Monday, September 28, 2009

Pictures from BWF

Some nice pictures, and some pictures that have educational value...

I really like the first one below. This was the second fence of the four-stride outside line, which was set at a comfortable distance for him. My leg position is good, I'm not jumping ahead, and I'm looking up toward the end of the ring. The only thing I'd change a little is that I look a little stiff through my arm. Tucker, of course, is adorable.

Compare the position above with my position below, which is a picture from HITS (try to ignore the fact that we're soaking wet). My leg has slipped back, my angle is way too closed so I'm practically laying on his neck, and as a result he's not using his front end nearly as well. This reflects all the work we've done in gymnastics, shortening my stirrups, and tying my stirrups to the girth. Above, Tucker's been able to get his front end up in front of him, fully swinging through his shoulder. Below, he's not jumping badly, but much more curled up, probably as a result of the weight of my upper body on his neck.

The one below is the one where Tucker saw a shadow and jumped it huge. My leg is still not bad despite his huge effort, but I have rounded through my back (probably just trying to stay with that big round jump which was unexpected). I need to think about staying flat from my tailbone to my shoulder blades in the air. Don't you love Tucker's superman impression here?

Below, my lower leg is still fine, but I have opened up my knee angle to the point that my leg is almost completely straight, which has pitched my upper body way too far forward. I'm nowhere near centered over the middle of my saddle. This was a tight distance, but the weight of my upper body on his front end has made it a much less comfortable looking jump than the first one I posted above.

There are quite a few more pictures like the one above which I'll spare you. Generally, I need to stay more bent in the knee, and sink a little deeper in my heel, so that my hips stay over my saddle and my upper body stays off his front end. Yesterday before my lesson, Alicia and I went over all the pictures from the horse show and discussed the good and bad parts of my position, and then we went to work on fixing it. Alicia had my jump with my hands spread about three feet apart so that I couldn't balance off his neck (the automatic release) and that helped a lot. It forces you to go with the horse's motion, not get ahead of it.

I also realized that when the distance is tight, he is happy to get to the base of it and jump up comfortably if I stay off his neck with my upper body and stay soft through my hands. One of the reasons the last jump above looks uncomfortable for Tucker is that when the distance is getting tight, I hold too much on the way to the fence, so then he jumps, like he's doing above, with his chin tucked to his chest instead of reaching forward through his head and neck like he's doing in the first picture.

Hope you all enjoyed these pictures as much as I did. Next time I'm going to work on getting a video so I can learn a bit more, and hopefully I can post that as well. Also, thank you to Russ, Alicia's husband, who took the pictures above (except for the one at HITS, which was taken by Lili Weik Photography).


  1. Thanks for the pictures - they can be very helpful in assessing your position - and you guys are looking pretty good!

  2. I'm jealous that your horse jumps. ;-) Thanks for the pictures. It's good to see your progress.

  3. Wow! You two look amazing! I know that we can never look at a picture of ourselves without critique, but those are really good pictures! Not that I have any clue what they are looking for in hunters, but you and Tucker look fantastic to me!

  4. WWGMS (What Would George Morris Say?), you should send that first on into Practical Horseman! These are great pics of you guys. I have a similar pic from last year of show jumping in the rain, I think my mare was making that exact same face over the fence :) It's amazing to see how much our position can influence our horse's jump!

  5. Great to see that you want to improve and have been doing exercises to improve it - I still think you both look amazing and you should be very proud!!!!! Tucker is a cutie especially when he plays SUPERMAN!!!!!

  6. Great pictures! You and Tuckerman are doing fabulous - I find visual assessment like that very helpful, and your pictures and descriptions with evaluation are well done.



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