Differences in riding position on XC

Has anyone compared their position on their first horse of the day to their last horse?

2 Likes

You may be right about that although Andrew is not nearly as tall as PD or Boyd, is he? I loved watching him on Darien Powers.

I’m a big fan of Buck’s–I was front row watching him kick around dressage his first Rolex–key word being kick. You have to give him credit for having success on a lot of different horse types, but he is not someone whose equitation I’d want to emulate. Lucinda, I don’t think rode upright, but I’m sure she doesn’t teach it in her clinics.

I ride with much more of a jockey type position with a back closer to being on the 45° than vertical. I think a softer and flexible knee that is allowed to fully function as a shock absorber allows the rider to stay very still while the horse rises and lowers through the galloping motion underneath the rider. Wofford is a fan of this as well and doesn’t have much positive to say about the upright position. I’ve heard him say it is more punishing on the horse. But I do think the precise angles of joints–knees and hip–are confirmation specific to the riders build.

4 Likes

I was taught a proper stirrup length was the bottom of the stirrup being at ankle bone length. I little higher for basic jumping and a couple of holes more for XC. I still do it that way. When I foxhunt, I ride like it is XC. I was also taught when galloping you should be out of the saddle just enough to give the horse freedom of motion through his back. I feel bad for the horse when I see people riding XC or foxhunting who basically ride so long that they are sitting on the horse the whole time.

2 Likes

If you ride the XC in a consistent upright out of the saddle position, you give up the influence of your seat (the half-halt) to balance the horse before fences and aid them in landing on the other side. What does happen is that you are constantly hauling on their faces. It’s ugly.

1 Like

Pippa Funnels stirrups were SO short…but I think that’s exactly what saved her when she had a few hairy moments.

I’ve taken lessons with trainers who, as part of warmup, want us to stand straight up in the stirrups at trot and canter. I have a very hard time with it and can’t maintain that upright position for more than a few strides. I’m pear shaped and my derrière makes my center of gravity well behind (excuse the pun) the vertical. Plus, I was told by an event trainer that I admire greatly, to sit in the saddle for the last few strides before a jump. I found that to be extremely helpful and my last horse loved it as it steadied her in front of the fence.

3 Likes

Most of the top riders are using their seat and upper body position to balance the horse and adjust speed so their position is dynamic, never fixed. Their position will change as they progress around the course and respond to the different questions asked. Riding downhill at a canter puts a pair in a very different balance from riding uphill, similarly rough ground vs smooth, mud vs grass. This is the main reason why xc jumping is different from jumping on a level synthetic surface. It is a learned skill that can not be replicated in an arena. Shorter stirrups make for easier adjustments and, though it may seem slightly counter intuitive, shorter stirrups really assist with balance.

3 Likes

So you think Boyd and Phillip spend their entire cross country round hauling on their horse’s face?

4 Likes

I’ve had lessons with someone who had me do this too, what it did teach me was how weak I was. Good eye opener on your core strength lol

1 Like

I happen to think I have two really phenomenal xc coaches (Daryl Kinney and Will Faudree) and they both teach to your body type, the horses body type and the horses way of going. So that means - what they tell me, 5’7, thicker bottom, stronger then average females, on a stocky, downhill and sensitive TB mare, is different then what they tell my husband, who is 6ft, long legged, on a slabby, uphill 16.2h TB. It even changes when I ride either of the horses (I showed both last summer).

I think we can all have styles that tend to migrate from one horse to another, but let’s be honest - Thomas is SMALL. Boyd is not. Boyd is also not built like Buck, and Buck is not built like Michael lol. If anyone is going to be told to right like someone else -find someone who is at least built like you! I like to watch Dani and Cecilia now, because that is the closest representation of me and my mare (they move the same.:grimacing::joy:) -if I lost the stress weight of moving countries and buying a farm :tractor:

5 Likes