field of Dreams... "If you build it, they will come"
In other words, if you "build" a good canter and have good, speed, impulsion, etc., then the distances will start popping back up for you. I find that when I can't find the jumps, I do not have a good canter. If I have a good canter, then I may miss because I've cut a corner, not finished a turn, I'm not straight, etc.
Once you get a good canter, just start counting or singing along with the cadence. I find that the counting keeps me focused on the rhythm
Has anything at all changed recently? Even the slightest thing you can think of might be a clue...
As for general advice for seeing distances previous poster's comments are spot on:
1. Stop tring to "find" one, just sit down and ride, trust it will be there. The more you look the less you'll see it.
2. Forget about finding a distance and instead focus on establishing a nice, active medium canter. Once you have a good canter make sure you have enough energy coming out of the corner and KEEP YOUR BODY BACK all the way to the base of the jump. Even if you do not see something sit back and wait rather than throwing your upper body and you will be able to work something out.
In addition to the above suggestions, get your eyesight checked. I was so frustrated last year because I couldn't see my distances any more -- turned out I needed glasses in a serious way. Once I got them my eye came right back.
Focus on keeping a good quality canter and making nice turns that line you up well with the fence and it will work itself out. If you're getting worried about the height of the fence because you can't see a spot, it's 110% fine to bump them down for a while until you see your distances again or feel more comfortable riding a rhythm and not focusing on the distance.
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Don't currently wear glasses or contacts. Thinking I may need them at this point though! lol! Nothing has changed at all, I have been riding consistently, I am still riding the same horse, and jumping the same height fences.
Considering going to get my eyesight checked as fordtraktor suggested.
I agree with the other posters who said focus on a good canter and try not to over think it. But if you're really wanting to get some ideas/ exercises to improve your eye check out www.equestriancoach.com they have several video topics by some of the top riders and trainers in the country on "eye exercises"/ the "distance selection process".
Here are the links and blurbs of a few of them.
"Winning Eye Exercises
John French finally shares the secrets of his legendary eye. In this video he reveals his favorite exercises that will not only develop your eye, but the confidence to find the distance to every jump." http://www.equestriancoach.com/conte...-eye-exercises
My personal experience (which probably doesn't apply to you, but just in case...) is that if I keep my eyes up AND "stick my chin out", so my whole head is up, not just my eyes, the distances magically appear.
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This definitely happened to me earlier this year. I went into my first 3'6 jumper division and while it wasn't bad for the first time, my confidence was shot in my eye and couldn't see anything for months.
The number one thing I learned was to stop focusing on the distance and start focusing on the rhythm. Your rhythm may fluctuate as you head to the fence or you are so over thinking the distance you are inadvertently shortening or lengthening your horses stride and not realizing it. Once I started counting and not even being bothers by the distance I started hitting them with no problems. Its also the feel of the rhythm. Once your mind and body recognizes it you'll have the spot.
Good luck, I will say for me it took a couple months to get back to where I was, but now I have no issues with it (okay well very little issues)
I know this is likely going to get me attacked but I never count distances... I focus on a nice canter that feels like the horse is really carrying me and when I can feel that if I asked for more, it would instantly be there.
Otherwise I let my horse learn to find her distances .... I will occassionally use a placing pole 10' out to help her if she isn't on the ball but I take it away after we use it a few times.
It could also be your horse. If my mare isn't comfortable or is distracted everything falls apart.
The advice that I always give and seems to work is not to look at your fences. Focus on getting the quality canter, get the bend in your corners, then only give a glance at the fence with your 'soft eyes' to check you're lined up.
Focusing on the fence will actually inhibit your depth perception - focus more on the 'track' that you're planning.
If nothing has changed with you has something changed with your horse? Maybe he's sore somewhere and giving you a different canter than you're used to getting from him (shorter stride, more downhill, etc)?