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Jumping Theory

I stole this post from my time as a Working Student for Denny Emerson... For those who like theory, enjoy:

We all know the basic rider responsibilities when jumping: pace, path, position.

Well Denny divides pace into speed, balance and impulsion. (I swear I'm going to hear those words chanted at me in my dreams). The trick is that balance and impulsion are inherently contradictory. If the horse is well balanced and rocked back on its hocks, odds are good you don't have much impulsion or speed. Conversely, if you're going fast and/or have a ton of impulsion odds are good the horse is on the forehand (ok for galloping long stretches XC, NOT ok for actually jumping -- he says a lack of understanding and application of this is a huge part of the recent issues w/ upper-level fatalities; another interesting discussion that doesn't fit in here). The trick is in getting the *right* canter that combines those three things, and if you can do THAT (no problem!) the jumps are simple.

I vultured a lesson yesterday where the poor lady could not see a spot if it were wearing a collar, barking and wagging its tail. He stopped and had her focusing entirely on the quality of the canter, w/in like 2 rounds, literally, she was hitting every spot txt-book perfect. Almost unbelievable improvement. But wow did it ever make his point!

On building this ideal canter -- this is evidently the purpose of dressage (we knew there had to be one somewhere!) hahaha he says dressage is like going to the gym -- if you're riding your flat work correctly, you're engaging the inside hind and every time you do that it's weight-lifting for the horse. The more you do that, the stronger he gets, the better a chance you've got for him to be able to be balanced and going forward and UP at the same time. He's very big on the fact that all flat work must be done *correctly*. One of those common sense things that we all too often don't actually apply ;-} Just going around in circles isn't going to cut it -- and will get you yelled at regardless of whether you're in a lesson or not :)

We haven't had the "path" discussion yet -- but I don't doubt we will @ some point :)

Got the position lecture today. Basically follows DeNemethy's EQ style. VERY anti-hunters as they currently exist (that was *quite* the rant - fairly entertaining :) He likes the lower-leg more forward than most people I've ridden w/, and the knees/toes out almost ballet-style. He had the woman sit w/ her leg in its normal position and told her to try as hard as she could to keep it there -- and then he pushed it back. Then he put it where he wanted it to be and gave her the same instruction -- he couldn't move it. Leg is much stronger there. Not that it necessarily has to be there all the time (and shouldn't @ all for dressage) but that as you set up your horse for the fence in the same way you lift your chest and shift your balance (and your horse's), so should you make your leg more secure.

That being said, when I tried it today it def made my leg secure, but my horse was NOT impressed. Methinks this w/ a hot TB would not necessarily be a great plan -- BUT Denny has ridden more than his share of hot TBs so obviously it must work -- just have to find the balance of the secure but not overly-strong leg... Maybe? Don't know -- I'll ask nxt time it comes up.

So did anybody actually read all of that?


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