Friday, August 21, 2015

Jumping Distances (by Denny Emerson)

Taken from his Facebook posts:

"Walking Distances"

Stadium course designers don't just plunk fences down at random distances from one another unless they are many strides apart.

They use the assumption that a cantering/galloping horse has a 12 foot stride, and that the horse takes off six feet in front of a fence and lands six feet after the fence. (This may or may not be totally true, but it's generally what they assume and therefore use.)

This means a ONE stride in and out is 24 feet. Six feet in for the landing, 12 feet for the stride, and six feet before the following fence for the takeoff. 6+12+6=24.

For a two stride in and out (and up), simply add 12 feet for the additional stride/s, because the 6 foot landing and 6 foot takeoff remain the same.

So, here's an easy "formula"
Canter bounce=12 feet
1 stride=24 feet
2 stride=36 feet
3 stride =48 feet
4 stride=60 feet
5 stride=72 feet
6 stride=84 feet

And so on, although after many strides, most riders start to "ride off their eye", and jump them as separate fences.

Take a tape measure and mark some of those distances, maybe on your barn floor with bits of duct tape, say in 12 foot increments. Every time you walk down the barn aisle, walk the distances, 1-2-3-one, 1-2,3,two, 1-2-3-three, 1-2-3-four, and so on. Pretty soon YOU will "own" a three foot stride so that you can walk accurate distances, plus, you will know what those distances "mean" in terms of the strides the horse is expected to make between jumps.

"Gymnastic Line Distances"

Be careful!!---These are NOT THE SAME as "normal" distances. They are SHORTER.

Because gymnastic lines are normally taken from the trot, rather than the canter, and because they are often used to balance and shorten a horse's stride, they tend to be 2 to 3 feet shorter than the 12-24-36-48 you just learned.

A gymnastic bounce might be 9-10 feet. A one stride might be 18-19 feet, a two stride might be 30-33 feet, and so on.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

What you learn being an instructor

This past weekend one of our more advanced students subbed in for one of our instructors when we could not find another replacement instructor. 

This is a student who we have been encouraging for quite some time to teach, adult beginners in particular. She has always avoided the topic, so we were all pleasantly surprised when she volunteered to teach the 8 lessons with 21 students of all ages in a sort of marathon immersion teaching course. 

Her debrief commentary was too good not to share:


What I learned this weekend:
1. Teaching kids and adults is very different. I am not good at teaching little kids. They make me nervous with their mouth breathing, whining and saying they can do things they can't do. 
2. It was exhausting. Erika, Angela, Elizabeth and Fiona do not stop moving from the time the first client arrives to the time the last client leaves. NOT counting all the barn chores and office work they do before, inbetween and after. 
3. I learned a lot about the horses from watching beginners ride them.
4. I was better at describing things then I thought I would be! People’s ponies did what they asked them even when introducing a couple new (to the rider) concepts.
5. Turns out after years of being a student, I have an encyclopedia of analogies in my head. Who knew?
6. It was very rewarding to see a smile on a student’s face when they did something they didn’t think would work.
7. I don’t think I’ve ever prayed so hard as the three times I had to get on one of the horses to see if there was actually something wrong or if it was 90% rider error. Thank you Scotch, Kasper and Captain for not making me look like a jerk.