I'll just put the whole XC run up, the near disaster was at the half coffin, #16. Soooo, I'd like whatever input, criticism, opinion or suggestions you can offer. Off the bat, I think my stirrups are a hole too long. lhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6IK1iQ2_Gg
Ugh!! We have all had ugly fences. If I can find it...I can show you a worse one with me
Things I noticed....and realize it is just an opinion that your didn't pay for ....your horse is beautiful...love her head (or his). Very willing and you two are a nice pair. She does however want to jump over her shoulder just a bit (although is still a good jumper)...and you have a slight tendency to get a bit ahead. Especially when she drops behind your leg....like at the first water and the coffin. It is NOT a huge mistake...just a tendency..but it will catch up with you so you want to fix it now. You are nicely centered ...but on a horse like yours, you really can not weight their front end more. You need to keep the engine coming from behind and stay back and support a horse like yours a bit so they can jump out of those deeper distances.
Not sure about the stirrup length...but I would work on getting your instinct a bit more to sit up back and KICK when you get that slight sag of her dropping behind your leg. This will help you a ton when you are ready to move up.
Unlike my mistake where I jumped ahead of my horse at the coffin and ended up on the ground (she added a stride while I jumped the fence without her)...I have that lovely moment on video too
Last edited by bornfreenowexpensive; Nov. 8, 2012 at 12:56 PM.
** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **
This may seem esoteric, but after watching the sequence a few times, I would say you checked out mentally between the ditch and the jump. I agree with fritt that you had her/him behind you, but the the horse never really made an attempt to set up for the jump until that half stride before. Given how smooth every other jump before went, I could see where the shuffle/hesitation by JayCee may have thrown you off your own rhythm.
I've had those moments where (for whatever reason) I just check out mentally before a jump. I lose the focus, fuzz out, whatever, but when I do, Sterling either stops or attempts a late jump to save his butt, not mine. He has taught me that no matter what, I need to ride through/past every jump. It is hard to see, but it looks like you may have focused on the jump, not past it and JayCee compiled.
Everything else I saw (understand I'm looking up in levels) indicated you guys had the chops to jump anything. The horse looked confident throughout, you looked relaxed, working as a team (other then the ditch). I also agree that you could raise your stirrups more. Were there anything to work on, more just the exercise of staying focused throughout the question no matter what the horse is doing, and when it feels sticky, kick and go.
Whoopsie Daisy! Seems like her rhythm landed her in the middle of the fence. Nothing to add other than agree w/ pp, it seems like she came in short to several fences & was a little tired towards the end (obv). Good girl tho for not freaking out!
Totally unrelated but 1) love your helmet stripes & 2) did an externship with haygards (& Rood & Riddle) when I was in undergrad. Great group!
And the wise, Jack Daniels drinking, slow-truck-driving, veteran TB handler who took "no shit from no hoss Miss L, y'hear," said: "She aint wrapped too tight."
You need to practice planting your hands on the neck and letting the reins slip through your fingers instead of gripping the reins and leaning out as your release. Your death grip on the reins is pulling your entire body out of the saddle.
Letting the reins slip:
1) Will help you address BNFE's comments
2) You can remain quieter and more centered on your horse in case of bobbles.
3) It encourages the horse to carry themselves across the fence more.
You are a big enough man that when you lean forward with a death grip on the reins, like you do, your horse responds either by being jammed in the neck, thus getting over the shoulder, or landing in anticipation of being jammed in the face - what it looks like to me what happened at the coffin.
The actual ride in between was perfect.
To practice you simply approach a fence in 2-pt and instead of doing anything, you simply let the reins slip and let the horse take what they want while you stay close to the saddle.
Yes, I would shorten the stirrups but I also ride with an exceedingly short stirrup. (My mom is 5'1" and she rides in a longer stirrup than I do).
I also agree w/BFNE and with Reed - your mare looks like she often jumps by getting higher in the air than she needs to be and lets her front end sort of dangle. Some moments were more "over the shoulder" than others, but it looks like her style is a little lazy, and sometimes it catches up on you. She also looks more tired at the end of the course - watch the first few fences, then FF to the coffin and you'll see she's much flatter.
She has a great expression and I think if given a little more balance from you, more strength and learns a little more to rock back and jump rather than fling herself upwards - I am not explaining this very well at all - her front end will improve.
From a sports psychology perspective - do you remember "frame by frame" what happened? If you do, you were not checked out, But if you can't recall it in detail, you may not have been concentrating at that moment. My brother races cars and that's one of their checks - if you have a wreck and don't really remember what was going on (well except if you end up with a head injury) you were not paying attention. Now that I know that, it has made me a much more aware rider on course. Not that it means I no longer make mistakes, but now I remember them and and fully kick myself!
Good stuff: what a good, honest and brave horse you have. Your ride was nicely paced and generally in a good rhythm.
Not so good stuff: it seemed to me that you often become unbalanced because your leg is not yet strong and the long leathers don't help you. Watching your lower leg, it moves a good deal, even just rolling along between fences. Over several jumps you are not going with the horse and things get a bit wonky. Certainly, a shorter stirrup would help your balance but I think a bit of training with someone on the ground to help you would be beneficial.
Your balance is not helped by your hands: they are pretty tense and do not allow the horse forward so it is sometimes jumping despite you (because it is a good, brave, honest sort). By the time you reach the half-coffin, you looked heavier and heavier in the saddle - lack of fitness, nerves, thinking too much, not thinking enough?
However, the overall picture is really good - so it is more a tidy-up than a re-build.
I agree with everyone here- stirrups up at least two holes (I prefer my stirrups even shorter cross country than stadium) and when setting up for a combo like the ditch-to-jump, you need to have the amount of horse you want for the combo, before the first jump. You adjusted a little late to the ditch, bringing your horse back a lot (and too much, in my opinion), so that's the kind of horse you're going to have through the rest of the combo. It's difficult to adjust stride mid-way when your horse is already looking for a spot to the next jump.
BUT, I love your horse...what a fighter, he was hardly phased by that awkward land. He was like, "oh...whoa...uhh...okay, here we go!" and just crawled over it hahaha. You two make a great pair!
Out of curiosity, did they say anything about that jump to you? Any penalties? I mean, he got over it safely, even if it looked a little scary at first. x]
There is so much going well - much lovely softness and enjoyment. Yeah, others can provide wonderful ideas for what to work on - but you have so much going so well! Thanks for being an inspiration to a newbie. I am jealous of your lower leg and obviously happy camper mare!
In my completely non-expert, unscientific opinion?
Your coffin canter was very flat - and behind the leg, as has been mentioned. Instead of bouncing the ball, it just sort of rolled along and ran out of gas to that yucky distance. Whether that was because you and the horse were tired, or because it just never had that much bounce to begin with? That's up to you. As I was watching, I was waiting to see the transition to that compressed, bouncy coffin canter, but it never really happened. If anything, your horse dropped behind the leg, slowing and flattening out, and lost even more momentum after that half-step at the ditch.
Otherwise, nice round!
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what
lies with in us. - Emerson
What I would say specifically about the coffin is that you never got the horse in front of your leg after you landed over the ditch. Go look at the canter you developed before the log into the water at about 2:50. That's the canter you should have produce before the ditch and had you jumped the ditch with THAT canter I think you would have found yourself in a much better place on the other side.
In general, I'd say absolutely shorten your stirrups. If you do you'll find you have a better base of support which is going to help you address the issue that BFNE brought up. It is much easier to control your upper body once you tighten things up down there. Wofford would have you pull your feet out of the stirrups, hang your leg down, then adjust the stirrup to be at your ankle bone--you're looking for a result of 90° behind your knee.
I talked just last weekend with Wofford at a clinic about a horse that could use a little improvement rotating and opening his shoulder. His Rx was gymnastics with low wide oxers in them. (<12" high and 4' wide with a rail placed diagonally across the top so the horse doesn't step in it.) He used and exercise with the 3' group that had a low wide oxer, one stride, to a low 2' bounce. The oxer lengthens the horse the bounces shorten the horse--then you jump through either direction--lengthen to shorten then shorten to lengthen.
For me yes the stirrups do need to go up but I would like to see much more transition before the fences with a rebalance and then ride forwards. This can be done through your shoulders most of the time and by putting the leg on so its a smooth process.
You get very close to several fences when actually you could influence it all a lot more. Towards the end where she is getting tired I felt you could do with kicking her up into the bridle a lot more.
There was no transition difference with several of the fences which meant if she backed off suddenly you would have had nothing and been in front of the movement. The water was one of those where you could have done with a rebalance, shoulders back and then leg on to keep the impulsion. I think this issue caught you out at the half coffin.
When you saw your stride and rode for it the difference in the quality of the jump was huge. She came up through the shoulders and it looked a lot better picture whereas the front legs were often slow to snap up when you let her sort the stride out and get close.
It is a pleasing partnership to watch and the horse is enjoying the job. A few small adjustments and you sharpening up and being more decisive in your decisions will see you easily up the next couple of levels.
The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.
I watched Becky Holder give a clinic. She said to make certain that your hips keep moving with the horse on the approach to a jump. There are times that your hips do follow, but others where they are kind of stuck.
Watch Jaycee's jump on the ones where your hips are stuck.
You keep a nice straight line from your elbow, hand to your horses' mouth really well. However, sometimes you tend to want to take a pull, when you should stay soft and allowing and keep your leg on and seat moving.
I agree about having your stirrups shorter. Even with your long legs, you have plenty of room in that saddle to put them up.
I will have to try the JW gymnastic exercise. I, also, tend to ride with my reins too short. Cathy Wieschhoff has been trying to get me to ride with them longer, as per Reed's suggestion. There is so much to learn in this sport that I wonder if I will ever get there?
You guys looked so fantastic for a LOT of the course, you are a really good rider and you stay in a nice balance. You do such a really smooth job of getting set up for the next combination (look at 2 to 3). But since you asked . . .
The stirrups? meh. Yeah they're a little long but I don't see you reaching for them and if you're comfortable I don't see them as a crime.
My bigger issue is the lack of leg support over the fence. If you watch fence one, and then 3 and 4 (?), you give a little tap-tap-tap of your heels on approach but the last stride you stop riding. JMHO, but what I see is a horse that needs you to stay supportive right up until the base and ride him OVER the fence.
It's not that he is thinking about stopping, but without the leg support he drops behind you and does that pause-->hop over the shoulder thing. Same thing at the half coffin. I don't think you mentally checked out, in fact I think you were giving the out fence the stink-eye like you wanted a piece of it. But without enough leg support it fell apart.
Look at your jump after the down bank (super over the drop, btw). Instead of the tap-tap you hugged your legs to Jaycee's sides on approach to the B element and had an awesome canter and 'pop' off the ground.
Just my .02, that's what I saw. We all have crap jumps, though, so don't beat yourself up too much. There is so much going crazy-good and the other stuff is an easy fix.
Think "ride him over the fence" and see if it changes his snappiness off the ground. I had a horrible time ingraining that concept in my thick noggin, but it has made a world of difference.
Always be yourself. Unless you can be Batman. Then always be Batman.
So I found my video...but can't up load it. Anyway my mare is similar to your horse. She also sometimes pulled us past the distances to end up with a chip...so pretty at prelim But anyway...it let me understand a bit more what I'm seeing in your video.
I actually think you have pretty good hands and nice soft elbows. I don't really see the death grip a few others mentioned. But what I do see is you have a shorter rein to keep her up...but then get pulled a bit forward...so it doesn't work. This is where the longer rein would help (which I do agree is needed at points). You should have a good connection but you can also have as much of a connection with a slightly longer rein. But you have to also back that up with more leg. Riding her UP to a supporting rein and rock back. As important...keep your shoulders back even if that means slipping the reins.
I saw it in my own ride when we got DEEP to some big fences. I slipped the rein when she pulled down at the base of the fence BUT stayed connected and added leg staying in the back seat but not being left. This let my horse do what ever she needed too to get out...
Again...you look great. These are just the technical things to work on as you move up.
** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **