Burghley 2014 part last

So, yesterday I posted the awesome video with Andrew Nicholson commenting on his own ride as we watched video of it.  If you missed that, the aforementioned awesomeness is here:  http://www.burghley.tv/2014analysis.html

This video changed my riding life.  When I watched it, I was astonished at the amount of daylight that can be seen between his knee and the saddle in many instances, and between his thigh and the saddle nearly continuously.  The man is not holding on with his thighs one whit.  His calf is active ALL THE TIME, and usually in a rhythmic manner.  The exception is the last two strides before the jump when his calf appears to be just seriously ON.

I’ve been doing a lot of riding since I saw this video for the first time a few weeks ago and have consciously been riding with MUCH less thigh and MUCH more calf.  Eddie likes it.  The result has been a rounder horse and a thigh that is available for a half halt, rather than a thigh that is like a parking brake engaged when the car is in drive.

That is all I have time for today.  Maybe that little bit will resonate with you.  Maybe it will click when you are riding some day, maybe another instructor will mention it in another way and the click happens then.  I just wanted to get it out there for consideration.  Post a comment if you want to discuss with me or amongst yourselves.  Gotta go ride.  🙂

Land Rover Burghley HT and what I thought I knew

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This isn’t Burghley, it is Eddie and me at Fox River Valley PC HT, because I don’t have pictures of Burghley and the post needed brightening up and who doesn’t like to look at a pretty tb jumping? I do like Eddie’s form here. Knees up and bascule. Yay! I could have a more auto release, but not bad riding on the whole. (Yes, I have pictures of me riding perfectly badly. Gee I just can’t lay my hands on them…)

So the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials took place over Labor Day weekend.  Super cool event of course and amazing that ALL the rides are online on Burgley.tv, listed by name and phase.

So, of course, I’ve been watching them.  All.  In batches of three or four, in a spare moment on our smart tv (ok, which kicks serious booty, but it could also be done on any web-enabled computer)  And this morning I learned that one thing I thought I knew for sure is, well, just flat out wrong.

Watch Ben Hobday’s ride on Guna Be Good.  First of all, love that the horse is jacking around in the start box and Ben is like “Ho hum, another day at a four star.”  Well done, Ben.  There’s no need to add to the drama.  Then off they go out of the start box and jump around the first two minutes quite beautifully.  At around 3 minutes 30 seconds in, they are coming down to a HUGE white oxer.  The thing is massive.  The horse is cross cantering right on down to it.  I braced myself.  Of course a horse can’t jump a max 4* oxer from a cross canter.  Everyone knows that.  A cross canter takes a large part of their longitudinal power and sends it laterally – wasted into space.  Guna Be Good and Ben Hobday don’t subscribe to that theory.  The horse produced a beautiful jump, well up over the rails and cantered off like a champ.

The horse cow-cantered several more jumps on course.  (A ‘cow canter’ is the same as a cross canter.  This information is brought to you by my dear Daddy who grew up on a dairy farm and one day pointed out that holsteins always “cross canter”.  Check it out next time you see a cow cantering somewhere.  If you live somewhere where you only see cows on milk cartons, sorry for you.  Try to get out more.  😉  )   And the horse did a beautiful job over the fences.

So there’s my ‘Ah ha’ for the day:  Probably a true canter is a better choice, but no reason to go to confession about the occasional cross canter coming down to a fence.  I did not know that.

Other thought for the day: Watch a bunch of xc rides on Burghley tv and especially pay attention to what the riders do when they cross the finish line.  They stay in two point, up off their horses’ backs, despite the fact that they just held two point for most of the 11+ minute trip around the course.  They praise their horses.  They get off as soon as they can.  Brilliant horsemanship.  If you want to be excellent, fill your mind with images like the riding and horsemanship seen at Burghley 2012.